Sunday, April 29, 2012

Pontiac Lake "Classic" TT

The races are rolling now. Seems like I have been racing every week, and will be for a few more. And I love it! Done some new stuff, some old stuff, some dry stuff, cold stuff and some rainy stuff! Almost like I have done an entire season already. But when it comes to Pontiac Lake, I know that my racing season is on. Today was a beautiful April day for racing. And the trail was in mid August shape. Dry and bumpy as hell. Leading up to the race, I had been struggling with a few issues that I was not sure would slow my progress down. I seem to have gotten a handle on them, so I am back on the wagon with my plan (thanks to all who have helped thus far, you know who you are).

Going into the race, I had a really hard week of training but the legs felt good. It's amazing how you learn what your body tells you over the years through racing and training experience. And today I kind of knew this would be a good day. I got to see all the old cycling friends from over the years and spent a considerable amount of time chatting before warming up. But we finally were called to the line and soon as you knew it, we were off. I had a really good jump off the line and buried it as much as I could for as long as I could. My single track skills felt razor sharp, and all the hills did not seem to bad. Thanks in part to the 15+ lbs I recently lost. As I cruised through lap 1 I knew I was feeling good and just wanted to push harder and harder. I was happy to know that as I went AC, it was short and I could recover from it within seconds. I climbed the last hill, and big ringed it through the long straight and grass section. Looked down at my clock and saw I went sub 41 mins! I was having a good day and felt just as strong starting my 2nd lap. I pushed as hard as I could and tried to keep pedaling as much as possible. then the Don Cameron train came by at the 1/2 way point of the lap, so I latched on for about 5 mins. This helped pull me a long, and re-establish a harder pace. Up the final climb, and I buried myself into the red zone in the final straight. My 2nd lap was a 42 min lap and only about 20 seconds different from my first! This was good enough for a solid 3rd place in Expert Men 30-39. My first ever expert podium at Pontiac Lake. My last one was in sport in 2008. So I was extremely happy.

I also did the single speed race and knocked out another 42 min lap. I just missed the podium for 5th by 7 seconds. But this is by far the fastest lap I have done on a SS to date. So again, very happy.

Lots of good results today. Brad Lako nailed a solid 2nd. Kim Luks beat half the men's expert classes with a win in elite women. Mark P. took an awesome win in elite men, and then the win in the single speed class. Tom Payne had a stellar lap on the single speed taking 2nd. Dan K. cracked the elite podium with 5th! DC was a diesel engine as usual with a 1st in his class. The list could go on and on... but I do want to give credit to all the TSB folks that showed up and raced today! There were some great rides, and a lot of podiums that went home with us.

Finally, a few of you may know that my Dad had a serious home accident in mid January that resulted in a severe traumatic brain injury. He is doing really well now, and getting better each day. I know he really wants to go and be apart of the races again so look for him soon. But back in January, there was a lot of uncertainty of what was going to happen to him, and how long it would be before we got him home, or if he was ever going to come home. I set a goal for him to be healthy enough to be able to go to Pontiac Lake and watch the race, and I made a goal for myself to try like hell to get on the podium for him this day. Although he did not make it out to the race today, he is health enough to make out again and move around on his own with just a little help. But my trip to the podium today was for my dad. Because he lived up to his goal, I feel much better knowing I lived up to mine. I Love you both Mom and Dad, and am very fortunate I have you both!

Next stop Cone-Azailia Road Race...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Yankee... Check point

Yankee is by far one of the best trails in the state, and its only fitting that it is the season opener for most of us to the mountain bike season. I guess it's kind of like the Daytona 500 to all the NASCAR freaks out there. So with the first race, it's always the check point and first test for everyone. Everyone being friendly but eyeing each other up to see who has it, and who is still trying to put it together. Its a test that means a lot, but at the same time really don't mean much with a long season ahead. But it's still a race none the less, and there has to be a winner, a loser, and everything in between. Thank God the season is finally here! But in short this is where I am at and Yankee was a check point.

Thinking, pondering... things to figure out.... Things going well, and a few on the verge of falling apart. Personal best 1 lap. Personal best 2 laps and overall time on Single speed.... Only good enough for 12th!.... Everyone is on there game it appears for this season... just look at the results. time to focus.

It appears that this is going to be a fun and very interesting year on the mountain biking scene. Maybe one of the best in recent years... Time will tell. There is a lot of work to be done. The PLRA TT is next....

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Just Keep Going.... P2A Epic!

After many years of being on the fence, I finally did the Canadian Spring Classic, Paris to Ancaster near Hamilton, ON. And to make it even better, I convinced a few other TSB team mates to go along for the ride. So early in the morning we loaded Todd Power's truck up with bikes and gear and headed to the 51st state (just kidding) for an all out "adventure into the unknown". This made it rather exciting, let alone knowing that we would be racing against 1000+ people. And we were not disappointed! The race is very quirky. And during the spring, when the race is traditionally held, anything can go... And go it did. Right before the race started the sky opened up and let loose. And what followed for the rest of the day was nothing short but epic.

The course is 60 K long (37.3) and starts out tame on some paved sections, flat dirt roads, and smooth rail trails. Then it happens. It kicks up a bit on a tractor trail with fist size rocks. Bottle neck, mud, and running. Then for the rest of the race, its into the small slivers of ankle deep muddy single track. Slick muddy 2 track trails, and some nice size rollers. Then the fun begins. Steep cinder block strewn downhill mud chutes. Freshly plowed corn field, peoples driveways and front yards, and a drainage ditch. And if that's not enough, you climb up the 3/4 mile + 11 % grade Martin Road to the finish line. So with the rain on top of all this, it was a challenge to say the least.

I was feeling like a rock star at the start. But was near the back of the starting grid in wave 1. So I had my work cut out for me. I went LT right from the start and made up some huge ground. As I kept going, I was bridging gaps to several groups one by one. Things were going well despite all the mud in my eyes and mouth, but this is racing so it didn't seem to phase me. The we hit the single track sections. One right after each other, and the mud got thicker, deeper, and clung to every thing weighing the bikes and riders down. I pushed as hard as I could to maintain my position. Then about an 1:15 into the race I realized I may have lit too many matches in the early mud, and had to back off on my pace because I could feel the beginning of cramps forming. This sucked! I was doing everything I came to do, but the conditions were starting to get the best of me. From here I played it smart and tired to salvage the best time and result I could. I ran when i had too, rode as hard as I could, and drafted every wheel I could come in contact to. I was feeling a little better toward the end, but knew I had to maintain. When We got to Martin Road, I gave it all I had. Near the top and the steepest grade, there were people lined up and cheering like crazy. All my body wanted to do was stop and walk, but I was too proud to walk with all those people watching, and determined to make it all the way. My heart rate was peaking into the 190 range by now, and the top of my quads were knotting up like crazy, but I fought through. Came across the line in 2:18:38. This was good enough for 38th out of 284 in my age group (Men 30-39) and 138 overall out of 1307! I tried to set some goals going into this race, even though I never done it before. I wanted to get top 30 in my age group, but fell just short. But considering the conditions, I am very happy with the result, and plan to be back next year for sure!

Great job to my TSB Team mates Todd, Jay, and Pat on the race and for making this a great day trip! And congrats to all the other Miscene'ers Adam, Clint, Mike, Jay, Shaun, and a few others. You all represented all of us well.

The next few weeks will be busy racing, as I take on Yankee, Pontiac Lake, and throw my hat in the ring for the first time at Cone...