So i'm getting married on Friday. It's pretty exciting, and overwhelming.
I actually dont think the upcoming wedding was the reason for my poor performance, or at least not initially. Everythign leading up to my race on Saturday was good. Ate well, warmed up well, mood was good... but as soon as the whistle blew it felt different. I wasent into it. A big part of that was that i felt bad from the get go. i couldnt even get on the wheel of the dude right in front of me on the first pass thru the start finish. He was right there but i couldnt do anything about it. I tried for another lap but then sat up and after another half lap i quit.
right before i sat up i started thinking about wedding stuff, not so much all the stuff we still have to do but more how it would justify my quitting. "i've got a wedding in 6 days so i dont need to be messing with this crap".
So i quit. It sucked.
I skipped day 2 in order to clean the house.
So thats it until the Heartland Park race in Topeka, followed by Jinglecross.
I'll be taking around 15 days off the bicycle for the wedding / honeymoon and looking at the calendar i see i have 11 days to train once we get back in town. I'm already slow and i'll be really slow upon my return and 11 days is not a lot of time to get faster before doing the cat 2 races at Jinglecross. Considering my current fitness level i'd say i can do very little with 11 days. I'm hoping to run everyother day on the honeymoon. Some people think thats crazy but i like running and running on vacation can be a lot of fun. That said we'll see if i actually follow thru with it.
Maybe i can do two a day workouts upon my return. Maybe.
Or maybe i'll just go to Jinglecross and have fun regardless.
Unless i come back from the Honeymoon extremely motivated i think this cross season is already as good as it's going to get and because of that the 2013 road seasome has already started creeping into my mind.
Last Sunday we had another great local cross race, i love it here.
The good news... i felt good during this race.
I had some acceleration out of corners.
i had some top end speed where i could keep shifting into harder gears, and at the end of the race too.
i dug deep and kept my head up
The bad news... this was only good for 14th out of 16.
My 'good' is worse than about 90% of the rest of the open fields 'good'. I'm wondering if im slower than at this time last year. I think it's close. Nothing to worry about though, strikes and gutters, baby.
Now on to the race...
My start was descent and i glanced up to see Micah take the whols shot. impressive. After a lap or so we all settle in and I find myself in a group of 4. "sweet!" in thinking. This could be fun. However Four quickly turn into Two as Pot Pie and Tyler drop Matt and I. Quick side note: Pot pie missed the 3's race so he raced open and raced pretty well. I had a feeling he was stronger than me. i'm looking for a re-match.
So i rode with Matt for the last 2/3 of the race. Ty and Pot pie were never too far ahead and one point i thought we could catch Ty, but it never happened. Matt and i kind of worked together but not really. It took me asking him to get him to pull thru but after that he was willing. We had no flow. He seemed to pull slow when i was strong and fast when i was struggling.
With two to go i struggled to close a small gap he had opened but i always managed to close it down on the strait sections. Despite being close to last place it was a lot of fun to ride with someone.
With one lap to go i decided to try and drop him so i hit it hard after the barriers (The ones you had to run) i went almost full gas for about two minutes (it was nice that i could do that, hit it hard at the end of a long race instead of running out of gas) but Matt wasent going anywhere. Maybe i wasent hitting it as hard as i thought. I sat up and waited for the finishing sprint.
Except that finishing sprint never came. im a total moron and grossly underestimated the distance to the line and Matt beat me easily. He probably wondered why i started soft pedaling so close to the line. I wanted to force him to lead out, which i did, but this turned out to be a horrible finish for that tactic. Lesson learned, pay attention to where the finish line is.
Still, it was another fun day on the cross bike. As long as i feel good i can have a fun time racing, even if im close to last theres something satisfying and enjoyable about being able to push your body to the limit and then maintain that for longer than you thought possible.
One more weekend of racing for me before taking two weekends off for the Wedding and honeymoon. I'm going to have my own little blood doping training block on the small and secluded island of Moorea. Dr. Ferrari has laid out the whole week and his methods are so good it makes no difference that the only bikes available to train upon will be rusted cruisers build during the kennedy administration. I'll be dishing up some serious pain upon my return.
There was cross racing this weekend. Saturday and Sunday in Lawrence, KS. New Venue. I love Lawrence.
Saturday, well, i dont remember that much. I do remember realizing almost immediately that i couldn't pedal nearly as fast as just about everyone else and that just about every technical section was giving me problems. It was a bad day but i kept fighting till the end. It was cold, i didnt warm up properly, that was part of the problem. Last year, as a 3, warming up wasent as crucial becasue i was strong enough to get thru it. My results probably suffered a bit for that but for the most part i was still at or near the front of the race. This year i dont have that luxury, which is a bummer because it takes some of the fun out of the day. Instead of chatting and watching races i need to be warming up. I'm still working on perfecting my pre-race routine.
I rode around in circles for an hour and finished near the back, but i was smiling.
X also raced today. Not counting her mechanical induced half lap at last weekends boss cross 1 this was her first cross race. She did great especially considering shes been knee deep in wedding planning over the last few weeks and months. Her finishing place was just okay but also a bit decieving, she was in the mix up until the very end and the time gaps were small. She hasent been riding much and i know if shes racing she wants to win but considering thats just not in the cards right now shes doing a great job of coming out and having fun.
When we got home Tuna the cat was in the wall. We rescued him.
Sunday i felt way better and had a lot more fun. Yesterday was fun too, i managed to keep a good attitude despite feeling so sluggish (it helped to have X cheering me on) but I find it much easier to have fun when you feel you've got the power to do what you want on a bicycle. However everyone else seemed to have much more power than me. It was kind of like Jingle Cross last year where i felt really strong but my results were just so so, everyone else was just stronger.
I had a front row starting spot both days and although i warmed up better for Sundays race it still wasent ideal, after 1 minute of pedaling i was in the back... but i was doing a better job of going fast. The first few minutes were really fun as i was able to push hard but stay within myself, keep my head up, and make good decisions. Today i did a much better job of scouting out the course (another aspect thats become more important when racing in the open) and it helped. there is still room for improvement in both the warming up department and the course recon department but im getting better at it. I was riding the short barriers pretty well and taking better lines than yesterday. Yesterday i just had no balance, today was much better.
As the race goes on i have two guys in my sights. Summers and another dude i didn't recoganize. I catch and pass both but the dude catches back up to me with 1/3 of a lap left. i think i was losing energy towards the end of the race. Thats opposite of how i usually ride. He passed me over the tall barriers and then created a small gap on me thru the twisty section before the long fast sidewalk section. But, for a few seconds thru the twistys i was really racing someone. Not someone 15 seconds in front or behind me but someone right in front of me. That was fun. Once we hit the sidewalk it was all over, he had two seconds plus a double chain ring for the fast downhill, i was spun out in my single chainring. He beat me, but it was fun. If i was thinking i would have given it my all to stay in front of him all the way to the sidewalk, that might have made it harder for him use hit double to such an advantage.
I'm wondering if Last Sundays boss cross race was the anomolie. It was the biggest (and strongest?) field yet and i had my best result including not beign lapped. This weekend i was lapped both days and the results were not good. It's something to think about, but only briefly. I'll just keep doing my thing, observing whats happening, thinking about what works and what dosent, and having fun trying to figure it out.
Bicycles are the coolest.
(i forgot my camera today so thanks to Roger for these pic's)
This past weekend we had days 1 and 2 of Boss Cross. The longest running cyclo-cross series in Kansas City. Being that i won the cat 3 overall last year and with it the most amazing cycling jersey ever created, i have a fond place in my heart for Boss Cross... so i was looking forward to the weekend.
Spoiler alert: One day was awful and the other was good.
Day 1 (Saturday)
Today sucked. That's really all that needs to be said... but i'll say a little more anyway. Maybe 15 of us lined up for the open race and i got a front row spot thanks in part to last years aforementioned awesome leaders jersey, which i was wearing. They say go and i go, and i go pretty good. After maybe thirty seconds i was sitting 4th or 5th and thinking 'this isn't so bad'.
After another 3 minutes it was pretty bad. I started too fast and began to pay for it. I recovered after a few laps but pretty soon i hit a wall and died a long and painful death. with 2 laps to go i was soft pedaling the rest of the way. I was completely out of gas. I finished last. Upon finishing i rode almost immediately to the car and ate my sandwich and drank a coke. It tasted amazing.
So today sucked but i learned a lot. In a weird way it was a good experience.
X's day was even worse. This was her first cross race of the year and she broke her derailluer hanger on the first lap. I didnt witness it but i heard she tossed her bike to the side and just walked off, leaving it there for about a half hour.
Not a good day for the future husband and wife due.
Day 2 (Sunday)
As i was soft pedaling during yesterdays race i was thinking about today. I just knew it would be much better. How could it be worse?
I rolled up to the line to see a good sized field, bigger than yesterday. Then a few more rolled up and it became apparent we had a huge field. 25 folks! In my somewhat limited experience thats a massive field for an open race in KC.
Plus the field was pretty strong. J Schmalz, M Savery, J Winkler, A Coe. Maybe C Buta should be in that sentence, too. It was going to be a fast race.
I didn't get to pre-ride but my pal Justin gave me a great tip about one of the two sand sections. It was the one that came 20 seconds after the start and he told me it was hard to ride because the grass ramps up right before it so if your not careful you end up coming into the sand with all the weight you your front wheel. He was absolutely right... have you've seen any of the video out on the net right now?
I was practically last coming into this sand section but i was prepared and got lucky because i choose the good side. Just like picking the wrong line at the supermarket everyone on the right half got caught behind somebody so i came out of the sand in around 15th.
The barriers were almost as exciting as the sand. They were set up so that you could come at them fast. I love that and I'd love to see some video of it because several times i was almost out of control. I always kept it together but my feet could barely keep up. It wasn't graceful but i think it was fast.
So the race goes on and after a while i realize there a several guys ahead of me and several guys behind me, which meant the end of the race was going to be as fun as the beginning. I was doing well thru the barriers and the sand and felt i had a good flow thru the course. Racing for an hour really allows you to get a good feel. Bigger gears become easier to turn over as the race went on and i passed a few guys.
Plus i didn't get lapped, which seems like a worthy victory for a slow cat 4 road racer doing open cross races agains guys racing for Bissell next year. (editors note: i'm going to milk that for all it's worth, racing agains professionals that is.)
In the end i finished 16th out of 25.
That result was a big confidence booster for the rest of the season. After 4 races in the open field i'm not completely overmatched and therefore im not completely depressed. Which is nice.
It's easy to say this after a good race but it's great to be a part of the KC cross scene. It's full of so many good people and i feel lucky to be a part of it.