Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tufo Flexus Primus Tubular CX Tires

After experiencing CX last year on my MTB with cx tires and having a great time, I decided to step it up this year. One of the major factors on a CX bike is being able to run low tire pressure to allow for better traction and added suspension to smooth out the rough spots. The down fall of running low tire pressures with standard tires/tubes is the possibility of pinch flatting or rolling the tire off of the bead on the rim. Pinch flatting is where the tire impacts an object hard enough that the rim slams down on the the tire "pinching" the tube between the tire and the rim causing a flat. Pulling the tire off the bead is exactly what is sounds like... the tire doesn't have enough pressure to keep the tire hook into the bead of the rim and it comes off. Either scenario will force you to either DNF or run for the pit to swap wheels or bikes. Either way you are going to loose a lot of time and cost you positions in the race. The solution is to run a tubular tire which is basically a heavy duty tube with tread attached that is glued to a special style of rim. This solves the issues described above and also reduces the rotating weight, lightening the bike and increasing acceleration.

After doing some research and talking with some racers, I decided to go with the Tufo Flexus Primus tubular (http://www.tufonorthamerica.com/tires/elite.php?seriesid=51). This tire is a little more expensive than some of the other brands out there but makes up for it by being more durable and easier to mount and true. This particular tire has been completely revamped for 2009 to improve suppleness (ride quality), decrease rolling resistance (By 10%), increase durability and improve wet traction. Tufo was very responsive to my questions and easy to deal with. Once the tires arrived, I had them mounted up to my Revolution Wheelworks REV-25X wheels (http://www.revolutionwheelworks.com/REV-25X.html) and ready to go for the Waterford Double Cross weekend.

After 3 races, I am thoroughly impressed with these tires. They roll with ease and smooth out the bumps, but what they do best is corner. Each race I have pushed them further than the race before. They have instilled confidence in my abilities and have allowed me to maintain speed in critical corners. One cool feature that I have noticed is that they have an audible growl in the corners that reminds me of being on my MTB!

Friday, September 25, 2009

CX is upon us!!

Well… the season opener for CX has come and gone. It was a fun weekend of pain and reacclimation to one of the most exciting forms of bicycle racing. I have been pretty happy with my MTB performance the latter half of the year and was looking forward to seeing where I would stack up in the mix of MTB and Roadies in CX. All in all I am happy with the results. My times were competitive although not consistent and I am finishing in the top half of the field.

Saturday Race –
I lined up in the second row behind a couple fast guys and the starting sprint landed me at about 6th wheel. I held the wheel of the guy in front of me until a tight 180 about a 1/3rd of way through the lap. At that point, he parked it in the corner and my avoidance maneuver put me into the rope which somehow looped my bar and seat post. By the time my bike was free about 10+ guys went by and I had to start working my way back through the field. I drafted people as long as possible and then went by until I caught Adam Naish. We rode together for the last 2 laps or so swapping places… I was excited to have someone to race. I wanted to be in front coming into the finishing straight, so I pushed hard through the final barriers and just beat him out for the next corner. I attacked on last grass flat before the asphalt, but as we started the finishing sprint Adam rolled up next to me and won by a wheel. It was a good race but I learned some lessons and was looking forward to applying them on Sunday. Big thanks to Jeff Zimmerman for towing me around for a couple of laps!

Sunday Race –
Come Sunday morning my legs were feeling a little dead but not as bad as I thought. After warming up, I was feeling like all 8 cylinders were firing. Based on my start yesterday, I lined up in the front row and was in about the same position after the sprint. To add some excitement they changed some sections and ran others in reverse. One of the changes ran us down a sandy area that we were running up on Saturday. I decided to ride it on the first lap, which was a big mistake as I was bogged down coming out of it and allowed a group to pass me. Another lesson learned. I held a pretty good pace and stayed near the leaders until the end of the 2nd lap. As I fell off the pace I found myself on my own. The hard part about be on your own during a bike race is that you have no one to draft off of. My pace on the road sections dropped and I could tell that I was being caught by a group of guys working together. I held my own for a couple laps and then was passed by a couple guys. I grabbed a wheel and tried to recover a little. I noticed the guy ahead of me, who happened to be Chris Matthews, was running out of gas, so I went around on the second to last lap. Chris rode my wheel all the way to the final straight. Learning from yesterday’s race I took it easy until I hit the asphalt and then started my sprint. Chris was coming on strong, but I held off the attack finishing 12th of 28 guys.

Next race is this Sunday at Pando to finish up the MMBA CPS series. I need to finish one place behind the guy in third to win my class if he shows up. If I can finish well at this race, it will put the exclamation point on my MTB season winning both the Tailwind and MMBA CPS series.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Addison Oaks MMBA XC

Since finishing well at the Stony TT and Maybury MMBA events, I saw an opportunity to win my class in both the MMBA and the Tailwind series. In order to do this, I needed to race the remaining 2 races in order to have the minimum 5 races required to be considered for the year end awards. I also know that in order for me to win the series, I would have to win one of the next 2 races. Being that it has already been a long season and CX is starting soon, my motivation to race more MTB races has declined. Knowing that I need to win one race, I focused my efforts on Addison Oaks as I consider this trail to be my home court. I took a week off the bike at the end of August to try and regroup and then hit it hard. The 2 weeks before the race, I had completed 7 near race pace laps and formulated a plan of attack for the race.

With CX coming up and Kinetic Systems putting on a Clinic, which happened to be the day before Addison Oaks, I headed over to work on my skillz (Which need a lot of work!). Knowing that I didn’t want to completely wear myself out, I didn’t participate in the mock race and just focused on the clinic portion. Needless to say, I rode too hard and climbed the orange-crush (http://cowbell.cxmagazine.com/video/orange-crush-flyover) a few too many times and I was beat! The next morning I felt flat and still had to clean the bike and load all my stuff into the car… I was less than motivated to race.

Once at the race, I watched the Expert and Elite guys go by a few times, picked up my registration pack and got ready to warm up. After riding around a while I really wasn’t feeling it, but knew that once the race started I would get into my zone. Not having raced too many MMBA races, I didn’t know a lot of faces at the starting line which made me nervous. Although one face was very familiar and that was my buddy Mark Bourgeau, who I knew would love to take the win and was more than capable. I rolled to the front right at the start and I could see people shuffling for position out of the corner of my eye. We hit the first hill and I attacked to try and drop as many people as possible right at the start. Things quieted down pretty quick behind me, but I could hear someone there and didn’t want to look. About a mile or 2 in we caught a large group of guys in the single track. I debated trying to pick them off one by one, but decided that would be too risky and waited for the 2 track. I picked some of them off on a short open section helping to put a gap between myself and the rest of the field, but was starting to worry that the slower pace was allowing them to bridge back up. It seemed like forever and I was almost taken down by a mishap, but the 2 track came and I hit the gas. At this point I figured out that the guy on my tail was Mark which made me a little nervous. I debated taking turns pulling, but I was gapping him on the flats making him work to keep up. As we rolled through the start/finish, I had a small gap and pushed the first uphill to try and open things up and get some more riders between us. At this point I was feeling good and having fun… until I heard someone yell at me and when I looked it was Mark again!! It was at a point where the trails loops back, so I didn’t really know how far back he was… but I wasn’t going to hang around to find out. At the start of the third lap I looked back and didn’t see him. I proceeded to work my way through the last lap and even caught my wife in the last couple of miles. I rolled across the finish line only 50sec ahead of Mark. In the end, even though I didn’t feel 100%, I still managed to win and had the second fastest sport time. Next XC race is Pando… I need to finish no more than 1 place behind the second place guy in order to win the series. Hopefully my last sport race will be a good one!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Final Tailwind USAC Standings

The year started a little rough, but I pulled it together to finish the year strong!! Expert will be a new learning curve, but should be a fun one!