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!


jbhancock said...

Nice job this weekend!

jbhancock said...

Check out your last lap time on day two:

Keith said...

Transponder caught on your quick release... how weird is that?

Unlike on my mountain bike, for 'cross, I set up my rear QR lever at an angle facing forward and up. I've kicked it open before if it's facing backward.

chunky dunker said...

Yeah, that is what happend Keith. Lesson learned!

Paynful said...

I wondered what happened on day 2... you were flying!! I was getting excited for you to finally get your W in CX. I am still figuring out this CX thing... but unlike you I am definitely NOT peaking right now!

Thanks for the vote of confidence!

See you at Iceman!