Monday, December 29, 2008

"The Plan"

Here it is! A quick look at my 2009 training plan. I keep writing about how much I have learned about training this year, and it is exciting to actually put something down in writing with the expectations of achieving some goals by using a "plan". I am using the knowledge I gained from the "Mountain Biker's Training Bible" to set up a plan based on periodization. So unlike last year, where I was winging it in the first 4 months and brought myself to the point of over training by July. I will be following a weekly program that will gradually build my endurance and fitness to a peak, that will focus around a few key races that I have selected throughout the year. Again in 09' I will be training for the Tailwind USAC XC Mountain Bike series in Cat 1, but my main focus will to build up to a few peaks for the Cyclocross Series in the B-class. I have most, if not all my races listed and ranked by priority. And Have established several goals and objectives to help maintain my focus throughout the year.

Last year I got really wrapped up in total miles, but have since learned that focusing on hours with all aspects of working out is more effective and more important in building and maintaining fitness. I terms of my actual workouts in the plan, the biggest difference I am making (at least in the early base and build phases) is the addition of strength training. I did no weight lifting last year in the early months and found myself suffering in the middle of the summer on short steep climbs. I focused on strength a little for the cyclocross series, and found it to be very effective at improving my force and power as the series progressed. Understanding this need for strength will not only make me physically stronger, but will help with my endurance also.

Finally, the only thing I have left to do is schedule weekly workouts. Which I will do on a week by week basis. The beauty of the plan is that although I have it all written down, It is and will remain flexible. Sometimes life gets in the way. So the need to skip, change or eliminate training days or races is bound to happen. And as I am moving up into Cat 1 (expert) in mountain biking, this will be a very challenging and learning year for me. So I will soon know if my plan is right on, or if I am way off. But that is the beauty of it, as I continue to learn more about training and how my body reacts to the stresses, I will become more effective at making the correct changes and will become a stronger racer in the long run.

3000 Miles!

With the final days of 2008 approaching, I finally hit the 3000 mile mark for the year! This was not an original goal for me at the start of 08', but as the months ticked away, I realized that it would be an achievable goal. I have never tracked mileage in the past because I never owned a cycling computer. But after the 2007 season, I put a computer on all of my bikes except for the cyclocross bike and away we went. I figured it would be a good tool for training and for MTB racing. And it has worked out very well. However, as I am learning more about training, my focus will me more toward annual hours and not miles.

All of my miles for 2008 came from several different types of riding -- road, mountain bike, single speed, road bike on the trainer, and cyclocross. As the winter training plan for 2009 begins in the next few days, it is time again to watch the miles tick away....

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It's Been a Great Ride in 08'

Well just like I started with one of my first few blogs ever last year, and keeping with the theme "Podium Quest", here is what my hard earned blood, sweat, and pain has earned me. As mentioned in a few other post, I accomplished several of my goals, improved almost every race time, and learned a lot along the way. So here it is - my bling, bling for 2008!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Michigan Cyclocross U-34 C-Men State Champion!

I remember 3 years ago at the MI CX State Championship at Waterford Hills Rack Track freezing to death just trying to hang on and not get lapped. I finished 26th. And after the race, as I watch Matt Ashley stand on top of the podium and receive his USAC Michigan State Champion medal for C-men U-34, I thought how cool that would be. To someday stand on that top step at a CX state championship! And to be crowned the Series Champion. How cool would that be? But I was 233 lbs and was finishing 4th from last place in every race. There is no way at fat CX'er would even sniff the podium. But that all changed. I got hungry, but it was not for food. I loved CX racing and I wanted to be good at it dammit! So scertly, as I claim to a mountain biker by trade. It is this CX stuff that has been so damn hard for me to concur. And it is that challenge that has been driving me for the past 3 years. It is more than just riding your bike. You have to learn new non-bike skills, force your self to race mother nature, and race with a whole new game plan for training. You have to learn Cyclocross. it is not a given.... Well 3 years later, I have something to talk about.

It was cold. Cold enough that you really can not explain it. But it was cold for everyone. The course was snowy. About 6 inches worth. So it was going to be anyone's ball game. I knew what I had to do. Win the State Championship for my age. So going into the race, I wanted to win the race, but I did not have to, to become the State Champ. It was all depending on who showed up. But the first goal of the day was taking the hole shot to stay out of any wrecks and then stay in front. The head wind off the sprint was insulting. But I knew the pain is temporary. I lead going into the first 1/2 mile or so and then a Greyhound on a mountain bike blew past me like he was racing motocross! Just railing the corners and mashing. Wow! This may be a tougher day for me then I thought. I let him go, then Mike Koetsier from Hup United attacked! This is the one I was worried about. Mike took off like he was shot out of a cannon! I tired to hang on but be started to stay away. I finally recovered going into the 2nd lap and was still within reach of Mike. By this time, The Greyhound rider blew up and I quickly passed him on one of the only small climbs, and then realized that Mike was fading on the climbs as well. As I made my way through all of the snowy twist and turns, I took as many risk as I could without falling off the bike and then mashed through all the straight aways to catch him. By the middle of the 3rd lap I was back on his wheel. I was feeling really good and could tell that he was losing steam. But this is a state championship event, so everyone tries to dig deep and Mike did. On the final straight before the last off camber twisty section through the ditch, he stood up to accelerate to keep me from going around him. Smart move. With the course conditions the way they were with all the snow, it was near impossible to pass on a final attack. However, I was still on his wheel. We started going through the final twist and turns, and Mike was able to force about a 10 ft gap. This was enough to be the first one of the ice covered pavement to start the sprint. I tired to hang on but could not. Maybe if there was another 250 meters of road, I could of had him. He won the race by 1 second! But not all was lost, Mike is 37 so I still did exactly what I need to do.

I was crowned the Under 34 C-Men USAC Cyclocross State Champion! My Goal for the last 3 years!!!!

In addition, I also captured 1st overall in points for the Tailwind CX Series Championship for Under 39 C-men

But my day was not over. I still had a single speed race left to do. At first, I only wanted to finish this race. I was cold, tired, and miserable. When we took off I was sitting in 4th. Then I could hear the announcer Dave, saying "Here comes John Osgood, hot on Brian Mitchell's heals for 3rd place!" I looked up and thought. "Oh my God! There he is! I actually have a chance of catching him". This now became my focus. Brian is no slacker. He is a Masters 35 racer, so he knows how to ride a bike in a CX race. So for me to say I beat him in a race was a personal feather in my cap! So by the 2nd lap, going into the starting area, I was on his wheel. We started up the climb in the beginning, and I attacked. Brain Said "Hi John" and I just said "Hey Brian" and buried my head and went. I never gave up and just tried to put more and more time into my lead. I was surprised to find out later that my lap times were actually getting faster toward the end of the race. Some of this was due to the improving course conditions. But the rest was from determination to take one more shot at the podium in my last race of the year. I stayed away and grabbed 3rd in the race. This was also good enough to be crowned 2nd place for the State Championship. And the 3rd place result improved my overall points to move me into 2nd overall for the Tailwind CX Series Championship.

Not too bad in a days work! I know I have said it several times in my blog throughout the CX season, but Thanks again JB Hancock for helping me with training and making my CX goals a reallity!

But there is more....

In only his 3rd CX race ever Mr. Lee Tremp turns it on and takes home a 2nd Place in C-men 40+! That is awesome. Lee has been flirting with the podium for the past few months and to bring in home in the last race of the year at a State Championship-- what else is there to say! You da-man Lee. I can't wait to see what the 09 Mountain Bike season brings for you.

And A few more folks I like to recognize for some outstanding seasons and personal improvements.

Matt Bjurman
Randy Arellano

You guys have been on the same ride as me for the last 3 years and your hard work has shown this year and has paid off. I want to thank both of you for you encouragement and support. And good luck next year.

Jason Melecosky
Adam Naish

What more can I say. You guys had great seasons and were a big part of helping me achieve my goals for the year.

Well this has been a great year for me overall. I learned a lot about racing, training, about the limits of my body, and my mind. In the end, I have achieved many personal goals. I scored a few wins in mountain bike races, and now cyclocross. I've Improved my overall race times at almost every course. I've won 2 series titles. Finished 4th at Iceman. Made several new friends and have strengthened many other friendships. Best of all, I did all this with having to balance a full time job, a wonderful family with my wife and 2 kids. And in the end, I did it all while just trying to have fun.

Thanks to everyone...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Racking up another at Bloomer CX!

Well I am on a roll. I actually nailed another CX win, and I did it at Bloomer! Just like Munson, This has not been a good place for me to race cx in the past few years. So I had a score to settle. I have been feeling great the past few weeks. Right on top of my game. So drive down this morning, I had confidence on my side. The Weather as bitter cold. It was below 20 degrees at the start of the race. The ground was covered in frost and slippery. My warm up included a long stay in the car with the heater on until about 5 mins before the start of the C-race. When the whistle blew, I crank over a few pedal strokes and took the hole shot! Through the grass, around the turn and up the slight 2 track climb, back onto the tarmac and away to the barriers. Before I go any farther, I could not help but notice all the spectators out today! And they were all noisy! Made for a great race and kept me going in these less than desirable conditions. So WAY TO GO, AND THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT! As I continued to push through the course, I was gain a huge lead over the field except for none other than the OX! Jason Melecosky and a flying Rhino. I was sitting in front thinking, My form is as good as it is going to be so it is my race to lose. So I just kept pushing as hard as I can. Maybe too hard at first. As I rounded one of the corners that lead back into the single track behind the velodrome, my tires slipped out and I landed hard on the ground. After taking a quick inventory of the bike and myself to make sure we were OK, I hoped back on the bike and took off. By this time Jason caught me and now was in front. I told him to go, go, go, and attack on the paved stuff. He lead through the second lap and we worked together. It was enough to the break the Rhino rider and put some more time into the rest of the field. On the last lap I tired to attack in the beginning to see if the OX was wearing down. I opened up a gap and though it might be enough. But by the time I got to the twisty pine tree section, He reeled me back. Knowing that I was not going to out fox him, I figured I would save some energy and let it come down to the final sprint. As we made our way through the rest of the course we lined up side by side in the last 1000 m straight away! The RPM ramped up. Jason would pull ahead, then I would pull ahead, back and forth, back and forth. The quads and lungs were searing! But I still felt like there was more. As the line approached I tried a few more hard kicks to just pull ahead and the final lunge for the line ------ photo finish.

The USAC judge came over smiling and said that was great. And then told me my front wheel was the first across the line by about 3 inches. That was exciting racing! Great job Jason.

What the transponder said:
Me -- 28:03:844
OX -- 28:03:885

I raced in the B's again in the Single speed class and had another good effort. This was the largest SS CX class this year with 7. The high light of my race was beating Mark Becker. He beat me up all year in the MTB time trial series in the single speed class after I had already raced my geared bike. So I had one more chance to get him before the end of the year. On the first lap heading into the finishing area, I was on Marks wheel and he took the transition from the dirt, to the wood chips, to the 90 degree corner onto the pavement to sharp and went down like a ton of bricks. I then turned up the gas and went as hard as I could. I put in a huge gap and maintained a hard effort for the rest of the race and coasted home for very respectable 3rd place.

TSB had a good crowd out there today. Todd L, Curt P ( back in action. way to go curt!) Benny M, Jay S. And the Schneider fan club. YOU GUYS ROCK! Thanks for cheering us on!

And my coach! JB Hancock. I keep saying this but I could have not gotten this far this season without your help. And you rocked out there today. Looked strong. And remember what you keep telling me. "focus on the long term goal".

So one more race to go 2 weeks from now. A week to rest and my form is at it's best! I hope I can carry it to Waterford with me. So you all then

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Still on form with first CX win!

I finally done it. After 3 years of racing cyclocross I finally took home 1st place in C-men under 39. And I did it in commanding fashion. This was race #7 in the Tailwind Series at Munson Park in Monroe, Mi. Munson is your typical roadie style CX course. Flat with long straight aways and only a huge sled hill in the middle that the course winds over several times. But today was different. Prior to the race, it had rained for about 48 hours straight and the forecast was to be below freezing, windy, and snow. Add that to an already water saturated course and you got a anyone can win CX race. But not today. I was ready for Munson it has eaten me up in the past 2 years. It is a spin to win course and coming from a mountain bike racing background, I am a natural masher (sorry mike). But with the help of JB Hancock's training tips, and my focus on the fundamentals, and a great finish at Iceman -- I WAS READY FOR MUNSON!!!

After 2 freezing cold warm up laps it was time to race. I would be racing my new Challenge Grifo clinchers and I am glad I made the choice to use them because they grip like no one's business! So the whistle blew and I jumped off the line and took the hole shot. I made it up the first climb and raced down the other side. Through the 1st set of barriers and back up the hill, down again and back up. This time I could finally see the pack behind me. Holy s**t! I had a huge gap, and I was feeling great. I turned the screws a little more and increased my lead. On the second and 3rd laps, I actually backed it off a little and decided to focus on a smooth race as the course conditions began to get slick. By the time I was coming through the final climb, down through the off camber down hill and back up the log run up, there was no one around. I raced back down the hill around the pond and coasted home with both arms in the air for the first time in a CX race!

So after a quick spin, I focused on staying warm, and lined back up in the B-class for the Single speed race. When the race started it began to snow and snow hard. It was almost a white out! The course was getting slick as hell and snow was caking up my tires, which made it difficult to climb the hills with a 34X16. As I pushed on, the snow was starting to stick to my shoes, then my legs, and finally soaking my skin suit. I was not having much fun now as I was getting really cold quick. I had to dismount and run a few of the hills at the end, and the bike and I were starting to get covered in mud from head to toe. Around the pond 1 more time and through the finish line for 2nd place. Not bad in a COLD days work!

As my training plan has progressed, I am in my peak/race weeks. And I can actually see the result of my efforts. With only 2 more races left, I hope my body can maintain form into the finally weeks. We will see...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


The world series of Mountain Biking. At least in Michigan, or the Midwest. The ICEMAN COMETH CHALLENGE is the largest 1 day point to point Mountain Bike race in North America. And it is right here in my own back yard! The Race is a 27 plus mile course on 2 track and single track trails between Kalkaska and Traverse City, Michigan. This year was the 19th edition and with over 2800 racers from almost every state in the union and from several countries from around the world, it not hard to get excited and give your beast effort, because the whole country if not the world is checking your results the next day online!

This is my 3rd time racing ICEMAN, and it was my last time as a Sport Racer. So before Moving on to Expert, I want to go out in a blaze of glory and had 2 goals in my mind for the weekend. Take top 5, and finish under 2:00:00 hrs. I have been working very hard with the CX training plan that JB Hancock helped put together for me, and the results have been showing. I know I am in better condition this year than I was last year, but the question was still in my head. Would training for 30-45 min CX races be enough to carry me to the podium for 2hrs of endurance racing????

We got to Kalkaska Middle school for the start of the race about 1 hr before we had to go. It was cold and I was nervous. But this is how the ICEMAN is suppose to feel. After a quick warm up, I lined up in my class as early as possible. This year I was racing Sport men 30-33. There was a total of 79 racers in my class, and I made sure my front wheel was first on the start line. As the seconds ticked away the tension thickened and finally we were off! Ben Miller (TSB Team mate) took the hole shot all the way to the double track, so I tucked in behind him. He took a few more pedal strokes and said "That's all I got, go get'em!" So I said "thanks Benny" and took off. Shortly after, about 6-7 guys launched past me, and I was catching hell to hang on. My heart was racing through the roof. So I thought to myself, don't panic. Find the groove and start griding away back up to the podium. Most of these guys will probably pop, once the hills start after Williamsburg Rd. So I popped it up in the big ring and pushed as hard as I could. About 2-3 miles of riding by myself I saw what looked to be a familiar riding style. I finally caught up on their wheel and Said "Adam, is that you?" He replied, "I was wondering where you were". So Here it is the finally Mountain Bike race of the season. The Grand Daddy of them all, and I am going to race Adam Naish head to head one last time for 27 miles. I wouldn't have it any other way. And this was the best situation for both of us to have a great race. So we both decided to pull each other through the woods and try to share the podium at the end. Adam kept up a blistering pace in the beginning and actually wondered if I would be able to hang on. I did, but man it was tough. As we got closer to the first parts of single track, our pace came to dead stop several times as a lot of people this year must of registered for the wrong class and could not ride their bikes on the down hills. It was making very angered and thought my chances of top 5 or under 2 hrs was shot, because of people riding slow, and not letting you pass. At one point there was about 20 people in a line going down hill, waiting on 1 person. I actually had to track stand my bike going down hill. Well, we finally got through that and I picked up the pace to try and make up as much time as possible. Adam did another pull a few miles before Williamsburg Rd. and Said, "The guy in front is in 3rd place". I could not believe we had made up so much ground. So I said "go get him". So Adam hopped on his wheel and started making small attacks. This guy finally realized what class we were in, and was trying anything to stay ahead of us. Adam would get in front on the flats and I would attack him on the short steep climbs and hop in front. We played cat and mouse like this until the first hill before Williamsburg Rd. At this hill I told Adam to hop on and then Poured it on! I sprinted up the hill, coasted down and then made a huge effort up the climb at Williamsburg. This is the beast part of the race! The fans go nuts. Usually about 200-250 people ringing cowbells and screaming their heads off trying to get you up the hill. We crossed the road and I poured it on again for the last 2 climbs that are just as big as the Williamsburg Rd climb. We finally got to so flat ground again, and found a comfortable gear to catch my breath and settled in for a fast spin. Adam then said, "Great job John! You cracked him!" So we were now both sitting in a podium spot, but had to keep pushing to get it. We both kept the pace high and my legs were feeling great. The past 2 ICEMANs have resulted in bad leg cramps in the last 8 miles, that have caused my performance to suffer. So this was the biggest concern on my mind at this point. But as the big hill approached, they felt strong. Anita's hill - No problem, Icebreaker hill - No problem. The finally after the new section of single track that dumps you out in front of the wood chip hill with no momentum, I clawed my way up to the top and felt fine. I looked at my clock and saw that the 2 hr mark was within my grasp! I told Adam, "All I want is a podium spot and under 2 hrs. If you want anymore than that, then go get it!" He said, "I want to break 1:57:00." With about 2.5 miles to go, I said, "well, we have a little more work to do". I pulled as hard and fast as I could to the last climb of the day. Adam slowly pulled ahead and got in front through the final finishing barriers. I was happy and pushed all the way to the end. I saw Adam in front of me cross the finishing line. And As I approached the line, I put my hands up a took a mini celebration for both of us. I reached up and gave Adam a hug. He said "we did it, I could not have done it without you!"

I just hit both my ICEMAN goals! 4th place in a time of 1:55:47!!!!!!!

Thanks Adam!

As for the rest of the weekend. Nolan did his first ICEMAN this year in the Sno-cone event. He was lined up at the start 3 hrs before the race. Riding back and forth looking for the best line for the hole shot. There was probably up to 100 plus kids and he was ready to rock. As the whistle blew, he rode past with a smile ear-ear! The course was a 2 mile stretch through the same ICEMAN course as I did up to the finish line. The crowd went nuts for the kids. Nolan made his way up the last hill, and sprinted home to the finish! When he was done, he said that was hard. I thought I was going to puke.

Last, it would not be a complete ICEMAN weekend unless I got to party with my Team Sandbag team mates. And this year we had 13 racers getting it done and braving the epic course and conditions. The team rocked it out this year! as most shattered their previous times, took to the podium, or just finished to make it back to the tent for some cold beers! In Brandon's case, he couldn't wait to cross the finish line for a cold one, so he chugged one down on the course in front of the team tent! Way to get it done guys. And hear are the TSB ICEMEN for 2009!

Don Miller
Dan Holland
Kevin Kahl
Ben Miller
Jason Schneider
Lee Tremp
Todd Powers
Brian Crook
Brad Hranach (fastest TSBer of the day 1:53!)
Todd Shorkey
Brandon Groleau
Nolan Osgood

Monday, November 3, 2008

"The Devil's Soup Bowl" - Vet's Park CX 5&6!

OK here we go again. This is my favorite place to race. Oh wait, I think I used that in my last post. But I have to say, Veterans Park is a close enough second that when I am racing there, it is the best place in the world for a 'cross race! Located in Ann Arbor. It is surrounded by busy traffic all the way around, has several baseball diamonds and for some odd reason that only mother nature can explain, has some great quad busting hills! In the CX scene, this place is known as the Devil's Soup Bowl because of the natural hills that surround all four sides of the park. So basically we race in a hole in the ground. And it is these little hills that makes for some great racing.

Day 1 - Going into this race, I was just getting over a cold and was struggling with a shift change at work that happened in the middle of the week (I am now on 3rd shift). So I was not feeling 100% when the whistle blew. There is a lot of grass at Vets, so I was thinking about not running my Maxxis Locust and going with my faster Raze. It was a game time call, but I went with the Locust because I knew what to expect from them. So I lined up in the front, the whistle blew and we were off. I sat in at about 3rd position for the first 3/4 mile. By the time we got to the run-up, the faster guys (top 3) were able to pull away from me. So for the rest of the race, I rode by my self and held onto a large gap, which allowed me to cost home for 4th place. Considering how I felt, and how much of a gap I had over the rest of the field of 27, I has happy with the result. Nolan Raced later in the kids race and took his 1st W of the CX season. The kids course was just a tough as the adult course. So it was a well deserved win!

Day 2 - The course was ran backwards from the day before, but just as difficult. I went with Raze tires. And I was feeling great. I went to bed at 8:30 the day before and slept till 7:30 in the morning. In the past, I have performed better on the 2nd day of 2 day races so I knew it would be my race to lose. The whistle went and I shot off the front and took the hole shot. This caused the field to instantly string out. I could not believe how fast I was going by the time we got to the long run up. There was only one other person that was with me. The rest of the field was about 30-40 seconds behind. It felt great. This is my first week of "peaking" and I was feeling it. I was able to push a big gear at a high cadence. The other guy that was with me agreed to work together pulling. This worked well at keeping the main filed behind us. But I was seeing some weakness in his climbing. I had plan! On the last long climb about 1/2 mile to the finish, I would attack put in a gap like i did to him ever other time. Roll through the switch backs clean the barriers and take the win in the final straight away. It was all coming together until the beginning of the last lap... I was going over the barriers. Set the bike down and went for a remount. Somehow my transponder caught my quick release and and I could not jump onto my seat. I tried to jump on my seat from the other side, but my leg was still caught on the bike. Finally the transponder was ripped off of my leg. I tossed it to JB Hancock to give to the officials. By the time I was back on my bike. I was now sitting in 2nd with about 200-300 yrds to catch the leader. I put my self into the red zone to catch him. I made up all but 50 yrds in the final straight away to the finish but came in at 2nd place. Still this is my highest position of the year. And it lets me know that I am in my peak heading into the ICEMAN next weekend. So I am expecting some good results!

But the day was not over. Since I was still wearing my PJ's around the park. I lined up in the B-class Single Speed race for 45 more mins of pain. Like Lower Huron, my lap times was very consistent. But unlike Lower Huron, the hills were killer! But it was a good day. I was able to add some more hardware to my collection and nabbed 3rd place.

The coolest thing of the day was have all the TSB team mates out in full force. And we were getting it done! Todd Law in his 2nd CX race ever, sprinted out Ben Miller for 3rd place. So in the C-race, our team captured 3 of the top 4 positions. Jason Schenider rounded out the top 2o. And Lee Tremp to a top 10 for the 2nd time in 2 races in C-men 40+! Nolan raced again in the kids race in a much larger field. And worked his way from 5th place through some tight switch backs and barriers and sprinted home for a commanding 2nd place!

And another person I want to recognize for coming out week after week and slowing moving up the ranks is Tom Payn. Your looking good out there. Just keep working hard and pushing yourself. If it is not hurting, your not going hard enough!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

This is CX! -- Lower Huron Cyclocross!

I just love this place. When I think of cyclocross, this is one of the first venues that pops up in my mind. It has a long fast stretch of pavement for the start, and energy zapping sand volleyball court to run through, lots of fast straight and twisty grass sections, 2 track, a set of up hill barriers, and oh yeah -- that race deciding monster run up! Besides the course, Lower Huron is just a great park and in the peak of fall color, it just makes it that much more enjoyable that you are racing cyclocross here.

As for the racing today, I decide to race the normal routine in the C-class and then try to mix it up for 45 mins for additional pain in the Single Speed class. I was looking for the extra training. So what better way to get some extra training in than doing a CX race right? I was asking myself all the way to Lower Huron -- Am I nuts? Well maybe, but I am still alive and I did all right in the process. Heck, now I am even thinking I might try and go for a series award in single speed like I did in the MTB time trail series..... we will see.

Race 1. It was cold. Very cold. Still a lot of slippery frost on the ground at the start. There were 22 folks in my class and we were ready to go. I lined up front row. The whistle blew and we were off! I pulled the entire field into the first grass section. Nobody wanted to lead going into the hole shot. They would rather draft off of me. So at one point I actually backed off to see if someone would go around. Nope! Oh well, this was the safest place to be in the first lap. As we twisted through the grass we came up on the sand in the volley ball court. This year you ran through it, turned 90 degrees, and then run back through it again. And oh yeah, no body was riding their bikes through it this year. There were 2 logs placed at the beginning of the sand, so everyone was forced off the bike. So we were back on the bike and back into the grass. This is where my MTB bike handling and power to the pedals came in handy as I was able to force a gap into the field. Through the first set of barriers and onto the 2 track. More my style, push! push! push! a twist and turn, push! push! push! I was gaining on most of the field. I approached the next set up barriers placed in front of the monster run up, shouldered the bike, and 2 guys shot past me with mountain bikes like they were riding an escalator. WOW! I hoped on the bike and was able to hold onto their pace. There was a Wolverine rider with me, and we tried to work together to keep up the pace. He could not hold on so I figured I would go to bridge the gap. By the end of the 2nd lap, I was sitting in 3rd with a 20 sec gap on 4th place and within striking distance of the leaders. Then It felt like I had a flat tire. I looked down and saw I had a 3 ft stick jammed between my chain stay and small ring. and the rest of it was rubbing on my tire. I thought about stopping, but then I would lose my lead over 4th. I got to the grass again and the stick broke. It was no longer dragging on my tire, but it was still pushing on my chain ring causing drag with each pedal stroke. The Wolverine rider caught me again, but I was able to pull away even though I was pushing harder because of the stick. with 2 laps to go I pushed and pushed and pushed. Took a few more looks back saw no one in sight, and finished with my first "actual" podium spot of the year for CX -- 3rd!

Race 2. I felt good after the first race so I was thinking I am going to be alright for 45 more mins of racing, on a single speed, um - right? So I lined up at the back of the B-class with the other 2 single speeders for the day. My goals were easy for this race.
1 - Finish
2 - don't get lapped by the B-class leader.
We took off and I was surprised I was mixing it up well with the tail end of the B-class on my under geared single speed mountain bike. I kept on pushing as hard as I could and accomplished both my goals. And for my efforts I got 2nd place! The hardest part of the race was doing the monster run up 6 times after I just did it for 30 mins 4 times. And I was surprised at my overall times. They were not too far off from my C-class times and I stayed within 1 min for each lap for the entire race. So This was a good test to see how my training is coming along. But man am I tirrrreeeedddd!

And lets not forget, Lee (TSB team mate) came out and did his first CX race. And the Mofo took 10th place! way to go Lee. Jason made it down for the pain in the sun and improved greatly from his Stony result a few weeks ago with a solid 15th. And then there is Nolan. He gave a clinic in the kids race by showing them how to clear the barriers and came home with 2nd.

Capt' Curt -- Thanks for hanging out with us and snapping all the sweet pictures! You will get your's next year!

Capt' Curt's pics from Lower Huron CX!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Build! Build! Build! Stony Creek CX

Well that may not work for the economy right now, but my training plan is going well. Stony Creek CX was another training day for me in my build up to (I hope) peak performance in a few weeks. But come on, it is still a cyclocross race, and I was feeling good.

Stony over the last 2 seasons had been one of the more tame courses in the Tailwind Series. But not this year. This thing was a maze! Very hard to get speed. Robert threw in a nice log climb to get you off the bike. The entire beach was used for a hike-a-bike for about 200 yrds. The little sand box was used and there was an uphill climb for the barriers. But for some reason and I still can't figure it out, the more it hurts the more fun I have! Overall I was very pleased. I hit my goal of a top 5 position with 4th (even though I was robbed of my bling. Top 3 only... Come on!) But it is still on paper. In terms of my training, my laps were rock solid and consistent the 1st 2 laps were the exact same time and the 3rd was a few seconds faster. So I am almost where I want to be.

As for the rest of the day. A few highlights. My team mates were out in full force with 4 Team Sandbagers racing! The new kid Todd Law (now called T3) came out and rocked the field in his first ever CX race and put up a 2nd place! WOW. When Todd ran past me through the sand and remounted his bike, it looked like the kid had been racing cross for 20 years. Way to go and way to represent the team. Benny Miller finished well with a 7th Not bad considering he has not been on his bike all year and was competing in a field of 27 racers. And to round out the TSB crew, Jason Schneider finished solid with 23rd in his first CX race of the year.

And then there is my "apprentice" the OX! Jasooooon Melecccooossskkky taking 1st place in his second CX race ever. Man he is strong as hell. I can't believe the amount of power he generates in his pedal stroke. But look out kid, no more pointers. But hey hell of a job...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

More of my Favorite Photos From Ithaca

Again, thanks to Captain Curt for the great photos!

Grassroots CX, Ithaca Style!

Man what a great event! The Ithaca Grand Prix of Cyclocross is now one of my favorite CX races in the state of Michigan. If you have never done this event -- do it next year. Brain Hancock has carved out a niche race in the middle of Michigan located in Woodland Park in Downtown Ithaca. What a great venue to hold a CX race. The course was tough and hilly, the prizes were great and the entire event had a really awesome underground / grassroots feel. Way to go Brain and everyone that helped out to make this event happen. It is already on my schedule for next year!

As for the racing, the TSB crew was out in full force! We had Benny, Todd, Nolan, me and Curt snapping way at pictures all day. Todd and I cleaned house in the Cash Primes for the hole shot. I lead out the C-class for the sprint across the line and pocketed $10.00. Todd, raced B-class and jumped off the line and beat all the B-class roadies to the line snatched up the $15.00 purse! This helped us fill up the tank and get. home.

The rest of my race went well, I held the lead for most of the first lap, but spent my legs a little from going after the prime. I was able to hang on to the leader after that, but half way through my second lap, my tires slipped out on a off camber down hill that lead to a steep up hill. With no momentum to pedal up the hill, I was forced to dismount and run. The leader saw me slip and pushed to create a gap - he did, and I spent hell trying to catch him for the rest of the race. When I slipped one other rider caught me, but I soon was able to put a gap back into him as I worked on reeling back the leader. We did 4 laps, and I could not catch back up. I finished with a respectable 2nd and a good lead in a field of 9. This was a training day for me, but of course it was a race so I felt I gave it my best effort.

As I mentioned above Nolan raced. But not the kids race. Yep, that's right he raced in C- Junior men 14 and under. This is his first USAC sanctioned race and he is only 6. What a trooper! He cleaned all the barriers, ran up the steps, ran through the sand, and pushed his bike up all the hill he could not climb all on his own. In addition, he was able to put in 2 laps in 30 mins.!!! WOW! And the high light for him and me was to see him get called up to stand on the podium in front of everyone with a huge round of applause! Way to go Nolan....

Then rest of the boys did well considering both Todd and Ben stepped up and raced in the B-class for the first time. An Extra 15 mins of pain. Todd, finished 9th and was hanging with the top 5 for about 3 laps. Benny was off to a good start and looked clam and consistent until he had his seat adjust itself to an uncomfortable position which forced him to the pits. But he jumped back in the game, caught a few folks that passed him and finished the entire race. Way to go guys.

And Curt. Curt did not race because of a nagging knee injury. But still decided to register and support the event. Curt's Registration paid off. He still won and set of Maxxis Raze tires and Jagwire Pro cables. Sweet and check out all the great pictures I now have from Curt and his new camera for my blog!

Well that's about it for now. Next week is a recovery week for me. So I hope the legs will be fresh for Stony, then I will go into my Build 2 the following week. I really think training is going well, so I will just keep plugging away!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Cyclocross season is here! Double-cross UCI Weekend!

I use to hate the season change from summer to fall. Everything is dying, it is usually damp, cold, and the sun sets too damn early. When I was a kid it meant going back to school. When I got older it meant watching football (which is cool) but also staying inside until next spring, and continue to get fatter and lazier. And then is 2006, I discovered cyclocross and I have not looked at the fall season quite the same ever since. In fact, the very things I once dreded about fall are now the very things I look forward to in racing cyclocross. Because without the fall colors, rain, snow, mud, wind, and below frezzing temperatures while trying to ride your bike around in your underwear -- what fun would cyclocross be? So here we go, get ready for the next 4 months of enjoyable pain!

So the Season kicked off with the KTR Doublecross UCI weekend. A lot of big name pros raced like Jon Page and Steve Tilford which is always the highlight of the weekend. But this race also attracts folks from around the midwest because of the UCI tag. So it increases the field sizes and lets you know just how you are stacking up against other folks in the region.

I came out again this year in C-class (I have some unfinished business from last year). I am fresh off a greuling mountain bike season, so I decided to take some reat and train for cross only. I have recently read the "Mountain Biker's Training Bible", and have learned a lot about myself and how to train. What a great book! To help with cross season, and applying the principles learned, Brian Hancock last years State B-class champion has agreed to help me with a training plan. So I am looking forward to seeing how this plan helps my season. I I will report my progress in addition to my race reports and results. OK, so enough of that stuff lets get to the racing.

Day 1 - I was ready. In my training plan this is not a peak race but a good hard training day. But it is a race none the less, so I was going to give it my beast effort. The class was huge 39 guys! I lined up fron row and took 3rd in the hole shot. I was able to maintain a high cadence and began to put a gap into the field behind me. The problem was the 9 guys in front of me were putting a gap over me too. So I contiuned to push and felt really good. It was not my strongest race but it was consistent. The only mistakes I had were 2 off camber crashes (see pic) The grass was wet and slippery that 1st day, but the crash did not result in any lost position. I finished a respectable 10th. Not bad for the 1st race in a field of 39.

Day 2 - The only thing on my mid was improve. I took 3rd into the hole shot again, but my legs were filling with lactate acid sooner. And I drifted off the lead group sooner. I thought I was falling apart, then I looked back and did not see anyone. This was encouraging, I was doing better than I thought so I continued to push. At the start of my second lap, Joe (TSB team mate) yelled from the crowd "your in 8th". OK I am doing better! And I could see a small group of riders just ahead. lets see that would make 7th, 6th, oh shit 5th palce is right in front of me. This was the carrot I needed. I kicked it up a notch to catch them. As I pushed I would check behind me. I saw Jason Melecosky coming from behind. Jason finished a respectable 12th in day one in his first ever CX race and was hot on my heels today. Finally he caught me with half of the 3rd lap gone. I was excited at his progress and encouraged him to keep going. This also, helped me because we were able to work together to catch the group in front. Jason had just a little more kick than I did that day. As we caught the 5th place group, jason was able to pull ahead of them and sprint up the final hill and create about a 7 sec. gap. I was able to hang on and finish with 6th, 7th, and I took 8th. I did better than the day before and the field size was 36. So again not bad. The good news is Jason took his first top 5 at a CX race! And what a race to do it in. Way to go Jason. My training is still on track, and the results I put up last weekend are about where I should be. I can only get better....

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Every Second Counts....

After 4 solid months of training, 6 months of racing, 8 tough XC mountain bike races, a tie for points out of the best five finishes from those races, a who beat who the most, to a who beat who last race of the series finale.... It all came down to 1 second to decide who would be the USAC Michigan XC Mountain Bike Series State Champion for Sport Men 30-34.

So here we are again. Adam and I. Trying to figure out who is going to finally crack, who is going to crash, flat, or just not show up. Wouldn't that be nice? I'm sure we were both playing out the race in the past 2 weeks in our heads. Should I go out fast? Sit on his wheel for the entire race? Try to attack early or late? It went on and on. But we were finally here. At Stony Creek to see who would be crowned the XC State Champ. It has been a great year for both of us. We have battled each other in every race. Most to the bitter end. And have traded top results back and forth. Hell, we have even helped each other during races to plot against other racers. And through it all, I the best thing we both have gained is a lot of respect for each other and a friendship that will last a long time. But for this day it was still racing!

We lined up at the start. My heart was pounding just waiting to go. Normally we line up next to each other to chat and laugh before the start to ease the nerves. But not today. I don't know if we even made eye contact at the line. Going into the race, my strategy was going to be go out as fast as I can and hop on Brian Crook's wheel. This has worked all season against Adam so why would it fail now right? Well the whistle blew and we were off. DAMN IT! I can't clip in. I look up and sure enough, Brian is off like a rocket! And there is Adam on his wheel. OH SHIT! I gotta boogy! Adam was pushing like I never seen him push before at a start of a race. Later I found out that he figured I would hop on Brian's wheel and go so he would do the same. Well, the pace was high but I was bringing him back on the flats. By the time we got to the "Pines" I was about 25 yards back. Then he crashed just before the rock garden. It was a bad one too. He dropped his bottle and glasses. But one problem his bike was laying across the trail just before the edge of the rock garden. So me and about 2 other riders were forced to take the longer bypass. By the time we made it back the the primary trail, Adam had regrouped and was back on his bike. But now we were racing side by side. I jumped on his wheel and let him continue to set the pace. I could see he was shaken and in a lot of pain from the crash. At one point his pace even slowed a bit so I pulled up along side and made sure he was OK. He said he was but was in alot of pain, so I told him to hop on and I would pace to get his mind off his injury. We then took a few turns to set the pace throughout the race. On the last lap just after the 1st half of the "roller coaster", Adam was pulling and I got my front wheel caught up in a rut sending me off the trail. This set me back about 200 yrds. So now I had to work again. Adam looked back once to see where I was, and began to pick up the pace. As I was reeling him back, he started sprinting up the hill on the double track into the "pines". This was a good move because in front of me were 2 slower beginner riders. I recognized what he was trying to do so I made my move to get back to him here. There was no way I was going to allow 2 slower riders to separate us in the single track after what happened at Pontiac Lake. So right before the beginning of the "pines" I was on his wheel again. He was surprised. We pushed through the pines again and were back on the single track. Before the 2nd half of the roller coaster, Adam said, "OK how about you take a turn?" with about 3 1/2 miles to go. Well it was my turn. I said, "I see what your up to". But I went up front and pulled. The last thing I wanted to do was go into a sprint at the end in first position. But this is what was going to happen and I knew it. But I was feeling good and was ready for the challenge. We climbed the last big hill of the day and with about 1-11/2 miles to go, I used my back up strategy. I began to push the last mile in the big ring as fast as I could hoping to put him in the red zone and create a gap before the final sprint if I was going to be in first position. I felt great. Feeding off the adrenaline, I pushed faster and faster. I could not hear him behind me anymore, but I could not look behind me either. I popped out of the woods and all the spectators seen us coming. A lot of folks knew what they were about to see and were screaming and cheering as loud as they could. THAT WAS AWESOME! With a few small corners to negotiate, I could see the finish line. I was listening for the clicking of gears to let me know if an attack was coming from behind. Adam had the prime position going into the final sprint if he was on my wheel. Then out the corner of my left eye - there he was standing and popping gears. He attacked with about 60 feet to go. I tried to counter but he had at least 2 full pedal strokes in the standing position before I could get out of the saddle. He barley pulled ahead and I began to reel him back again... it was too late....

Adam 1:38:34.223

Me 1:38:35.006

The series was decided by 1 second. Adam is the 2008 XC State Champ.

Adam was so spent he jumped off his bike with out stopping and fell to the ground holding his legs in absolute pain. I walked over to him, he looked up and put his hand out. I opened both my arms and gave him a big man hug. What I just witnessed was awesome and to be apart of it was almost as good as winning myself. Congratulations Adam, you deserve it.

As for me, Not all was lost. This is my 2nd year taking 2nd in the series. I was crowned the time trial series Champ so together, we spilt the 2 series. I took a few first place finishes for the first time in Sport, and I beat personal best times at almost ever race. And finally, I gained some great friendships.

So now it is off to cyclocross. A little break and then the building process begins for a few more podium finishes.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pontiac Lake XC, the count down begins!

What a great day for racing and on one of the best trails in the state. When I think of XC mountain bike racing, this is the place I think about. It has it all! Fast, technical, lots of climbing and lots for down hills. You place high on the podium hear and you earned it. Over the past several week however, it has been very dry and the trail has seen a lot of traffic so it had become very loose. Thank God for the rain last night to tighten everything up and and it super fast.

Going into this race Adam Naish and I were dead tied in points for the best 5 out of 8 races in the Tailwind USAC XC Michigan State Championship series. So unless less one of us took 2nd place today, the series is going to come down to a who beats who in the last race of the series at Stony Creek on Sept 7th. So lets talk more about today.

It was hot. I made sure to hydrate well in the days before and right up to the start. We took off and immediately, Adam jumped on my wheel and stayed there almost to the end. (I guess it was paybacks from Fort Custer) But it was Ok. I felt good and was up for the challenge. We set a good pace for both of our laps. And with about 3 miles to go, Adam decided to put the hammer down. I jumped on his wheel and hung on. Adam had his legs today and was setting a blistering pace. This was the only time I think my heart rate actually spiked and stayed spiked! Another rider from an older class got into the mix and separated us until the last climb. This is not where I wanted to be. Adam sprinted up the last climb, and I was stuff behind the other guy and could not attack. By the time I got off the hill and onto the fast double track, Adam had already been in his big ring and was about 100 yrds ahead. I knew the last 1/2 mile or so was all grass and figured that this would be my only chance to catch him. I tried to dig deep and when I looked up to the finish, there was Adam about 30 feet in front of me. He took 2nd I took 3rd.

But not all is lost, The series will still come down to who beats who (As far as I can tell based on what I read in the rules) and I actually beat some personal beat times at PLRA. The fastest time I ever did in 1 lap was 46 mins. I did that in last years XC race. Today my 1st lap was 45 and change. Last year I ran a 46 and 50 min lap for the race and this year I ran a 45 and 46. So if I look at my overall improvement -- I kicked some ass! At least my own.

So I have 2 weeks to prepare for Stony Creek. Time to heal, time to train. I am looking forward to this race and I feel my chances are good. So let the final show down begin!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Show Down at Fort Custer TT

Well this race was not part of my schedule this year. You see it fell on the same day as my daughters birthday. BTW, she turned 3! Happy Birthday Makenna. But after the Stony Creek TT, I was behind 1st place by just 2 points. So the series would have come down to a who beat who duke-em out final! So I convinced the wife that this was important, and really wanted to race if possible. I actually think she understood and was very supportive and kept encouraging me to do well. So before I get to far into my story. I owe both my wife and daughter big! Thank you both very much and I love you!

Going into this race as mentioned above, I had to beat Adam to win the overall series title of Michigan MTB Time Trial Champion for Sport men 30-34. And let me tell you I was ready. I had a goal, and a plan. My fitness is back on form and my results over Adam in the last 2 races was what I used for motivation. One thing about TT's is, you go as fast as you can and don't look back! Any pause or hesitation could cost you the race. I learned a little about that at the Brighton Stage race this year. But this TT was different. All I had to do is beat Adam within 1st through 4th place to beat him by 1 point in the series. So as I was lining up and my number was called, Adam lined up next to me. NO WAY! Not only do I need to beat him. We are going into this thing side by side for the final show down. Does racing get any better than this? So the stage is set, plan in place, and now the carrot will be with me in plain sight for the entire race. One thing that keeps sticking in my head that my good friend Ayrn told me, "Sometimes you have to give up the yellow jersey to defend it" kept sticking with me for this race. And that is the approach I used. I was not trying to win first place for the race, but rather win the overall series by beating 1 person. And this is how it happened...

The whistle blew and we were off. I took the hole shot for about the 1st mile and then Adam pulled ahead of me in the double track and into the trenches. This is where I needed to be. Let him do the work. This was the first part of my plan. 2nd wait for him to make a mistake. And 3rd, stay with him til the final sprint and then attack on the uphill grass to the finish. Back to the race, I sat on his tail for several miles sticking with his cadence. No problems so far, then in Grannies garden, he came out of his pedals on a climb which forced me off my bike. He started to pull away but I put in a big effort and caught back up. I rode his tail until he unclipped again on a rooty climb near the small lake I jumped out in front and pulled for about 3-4 miles. This is where I needed to be because I knew that there were a few technical up hill grinders that needed to go through clean. Because If I were to make a mistake, it would have been my race. As we approached the last few miles, Adam tired to launch a attack around me on a climb. I was surprised that he was being this aggressive and we actually were bumping handle bars fighting up the climb. Then I thought, "stick with the plan" and let him take back over the lead. I followed for a little longer and we came upon another hill. He mis-shifted and popped a few gears. I then attacked and never looked back. Come to find out, he said he dropped his chain and could not catch back up. I pushed as hard as I could as Brian my team mate kept talking to me. I had a small bobble in the last mile from the loose sand that almost sent me over the handlebars, but I was able to save it. As I came out of the single track, turned onto the last long stretch of grass, I just kept the legs spinning and burning. Making sure I did not give him a chance to catch me. I crossed the line and looked back. He was no where in sight. I just won the Time trial championship for my age and class! For the race I finished 3rd and Adam Finished 5th.

On another note. I did not race Single Speed this day, but I did end up capturing 3rd overall for Sport/beg Single speed class. Not bad considering I only raced 3 of the 5 races this year.

Finally, Some of my other team mates had big days in the race and overall series awards. Winning overall series awards in their classes were Brian Crook and Stan Cristy. Also, winning 3rd overall was Don Miller. Way to go guys. And Brain took his first sport class win. Keep it up Brain. This will be one of many for you.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

"I'm Back!"-- The Big M Report

That's right I am back. Fully recovered from all the physical, nutritional, and mental BS that I have been bending every one's ear about (You all know how you are and thank you very much for listening to me and helping me out). But it is awesome to feel strong on the bike again! Especially heading into the last few MTB races for the year. My last event was this past Sunday for the USAC Tailwind XC race #6 at Big M in the beautiful Manistee National Forest. This is a wide open trail deep in the woods with plenty of false flat climbing, fast down hills, and plenty of what West coast Michigan is known for -- sand!

I have been feeling a lot better since Ruby and was ready to fly for the race. The weather was absolutely beautiful - finally, and the trail was in the best shape I have ever seen it in the past 3 years. We lined up with the 19-29 year olds. And when the whistle blew, I shot out and started in about 4th position. Most of the young guys started peeling off about 2 miles. Then Brain (team mate) pulled up front and pushed a fast pace for me that blew the field apart. Brian suffered a flat in the beginning of the 2nd lap, so I continued to push on. Each lap I felt stronger and stronger. I kept talking to myself and made sure I stayed hydrated. I have not felt this good in a race since Bloomer. In fact when I crossed the line, I felt like I never even rode my bike. I was not only happy with the 1st place finish that was much needed to stay in the hunt for the overall series title, but I finished in 1:22. This was 4 mins fast then the previous year and my lap times were consistent.

So as mentioned before, there is only a few more MTB races left and they are all important. The TT series is up for grabs and will finish at Fort Custer State Park. This is my style of single track and I had the race of my life last year in the mud and on the single speed so I am mentally ready for this one. I just got to get there... That is another story. And in the USAC XC series, there are 2 more races with the overall title up for grabs. The first race is at Pontiac Lake, which I consider this to be my favorite course in the state. And Stony Creek which is sometimes my home away from home. So it looks like there is still a lot of fun on the bike in my future!

Before I go, I want to give Stan Cristy some dues. Stan took 1st in his class Sunday also. He probably had his best race of the year. It was inspiring to here his story on the way home. Knowing that he is a true beginner and knowing how hard he has worked this year to get where he is at, lets me know that we can achieve anything if we continue to strive for it. Thanks Stan for making me better!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Stony TT, So it goes something like this...

So -- Back at Stony in less than a month. In that time, I have battled some physical and mental demons and have not felt like I have been on my game. That is the beauty of mountain bike racing. You are constantly learning more about the game and about your self not only each season, but each race. Going into last Sunday, I was feeling better than I have and was looking forward to racing again. I know Stony very well and it was a short course 12.5 miles so the game was on. And as usual to get my moneys worth, I signed up for the geared class and single speed.

This is where the drama begins. All week I was trying to get all my routines and voodoo back together. Shaking rattles, rubbing chicken bones, washing the bike, packing the race box, etc. When I got to the race, I was making sure I was doing the usual routines and also making sure I was well hydrated. So I am out in the parking lot doing hot laps to warm up and I heard my name called over the PA. I sprinted to the starting line to only hear 5,4,3,2,1. I missed my start time. The Tailwind guy at the start was not happy with me and now I was full of adrenaline and nothing to do with it. I had to wait for an open spot so about 5 waves later, I was lining up again. My heart was pumping as I listened to the starter say in 10 secs. Then a Flying Rhino racer tapped me on the shoulder and said "You ain't going any where!" and he pointed at my tire... It was completely flat. I yell I can't go -- I'll be back. Now my Pre-race jitters turned to pre-race stress. My Team mate Brian helped me back to the pit and started prepping for a NASCAR tire change. Thank God he was there because I was shaking from the adrenaline build up and probably would have took about 1/2 hour to change it on my own. So I lined up again for the 3rd time and went off. What is with this place? I have had shit luck and poor performances here over the last 2 years... Well I was off and my heart was in my throat for the first 4 miles. I feel I could have gone faster and felt strong overall. I think the pre-race SNAFU did not help my time, but I did mange to improve over last years time by 32 secs and take 3rd place out of 20.

For my single speed race I was calm and cool at the start. I finished in 58:37 and missed 5th place by 30 secs. I felt good again, but did not want to push myself too hard because of cramping issues over the past few races. So I really treated the Stony TT as a learning/training/ and analysis race. And I and happy to report that I am back on track. The legs felt great all day. Felt great the day after, and I was able to do a training ride and feel great on Tuesday. So with a few more MTB races left, and CX season right around the corner. I am focusing on peaking again and cyclocross specific training. See you all at the Races!