Wednesday, March 27, 2013

BRX 2013

I have done this race every year but one and have had a blast every year.  Not sure why other than maybe because it is early season and there isn’t a lot of pressure, as most people don't really expect to feel great.  It may also be that Rick Plite puts on a great event (Read Party!) and his passion and enthusiasm for the race is contagious.  Whatever it is, this year’s event was no different… probably even better.   The move to downtown Hastings was a nice addition and helped to alleviate the congestion at the Sager/Shaw sections of the race which are usually very sandy and nearly unridable.

Mud the day before
The weather in Michigan this time of year has been depressing (More than it normally can be).  It snowed 4+” the week coming into the race and the weather didn't look like it was going to be north of freezing till the Friday before the race.  All of the recon rides were stating that the conditions were very icy with ruts.  On Friday the report changed to icy with lots of mud.  I was on the fence as to whether or not I would even race, as staying home and riding was looking better than 5hrs in the car and racing in the mud.
I started training a bit later than last year due to work travel and wanting to be able to have something left at the end of the year for CX.  So the thought of racing in March with no form and crappy conditions was not appealing.  But as stated earlier, Rick puts on a great race and I wanted to support his efforts.  Sager/Shaw sections were bypassed for safety as they were all ice and Rick paid Barry county to spread sand on the other icy sections.  So Brad Lako, Dan Bannink, Wayne Harper and I loaded up in the early Saturday morning hours and headed to Hastings.

Icy Roads
After a very short and freezing warm-up, I found myself standing at the start shivering violently waiting for our start.    Lots of familiar faces were lined up and ready to do battle… Simon Bailey, Dave Messing, Jamie Parker and Jarod Makowski just to name a few.  The start was a bit slow, but I knew that would change soon, so I just tucked in.  Once on the dirt, things heated up and everyone was tested on the first few climbs.  Icy ruts and potholes were abundant… and when they weren't,  it was just plain icy!  I just worked on staying rubber side down in the lead group and put in my digs when the pace seemed to slow.  Once on the pavement climb our group quickly whittled down about 5 or so guys.  Once back on the dirt (ice), Jarod laid down the pace till we hit the "wall" climb, which at that point was a mine field of slower riders and people walking.  We navigated it without incident and caught the leaders of the wave ahead of us that contained John Osgood and Dan Bannink which added to the fire power of the group.  We rolled at a pretty steady hard pace till we were back on the pavement close to town.  As we neared town, Osgood put in a dig and we all quickly jumped on his wheel.  Once the finish turn was in sight, Dan attacked to try and lead me out, but I couldn't get on his wheel fast enough and ended up sitting 4th wheel behind a couple of guys in my class.  The finish was a bit confusing as there was a guy pointing left, but he wasn't up by the actual turn and we thought they may have changed the finish.   After realizing what happened/where to go, we started our sprint.  I didn't get the jump and couldn't pull around the top 2 guys and rolled in for 3rd in class with a time of 1:48:38 which was good for 10th overall in the race!!

One of the coolest parts of the race for me was the team competition.  The KLM crew as a whole did very well with Brad Lako, Joe Seidl, Dan Bannick and Cindi Bannink all on the podium in their respective classes and netting us the win in the 36 mile Team Competition!!

Jack Kunnen Photography: Barry-Roubaix 2013 &emdash; IMG_2461

Next up... Yankee Springs on the SS!!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Back to this Blogging Thing!

I've been slacking with the blog… so I figured it’s a new season and I should get back on track.  Here is a very abbreviated run down to get back up to date.

I left off in mid CX season… I ended up racing Masters at the LOHS race.  I had a horrible start, but was reeling people in when I slid out and broke my front brifter.  Wouldn't shift and no braking… Game over.

      Iceman was a mess as just after I found out I had an infection that I was dealing with and the body was just not functioning.  I finished right at about 2hrs and was glad to be done.  This race seems to be my nemesis. 
      Headed down to Louisville to the USGP the next weekend after being put on some Antibiotics… let’s just say things weren’t firing on all cylinders, so I pulled out and enjoyed the rest of the weekend.  It may have been more fun watching than racing…

      After a break from training and racing, I decided to do one more CX race which was the finals at Addison for fun.  It was hard… but I had a great time sliding around the course.    

      We went to San Diego to see Mary Ann’s family over Christmas for a week, so we shipped our bikes out and did some fun rides.  The weather was less than ideal, but better than cold and snow!   Later in January, we took our yearly trip to Tucson and had blast.  You can’t beat the nice roads and beautiful weather.
San Diego 

Mt. Lemmon with Wayne
      Wanting to see what this Fat Bike stuff was all about, I borrowed my friend Bob’s Fat Bike, did a few rides and signed up for the Ypsilanti race in January.  I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I lined up in the A race and just stayed towards the front.  The pace was hard, but after a couple laps there were just 2 of us.  I took the lead at that point and just tried to hold a hard pace.  By the end of the lap I was riding alone.  I kept the pace high, had fun and rolled in for the win!  Not a bad way to start the season.  It was fun (Like riding a monster truck), but not sure if I am going to run out and buy one anytime soon.
Like race in a 2 wheeled Monster Truck!

New Team… I had originally joined the MCG squad to race road.  The road team has diminished this year and it is just not convenient to race out of a shop that is 1 - 1.5hrs from home.  Mike and the team at Trails Edge treated me well and I appreciate everything they have done.  My friend Brad Lako has been harassing me to join the KLM team for a year or 2 and I finally caved.  We have amassed a good group of guys and I like that the shop is 2 miles from home.  There is a contingent of guys that want to race road, so it’s all good.