Monday, July 25, 2011

Love, Hate, Love.... Stony Creek TT

It's Love, Hate, Love again for Stony Creek. I will save you some time reading about why and what if, sticking to my training plan blah, blah, blah. Even I'm getting sick of reading my blog at times. This is how it rolled.

I got 8th in the Expert Men 30-39 with a time of 53:51. And I went out again for the Expert/Elite Single speed race and got 7th. In both races, I had chain suck that forced me off my bike and I cramped in the single speed race at the end causing me to run a hill or 2. Bottom line, times slower than last year. Competition is harder this year.

Big M next...

Congrats to Brad Lako for nailing the double podium. And this was his first race on the single speed too! Way to go!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Citerium Detroit City

Well first thing is, at least I didn't crash.... But we will cover this in a minute. With my mountain bike season, training, etc. coming to crawl with not much on tap for the next month other than start ramping up for CX, I decided to throw my name in the hat a venture into some road racing. And what better way to do it than to do the First Annual Cirterium Detroit City! What a great place for this style of racing. Located on the twisty block of the Opera House just behind Comerica Park. The course was short but it had plenty of corners and none of them were the same. The one thing that could use some improvement was the many many wheel destroying pot holes located at random. But hey, this is Detroit. Overall, the venue and the style of racing was top notch. You may see me pop in a few more in the future. And I think I will be back for this one for sure if they continue to have it.

As for the race itself, I wasn't sure what to expect. I had to do the Cat 5 race because I don't hold a road licence, or have any road races under my belt for an upgrade. But not a problem. I got to start somewhere. So I put my wheel on the line with 27 other "Cat 5's" (I am curious what the criteria is to be a Cat 5) and we were off. Since the race was going to be under 30 mins, the pace was quick right from the start. It instantly strung out on the first lap. Soon after, it came together for a bit, and then it was a battle to make sure people would hold their line. I got a little frustrated with this, and about 10 mins into the race decided to make a break to open things up a bit. I went hard for about 1 lap and paid for it. I was soon caught, but my plan worked and the pace stayed high from here on out. Another break went off, and this time I was in the field to chase them down. We worked together and got them back. I continued to stay up near the front to avoid any crashes. Everything was fine, until the last 2-3 laps. One rider went down hard on the right side of the course in a tricky section of corners. Luckily I was on the other side, and no one else went down. This did however cause several riders to get nervous and panic for the rest of the race. With 2 laps to go, the pace was getting quicker. I was sitting in the top 10 waiting to make a move if I could. In the final lap, things were strung out again, and others were trying to move to the front. I was in an OK position, but should have been closer to the front. Lesson learned. As I rounded the last corner getting ready to cue up for the sprint. I got boxed out by the guy on the inside of me, and I guess he needed to use his brakes. This pushed me toward the back of the top 10 pack. I shifted into a few more bigger gears but I was on the outside of the road and racers on the inside were already going into their sprint. I stood up and started to give it all I had. I was making ground on some and getting pulled back by others. With about 75 yards to go, There was a spectacular crash just ahead of me with the top 3-5 guys which also took out the race officials standing on the side of the road! WOW! As Soon as I saw this I backed off my sprint to avoid being part of the carnage. I ended up 12th out of 27. Not too bad I guess for a dirty mountain bike/CX racer... In the end, I was surprised that a Cat 5 group would avg. 24.2 mph! really? Are these actually Cat 5 dudes? I guess I really have no reference to go by. But I do know how I will do things different if I line up again for a Crit...

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Stony Death March 2011

The race that I vow that I will never do again year after year. Bad luck mechanicals. Dehydration. Crazy hot weather. Lack of endurance training. It has all seemed take a toll on me at this race one way or another. So here I am again. Again at what I like to call the Stony Death March. Beginner friendly Stony Creek, turned into one evil event year after year with 50 miles of pain for the experts. And this year was no different. With Temps in the mid 90's and the heat index at 102! Even the bad asses of the sport were getting mowed down one by one with the dreaded DNF. For me it was simple. Rely on all my additional base miles I put in for the year, and grind this thing out. Knowing that there will be a lot of DNFs for mechanicals and cramps, I rolled the dice and hoped for the best.

The plan for the day was to "Just Finish", maintain my hydration and nutrition plan so I wouldn't cramp, and try to keep my lap times as consistent as possible. From the whistle, the lead group went out like a 20 mile XC race. Have fun boys. I decided to go at my own pace and have my own race. My bud Shawn Schaffert had the same plan, and we helped pull and encourage each other on all 5 laps. This was awesome, to have someone there to help with the boredom of the race. We plugged along at a respectable clip, each taking turns. I felt good for the entire race, except for the last 4 miles or so. This is when Shawn was able to ride away from me. Its too bad I let him get away, because for both of our consistent efforts and determination to finish strong, Shawn was rewarded with a 5th place and I came in less than a minute later in 6th. I just can't seem to shake that 6th place curse, as this is my 3rd race in a row looking at the last step on the podium. But overall I had a great race. All my laps were between 45-48 mins. I finished in under 4 hrs with 3:54. And I felt great in the end. This is great news as I am nearing the start of my CX season.

TSB had a full squad representing also, which was great! And out of the 8 racers that showed up, at least half got on the podium! Great job. And special thanks to Trixie for all her hard work handing out bottles, and providing lunch to a bunch of famished stinky bike racers. Your the best!
So before I start training again for CX in less than a month, will my next stop be the Criterium Detroit City next weekend???? Its time to get my power on!