Monday, September 28, 2009

Ithaca Grand Prix of Cyclocross!

What a great race! JB Hancock, his wife, and family have really come up with something special in the middle of Michigan. With all the features of a world class cross course, and the flare of events like the Iceman that really some up the culture of bike racing, the Ithaca GP of CX is a must do event for anyone that truly enjoys cyclocross. If you have not made this event yet, please add it to your calendar for next year -- and thank me later. Team Sandbag was fortunate enough to help present the race, and what a great year to do it! By the looks of the results, the race had doubled if not tripled racers! So if we're lucky again, hopefully we will be invited back to host next year's event. Another cool thing about presenting the event was that it really got our team involved by helping out, learning a little about racing and setting up for cyclocross.

The day of the event was perfect. We had several team mates in the C-race. Curt who finished a very strong 5th in a large field of 24, Benny, Lee and of course Nolan doing the race for the 2nd year in a row and taking home 2nd place in the Junior class! In the B-class we had TP and myself. And In the Single Speed class, we had Brad doing his first ever CX race and finishing a very strong 6th place! And because I don't know any better, I had to double up and hopped in the SS class also.

At the Start of the B-race, I was feeling gooooooooood! it was a fast start and a prime on the line. I really did not want to blow myself up on the prime, but once we went I was sitting near the front. Then Eric Kohler pulled past me on his single speed and took the cash. I was still setting near the front and marking all the fast guys in the class and looking for wheel to sit on. We went through the amphitheater stairs in a large group. I jumped on my bike, tried to take the inside corner. Touched a wheel, and then jack knifed my wheel and went down. A few guys landed on top of me, and by the time I got up I went from top 5 to about 14th. I did not panic, but I had my work cut out for me. So I turned the power on and started picking off riders one by one. Even though I was using a ton of energy to get back into the game, I was feeling stronger and stronger. I made my way back up to 6th place and was ready to make my move to take 5th and then my rear tire popped! NOT AGAIN!!!!! And this time I just rolled past the pit! So that meant I had to run and entire loop with my bike on my shoulder before I could grab my pit bike again. So needless to say I finished dead last.

But there was hope! I still had the single speed race to do. I there was any amazing 15 racers in the class! WOW! Again the whistle blew and I found myself pulling the lead to the prime and here comes Eric Money Bags! Quickly the fast guys sorted things out. Eric was gone off the front, Wayne Cook as fast as every right behind him. Some guy I don't know, and Pat Russel. I was able to stick on Pat's wheel for most of the race, in which I was very happy to do. Pat is fast and can whoop on me any day of the week. So to hang with him lets me know where my training has taken me so far! A few laps around the park and I was still sitting in 5th. The the 3rd place guy stopped in the pit and grabbed his pump. I took advantage of this and put the power down to try and grow a gap as big as I could. I was able to stay away for the entire race, but was letting Pat slip away in the final 2 laps. I came across the line in 4th place with a large gap. So I felt like I redeemed myself and had a great race. Especially going into the Munson CX night race next weekend.

If I can keep air in my tires, it is game on at Munson!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Double Cross Weekend!

With training going well, and the uncontrollable urge to race cyclocross again, I was ready as I could have been heading into the Tailwind/KTR Double Cross weekend. The plan was to do both the B-race and Single Speed race both days since I registered for both class for the entire series. I was soon to learn that my body is not up to the task of doing 4 cross races in 3 days, but lessons learned. Other than that, I felt I rocked it in my first 2 B-races. So here is how it went...

Day1 -- Like a kid at Christmas, I was both nervous, excited and could not wait to race! I lined up in the front row of the B-class and thought to myself I need to get out front and stay there if I could. The whistle blew and we were off. I had trouble clipping in at first and lost between 8-10 spots before we hit the grass. A few touch of bars with a Rhino, and I began to pick my way through the mass of riders. One by one, I was able to claw my way up to the top 5 group. I forced a small gap, maybe 10-15 seconds, and then noticed a thump in my tire. What the hell? I was coming up to the pits and had to make a choice. I decided to grab my pit bike, and it was only the 2nd lap. I lost several positions now, and had to waste a lot of energy trying to catch up. Finally made contact again with Mark Caffyn who was holding onto 5th. I would yo-yo off his wheel, especially when we got on top of the new flyover "orange crush". Mark was a lot cleaner than I was getting on to his bike than I was at the top of this monster. As we continued to push through the final laps, I had one more chance to bring back Mark in the final set of barriers leading into a sprint finish. I tried to take a chance and run through the barriers as fast as I could. I had so much speed that my feet could not catch up. I caught the top of the 1st barrier with my left foot and began to fall face 1st into the 2nd one. My bike hit the first barrier and I lucky stayed on my feet. My handle bars were twisted, and my chain fell off. As I put my chain back on a Paint Creek rider passed me, so instead of sprinting for 5th, I was now coasting home for a still solid 7th place in my first ever B-race.

Race #2 was on the single speed. No fire works, just a lot of pain. The course was bumping and my back was killing me. I still continued to push as hard as I could and took 3rd out of 4th. So a podium none the less. Le Bastard was a sweet ride and should be fun to pedal the rest of the series.

Day 2 -- Surprisingly I recovered very well from the day before. But I was doubting how I was going to race on Day 2 after spending myself 2 times for Day 1. So it was on. I had an even worse start than the day before. And I was sucking wind. Sitting in about 10th place for 3 laps. I stuck to Tom Payn's wheel and just waited. After the 3rd lap, Wayne "the Single speed mad man" Cook joined our group and was setting a good pace. I did not think I would hang with Wayne for long, but we were now coming up to the tail end of the top 5 group. Then it happened. Not sure why or how, but I got a second wind. My lungs and legs opened up, and I put in an attack to shake the group I was with. There was really no response, and suddenly I was sitting in 4th place with a considerable gap. It stayed this for about 2 more laps, then somehow Jason "OX" Melecosky made his way up to me and actually put a gap into me. We battled it out back and forth for the rest of the race. Coming into the final set of barriers, Jason made a move to try and catch 3rd place at the line. I could not hang on. However, after my crash yesterday I kept the power going and kept telling myself "anything can happen!". Then it did. In the final turn, Jason over cooked the corner, slide out onto the ground. Then almost recovered, and then went over the bars. I kicked it up and began to sprint to make sure I got around him before he could get back on his bike. I hit the pavement and sprinted home for 4th place! My first B-race podium!

I was so sore and tired that I decided not to race Single speed the 2nd day. No use in getting goofy injury now. So next week it the Ithaca Grand Prix of Cyclocross!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Team Sandbag is proud to partner with JB Hancock in 2009 to support this event. A warm welcome to all who participate, you are sure to enjoy a great day of cross action in Michigan. Come race one of the most exciting events of the fall. The Ithaca Grand Prix Of Cyclocross is coming back to the Ithaca Woodland City Park Sept. 27th, 2009.
Great prizes, the BEST cross course in the state and good times are guaranteed. Registration, Complete Info and More!click here: Ithaca Grand Prix

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Finishing Touches...

The time is near. With the long holiday weekend, I am able to put the finishing touches on my prep for the cyclocross season!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Stony Curse Continues

2006 -- Stony XC Marathon, Flat tire and severe cramps
2007 -- Stony XC Marathon, Crash (in which I still have a numb spot in my leg) severe cramps
2008 -- Stony XC Marathon, Flat is 4 miles
2008 -- Stony TT, Flat at the start line before the whistle
2009 --

I was feeling like a million bucks! And when we got to the line, the top 3 guys in the class had either moved up to Elite or did not race. So this left the rest of us bottom feeders with something to shoot for. But this is the Expert class and it is not easy no matter who shows up. And the usually suspect that beat each other up week after week were all there. Brad, Adam, Greg, Jason, Derick. So there was sure to be some fire works. At the start 2 guys launched off the front and were gone. The leader stayed away for the win, the second guy blew himself up. As for Brad, Adam, Greg and myself, we were locked wheel to wheel and Greg was setting a blistering pace. Our first lap was 33 mins and some change. This was up there with the top lap times of all the expert classes. Then at the end of the 2nd lap, my rear tire was getting squishy. OH NO! Not now. I decided that it may just be a slow leak and decided to drop out of the top 5 group and hit it with CO2. It was firm again and I took off. 5 mins later the quick link in my chain popped off. I could not believe it. I jumped off to see if the chain just fell off and quickly found it was apart. I then noticed that my slow leak turned into a complete flat. So that was it. My top 5 dreams for the day were shattered, and so was my morale. I walked out of the woods and took a DNF. I finished 8th out of 22 that qualified for the series overall. So I guess that's not too bad in my first year of expert. If I did not have the bike issues, I seriously felt I could have contended for a top 3 in the race, and 5th overall for the series. Oh well, that is racing. But man am I feeling strong. With CX just a few weeks away, I am really feeling ready to mix it up in the B-class.

There was still some good of the day. Nolan completed his 3 USAC XC race with a 4th place! This was enough to give him the podium for 3rd place overall in the series for Beginner men 10 and under. He rode great. Climbed several hills he had previously never made it up, and push as hard as he could the whole time. Way to go bud.

Finally notes and congrats

Brian Crook -- congrats 3rd overall in expert 30-39 in his first year as expert!
Tom and Shawn -- 1st and 2nd in the Sport men 35-39. See you boys next year.
Brad, Adam, Greg. You guys killed it Sunday! Brad way to grab 5th even with a broken pedal.