Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Moving on to 2010

Looking forward to 2010, it looks like my toughest competitor is going to be me! This damn weight battle I have fought most of my life is still putting up a fight. Even though I have kept almost 50 lbs off for 3 years now, the fear and struggle to not be fat has been with me everyday. Since my last race on Dec. 6th, I decided to take a break from "eating right" and see what I have been missing. Well about 15 lbs later, I found what I've been missing. Now that I am miserable again, and all my pants are tight, its time to refocus. Even though its not a racing goal, My main focus is to get between 170-180 lbs. If I plan on competing at a high level racing CX, especially in the mud as I leaned this year, I have to improve my power to weight ratio. And losing the fat is the best way I can do it. With 2009 almost behind us, here is a recap on some other stats for the year.

Total Miles -- 3475 (over 400 more that last year)
Training hours -- 295 (Short of my goal of 325, but that was an estimate)
Over 100 races! -- I topped my 100th race since I have started at Lower Huron CX.
USAC upgraded my Cyclocross licence from CAT 3 to CAT 2!

Goals for 2010 -- I have divided my goals into 2 seasons this year. Mountain Bike Racing, and Cyclocross racing. Cyclocross will be my main focus with the majority of the mountain bike racing being nothing more than training for CX! Since I have taken this approach, I will only publish my MTB goals at this time. But I have the rough draft for CX hashed out to help me keep the big picture in front of me.

MTB racing Goals --
Take top 3 overall for Brighton MTB Stage Race
Finish Top 5 overall for Cat 1 USAC MTB XC Series
Finish Top 5 for at least 3 Cat 1 XC or TT races
Break 1:45 at ICEMAN Expert 30-39

Training for 2010 will be drastically different. I will not bore you with the details, but rather update everyone throughout the winter. But in a nut shell, it will resemble my CX training for 2009. Other than that, all my training will be done with a powertap, And a little help from some cycling Jedi Masters...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My "Racing" Year in Review!

What started out as sluggish mountain bike season in my first year as a Cat 1 racer, turned into a dream cyclocross season in my first year as a Cat 3 B-men racer! Going into both seasons I did not expect much, and figured I would treat both as a learning year. I was overly cautious in the early part of the year with my training and this resulted in a few mistakes that left me with a good base, but none of my high end systems were at their full potential. I was lucky enough to take a top 5 at Ruby, so In my mind I hit my goal for the year, but I was expecting to perform a little better overall.

And then CX training started! Figuring I had enough base from all the training and Expert level MTB races I had done, I focused on max effort intervals, bike handling, and CX specific skills all at 1 hr at a time. Then the season started, I nailed podium after podium. This type of training translated very well for me at the ICEMAN also. As I took a top 10 in the expert class and broke the 1:50 mark for my best time ever at the event!

Overall for the year I give my self a B - for the mountain bike season and an A for the cyclocross season.

Going into 2010, with the great CX season that I had, I now have a renewed confidence in my ability to race against Cat 1's on the mountain bike. With a little more dialed in training, I feel I can mix it up again in the top 5 on any mountain bike course. But much like this year, Cyclocross will be my main focus. So The mountain bike season will be a huge part of my overall training for 'cross. What can I say, I have discovered that I am a bottle rocket! I'm quick, last a short time, and have a big bang at the end!

I have a new powertap to learn how to use, and have been reading up on different types of training to maximize my time, effort, and abilities on the bike. So with the holidays upon us, I am taking a few weeks off for some much needed and extended rest. Until my next post, enjoy the Bling at the top of the page...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

MI State Championship, What a RIde!

What was expected to be a middle of the road cyclocross season for me, has turned out to be almost a dream come true. Stepping up into the B's, I was expecting to fill in somewhere around the middle of the pack. But instead, I have reached the podium in all but one race this year! And going into the State Championship, I was focused, locked, loaded and ready to do battle.

This year, the state championships moved to a new venue in Springfield Oaks, which has hosted the UCI doublecross for the past 3 years. Springfield is a mix of paved flat roads, loose gravel, some gnarly off camber steep slippery hills, and even a little single track for good measure. And being this late into the season, this is the kind of course that does not hold water well and could turn the results of the day into any body's race. So here is how it went for me.

The start line was right underneath the Orange Crush flyover, and this made for some cramped quarters. I could not get the front row, but did line up in the second. The start position was bad enough for me that I struggled to clip into my pedal for about 50 yrds. So instantly I was loosing ground. I tired to make up as much as possible to avoid any pile ups in the very greasy off camber hill toward the beginning of the course. If you did not take the perfect line, you were either crashing or walking. So I was able to get up around 6 place and then the crashes began. I caused me to dismount in which I could not find any traction with my shoes. So I fell on my butt at least 2 times. I ran to the corner and finally got onto my bike. I tried to pick off a few folks but made minimal progress. Into the main part of the course and near the switch back corners into the single track I jack knifed my front wheel trying to make a move around another rider and found myself on the ground again! This time I was getting mad and sitting in 9th place. From here on the course opened up a little and I began to attack. By the time I started the 2nd lap I fought my way up to 4th place and was pulling a large train of riders. I took some risk through some very slippery corners and off camber sections. And buried it on the paved sections. I broke off the front end of the train and had my sights focused on Shawn McDonald who was sitting all alone in 3rd. I reeled him in at the beginning of the 3rd lap, and never looked back. The gap continued to grow, but I could never quite bridge up to Danny and Clint who were in 1st and 2nd. I was on my limit the entire time making sure I cashed all my chips in at the table for my last bet of the year! I felt strong and pushed hard all the way to the end. Another solid 3rd place for the day. And that was good enough to earn some other hardware.....So this is how I fared in the B's for the year.

With the 3rd place from today's race, it was good enough to also take 2nd place for the State Championship podium for B-men 30-39!

And I also claimed 3rd overall in the Series points race!

I also, raced the single speed race one more time and just ended up riding my bike for 45 more mins. But it was still fun. My main focus was perfecting the beer hand ups I was getting each lap! I totaled 7 for the day and was rewarded with 5th place for my efforts.

Other racers that lit it up!

Clint Verran -- 1st in the race, 1st in the State B-Men 30-39, and 1st in the series B-men!
Danny Gerrow -- 2nd in the race, 1st in the State B-men Under 30
Pat Russell -- 1st in the race, 1st in the State Masters 35+, 1st in series Master 35+
Pete Thompson -- 2nd in the race, 2nd in the State Masters 35+, 2nd in series Master 35+
Mike Seamon -- 1st in the Race, 1st in the State Masters 45+, 1st in the series Master 45+
Shawn Schaffert -- 1st in the Race, 1st in the State C-men 30-39, 1st in the series C-men under 39
Mike, Tim, and Jeff -- The Michigan Elite 1,2,3. What else can I say! Year after year it is total domination.
Ann Schwartz -- Back where she belongs. At the top.
Erik Kohler -- 1st in the SS race, the State Championship and Series. Slow down!!
Adam Naish -- For showing up and poaching a 3rd place State Championship medal for B-men 30-39. See you in the spring!

And My favorite racer of the day, my very own team mate, Curt Potocki after battling health, injuries, and mechanical issues over the past few years he lit it up in the 2nd half of the season nailing a podium spot almost every week and today finished 3rd in the State C-men 30-39, and wrapped up 3rd overall in the series C-men Under 39! Way to go Curt! And Welcome to the Killer B's in 2010!!!!