Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tulsa Tough 2012

*Today is Wednesday but the weekend before last i went to Tulsa for the Tulsa Tough bike race.

I love Tulsa and i love Tulsa Tough. What a great city and what a great event.

(this trip left me feeling much better than my recent Iowa trip)

All three races are within a few miles of each other so if you get a centrally located hotel (downtown is good) you can ride your bike to each one, no car necessary. Plus it's just fun to be riding around downtown. Plus all three venues are in neat parts of town so hanging out is fun and the crowds are huge. For an ameture racer from Kansas City this is about as big as it gets.

The races...

I'm still a cat 4 so i didnt race on Friday.

Everybodys doing it.

It seems kind of funny to be getting ready on the sidewalk of a busy downtown.

Attention ladies: both of these young men are single.

Start of 1/2 race.

They call this part of Tulsa the Blue Dome District. On my third visit to the race i finally figured out why.

Racing as the sun goes down.

Very front of 1/2 race. I like the look on face mr elbowz.


watching the pro / 1 race.


Saturdays race:

"L" shaped crit with a slight rise in the middle.

This is my 3rd time at Tulsa so i was well aware that lining up in the back was a bad idea. It's by far the biggest race i'll do all year and starting at the back of 100 people is a challenge i didnt want. Thankfully I got a front row spot thanks to a little quick thinking on my part. What was the quick thinking? Well, we were getting lined up and they told us to take a lap so they could get the lead vehicles sorted. everyone starts rolling but i immediately turn off course and double back along the baracades. i find the enterance and walk back on course to see the start line completly empty. so i lined up on the front row as everyone finishes up their lap and rolls in behind me. A perfectly legal move and perfectly bad a** move.

It made a huge difference too. Riding in the top 15 for the first few laps was almost easy.
I rode conservative throughout the race ( i was still thinking about my blow up at the quad cities crit and was determined not to let that happen here) and tried to save as much energy as possible. I did a relatively good job of staying in the front and not working to hard to hold my position. I felt much calmer all weekend than i did on our Iowa trip.

Besides feeling strong and riding towards the front the race was relatively uneventful for me, wtih 1 to go i was sitting around 30th and loving the fact that i was in the mix at the very end. Crits are kind of addictive. It's a rush. We rounded the final corner and i put my hands in the drops and got ouf of the saddle to sprint. I was too far back for a really good finish but i actually passed 3 or 4 people in the sprint (could be the first time thats happened) and finished 23rd.

I was very happy with that.

If i had that race to do all over again i would have attacked on the 2nd to last corner. It's becoming clear to me that opportunities to win are hard to come by so if the race is almost over and you dont feel like death then throw caution to the wind and punch the gas.

p.s. the sound pony (it's a bar) is the bomb. Pictures below.

That me! I don't like gotees but i like spelling them like that.

As you can see my field was stacked but somehow i still managed a top 25.

Post race Shiner, in a can, at the soundpony.... life is good.

Masters race with kc local Tom P on the front.

Inside the Sound Pony. They play good music there.

As the evening goes on the Sound Pony becomes the place to be.

Tulsa Tough... tragically hip.

Pro / 1 race.

People who say roadies aren't fun need to hang out with TCPC, although were not as fun as the INaTub guys... but still pretty good.

Sundays race:

4 corner crit with a big hill, known as crybaby hill. The atmosphere on crybaby hill is hard to describe so here's a video...

Since i felt so good Saturday i was REALLY looking forward to this race. I like to say that climbing is my least worst skill on a bicycle so since this race had a big climb i was excited. Plus i wanted to make up for last years let down, when i was feeling good but a mechanical ended my race.

I didnt feel that great to start off but i recoganized this immediately so i just followed the wheels and waited for the body to warm up. Once again i felt very calm during the race. I guess thats a combination of experience and being comfortable with my surroundings. I've been racing bikes for a while now and i've done this race twice already so i was feeling right at home.

Soon enough the body started to come around and then everything was clicking.

It was important to hit the hill in the right gear and then do a little shifting halfway up. some people suck at shifting. Not me. I'm the Miles Davis of shifting. Other dudes would be crunching gears while i folated by a gave them the jazz hands.
Not even a crash right in front of me on the hill could stop me. They fall but i just improvise and swerve around them while simoltaneously shifting into the small right so i dont lose any momentum. John Coltarne couldnt have played it any cooler.

I was in the zone.

Then... disaster struck.

Some dude crashed me out with about 8 laps to go. My day was ruined. It totally sucked.

He came up and apologized after we both went down. I appreciated the gesture, gave him a fist bump and said "it happens". I was mad but at that point the damage was done plus he didnt do anything particularly stupid (he just had trouble with a wicked turn that gives everyone trouble) so what else was there to say.

It happened on the tricky right hander which is an over 90 degree turn and comes right at the bottom of a steep hill. People crash there everyyear. X crashed there twice last year. Dude was on my inside and braked to hard causign his back wheel to lock up and skid which resulted in him coming into me, i swerved left but hit the guy on my left. Then i hit the deck. In hindsigit i wonder if i overreacted to his skid. i have no close but i'd like to think if it happened again that i could stay upright.

I picked myself up, did a systems check and seemed to be relatively fine. Just scrapes and bruses. Tyler from the Boulevard team was spectating right there so he ran over to help me out. He helped bring me back into the moment and asked if i could keep racing. "Oh yeah" i thought. i can. I rode to the pit but the officials and mechanics seemed to be a little frantic since the group was just about back around and we had to get back in quickly. The official tells me to go so i start pedaling again, only i went to late and the group was already way ahead of me. I mashed the pedals for about 20 seconds as i approach the hill. At this point im pissed and i dont want the race to end like this. Then i turn to go up the hill and the bike starts skipping gears. Apparently I bent my deraillure hanger in the crash and now it's not working. Race over. I dismounted and walked to the top of the hill and got a beer from somebody. My race was done.

I stayed at the top of the hill, drinking my beer and watching the last few laps. A shi**y way to end a race but i can think of worse places to be.

Oh well.

I was down on myself after the Iowa trip but after Tulsa im high on myself. I think i'm getting faster.

i'd also just like to say i had a great time hanging out with the team all weekend. Good people.

Tulsa Tough is the biggest race i've ever done and it keeps getting bigger. Its a must for any serious racer.

So fun, so hard, so awesome.

Guess what time my race started?

Tulsa has a great river front bike bath, including this neat pedestrian bridge.


This one is for the single speed pirate.

The life of Brian during the cat 3 race.

Spencer M on cry baby hill and on his way to winning the cat 3 race. He also won the day before. He's an animal.

David N sitting at the front of the peleton. He went on to finish 7th in the cat 3 race.

Live music on the hill w/ custom stage. This race is legit. Can you see the bass players custom beer holder?  I love it.

This is what you look like immediately after a brutally hard race, i'm not sure what Joe fashions excuse is.

We're all dopers on TCPC.

I told you i didn't' like gotees. Mustash time! (facial hair should never be spelled correctly)

BK in the 1 / 2 race.

The atmosphere on Cry baby hill has gotten a little out of control so in an effort to police themselves and avoid barriers being put up there were 'officials' who were handing out yellow and red cards to offenders. A list of 10 commandments was floating around and if you broke one you got a card.

A red card meant you had to spend time in here. It looked pretty dirty.

Toms' shoes, so hot right now.



Tilford and Jensen leading lap 1 of the Pro / 1 race.

Brad Huff was riding awesome all day. I think he finished 2nd for the overall.

Crybaby hill is like vegas, it's awesome but you can only take so much before you just have to get out. I'm not as young as i used to be.

Podium girls.

Trumpet playing 'official'.

I love this photo. You've got wonder woman offering a bottle hand up and then the great signs in the back ground. I've said it before and i'll say it again... it's hard to take a bad picture on cry baby hill.


That's our crew standing on the sidewalk. Good people.

The breakaway.

The peleton cresting the hill and in full on pain face mode... including J Pow.

I spy a hipster, not that theres anything wrong with that. 

That guy has some nice back / shoulder muscles.

That guy has some nice leg muscles.

One of my favorite photos from the weekend: 2 laps to go and Jensen is on the front trying to catch the break. 

This guy won, out of the break.

Night night.