Monday, February 15, 2010

Iceman and thoughts on Cyclocross Season


After coming off a strong finish to my mountain bike season, I was looking forward to seeing how I would fair in cyclocross. Armed with my new Kuota Kross bike with some light Revolution Wheel Works and Tufo tubulars, I set out to battle in the killer B’s. I quickly found myself settling into the 10-12th spot, which was good as the racing in that part of the pack was exciting. This is where things derailed causing training to stop and hence cycling to get put on the back burner. I was planning on going to Kentucky for the USGP of CX, but ended up staying home… which was a big disappointment. I finished the season in 15th place with only 5 out of 6 races. I will be looking for a better result next season.


I managed to get back on the bike enough to have some fitness for Iceman. I was very excited to race Iceman this year as it was going to be my first expert race and with the Finkelstein’s Ice Ice Baby training rides under my belt, I felt I was prepared. We drove up early and rode the last part of the course and the trail was very packed in. I was feeling good at the start of the race and the pack quickly accelerated to about 25mph… then disaster struck. One of the guys behind me lost control and drove into my rear wheel taking me out. I landed hard on the asphalt… everything seem to be enacted, so I got back on the bike and started riding. My head, ribs and hip were aching, but I figured I would just grit it out. The two of us were now way behind the 130 person field. I think the guy that took me out felt bad as he made a hard pull trying to catch the pack, but once I was back out in front I found myself riding alone. I learned a few things in the first 8-10 miles… when you have a sore rib cage, breathing hard to get up hills hurts. When you bruise your hip it never really “loosens” back up and when you hit your head hard enough, it causes blurred and discolored vision. As the race went on the vision became clearer, although I realized that my Oakleys were not on my head, so I was hoping that I wouldn’t get any sand in my eyes. I thought my bike made it through the wreck unharmed, but as I was climbing in the single track the chain started to jump between gears. Luckily I managed to be able to tune it out without stopping. I slowly picked people off one by one. The worst part was that there was a slight head wind for most of the race and I didn’t have anyone to draft off of for most of the race. The only help was when some of the faster old guys caught me, I could tag on to the back of there train for a while. One of my goals for this year was to not get off the bike on any of the climbs. This doesn’t sound like a big deal, but there are a couple near 30 percent grades at iceman and they are near the end of the race when you are not feeling so strong. I was also a little worried, since I left my single ring on the front which didn’t leave a “granny” gear to fall back on. The hills seemed to be a non issue… which put a big smile on my face. As I neared the finish, I realized that we didn’t ride the finish correctly the day before as they routed us back down the hill through some nasty single track and then had us climb back up to get to the finish. I was very happy to be done… my body felt like I was hit by a Mack truck! When I inspected my equipment, I notice that I had cracked my new S-Works helmet… I guess it did it job!! I finished 28th in a time of 1:56.24… which I am happy with as it was a minute faster than last year and according to last years times the course was about 6 min longer mainly due to that added mile at the start. Hopefully I can manage a sub 1:50 next year and place in the top 10.

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