Sunday, November 21, 2010

11/21/2010 Tailwind Bloomer Park LAST LAP MASTERS 35+

All cylinders were firing today. Know one can say I didn't try that's for sure. And I could taste it. Not only the "Win" that dangled in front of me for 3 1/2 laps, but the puke in my throat for my effort. The 2nd to last race was held at Bloomer Park. Bloomer has been good to me for the past 3 years, and today's course was looking to be favorable also. So here is how it all went down.

I was not sure how the body was going to react today. Basically I'm finished with my training, so I was either going to start going backwards or stay somewhere near the front. Well luckily it was the 2nd. And near the front was exactly what I did. Being so close to the State Championship, the players start to shuffle and come out of the wood work. Today was not different, and I was actually a little worried about it. Simon Baily decided to drop down from a full season of Elites to race with us. A very strong and talented Joe Brzuhanski from Bell's Brewery MTB Racing team showed up, and Jarod Makowsli made the jump from dominating the B field to play with the masters. Then there were the usual suspects. Right from the whistle, the pace was insane! I was sitting in around 6th place for the first 2 laps. The 2 leaders broke off and it was a group of 4 that contained Joe, Scott Goocher, Dan Bannink, and myself. Dan kept on picking the guys off in our group one at a time. So I followed. Around the 3rd lap. He got a flat. I got around and was sitting on Joe's wheel. I stayed there and tried to recover as much as possible. Then I attacked on the beginning of the next lap. I was putting time into the group I was just with, and much to my surprise I was catching the leaders! And I was still feeling good. I rode on their wheels (Simon and Rodger Bowser) for the next lap. And then I decided If I really want a chance to win, I got to attack and see who pops. And Attack I did. I dug real deep and would get a gap, but could not hold it. I was in the red zone for the rest of the race, but I was still feeling really good. I held the lead for 3 laps. Then near the end of the 2nd to last lap, the group of 3 behind me containing Simon, Rodger, and Joe passed me but I was still able to hang on. We stayed this way going into the last lap. And then again I tried to roll the dice and attacked hard in the beginning straight. I got a gap again, but just could not hold it through the twisty parts of the course. I was sitting on their wheels again in 4th. We came through the velodrome hill one last time, and Rodger went down nearly taking me out. I had about a 4 inch section of course to work with (see above video) and some how got around. I thought this was going to be a really good chance for us to drop him going into the Sprint. But some how he got back on his bike and stuck right to my wheel. We were still really tight and the pace was getting quicker with just a few more mins left to the race. I was now in 3rd going into the last set of barriers. We all went through about the same time. Rodger was on my bike side so I did not have a lot of room to put my bike down. The I stepped on Joe's heel. This broke my rhythm a little and caused me to be the last on back on my bike which put me back in 4th. Up the final hill and onto the pavement. I was out of the lead 3's slip stream. They started to attack which left me no chance to catch back on in the last few meters. I missed the sprint for 1st place by 3 seconds and took a hard fought 4th place. By far this is the best race I had all season if not one of the best cross races I ever had...

Great job to all 6 of my Team Sandbag team mates for coming out racing, drinking and cheering me on! You guys helped make this a special day for me.

And thanks to everyone else for cheering me on. It was loud and crazy! I could hearing people screaming for me around every turn! Awesome!!!!!!

Great Job to --
Jim Goerlich for his first CX win!
Mark Parmelee for another Elite win!
Brian Wachlarz for another B win!
Mark Caffyn for not giving up after dropping his chain and still snagging a podium!
JB Hancock top 10 in Elites again!
Andy Fedwa for snagging a top 3 in the B's!
Jarod Makowski for jumping out of B's and into Masters and having a great result!

There were a lot of other great rides today, so sorry if I missed any one. These are the ones that stuck in my head.

Next Stop: Michign State Cyclocross Championship at Springfield Oaks!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Just a Day at the Beach! "Stony Creek CX"!

Just one week after my best Iceman finish ever, I am back on the podium again! This time it was for the Stony Creek CX race. What is usually not my best race course for cross, did not disappoint. The course was much the same as previous years. Long straight on the pavement. A few bumpy twist and turns. The feeling of being on a power zapping false flat the entire time. 2 sets of barriers. And the 200 plus yards of sand along the beach front.

For what ever reason (probably the sand and 20 mph winds) I always have to dig reallllllll deep at this race. So knowing that, I knew it was going to be a tough day. I just had to make sure i grit my teeth, and take a mental vacation from the pain for 45 mins. When the whistle blew, I got a good start and quickly was sitting 4 or 5th wheel in the first part of the course. The pace at the start of the race was incredible! I could not believe how fast everyone was going. I soon found myself slip off the lead group and sitting around 8th place. On lap 2 I started to settle down and increased my effort. Early on the 2nd lap, Matt Baroli and Ron Stack started to slip off the lead group. I began to attack knowing I needed to put as much distance between them and me, and keep anyone else from sneaking up. Through some of the twist I could see the main pack breathing down my back. I dug a little deeper and kept pushing. Half way through the course, I was sitting in 3rd place all alone with a good gap. And I was slowly realing in 2nd place. But the pace was still incredibly high. Every time I went through the sand I was dying a small death! And was loosing a little more time. Then David Johnson and Scott Fabinjanski caught back on to me. I made an attack one more time at the barriers, and onto the pavement and gained a small gap again. It didn't last long. David caught me again and then passed me with 2 laps to go. I tired to hold on for as long as I could but that was it. So now I was left with the task of keeping myself away from Scott. I rode as hard as I could on the last lap. Stayed clean through all the turns and pushed until I felt like I could puke. When It was over I finished with a well deserved 4th. I will take that all day long.

So 2 races left. I am feeling very strong. I hope the fitness holds on for just a few more weeks...

Congrats to Jay Moncel for his 2nd place finish in Elites today! You looked awesome!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


For the 1st time in my 5 years of racing this event, I finally got to race in a "real" ICEMAN. And it was a classic one. With lake effect snow hitting Kalkaska and Traverse City for more than 24 hours before the race, the conditions were shaping up to be an epic 28 mile point to point mountain bike race. At start time, the temps were hovering around 18 degrees! the course had snow. A couple of inches in some spots. There was icy 2 track. Sand. Mud, and more sand. there were some new single track sections at the end, and overall the course was somewhere around a 1/2 mile to a mile longer than last year.

It was next to impossible to try and warm up before the start because it was so damn cold. I tried my best and took my spot in wave 2. I was absolutely honored to be racing in this group of fast guys. And I was hoping to use it to my advantage to do something special if I was feeling good. And Oh boy, was I feeling good. As the race started, I settled in near the back looking for as many wheels as I could to hang on to. I was calm and relaxed, and soon found a good strong pace I could maintain. through the 1st 8 or so miles. I just kept turning the pedals over as fast as I could. I knew from previous years, that the flater 2 track would be my biggest strength and I could make up almost all my time on it. Things were going well, Missed a few crashes and just kept driving. By the time I got to Williamsburg road I was rocking and feeling really strong. I turned the screws a little more, and was able to find a few riders to share the pace. Shortly after Williamsburg, the 2 track was a sheet of ice! I tired to ride as smooth and fast over it as possible, but decided to scrub my speed and not take any chances. A lot of the single track was slick too. Especially the ice covered roots. My bike squirmed underneath me for most of the ride, but was able to keep the rubber side down. As I got closer to the finish, the big hills began. I was not sure what the legs would do this far into the race, but they were full speed ahead! I mashed up all the climbs until I got to Anita's Hill. When I shifted down, my chain dropped. I jumped off the bike and ran up. And actually was as fast as the guys next to me. I did the cyclocross jump back onto the saddle and off again. I big ringing almost the rest of the course. As I got within 4 miles, I could not believe how much gas I had left in the tank. I decided to cash in and push myself as hard as I could to try the nail every second out of the clock. On the last climb I buried my head and pushed the cranks until it felt like my knee caps were going to pop out. I shifted back up in the big ring and sprinted all the way to the finish. I came across in 1:56. This ended up being a really good time considering the course conditions. It was also quick enough for me to earn my highest Iceman finish to date

3rd place! Men 35

I was very excited to say the least. All my eye bleeding intervals on the trainer this year has really paid off!

What a great day. I got to hang out with a lot of friends and the TSB tent was in full party mode thanks to Curt and his family, and Jason and Jackie. You guys are the best! The team had several racers all finishing up a very very tough day of racing on a very very tough Iceman course. I got a lot of respect for every one of you.

There were a lot of great finishes and personal best time out there yesterday. Actually almost too many for me to list here. But I will give a shout out to one of my favorites. And that is Adam Naish for taking the win in Men 34! Great job Adam. I know you have worked very hard for several years to earn this win. And you are an inspiration to me because of it.