Thursday, December 20, 2012
As with any year, 2012 had its ups and downs and my journey took my down many different paths. Mainly with life, between my Dad's injury, and training myself into endurance anemia, I was not sure I would get out of spring with any fitness. But all of that made me realize a few things. Whats important in life, and how to identify and resolve problems with training dilemmas. I learned a shit ton this year about proper training, and understanding the data. I put some plans in place before the season. Stuck to them and ended up with my best season to date!
I had could not believe the mountain bike season I had this year. I ended up on the podium in almost every race I entered! As a result, I ended up 2nd overall in the USAC Tailwind XC series, and even took a win for the first time as an Expert at Ruby. Furthermore, for a 2nd straight year to finished 2nd at the Iceman in a snowy, muddy, and longer Iceman.
As for Cyclocross, I came into the season fresh and hot. I stood on the podium at a USGP by taking 2nd place in the single speed class in Madison, something I never imagined would ever happen. I took a win at Kensington, and was hoping to get at least another one, but was not able to pull it off. A couple of crashes and mechanicals put the damper on a few other chances toward the end of the season, and a mistake in my training plan left me gasping for air in the state championship race. But for the first time in 2 years, I finally ended up on the state championship podium by taking 3rd place for Masters 35-39, and finished 3rd overall in the Tailwind Series.
I could not achieved all of this without the support, of my family, and friends like Brad, Jarod, Tom, Don C, and JB for help keeping my head screwed on straight by encouraging me throughout the year, and answering all my training question and offering advice all season long!
I can never thank everyone we race with enough for screaming, cheering, yelling, high fiving, ass smacking me race after race as I spend time in the hurt locker. Its always amazing me how much more I can get out of myself from every one's energy and excitement! So please keep it coming for next year!
Finally thanks TMS for the love, and hard truth. Continue to keep it real, and continue to keep it alive.
Sunday, December 16, 2012
Not all was lost. I was able to hang onto the last podium spot for 5th in the race. And this was good enough for 3rd in Masters 35-39 State Championship title. Also, I was able to keep the 3rd overall spot in the series. I was hoping for so much more, but I had an incredible season overall.
Here are some of my favorite rides from today. Congrats to:
Sven Baumann on another Elite State Title
Kelly Patterson on another Elite State Title
Alex Monte-Sano on 1st overall in the series for Masters 35+ (tough break today)
Pete Thompson for 1st Masters 40-45
Jarod for riding out our your skin and almost beating Pete at the line
Brad Lako for taking 3rd in B -men 30-39
Jim Goerlich for an outstanding ride! Taking 2nd in states for B -men 30-39!
Don Cameron - another States 1st for masters 45-50
Scott Fabenjanski - for an outstanding season, and 2nd in the states for master 45-50
This list can go on forever. There were some really good rides and results today. And Cheers to all the great overall results as well.
Thanks everyone for cheering, heckling, ringing cowbells, all season long! It always helps. Thanks everyone for letting me use pictures along the way as well. Finally, thanks to my Mom and Dad for spending the time to come out and support me at all the races. It means a lot to me, and love you both!
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
One cool thing this year was that the race was the week before the state championship. So a lot more folks came out to use it as a tuner race before the big show. All the Elites, and Master class went off on the whistle, so the start was a little more congested than what we usually see in Michigan. I jumped out into the top 5 guys right off the whistle knowing that the most difficult part of the course was in the beginning and staying out of crashes or other's mistakes would be key. Mark Parmalee, Jeff Weinert, and JB Hancock led the charge. Soon after, DC came by me followed by Alex and Ron Stack. DC and Alex kept the pedal through the floor, and I got caught up behind Ron. By the time we made it through the slick stuff and endless sand, Alex and DC had about a 10 second gap. Not a big deal I thought. I then dropped Ron and passed JB. The chase for Alex was on. I focused on riding smart, but taking risk in section I knew others wouldn't. Following close behind me was Jarod Makowski and Brad Lako. I was able to keep a comfortable gap, but could feel them breathing down my neck. At the same time, I was taking back a second or 2 on Alex.
By the time the 4th lap rolled around. Alex was opening up the gap on me a little more. I know Jarod was hunting me down, and Brad was just off his wheel. I decided to use the flat wooded section to open up some security room on Jarod. It worked. I had a few more seconds, and I felt I was riding better and better each lap on the off cambers and slick muddy downhills. As the laps piled up I held the gap, but could not get any closer to Alex. The sand was zapping my energy more and more. On the last lap I could see Jarod still trying to claw his way back to me. Got love JMAK's Heart and determination! I just held my own and always knew where he was, and made sure I didn't do anything stupid. I finished 2nd on the day, and was really happy with how I felt and handled the course leading into the last race of the year!
Congrats to Pat Tomlinson - on his SOA series overall jersey!
Vince Anila - for 3rd overall in the SOA series!
Brad Lako - for hanging at the front of the masters before breaking your bike in the last lap...
Sunday, November 25, 2012
This was going to be a big weekend and a game decider for the Masters 35+ Series overall. I was still in the lead heading into the weekend but only by 6 points. I needed big results. Like wins. Because there were only a few points separating Alex, Andy, Rodger, and me for the top spots. And we have been all racing at the same level. It was going to be an all out war for the weekend. And the person with the most fitness, desire, and luck would come out on top. And it didn't necessaryliy need to be in that order. But that is how racing goes.
Day 1 - It was cold, windy, dry, and I was ready. I had some strategy I felt was going to be the key for a great day. But finding the right time to execute is always the other key you need. We started and the pace was very controled. I was feeling good and just sitting in waiting to see what Alex and Andy would try to do. We rode like this for about 4 laps. Then we caught a group of about 5 elites. Andy jumped to the front of the group when an opening appeared. Alex just snuck in behind him, and I had to latch on to the back. Not good. This has been a problem for a few of are races this year. Into the next lap I was able to burn a match and get around everyone and back onto my train. The effort was hard and a few of the elite guys came right back around me once we hit the grass again. Not a big deal, but Alex and Andy were slowly pulling away. I explained to the guys I needed to get around, to catch the guys ahead, and that I was not racing them. One of the guys (from out of state) was a complete asshole, and we exchanged a few words and rubbed elbows through a few corners as I tried to cut his line for being an asshole. But I soon got over it. During this time however, Andy opened a gap on Alex and now both had a gap on me. I was left to chase full throttle for the rest of the race. Not what was in my plan, but it was the hand that was dealt, so I had to play it. I stayed in the red zone for the last 3 laps and slowly clawed my way back to Alex. With only 2 turns left and the final drag on pavement I finally caught Alex. He opened the sprint from a long ways out and I jumped on my pedals. I was quickly pulling along side of him as we approached the line. I was finally on his side with just a few feet left, through the bike at the line, but missed second place by about 2 inches. I was so spent from the effort, that I started to dry heave after the finish.
But there is still one more prize left for me to shoot for. The State Championship race. I have been pimped 2 years in a row at this one. And after this weekend I am even more hungry for it. So between the last few years, the past few races, better fitness than ever heading into the final few weeks, maybe lady luck will be on my side.
Thanks to everyone for cheering to pushing me through the race this weekend. It was awesome! Brad, Jay, Kelly, Jim, Alex, Vinne, Andy, and many others, just too many to remember.
Here are some congrats and favorite moments from the weekend. As always, there are others, but these are the ones I remembered.
Congrats to Alex and Andy for splitting the wins this weekend
Mark Parmalee for laying it down on day 1 taking a commanding win.
Jarod Makowski for showing why he use to be a pro mountain biker and taking 2nd on day 2
Jim Goerlich for taking 5th on day 1 in the B's
Adam Mac for doubling up the W's on both days.
Brad Lako for not giving up and fighting through the pain both days to take home to podiums
Scott Goocher for taking home his first ever CX podium and 2 wins to boot, especially after coming back from being hit by a car just over a year ago - AMAZING!!!
Vinnie Cousino Anila for taking 5th in the C class on day 2 in a slippery mess. Steady improvement is key and thanks for the photos.
Monday, November 12, 2012
This year the course was brutal! It was the test run for the Elite course that will be used in a few months. There was a 100 yrd + Sand chute for running, or riding if you had the power. 2 brutal and steep hill run ups that included broken concrete on one, and logs on the other. The Green Monster flyover 2 long off camber sections, 2 steep punchy hills, 2 long starts. A blazing fast paved start/finish section, and 1 set of barriers. It was almost more like Cross-fit rather than cyclocross! And to make it even harder, I raced in the single speed class along with several other Michigan racers. JB Hancock, Jim Goerlich, Mike Seaman, and Mark Wolowic.
Day 1 - I got a front row start and lined up next to Craig Etheridge. There was around 30 in the class, and everyone was itching for the hole shot. The gun went and we exploded out of the chute! A guy on a mountain bike grabbed the hole shot followed by Craig, then me. The pace was incredible! Soon we were surrounded by about 10 others as we dismounted and ran up the log stairs and directly into the sand. I chose to run, and was soon getting passed by anyone that could make it. Bad choice, but it was early and I was not worried. However, this caused me to lose contact with the critical top 5 group. I worked my way back up to around 6-7th. and realized I was in battle once again with Greg Heck. We tried to push hard to bridge the gap to 5th just ahead. In the end of the 2nd lap, JB was able to bridge up to us and put some pressure on both of us to try and pull ahead. All 3 of us stuck like glue. Half way through I was on the very edge of the red zone, but could tell that Greg and JB were too. Jarod Makowski was riding along the long straight away near the pits and encouraged me to attack. I did! I figured I could out power them both and pull away. It worked. I opened a quick gap and round the corner through the barriers. Remounted and sprinted again out of the saddle. I had about a 5 second gap heading into the start finish area and was looking to open it up more, and then a girl stalled on the last steep climb and I could not get around her! POW! I smashed right into her rear and found myself tangled up on the ground. JB instantly caught me and so did Greg. Greg then attached JB and took control. I was now chasing. I got back on to JB's wheel by lighting an untimely match. We stayed with each other until the last lap. Greg was try to shake us both and I tried to same move I did a lap before. It un-hitched JB, but I could not shake Greg. He then made one last move to get around me heading into the last off camber section and 2 punchy climbs. This was a great move as he knew I could bobble the top of the last climb and he would be free. It work. Greg took 7th. I took 8th and JB finished 9th.
Day 2 - I was still looking and hoping to crack the top 5 before the week ended. The gun went and I found myself drifting back fast. JB grabbed the hole shot and planned to hang on to the top 5 group as long as he could. I was sitting somewhere around 10-15 now. And then I began to make my move. I could see JB just a head. He was my carrot. Then soon I found myself chasing down Greg again. He was riding strong but just out of reach. I used the power flats to claw seconds back on him lap after lap and he knew it. With 3 to go, some guys on the side line from Don Walker racing put a hand out with a dollar and said you can keep this if you catch him! I grabbed it and sprinted out of the saddle in pursuit! I caught Greg and settled in on his wheel. We went blow for blow and continued to close in on JB for the last few laps. We were killing each other and it was great! This is racing. I know we were both trying to find and plan the final attack, and kept each other on our limits. Then with less than a quarter lap to go, we entered the 100 yrd sand death march. I knew after this section the course was the same a yesterday and would be critical till the end. After the sand, there was a short leg searing climb, paved flat, the technical off camber section and 2 punchy hills. Knowing what happened the day before, who ever got to the off camber section first and could get just a couple of feet gap, would beat the other. Through the sand we were both running almost side by side. I felt like I could puke. My heart was pounding out of my chest! Greg made it to the exit of the sand first. Mounted his bike and began to pedal up the hill. I followed less than a second behind. Greg could not clip in his pedals clean and bobbled slightly. This allowed me to pull along side him at the top of the turn. As soon as we crested with my legs on fire, I dug deep one last time and opened up a sprint to pull ahead. I might have got 5 or 10 feet on him but I was bound and determined to make sure it would be enough! I took every risk I could through the hair pin turn of the off camber section, kicking my leg out and tail whiping the turn! I pushed as hard as I could to clear the top of the last 2 climbs clean. As I hit the pavement, I looked back and saw the plan worked. I opened the gap and crossed the finish line in 7th place. One spot better than the day before. JB had a stellar race, and finished just ahead of us in 6th. Way to go JB! And Great job racing for the entire weekend Greg!
Congrats to the Lil Pony for double wins!
Mark Wolowic for a win and a 2nd!
Jim Goerlich for cracking the single speed top 10!
JB on his 6th and 8th single speed finishes!
All the Michigan folks who came down and raced. We all represented our state well!
Thanks to Jarod, Jeff, Surly Bastard, Big Mac, Seaman, Pete, Andy, Alex, Mark P, All the Wolverines, All the Flying Rhinos, Card, Rouge Racing, and all the rest of the Michigan folks for a great time and for cheering me on! Felt like racing at home. Awesome!
Monday, November 5, 2012
When we arrived on Friday, I was feeling great. We did our usual pre-ride and could not believe how fast and firm the trail was. This was looking to be the makings for a special day. The forecast was still calling for mid 30s and not rain or snow for Saturday. Well in typical Iceman fashion, this was not going to be the case. We woke up to Lake effect snow that did not stop until we got to Kalkaska. So thinking it would just stop and make the trail better, it was just the opposite. It was a true Iceman once again. As it snowed hard, and thick heavy flakes left the ground muddy, and slick. But in order to be at the top you got to be able to take on what ever is thrown at you. So this is how it went.
I lost the race to the start line once again, as about 40+ guys were already lining up at 8:30 AM! I was not too worried as I was in wave one again, so I would have a chance for a crack at the title if I rode smart and worked my way to front. At 9:00 AM the gun went off and it was game on. We all rushed down the street at a blistering pace. But my heart rate and breathing were in control. As we made it to the first bottle neck, I was sitting around 20th or so. I didn't even have to hit my brakes this year. I made up a few more spots and finally hit the 2 track. It was fast and frozen. I was going faster than I have ever went in an Iceman before, and closer to the front making my way to the pack that would soon be the difference between 1st, and everyone else.
By the way, In case you have'nt heard I had a little podium malfunction before Brad snapped the picture above. So if you want a good laugh, ask around what happen.
Congrats to -
David Moore Jr. - 5th place. First Iceman podium ever! And what a way to cap off a great season.
And there are many many others, that I could go on forever! So if I missed you here or on Facebook, I promise to give you a hug and a hand shake the next time I see you.
Sunday, November 4, 2012
I got a little behind last week, and just now catching my breath. With that, we will keep this short. The weekend before Iceman was another new venue added to the Tailwind CX series. Day 1 and 2 of Lake Orion High School. What a great fast fun course, and hope it comes back next year! I had mixed results between the 2 days, but my fitness is coming back around and that is a good thing.
Day 1 - I ended up 3rd. Rodger Bowser put in an massive 3 lap early attack that had us gasping for air! Andy Weir flatted early on, and charged ahead like a diesel truck and motored to the win.
Day 2 - i was feeling better, and the course felt like it flowed better for me as well. The beginning of the race was more controlled, and Andy, Alex and Myself stuck to each other for most of the race. I then decided to make a shape attack and see if it would stick. I jumped, and they did not react. I opened a nice gap and was ready to open it up again before the mini barriers that were placed on the up hill. Rounding the big sweeping turn, I lost my edge and crashed. The cause the rear shifter to load up with dirt and my pedal broke as well. I was ready to DNF right there, but then decided to stick it out. I limped for the rest of the lap and swapped bikes. I was sitting in about 10 place now, and just started riding as hard as I could. I managed to work my way back up to 7th. So I guess not all was lost...
Monday, October 15, 2012
So far for the season everything has been firing on all cylinders. But I was sensing a probably about to rear its ugly head in my fitness. An untimely peak. Thanks to the help of a friend to point out this potential issue, I laid out my options and got my plan back on track. This will come at a price as well. So the price is a dip in fitness to build it all back up again for the rest of the season. Something I have struggled with in the past. So not know how far it would dip, I was happy I was racing again at Lower Huron, and this would still be a great day!
Most of the regular guys were here except for Rodger. At the start I grabbed the hole shot and probably lit a match as well. The lead group was Alex, Andy, Brain and myself. We took several digs early and switched spots several times through the first 3 laps or so. I was feeling like dirt. Right on the edge and could not attack. Barely hanging on, we caught a big group of elite riders. Alex jumped around about 4 of them. And then turned the screws as Brian, Andy and myself got stuck in traffic. Alex sensed this and forced his gap. It stuck for the rest of the race. Soon after, Brain, Andy and Myself were left to fight it out. Andy made the first move and I got dropped. I managed to claw my way back on the long road section. The Brian went as he rode the run up almost every lap. As he got to the top of the paved climb after the run up he would fall apart and I would catch them. Then it was my turn. On the 2 flat sections of the beginning of the course I got a huge gap. This lasted almost 2 laps. Then my non drive pedal got wrapped around a stake and course tap completely stopping me. Andy and Brian caught back up. With 2 laps to go Brain some how recovered and started to make Sharp attacks. On the run up we dropped Andy and Brian and I were left to duke it out for 2nd. He turned himself inside out and I could not hang on. I had to settle for a tough but respectable 3rd.
Great Job -
The timeless Jeff Weinert for 1st in Elite!
Brian Wachlarz - 2nd in Masters 35+! Highest Master's finish to date!
Alex Monte-Sano - 1st in Masters 35+. 1st Michigan Master's win!
Adam McIntyre - 1st in B-men 39-U. And first win in Tailwind!
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
After coming of an awesome weekend at the USGP in Madison, My confidence was high and I was ready to jump back into some local racing. And what better to do it than to do it at a new venue! This year Tailwind added Kensignton Metro Park to mix, so there was a special buzz in the air about the race, and I was full of anticipation!
It feels great to get a win under my belt for the season, and makes me want the next one even more. Not only was the win a high point for my weekend, but having my mom and dad there to see it happen was even better! Thanks for diving to all the races, and supporting me year after year.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
The kick off to the newly revamped Tailwind USAC CX State Championship series got underway last Sunday, and it did so in un-charted territory. A new venue and in my backyard. Yep its almost the end of the earth. Right on the country's international border. Yep, racing in the UP probably would have been closer. Yep. Right here in St. Clair Co. Ironically, its only about 20 mins away from Stony Creek, but to some of the Suburban folks, they were in God's country. Well, Columbus Park proved to be a worthy venue for CX with 29% gradient run up, fast flowing bermed down hills, a 14% grade loose gravel climb, and balls out long power flat sections of 2 track, this was not only different than any other Tailwind race in the past, but one that offered something for everyone. This not only marked the first time the park has hosted a CX race, but also the first time a CX race has taken place in St. Clair Co. So to me, that is really cool!
Onto some racing. This was going to be a good test for everyone. New season, new venue, and a few new faces. That first race is always a acid test... Who's got it? Who's been working for it? How did you road or MTB season go? Who's lean? Who moved up? All the questions are asked. Then you line up, look around. Yep all present. Wait where is So and so? Who is that? Then the whistle blows, and your heart is stuck in your throat! This year it was not any different. Most of the usual suspects were present, so it began... David Johnson grab the hole shot and put down an incredible effort out the blocks. Rodger Bowser followed along with Andy Fedewa, Shawn Schaffert, Brian Wachlarz and then me. Roger and Brain soon covered this first attack and we followed. The Brian Decided to pull ahead of the group and laid it down on the first section of flats. He put some serious hurt on the group. We followed but slowly, the other guys started to fall away. By the time the 3rd lap rolled around, I made contact to Brain and Rodger, and the damage was done to the group behind. I was at my limit and was hoping Brain was done. And as soon as the 4th lap started, he sat up! He was done. Rodger and I went around and began to trade blows. We soon realized it was down to him and I and formed a truce. At this time we were picking up riders in the Elite class, and used them to our advantage for drafting and keeping a nice healthy gap to the rest of our group. We traded pulls until the last 2 laps. Rodger then began to turn the screws. I could feel the pain increase, but he could not completely shake me. He would pull away on the climb and the run up, but I would claw back on all the technical sections of downhills and the flats. By the time the last lap rolled around, he dangled just a few hundred feet ahead of me. Brad Lako was on the side lines yelling at me to chase him down! You can DO IT! DIG! DIG DIG! I stood up and lit a match! I instantly bridged the gap on the down hill. Then the run up. He pulled a few inches back. Then the next down hill. I was back, into the chicanes, and onto the flats. Rodger stood up and applied max power to the pedals. I tired to do the same but my heart rate was already maxed out. No more matches. I tired to stay with him, but could not close down the last couple hundred feet at the end - 2nd place.
I was very happy with the result especially finishing that close to Rodger who is a former Masters 35+ State Champ and overall series champ. So this should make for some exciting racing this year.
Another notable race was the B Men 39-U. My good friend Brad Lako showed that he is going to be a major player in the cross series this year by taking a commanding win! and putting up some of the best lap times of the day! This is Brad first official USAC win! And it is well deserved. Keep working hard, stay focused one race at a time, and take home the year end hardware as well!
Other notable results -
Adam York taking first in the Elite class against a very tough Sven Baumann!
Tom Barret and Scott Fabinjanski - 2nd and 3rd. These guys are ready to breakout. I can smell it.
Mike Seaman - Another great single speed performance with 3rd.
JB Hancock - Taking 1st in the single speed class and having fun. That is what CX is about right?
Ben Christian - 4th in B 39-U. First race and podium! Nice Keep'em coming. You worked hard for it.
Ryan Katulic - 3rd in B 39-U. What would happen if you actually rode your bike other than a few races?
Me - 4th in the single speed race. I felt like death, but pulled out a spint finish for 4th in the end!
Well I will be off to Madison this weekend to take on some of the best single speeders in the country at the USGP of Cyclocross! Shooting for a top 5 and stretch for a top 3 podium finish. It will be tough, but I am ready and excited for the challenge!
Sunday, September 9, 2012
As the weeks and days led up to the race, it was one of the only things I could think about. I made the 2.5 hour ride over to Ithaca with my dad, and as soon as we arrived, the buzz was in the air. I chatted with all my CX friends and finally got ready to race. This year the masters races would be 50-60 mins long. So I knew this was going to be a good endurance test for me. Also, in the 5 laps we were going to do, there was a total of 1000 ft of climbing! Ouch. This was going to make for one of the hardest CX races I have ever done. We took to the line behind the elite, and after 30 seconds we were off! I had issues clipping in at the start and this cost me a shot at the Prime. But I was sitting in 5th place going into the course. Attacks came early from Andy Fedewa, Shawn Schaffert, Pete Thompson and Ray Auger. But I just settled into my groove and applied the pressure keeping everyone in sight. After a few laps, and a couple of hard surges up the sled hill, and gravel climb. I found myself at the front of the race all alone with Pete Thompson. I stuck to his wheel like glue, and we traded a few pulls through the race. We continued to grow the gap lap after lap to the other racers. Finally with 2 laps to go, Mark Wolowiec (masters 45+) caught and passed us. Pete made a dig to get onto his wheel right before the sled hill. I followed. I instantly went past the red zone but managed to hang on but just barely. We went through the fast flat section of the course and was able to recover a bit, but Pete was still trying to put the pressure on. Into the long sand pit, I was just off the back. Pete Surged through the sand by foot and past Mark. He remounted his bike and began to sprint up the small punchy hill. I could not respond to the attack and the gap grew. For the next lap and a half, I tried every possibility to reel Pete back in, but the gap was too large. He dangled right in front of me. I crossed the line for 2nd place, and was very happy with my race.
Shortly after, I lined up again for the single speed race. I had some reservations about doing this race as I was completely spent from turning myself inside out trying to catch Pete in the race before. But I got on the line anyway. As soon as the race started, I felt like mush. Legs were tired and heavy, But I know i had 3 more laps left in me. I was sitting in 3rd in the first lap right before the sled hill. I decided to run it rather than ride. Big mistake, as everyone that rode it passed me like I was standing still. Mike Seaman, Jim Gorlich, Ray Auger, and Andy Fedewa were all in front of me now. Mike and Andy took this as their opportunity to make their move stick. As I chased, I passed Jim and Ray in the beginning of the 2nd lap. And I made a big charge to catch Andy, Through the pine tree dirt path. I made contact with Andy right before the sled hill. But it was too much. As we climbed the hill together, my quads began to cramp from the effort of the masters race. I was left to try and hang on, but he slipped away. I was able to hold off everyone else for the last lap, but could not close down the remaining few yards to Andy so I had to settle for 4th. But not bad. 2 podiums on the same day! I will take that.
Congrats to the following folks on some great results!
Sven Bauman - 2nd to a UCI top domestic Road Racing Pro!
Brad Lako - 1st USAC CX podium with a 4th place!
Andy Fedewa - Double podium and an outstanding 3rd in the single speed race!
Jeff Weinert - 5th in Elite. The pony is ageless!
Mike Seaman - 2nd in the Single Speed race. Racing experience paid off in an awesome early race move to secure a commanding 2nd!
Pete Thompson - 1st place. Way to bounce back from early season injury. Now time to go back and race elite where you belong! ;)
Jeff Haney - 1st place I think he is getting younger!
Tom Barrett - 3rd place, Tommy B looks to be back!
Scott Fabijanski - 3rd place. It appears to be that Scotty is back on a plan, and should be a force to recon with in masters 45+.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
It all started out with the call ups. Brad and I took the first 2 spots on the line and the rest fall in. As expected, there were some very fast guys showing up for the last race. Jeff Cergat, Adam Naish, Simon Bailey, and Josh McCreedy just to name a few. And then there were the usual suspects that we have been battling all year. Aryn Pongratz, Dub-9, Todd Freidinger and a few others. I knew I had 2nd overall wrapped up so there really wasn't a lot of pressure for me at the start. As always, the whistle blew and we were off. Brad took the lead at the start with a blistering pace. Followed by Jeff and then me. We splintered the group quickly, and a large gap formed. I backed off soon after because I knew I would pop at that pace. Soon Todd joined me, and we were able to pace our selves and trade pulls for 3 laps. We set a really good pace and played off each other's strengths. Right after the 3rd lap started, Josh joined us and was looking strong. I started to worry that we were falling off the pace and soon would be caught by the entire group. Todd and Josh seemed like they were stronger than I was and I soon found myself slipping off the back and into 5th place. Then through the trees, I could see the black kit of Dub-9. "How in the hell is he going so fast?" I thought. Shortly into the Pines, Jon Caught us and passed like we were standing still.... Josh reacted Todd and I stuck together. We made it to the 4th lap and Jon had pulled ahead of the group and was on his own. Josh, Todd and myself were back together and looking to make something happen. Up the long climb at the start of the loop I took the first pull and made a dig. I realized then that Todd had fallen off and it was just Josh and I. Josh said "lets get him John" and we began the chase. I could not match Josh in the single track, and he pulled away. Then on the flats I caught him. He had cramped and we were back together. We could now see Jon and I began to dig deep. Josh crashed out, so it was up to me. Jon finally realized I was clawing my way back as he looked back. I was taking every inch I could to bridge the gap. I knew if I could get on his wheel before the last climb, I had a chance of beating him since the last 1.5-2.0 miles was all flat 2 track. As we approached the climb I was within yards of making the catch. I could tell he was turning himself inside out to stay ahead, but so was I. We crested the climb and bombed down the hill. I was still inching closer. We got caught up with 2 riders of the 40-49 class and rode with them till the end. Right before the last turn into the start finish area, I finally made contact with Jon. We had just a few hundred yards to go. Jon made one last dig to get around the 2 40-49 yr old riders and boxed me in. This was a perfect move, but I still had a chance. By this time I was spent and was looking for any opportunity to make a move. We were sitting 3rd and 4th for the race at this point. Then to our surprise, Brad was in front of us. We swept him up and passed. Now we were into the final chute fighting for 2nd and 3rd. I could not find that last attack in the legs and settled for 3rd place by 4 seconds. But man what an awesome last 30 mins of racing!
Congrats to Brad for another outstanding season with 3rd overall for the series and State Championship! I can't thank you enough for all the training tips and help with motivation you gave me throughout the season!
And congrats to the other series overall winners as well. There were a lot of personal best among this year classes!
Finally, thanks to Tailwind for continuing to support my habit and provide great USAC racing in the state of Michigan. It is still a great series, and it will only get better. Good luck Wissmans!
Thursday, August 16, 2012
For the week leading up to it. Brad Lako and I talked a lot about the race, what to expect and the great towns in the area. We were both taking our families on vacation in addition to the race. So Brad gave me the run down on what to do at the start, where to hang out, where to eat etc. This was a big help. And we meet up at the start as well. We both arrived early, but not early enough to get a warm up in and a good starting spot. Everyone was already lining there bikes up in the grid. So by the time we got there, we were already 30 rows back. Not good, but then again, I didn't know what to expect. Brad and I were lined up side by side. The gun went and the mountain bike peleton was off! We rode through the city streets for a few miles before hitting the dirt. All you could hear was the high cadence buzz of 700 knobby tires. What a great sound! We then took a hard right hander, and bam into the dirt for the first time. A red dust cloud was every where and thick as riders started to jockey for position. I stuck to Brad's wheel. We then rode through an old iron ore mine and soon found ourselves climbing up a steep and long two track climb. This started to separate out the group a bit. At the top it was all flat bumpy 2 track for several miles. Brad and I turned up the gas, and began to play leap frog from group to group making up lots of time. Brad would bomb down the technical sections, and I would TT through the flats and straights. We traded pulls like this for the entire race. After an hour or so, we made it to the steep power line sections. As you approached it, all you could see was a wall of bike racers walking up this monster from about a 1/2 mile away. Brad and I made quick work of the hill, and picked our way around several riders through the technical rocky section. We hauled ass again at the bottom and then dumped out onto the paved road. I did another hard pull, and soon we were climbing the paved road. The section was hard, but looking back, if I knew the course I would have made my attack here. Never the less, we were able to make up some more ground. By the time we got to the last climb on this section. We splintered the group we were with, and put in a huge gap. Brad jumped up front again and smoked the downhills as I followed. As we made it through some very fast sections, we were starting to catch several guys that had fallen off of the lead pack that was ahead of us with about 10 miles to go. This was a huge morale booster to both of us, and we turned the pace up a notch. By this time I thought I would be dead and ready to blow up. But I was feeling awesome. I told Brad I had at least 2 hard efforts left in me. He said if I thought I had it to go for it. But I told him I would hang back since I did not know the course. So We kept on.
With about 5 miles to go, we got to Kirby Hill. It was steep, loose, and narrow! Brad was in front and took an inside line. There were 2 guys in front of us on the outside line. The problem was, both lines merged in the middle. Brad spun up the hill as hard as he could. I stuck right to his wheel. As Brad approached the first rider, he just barely got around him. I was not as lucky as that rider had to dismount his bike and run in front of me. This caused me to spin up the hill in easiest, and slowest gear I had. Brad knew what he just done, and went for it like a bat out of hell. By the time I made it to the top, he was 300-500 yards down the trail and sprinting. I put it in the big ring and began the great chase! I was slowly reeling him in on the flat 2 track. But just as soon as I would gain, the trail would get technical and his gap would grow. As we got down to 3 miles to go, I was slowing inching my way closer to him again. I was full on gas the entire time, and so was he. I began to take huge risk through the tighter fast single track sections, and making moves past other slower riders through the worst parts of the trail. As I got through the last section of sandy single track, it dumped us onto the pavement again. I looked up and saw Brad just ahead. Click, Click I put it into the big ring. Brad looked back and saw me coming! We had less than 2 miles to go, and all that was left was a long section of rail trail and the paved driveway into the finish line. I put myself into the red zone and caught and then passed Brad at the beginning of the rail trail. This was with 1 mile to go. My legs were screaming, but if I let up for just a second, I knew he would be right back up in my ass! I pedaled hard and passed a ton of people! I looked back as I went past the last corner. I could not see him. I crossed the line and gasped for air. Brad rolled in 30 seconds behind and gave me a high five. That was some of the best "wheel to wheel racing" I have ever been apart of!!! We both had an awesome race because we were able to work together and push each other to our limits. I beat my goal of breaking 3 hrs. with a time of 2:53:32. This was good enough for 102nd out of 595. Not too bad for my first time. And it was also good enough for 22nd out of 110 in the 30-39 men age class. Brad finished up 23nd. Great ride Brad. And way to beat your personal best time!
Other great rides. JTP, Jim Bonnel, Jay Click, Joran Wakely. You guys all crushed it and should be very proud.
Tough luck to Mark Parmelee and Jeff Poirier for flatting. I'm sure you both would have had great rides.
Sunday, August 5, 2012
The plan was to run a big gear and then run up all the longer step hills (Lance and Outhouse Hill) and run across the river crossings. My fear was all the additional running would have my calves cramping like crazy. But if I could manage the running, I would kill the flats and twisty single track sections, as I have been able to hang with most geared riders stroke for stroke at Ruby this year.
Saturday, August 4, 2012
I was feeling good at the start but tired from the weeks worth of work on the bike. From the line I tried to get on Jeff's wheel but he was way to strong. So I settled into 2nd and began to pull away from the field. I was never feeling like I was going to hard, but was able to apply the watts to the pedals. It continued like this until the end of lap 3. By this time I hopped on the Rob Selle train and had him pull me around. But Rob was starting to fatigue as was I. Then Brad Lako, JTP, and Todd Freidinger caught me. Not a big deal. And I figured it would be good to ride as a group. Then my chain fell off on a climb. Not good. It would not catch back on. I had to get off the bike and let everyone go by. Damn it! I then had to run the hill. Fix the chain and get back on. As I began to pedal, I could see my train leave the depot. I lit a few matches right away to catch back on, but would just dangle off the back. At the beginning of the 4th lap, I was almost spent and decided to make sure I just salvaged my race with a 4th place to get as many points as possible. I still had a good lap, and felt good coming home. I am one step closer to 2nd overall. And another podium!
Great job to Brad and Todd, you guys had one hell of a race together. And Brad way to get back in the game! There is still opportunities out there!
JTP - Nice job. Way to cross back over to the dirt world again and stand on the box in the toughest class outside of the Elites.
Shawn Schaffert - What can I say. Your riding awesome. You almost broke yourself in half in a road bike crash last week, and you came by me like I was standing still. Keep it up!
Ruby tomorrow.... What am I getting myself into. To be continued....
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
I am not the most gifted middle aged overweight dude to throw my leg over a bike and call myself a racer. In fact, my body type is more suited for bowling or softball. But its cycling that I have chosen to spend a large chunk of time and money on putting my body through hell physically and mentally. So when I finally show up to a race and I'm not in the best form or peak fitness, it is rewarding to know that I can pull a 2nd place out of a race like Bloomer because of race experience. This was not my most exciting race. It was not the race where I felt like superman, and felt unstoppable. In fact it was the opposite. But it was a race where I stuck to a plan, and managed my efforts, and at time the entire field I was racing against. So in that, it was one of the best races I have ever had, because I realized I can achieve good results through experience. So this is how it went.
A few notable result to stuck out for me.
Congrats to Aryn for a stellar race. Not racing for a few years and pulling off a top 3 in an Expert USAC race is an awesome result!
Congrats to Shawn Schaffert on a 3rd place in a very tough 40-49 Expert class. You were fast as hell through the course.
Congrats to David Moore Jr. For what I think is his first Expert podium in a USAC event with a 5th.
Congrats to Drew Loewenthal (TSB) for a win in sport beginner single speed! Your lap times were great!
Saturday, July 7, 2012
Mark Parmelee - 1st Elite - This is awesome. He beat some big boys, and racing in the heat for a long time is not his strength.
Alex Gonzalez - 3rd place - Best Expert finish to date. And putting TSB on the podium! Way to go!
Brad Lako - 5th place - So far Brad is 5 for 5 in the USAC series for Podium trips! Hell Yeah!
Shawn Schaffert - 4th - Great to see you riding well again.
Don Cameron - 1st - What can I say. DC is un-stoppable!
Kevin Kahl - Well you didn't get on the podium. But you are well on your way! You had a great ride and should be happy with your progress to date.
Aryn Pongratz - No podium for you either. But dude. You kicked ass today. It is all coming back and coming back well for you.
See you all at Bloomer....
Monday, June 11, 2012
Well, the end of my first training peak came to bitter end at Ft Custer Revenge TT this past Sunday. Months of training, prepping, making mistakes, ended with 2 mediorce results, as I came down with a nasty head cold the night before. So its back to gauging and measuring. If I look at the plan by 1 race alone, it ended sucky with things that were out of my control - Can't plan viruses. If I look at it the right way, I had a tremendous amount of success with my plan. And thus have had the best mountain bike season to date. So enough with my "trying to reason", I am ready for round 2. I am smarter and stronger than any year before, and have the carrot just in front of me.
Ft Custer Revenge results
Expert Men 30-39 - 6th (1:02)
Elite Expert Single Speed - 4th (1:05)
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
I got up early packed the car and picked up Brad Lako for the quest North. We headed out early to drop off some fun promotion t-shirts, and Brad was originally going to race in the geared class, but he changed to the single speed class with me later in the day, to try and avoid a potential muddy disaster! So we had plenty of time to kill. As we were chilling gangsta style at the start line next to the car, Brad said why are all those single speed guys lining up! I felt like I had an out of body experience. A fish out of water. Got caught for a crime I did not commit! Complete helplessness. HOW! WHY! UGHH! But it turned out it was the 5 guys not paying attention to the start time. I hope I never go through that again...
We lined up. And I did not know anyone. But there sure was a lot of fit fast looking dudes, and they all looked hungry. I started re-evaluating what position I really wanted to aim for, but that all changed once we started. I got a poor start, but the long section on double track allowed me to work my way up to the top 5 group just behind Brad. I was expecting all out warfare to start. But it felt like I was sitting in on a road race. This is cool I thought. We made it to the top of the 2nd climb, and I looked back and the rest of the field was no where to be found. We gapped'em, and the pace was the same. I did not know the trail or riders so I waited for the 1st moves to come from them. Finally just over half way, the first attack was made by a dude racing for Roll Models. No one reacted. I was in 5th position at this time, and had a hard timing getting the fusion rider and cross country rider ahead of Brad and I. Then a few mins later, Brad attacked and he attacked hard. I thought the others would respond, but nothing. He popped them! So I made my move to get on Brads wheel. I did everything I could to catch him but he was full gas the entire time. I was now sitting in 3rd with an ever growing gap behind and closing in on Brad. We started the 2nd lap and I was within talking distance to Brad. I was feeling great and ready to make my move, and my left hamstring cramped up?! This has never happened. What the hell? I could not get it to release until we started climbing the single track again. By this time Brad was growing his lead again. Finally the cramp went away, and I began to light my matches one by one. Through all the flats and short climbs I was pulling back time on him quickly. I finally made contact and at that time, we both saw we were bringing back the leader. We both surged hard and started to close in. And then, both the top of my quads completely cramped!!! NOOOOO! I had to back off and try to salvage a 3rd. I rode smart and kept checking for the fusion rider and Cross Country Rider to catch me. Nothing until the last 1-2 miles. By now I could barley climb, and relied on all my race experience to not allow my legs to cramp to the point of stopping. I knew I had the last big climb to go and a down hill finish. If I could just get to the top first, I would be OK. As I approached the top, my legs were screaming, but I was first. I tried to descend as fast as I could, and as I got into the last 2 turns before the finish line I heard "inside". I held my line to the tape giving nothing! and then went directly to the other side of the tape holding my line through the last turn and keeping the fusion rider from passing me. I salvaged my 3rd.... But what could I have done if I had never cramped?
Congrats to Brad on one of the best rides I have ever seen him put together. It was awesome to watch and be a part of!. That W is coming. And congrats to Jon W. and Alex G on 2 more great expert race performances!
Next week is my last week of my training plan before CX starts. I am looking to cash in all my chips at Fort Custer. So far my training has went as well as I could ever have hoped for. So I hope it means good things to come in the fall...