Sunday, November 15, 2009

Belgium Shores come to Mi -- Stony Creek CX!

Love, Hate. When I think of Stony Creek, those are the first 2 words that come to mind whether it's a mountain bike race or cyclocross race. And this year's Stony CX race did not disappoint -- Love, Hate.

It started out as a great day. My wife, daughter, son, mom, and dad all came out for the race and I did not want to disappoint. Both Nolan and Makenna raced, and walked away with Medals! Nolan racing in the C race again. It was great having all the family there along with everyone else cheering and yelling as the race went on. I was really able to feed off their enthusiasm as I rode past them and saw them cheering me on. Thank you!

The race actually went well for me today, but it was one of the toughest races to date for me in the tailwind series. Stony is usually thought of as a flat, fast, roadie style course. But this year the course was ran backwards. There was the notorious sand, and this year you could ride certain sections and run the rest. Then shortly after the sand, you came into some Kentucky style power zapping mud for about 100 yrds followed by a switch back climb. So to say the least, the course took it's tole on me.

The start was interesting. It went from a 30 ft wide paved section down to a 6 ft bike path. So with 30 guys chasing a hole shot, it was a little nerve racking. My goal was to go into the course either 1st or 3rd. I nailed that, but this popped my heart rate. Clint Verran and Dan Gerow went off the front and took the lead. I could not hold on and just tried to maintain 3rd position and catch them later when I recovered. I stayed in 3rd for the first few laps and then started to feel like I was going backwards. 5 guys were breathing down my neck like hungry pit bulls, and I could feel them and see them coming. The group contained Mark Caffyn, Ben Christan, and David Johnson. David made the first move in the mud section. He went through it like he was floating. He quickly pulled away, but I was on my limit and could not counter. Soon after on a down hill section with a switch back at the bottom, David lost control and went down. I quickly responded to this and attacked. When I went by, I saw that his rear tire popped out the bead. So I sprinted as hard as I could to make sure there was no chance for him to get on. This increased the gap again, but not for long. Then it was Mark's turn with Ben in tow. I could hear them braking behind me. As I got to the paved section, I could increase the gap. But it would shrink in the sand and mud. Going into the 2nd to last lap, It was now Ben on my wheel and Mark just off the back. I dug deep! I knew my family was here to see me so I wanted to do my best. I tried to stay on the front of the group and make them feel the same pain as I was. It seemed to be working. I now had a very small gap again going into the last lap. This was it! As my tires hit the paved section for the last time, I popped my chain up into the big ring and sprinted the full length of the starting chute to try and grow the gap as big as I could, even if it was only 5 seconds more. It seemed to be working. Mark was no where insight as I made the first turn into the grass, and my gap to Ben grew to somewhere around 15 seconds maybe more. I pushed hard through the sand, the mud, the hills, the barriers, all of it. Ben started to close the gap, but I knew it was going to be too much. I came onto the paved section for the last time, and could not see him. I just wrapped up another 3rd but a very, very hard earned one.

My hats off to Dan Gerow for a 2nd place finish! His best result of the season. Clint wrapped up the day with another hard fought 1st. And Ben Christian got his first B class podium with a 4th place!!! Andy Brown stepped back up into the big boy class and looked very strong and right at home with the Elites. And Curt Potocki kept his podium streak alive with a 4th place today. Finally, if there was any one that deserved a 1st place finish it has to be Shawn Schaffert. Shawn put it all on the line today. His face said it all, and he never gave up! WOW what an effort!

I jumped in the single speed race again today. And actually had a good race. I was able to hang with Wayne Cook for all but the last 2 laps and earned a 4th place out of 7 for my efforts. Congrats to JB for his 2nd place in his first single speed race! And way to go Chad Schut for coming all the way down from Traverse City with your boys to hang out with the TSB crew and race the new single speed! It was fun. Just remember less endurace training, more high intensity training!

Next stop Bloomer Park CX!

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