Sunday, June 26, 2011

Ugh.... 6th again! PLRA XC

Things have been winding down. I haven't done any training in 2 weeks other than riding my bike for fun. No Plan. No intervals. Just fun. I start my new job on July 5th. So I really hope this is a new beginning for not only work, but getting mentally focused again for my life, racing, and training. I have already dropped 7lbs since Fort Custer. So I am getting back on track. And with everyday, every race, cyclocross is getting closer. Sometime around July it will be time to put on the running shoes again, and pull out the barriers to get ready for my real season. But before I get too carried away, there are still a few mountain bike races to take care of, and this is one of my favorites. Pontiac Lake XC...

Like I said, I have been basically peaked out since the Brighton Debacle. So I figured I would give it a go, and see what my fitness has done since. Surprisingly, I have been feeling great, and my Power on the flats is still high. Goal was simple. Ride as hard as I can. Don't pop. And sneak in a top 5. There were a few guys that came out of the woodwork today. Gotta love racing... So I knew it was going to be a tough race if I wanted to crack the top 5. The whistle blew, and we were off. Blistering pace into the single track for the first few miles. The trail was in awesome shape, and very fast. I settled into 5th place early on and slipped back to 6th. I was feeling good, and could really tell the difference the 7lbs made in climbing the hills! Gives me motivation to keep going. I pushed hard all the way. I caught and passed 5th place, and soon was riding by myself. Into the 2nd lap, I missed a bottle hand up. This proved to detrimental as I lost my other bottle on the bike on a bumpy downhill early in the 2nd lap. So I went the entire lap without any water and or nutrition. Ouch! On the last climb I could feel it. But during this time, I had also caught the dude in 4th, but he kept yo-yo-ing away from me. Into the 3rd lap, I got another bottle and sucked down as much as I could before the single track. Surprisingly, it helped me recover a little. Thanks Hammer Nutrition. I then got caught and passed by 2 others in my class. Not good. I was still feeling strong but was slowing a bit from the effects of the missed bottle. I pushed on knowing that anything could happen, and I was still in the hunt for a podium spot. On the last climb, I gave it all I had. I could hear someone coming up behind me, and not knowing what class they were in, I punched it. Onto the flats and into the last grass section, I big ringed it all the way home. I did not want to give any chances of getting beat at the line. Thank God, cause he was in my class. I ended up 6th... again. And missed 5th again, by 20 seconds. I was still happy with my result and my progress heading into Cyclocross and my new beginning at work. My lap times were not too bad either. 43, 45, 47. Obviously, the missed bottle hurt me in the end.

Maybe you might even see me at the Stony Marathon... It's still up in the air.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Marching On... Fort Custer TT

Its been an off year, and a year for change. And not just in racing...

I guess if you wait long enough good things will happen. But sometimes, if you just sit back and wait for them to happen, the good things will never come. You have to make them happen! Does that all make sense?

And so that brings me to the Fort Custer TT. First off, what a fantastic trail! I had a smile from ear to ear the entire time!!! Wow! If only I lived closer. Fort Custer has something for everyone, and this race is always one of my favorites. Much like my opening statement, this year the race day changed from the previous years to a much earlier time of year. And I was very welcome to it. However, as this has been a slightly off year for me so far in the life and training world, it was time for me to look forward and start making things happen again. I did not have the best racing day of my life, but it did offer a look into the rest of the year, and overall I was very pleased.

I did the usually double bagger. Geared and Single speed. I felt really good for both and mentally was ready to give it my all (first time all year). In the Expert 30-39 race. I gave it full gas. I could hang with anyone on the flat twisty sections, letting me know I have gained a lot of power over the spring, and could actually use it! However, I would lose time in the more technical sections, and of course on the climbs. but this is all great information I was able to process to make changes for the rest of the mountain bike season and especially for cyclocross. I finished up 6th place on the day with a time of 1:07:58. Just missing 5th place by 24 seconds. I am back in the hunt, and my 2011 podium quest continues! Overall I was very happy with the result especially considering the tough field that showed up.

By the time the Single speed raced rolled around, I was already spent from the first race, but was ready to give it all I had 1 more time. All the heavy hitters from the MI Single Speed world showed up to play! The filed was stacked, and it seemed like all the elites and experts that raced earlier had the same idea of doubling up for the day. With all the big names starting, I set my goal for a top 10 finish. I was riding fully rigid and the trail beat the hell out of me. So with not much left in the tank, I pushed as hard as I could and finished with a time of 1:13 and some change. This was enough for me to sneak into 10th place!

Great job to all my TSB team mates for making the trek over. We had about 10 folks and nailed a few podiums as well! See you all in a few weeks!