Monday, April 28, 2008

Finally a -- "W"

Well it has been almost 2 full years, but I finally got to stand on the top step of the podium Sunday. 1st place at the USAC Bloomer Park XC race. This is my 1st "W" since stepping up to sport class in Men 30-34 last year. So to get it was a personal goal of mine. It was a great day for racing, and overall there was a good number of racers and fans alike. My class had about 11 guys, so not bad for the 2nd USAC race of the year. Furthermore, the course was in the best shape I have ever seen it! Especially for this time of year. So my hat is off to Derek from RBS and the Tailwind crew for all the clean up you guys did. As for the race, what at great time. My class lined up with the age group before us. I was not happy about this, but it is what it is. When the whistle blew, the mass start of people was very confusing and jittery to say the least. People could not clip in so they would cut you off or bump into you. One guy stopped in the middle of the pack and started working on his bike. I still don't know what that was all about. And if there is a XC course where the hole shot is important it is Bloomer. You race from the open field for about a 1/4 mile and then it dumps you into the single track. About 100 yrds into the single track is a long steep climb. So if you don't make it to that climb sitting in about 5th or better, forget it -- your walking. This was the case for me. After the confusing start. I was sitting in about 12th. The guy in front of me decided to shift down 4 gears at one time in the middle of the climb and threw his chain. All I could see was the lead guys ahead slipping away. I ran past the guy without a chain and jumped back on my bike and finished the climb and began my chase. It took me about 8 mins, but I finally caught the lead guys at the switch backs. There was about 4 of us and then 2 peeled off from the pace that was set by Adam Naish and myself. This is what made the race so fun. From that point on Adam and I duked it out on the race course for 2 1/2 of the 3 six mile laps. I stuck on his tail for about 1 1/2 laps and then decided to go up front and pull. Part of the reason for me doing this was 1 - We were starting to play chicken and I did not want to take a chance of letting anyone else catch back up to us. And 2 - I was feeling strong, so I wanted to see what Adam had in his legs. He was up to the test. As we battled back and forth, it was down to the finally 1/2 mile on the open field. With less than a quarter mile to go, I shifted into my big ring and started to stand. Adam was still on my tail and actually was in the better position to make a move for the sprint. But I really wanted this win and had some juice to spare in my legs, so I gave it all I had and made the final lunge for the line and that was it -- My 1st win as a sport class rider!

And lets not forget about Nolan. He race but crashed hard on the kids course. He was continuing his training for the upcoming Stony TT in the big people race. This was his first time racing on a geared bike. A 6 speed 20 in. Specialized Hotrock. The boy is geeked and making me proud. This is what bike racing is all about!!!!!

As for TSB we had a good showing of racers and a lot of us took home some hardware. More importantly, most of us that have raced at Bloomer before all beat our own beat times. So WAY TO GO TSB and thanks to all the friends and family that showed up and cheered us on. You don't know how much all the cowbells and cheering helps us get through all the pain and want to keep going!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

PLRA TT, In the Books!

Well, there was a lot of bitching about whether or not to have this race, and to be honest, I had my own doubts right up until the time I went off. All I can say is the trail was awesome! And I am glad I did it. As planned, I raced Sport 30-34 and then again Sport/beg Single speed. My first race was in the geared class and it was cold as hell in the start house. There was still some snow on the ground and huge flakes were still falling. The trail itself was greasy for about 60-70%, but very rideable. My goal was to stay on my bike and push when I could. I finished with a time of 51 mins. and some change. Not my fastest time ever on this trail, but it was good enough for 2nd place. As I started my second race, I was feeling good. Even though it was still very cold. I went out fast and was very surprised that the trail was very dry in some places that I scrubbed speed in earlier. So it was on. I Knew that I did not put up the best time possible with all my gears, so I tried to turn it up a notch. Things were going well and the trail was getting dryer and I was getting faster! With about 3 miles to go, my legs were starting to feel all the punishment from earlier but I was able to dig deep. As I looked at my computer with about 1 mile to go, I realized that I would have a chance to go under 50 mins. So I pushed and pushed and pushed. With the last big climb of the day in front of me, I could hear all my TSB teammates cheering me on at the top of the hill! This helped a lot and was able to work through that last little bit of pain. With only a fast down hill and flat grass section ahead of me, it was on... Me and the Clock. Sprinting for the finish, I did it! 49 mins and 48 secs. I just beat my geared class time from earlier by a min. with the single speed. And it notched me another 2nd place for the day. Nolan kicked off his racing season also, by finishing 2nd in the kids race. Way to go Buddy! Look for Nolan later this year as he races in the Stony Creek TT in the big people race. I can't wait for that one. BTW, he is only 6yrs old.

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly from PLRA TT

Here are some pics. The write up will follow soon. Enjoy...

Sunday, April 6, 2008

April, the Count Down Begins

Well, I pushed out 245 miles of training and some of which was outside. Overall, I stuck to my training plan, but like I said -- "it was flexible" knowing that the weather would be changing. So it worked out well. The miles appear to be down compared to my output from March, but it was actually by design. 2 of the Spinerval workout I was doing "Bending Crankarms" and the "Sprinting Machine", were based on strength training and were about 40-50% off the bike. On these training days, I would be doing Isometric squats and holding the squat position up to 1 min for 3 sets. Ouch! the first time I did the Bending Crankarm workout I toasted my legs and could not ride for a full 2 days. The next time however, I was able to complete the full workout and felt great the day after. So I know my strength has improved. I also, decided to bump up my rest week because I decided to try out road racing April 5th for the first time. I was The Flying Rhino's Spring Fling Race #2. What a great series and racing. It is held at Waterford Hills race track. I ended up taking 9th place over all in the C-race. And Pulled the Peloton around the track for 37 mins. Live and learn. I also had some "cabling issues" from my "Camera Man" that resulted in tie warps around my derailleur cable and tight against my frame keeping me from shifting my gears toward the end of the race. So I was pushing my 52x12 for the last 2 miles and could not give anything for the final sprint. You see I was running the helmet cam off my bike and the Camera Man didn't check his work.... Again, live and learn.

With less than a week to go before the Pontiac Lake TT, I am feeling strong and ready to rock. It looks like rain every day this week, but Pontiac Lake is a forgiving trail so it should be OK. I will be racing my geared bike and the single speed so it should be fun. Check back for a full race report and hopefully some pictures too.