Thursday, September 15, 2011

Season review

This was my first year racing Master's A/ 35+ Cat3. It was educational to say the least. Learned a lot like racing in February sucks! I had no form and I got murdered! But I found out I could still hold my own in climbing courses and finished mid pack in rolling/flat parcours. I still suck at TT and crits and I vow to continue to work on them both.
So here are the facts:

Callville Bay Classic: Stage 1(RR)- 44th,
Stage 2(TT)- 39
Stage 3(RR)-28th
Stage 4(crit) -pulled
Haystack Mountain TTT- 3rd
Mad Cow Classic RR- 4th
Front Range Classic RR-27th
Deer Trail RR- 23rd
Iron Horse Classic 7th overall
RR- 6th
Rock the River RR- 17th
Dead Dog Classic GC-12th,
Horgan Hill Climb 7th
Porcupine Hill Climb 3rd
Capitol Reef Stage Race 7th on GC
Circuit Race-7th
RR- 5th
Mount Evans Hill Climb 2nd
Salida RR 14th
Lookout Mountain 22nd
UCI World Amateur Qualifier RR- 9th
So there it is. I know what I need to work on and I am coming up with my evil plan for next year.
I wrote a lot of Race reports but didn't publish many because they seamed in hindsight like bitching. I will try and publish more next year.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pain and Discontent.

Mount Evans 2011

This years race seamed to start a little slower than usual, because of the down canyon headwind. It was really easy to sit in but when you went to the front it was really fucking hard. No one wanted to work, not surprising, but frustrating. I've been asked this before and my response is always the same. Question: "why are we going so slow?" response: "get your ass on the front and find out!" I know my willingness to work has fucked me, but I also want to race in a certain way. In my mind how you do something is more important than the outcome. Have some panache, have a little style and go down swinging.(i'll save the rest of this diatribe for another time)

At the hard left turn between 6&7 miles when the course kicks up, I attacked. The field blew up instantly and a lead group of 10 riders was formed. This was my plan from the start. I was to attack fairly early, make the race selective and thin the herd over rest the course. Our breakaway group stayed together and were working somewhat well together, a few were sitting in but they looked as if they weren’t going to be around long. I was at near the back at the feed station near Echo Lake and had slow down to get a bottle the guys on the front attacked. I threw it in the big ring and sprinted to catch back on, I actually had to brake going uphill around the corner right after the ranger station. The group was now 5: me, two guys from CP racing, Cody from Velo-one racing (who I thought would win) and a guy named Gary who I didn’t know. Cody and Gary(who looked like he was suffering) just drilled it right after I had got back on so I had to slowly ramp it back up, one of the guys from CP popped and the other was on my wheel. He tried to talk me into waiting for his team-mate but I wasn’t having it. “I like you guys but I don’t trust you.” I continued to lift the pace riding away from the remnants of our breakaway group. I kept the leaders in site at about a 30-40 sec gap.

After tree line I could see the gap was coming down at least to Cody, I had problems picking Gary out of the field fodder from the other groups(dammed Grey kit). When I caught Cody with less than ten miles to go I was starting to cramp, but I respect a man of his talents so I put in a bit of an effort, he held on for a minute but he popped off right after my next little serge.

I kept thinking I saw Gary up the road but when I would catch that rider it wouldn’t be him. So I kept pushing on. The wind was making the top interesting in the switch backs, block head to beautiful tailwind. With about a mile to go my legs were cramping horribly, at 1 KM to go I had to stand just to keep turning them over. I stood most of the way near the end. Not dancing on the peddles more like pulling my feet out of deep mud. I’m sure it wasn’t pretty to witness. I did everything I could to maintain my pace, I just kept telling myself not to slow down. The dialog in my head was nothing but venom spiked anger directed at yours truly (Hypoxia and lactic acid are a cocktail not suited for everyone's pallet.). I crossed the line in 2nd. A couple of minutes later 3rd place rolled in looking about like I felt. I love the climb, I love the race, but I am surprised how decimated It leaves you. 24 hours later and I still feel altered.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Iron Horse

Iron Horse RR:

This is the last year I do Iron Horse. I love the course but hate the event, I feel the same about LOTAJO. The fucking citizen riders ruin the event for me. The mixing of categories doesn’t help my disposition towards the event. That said here is how the day went down:

My group took off on the false flat out of Durango this part of the race is weird guys are twitchy but the pace is civilized because no one wants to burn any matches. So the first ten miles should have been uneventful but you mix traffic furniture and earlybird citizen riders and it becomes more than slightly stressful. At one point the pelaton is passing a citizen and he swerves into us causing people to swerve, smoke their brakes wheels crossed the guy behind me hit my rear wheel and went down. I never looked back! (later I found that I had burned a 3” strip down to the threads on my rear wheel)

After that excitement I started moving up to the front for the start of the first climb. Going into this race I told my self I didn’t give a fuck about results just wanted to be aggressive and race my bike. I did not want to be a passenger I was going to bring the race to the group. At the start of the small rollers I was on the front dictating pace and that is where I lived all the way to the ski resort. A couple of other guys would pull through but most would feel the mind on their face and quickly find a place to hide. This started frustrating me but I remembered my thinking going into this and my mood improved. By the time we got to the ski resort our group was down to less than 25 guys out of the 150 starters.

After a short descent we started climbing Coal Bank pass. Right at the first kick upwards we caught the 4/5 main group which had mixed with the pro women. Guys attacked making which wheel to follow very confusing, so I just drilled it hoping for the best. I found myself in a small group of less than ten guys and we stayed together for a short time up Coal Bank. About half way up the climb a guy from my group attacked I covered it and countered attacked half our little group matched my move. A guy from another team drilled it right after that I followed again but didn’t have the answer when his teammate drilled it shortly thereafter. With about than 2 miles left till the summit of Coal Bank 3 were up the road 1 guy in between me and the leaders and then me and a guy named Mike who had also done some of the donkey work early on in the race. We went
over the top of Coal Bank in this order.

Mike and I raced up Molas Pass trying to shed one another and slowing trying to close the gap to 4th place. I put in a hard dig 1km to the finish and just barely off the 4th place wheel. The descent off of Molas is one of the fastest twistiest things ever, I reminded my self of the plan and tried to shut off my brain and just go for it down the 50+mph descent. I maintained line of site on 4th place but he was prying open a gap on me. At the bottom I Knew the gap was unbridgeable, but I drilled it up the false flat drag into Silverton and with 1km to go my left quad started to cramp and I felt like I was peddling squares. I crossed the line in 5th.
After the race a fellow competitor looked at my rear tire and noted it looked a little rough. I was more than a little pissed and freaked out, I could believed it held but also pissed because of some citizen I could have died if that tire would hace let go on one of the descents. I guess sometimes it pays to be lucky.

* Note: I went to bed in 5th place woke up and for some reason I was in 6th. I don't know what happened but it sucks. Last night I went to the 40th anniversary party for the Iron Horse Classic
it was cool to is the classic bikes and the old pics of the racers. The party made me realize this was once a great race not just some glorified fun ride. I know real racers still race, but i fear my sport is becoming a watered down parody of itself.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Front Range Classic

What a brutal fucking day! According to the wind was blowing out of the north/west 35 mph with gusts up to 60 mph at USAFA. The was the course sits meant every climb was into a gale force head wind. My group did 4 laps of the "worlds course" for a total of 54 miles with 4000'+ of elevation gain.Normally the course at AFA suits me well and I really like it but today was not a day for the climbers it was a day for smart well placed rouleurs.
The day started off tough I felt like I was always on the wrong side of the pelaton spending to much energy in the wind. Our group was riding hard and with the crazy wind the day was only going to get harder. My teammate Wade was looking good riding towards the front but always protected from the wind, he just looked perfectly positioned in the group. I found myself this I wishing I was where he was at and thinking i am riding like an idiot. I figured if I kept riding like this it would be a very short day. At the start of the first climb I went to the front as a show of force, Fucking Hell! I rode near/on the front through out the first climb. I figured we might shed the field down some then I would rest the second lap and then ride the last 2 laps for Wade. My thinking was that with the wind the course now suited a strong all a rounder better than pure climbers.
At the base of the long climb on the second lap I looked around to find Wade to tell him I was going to hide this lap then ride for him but I couldn't find him in our ever shrinking group. So I sat in and tried to conserve.
On the third lap there was a bunch of attacks but I didn't go with any because my plan had change to go all out on the last lap so I was still in conservation mode and I figured our group was working well enough to bring back any breakaway. A small group did get a gap but it looked more than manageable. I know when you have to draft going up hill it will never be a good day for me, and on a steep section near the top of the climb the guy in front of me let a gap open and with the wind I could not close it as the group went over the top of the hill.
I was now riding solo trying to close the unclosable, on the flat a small group caught me, but I shed most of them on the climb as we caught more remains from the group. Three of us sprinted on the final short up hill finish more for fun than for any real glory.
I didn't stick around for results, I just felt beat up!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Mad Cow Classic

I raced the Mad Cow Classic in Grand Junction today, the threat of crappy weather kept a lot of folks at home and it seemed like a GJ locals only affair.
I like the course a lot. It is a lollipop shaped deal. You ride out about 8 miles then do multiple laps and round a 12 mile circuit. The climbs are steep and punchy and in general just a fun ride.
Our field was small and was whittled down even smaller on the climb out to the circuit, a guy attacked shortly after the climb but no one reacted and there was 4 riders from one team so I figured they knew him and didn't consider him a threat. Later I did find out they did know him and just didn't want to do the work I guess this guy was an Iron-man finisher and also the winner of today's race. After the first lap I knew I wasn't going to win but I still wanted to shake the rest of these guys but it was the 4 guys from the team vs me and two others. You could say the race was very tactical but it was more like an exercise in frustration, cat and mousing followed by crazing fast pace lining then more cat and mousing! This pattern continued all race long. On the second lap we caught another rider from their team from a different group so now it was 5 against 3, complete fucking BullShit! This fucking guy started setting tempo and totally interfered with the outcome of the race. On the Last climb of the circuit I attacked dragging two with me one from the "team" and an independent.We got away and stayed away till the end but the guy from the "team" wouldn't help. After a short descent right before a short little climb I found myself in the wrong gear at the worst possible time and a gap opened that I could not close with the head wind so I TT the last few miles in for 4th place.
Side note Laura race with the Cat 4 men and finished 4th overall and 1st woman.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

OWTH pic from feb, 18th

Off with their Heads @ the black Sheep in Colorado Springs with The Gamits. Great fucking show! I know I should have posted this earlier but I suck at updating this shit. Plus; More Punk Rock less BullShit!

Callville Classic Crit

Today was my first crit race in a long time. I don’t really enjoy crits, I find them to be really stressful, and in general I just suck at them. For every crit I do OK in I get totally shelled in 5 of them.
Today I was pulled by the race referee just before I was going to be lapped by the field. It was a complete hammer fest, and I was most definitely the nail today. For the first 3 laps our speed rarely dropped below 30mph, and I was spinning out of my biggest gear on the short descent. On the start of the forth lap I was totally eating my stem, feeling doomed, Yo-Yoing off the back and I popped! I wanted to chase back on but the legs were having non of it. I didn't have any accelerations left in them.
It is always depressing to get pulled by the official, but there was nothing left to prove.
I have to remember it is February and I have just finished building by base, and yesterday’s stage showed me the engine is built, I just need to start tuning it. This weekend was a huge step in the right direction. Doesn’t mean that I am not disappointed with today’s performance. I know what I need to work on and the season is long.

Callville Classic Day 3

Today’s race was a classic spring classic race, rolling climbs, crazy wind, and pissing rain. The race started hard and fast with the first climb, but the pace eased up when no one got away. This ebb and flow would be the theme of the day, I don’t think anyone had the legs to make an attack stick. The wet, cold, and wind took the fight out of a lot of folks.
A guy went down right in front of me and in my effort to avoid him I went skidding into oncoming traffic almost getting ran over by a gold Saturn. I regrouped and chased but the pelaton was going full gas. I sat up waited for a few victims from crash and we chased to no avail. The rest of the day was more of the same; chase and catch the victims of the day.
I have a feeling many people abandoned do to the weather, but not this fool. I was colder than I have been in a long time, but I came for the hard, and I got it. The last 20 miles no one wanted to work, they just wanted to survive, I didn’t give a shit and their weakness made my moral improve, so I road at the front the lions share. The rain let up with about 7 miles to go and my spirit improved more. The sun was shining when we crossed the line. I felt that I had good legs today but a little shit luck, but thats bike racing!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Callville Classic Time Trial

Today's stage was a short TT more like a prologue than an actual TT. The course climbed 800+ feet in about 3.5 miles not supper steep but considering it had a couple of descents it was a challenging course. The thing that made today interesting was the 35+ mph tailwind. The choice of bikes was critical and I made the wrong choice. A TT bike with a solid disc wheel would have been the right choice, but on bad advice from the race director I went with my normal road bike (would have been a good choice on a calm day). All the fastest guys in my group were on their TT bikes, if fact the guy that won my class today would have also won in the Pro category.
Recover tonight and get ready for tomorrow's 70 mile fun. Hope it doesn't piss down rain.

Callville Suckfest Day 1

Yesterday’s race from start to finish was a complete suckfest! The race started with a short 4 mile climb that was supposed to be neutral, but without a follow car we road it hard! I was at threshold most of the little climb. After the “neutral” section we made a left turn into a cross head wind (35+mph Gusts with 20+sustained according to the weather channel) and the hammer fell. I have never road that fast in a road race not to mention into the wind. I was on the wrong side of the group and I knew I had to get to the other side of the pelaton to get out of the wind. So I floated to the back to try to get to the other side of the group. Not smart! Someone attacked off the front group and I had to chase back on. this scenario repeated several more times and I was dropped off the back. A few minutes later I joined a few others that had been dropped and we chased but didn’t work very well together. With about 10 miles to go we were all on our own. I took it easy the rest of the way in, conserving to fight another day.