Monday, September 26, 2011

Cyclocross has begun!

I was unsure how I would perform in cross this year do to the inconsistency of my training most of the year. Last year I was finishing in the 10ish range in the B’s. This year I would like to win a B race. I started training about a month ago with the Tailwind Double X weekend on the 17th and 18th being my first race.

Double X Day 1

B Race

My legs felt pretty good going into Saturday’s race. I arrived early and rode a couple laps of the course. I was a little rusty at doing the flyover, but I figured I would get the hang of it again during the race. When I made it over to line up, the front row was full and I had to start in the second row. The whistle blew and we were off… well mostly, as I had trouble clipping in and ended up about 20th. The first lap was congested, but I managed to work my way up through the field. I think I passed about 8 guys on the straight away. I felt pretty good the next couple of laps. I was with a group for a while and then worked to bridge up to a Rhino and rode with him for a couple laps. My biggest issue was the barriers as I suck at remounting my bike and guys would pull a gap that I would have to close every lap. Between having to pass people on the first lap and closing the barrier gap, I was slowing down and couldn’t keep pace with the Rhino and he ended up beating me by about 10s. I finished 5th, which is a big improvement over last year and a great start!

Double X Day 2

B Race

I again arrived early and rode the course. My legs were still feeling good and this time I would get to start in the front row. I made sure I clipped in quick and sprinted to the start of the course and settled in at about 5th wheel. At the end of the 1st lap, I was sitting 4th wheel and feeling great. I was riding behind a Greyhound and we had a pretty good gap on the 5th place guy. He was slowing, so I made a pass and pushed the pace. Then… as I was making a fast left hand turn, my front wheel caught something wrong and dug in. This sent me over the bars head first into the ground. It took me a second to get up and take inventory. I seemed to be ok, but feeling banged up. The bike was fine outside of the chain was off. I quick put it back on and was riding again. At this point I wasn't sure where I was at in the field and just hung with the group that was near me. I figured I was still top 10 as I knew everyone in the group and they were decent riders. I just sat in for a couple of laps as I wasn't feeling 100% from the crash and my vision wasn't quite right. After a couple laps, I saw that we were catching Brad Lako. I went to the front of the group and started to push the pace. They ended up dropping off and I managed to bridge to Brad with a lap to go. I sat on his wheel till the end and managed to win the sprint for 7th. Thinking that my contact wasn't in right, I stuck my finger in my eye to adjust it a little only to find it wasn't there. I then managed to dig it out of the corner of my eye and I could see again!

Masters 35+ Race

Being that I am a little crazy, I also entered the Masters 35+ race. I figured I would just hang on as long as I could and it is good practice as I don’t have a CX course set-up in my back yard. The start was fast and I was with a group for about a half a lap, then I just settled into my own pace. I didn’t get lapped, but did get passed by the lead Woman and most of the Master’s 45+. Kelly Patterson was also catching me which motivated me to finish strong. It was a fun 45 mins, but the legs were only good for one race.

Stomach of Anger – East Lansing

I entered this race because it is part of another series that I thought I would be able to race. I wasn’t sure what to expect for a course, but Joe Lekovich was excited about it as it is part of a series with his race called Mad Anthony which is down in Detroit. The course was long and bumpy, but had a lot of different style turns that I felt suited my strengths. The competition looked steep and I doubted myself a little. I secured a front spot, the whistle blew and we were off. I managed to fall in at about 5th wheel and soon after 4th wheel. One UofM guy was off the front and stayed there till the end. I was with a group of 3 giving chase that grew to 4 and then back to 3. The pace was near my limit, so I just sat in. My not so great barrier/remount skills caused me to have to bridge a gap every lap after the barriers. By the last lap, I was starting to feel it and the guys in front started to push the pace a little. About half way through the last lap, I started to crack and then found myself off the back of the group. I rode the rest of the lap in for 4th with no one in sight behind.

Next race is the Tailwind Munson CX night race on October

Monday, September 12, 2011

Back to Blogging – New life/Coaching/Bike Racing

OK… I am going to start getting back into this blogging thing. It has been a rough couple of years, but I am excited about my life and where it is going. I gave up women for about 9 months last year and spent time with my kids and raced my bike. We took a couple camping trips in the summer, one to Acadia National Park in Maine and another to Muskegon State Park in Michigan. We also made stops at Michigan Adventure and Cedar Point. It was an awesome summer!! The best part of 2010 came at the end when I met the most incredible woman… Mary Ann.

At the start of 2011, I was contracted out to Borg Warner to support calibration work on their active AWD systems. I then was offered a job at Borg Warner, which I took. It has taken me to proving grounds in the UP, Sweden and New Zealand. Mary Ann and I also took Nathan and Arianna out west to Yellowstone. While we were out there, we also visited the Corn Palace, Badlands, Wall Drug, Black Hills, Crazy Horse, Mt. Rushmore, Devil’s Tower, Grand Tetons and the Buffalo Bill dame and museum in Cody, Wyoming. It was a great trip and totaled 4200miles!! We drove the Fit out there with a Thule box on the back… it was a tight fit, but we survived!

On to the biking update which this blog is suppose to be about. CX finished up a little rough last year as I got busy with my kids activities and lost focus. The change in jobs had me running around last winter and traveling up to the UP, so I didn’t find much time to train and gained some weight. With all the rain early in the season it was hard to get out and ride as much as I did in 2010… so as the season started out I found myself feeling slow. Looking to improve, I bought a Powertap wheel for my road bike and worked with a coach to get an initial plan put together. The Powertap was later swapped out in favor of a Quarq, as swapping to race wheels meant no power reading! I wanted to focus a little more on the road and try and get upgraded to CAT3. I also upgraded my road bike to a Giant TCR, this was a huge gain (Outside of the motor). First race was an early season TT at Willow… not the best result, but I knew I was not at my peak. As the year went on my fitness improved and had some top ten finishes. Traveling the whole month of July put me a little behind fitness wise, but it was worth it. I didn’t race my mountain bike but a few times this year and with so-so results. I finally made it up to Ore to Shore this year and had mixed feelings about the race. I will probably go back to do it again as I feel that it defeated me this year and I want another go at it.

After working with the powermeter data for a while and doing some reading, I decided to hire a coach. A coach can really help to hold you accountable and work to make sure that you are not over doing it and put the proper rest periods in your schedule. I did some looking around and decided to hire Brian Matter at Momentum Endurance for coaching. Brian has had great success in both Mountain bike racing and CX. I look forward to seeing what he can do to help dial in my training and reach my cycling goals. So far, I have felt great at all my events with good results. This CX season and Iceman will be a good test for me as usually I fall flat in the fall. Wish me luck as the first CX race is coming up this weekend!!