Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tour of Lawrence Circuit Race

Cat 4

This is one of my favorite races. Last year i had my best finish ever, i stayed with the front group until the final climb of the race and i finished 15th. I'm not as strong as i was last year so on the drive to lawrence i told myself not to blow up trying to stay at the front and just do what i could but nothing more.

Our race was 5 laps. 5 very hilly laps. They changed the course due to construction and took out almost all the flat parts.

At the end of the first lap i knew i would get dropped. I lost contact as we crested the final climb on the 2nd lap. The ensuing downhill was all headwind so i had no chance of catching back up.

I kept a good mental state thru all this and pretty soon joined up with 2 others, then 2 more. We rode around in a not so smooth rotation and i eventually crossed the line in 25th. Despite getting dropped is was a lot of fun. hooking up with the other riders made it much more enjoyable. Plus there were plenty of fast corners to spice things up.

It's a little weird to be slower than i was last year. This is really the first time thats happened. I was so bad when i started racing in 2009 that there was no where to go but up. Now i think i've reached a point where i need to train more, or better, or both.

Lawrence Crit race is today!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Tour of KC

No cat 4 race on Friday so i raced Saturday and Sunday.

Both days were brutally hot and humid, although the sun was behind a cloud on Sunday.

The Tuesday prior i had a great ride with Pot Pie. Went for around 2.5 hrs and i felt like i could sprint out of the saddle the entire ride. Took Wednesday off, rode very slow for 45 min on Thursday and sat on the couch Friday. Showed up kind of late to the race on Saturday and then lined up in the back. Couldn't get clipped in and then was really at the back. Not the ideal race prep.

we had about 50 riders and the course is hard. Not a big rectangle where you can just sit in and assume you will stay with the main group.

On lap 3 or 4 i looked up and about 10 of the guys in front of me were in various stages of being dropped. It was a scary sight. i jumped around to try and catch back up with the group but it was tough going. i dont have much strength plus the longest strait section of the course was a head wind. Shawn from Big D helped  and together the two of us almost made it back, as in we were about 25 meters away... then i blew up. Then i quit. i raced for 13 minutes. I should of kept racing but i was pissed.

Pot Pie had an amazing race and took 3rd. I believe thats his best finish on a road bike. Two other guys were off the front solo and his group that sprinted for 3rd was only about 8 guys.

Hard course.


Got in a much better warm up today. only 35 minutes but it was a quality 35 minutes, plus i knew my effort yesterday, however short, would help me be ready for today.

I started towards the back but as soon as we went i started moving up. i was feeling good right away. A good warm up is key for me. For the last half of the race i was never outside the top 25 and usually in the top 15. That was good because the race was sketchy. with 2 to go i was 2nd wheel but starting to get a little winded. Everyone jammed the first turn on the last lap but i got thru fast around the outside and was sitting about 5th. Then on the back side i didn't have the extra gear necessary and went from 5th to 24th by the time i crossed the finish line.

That seems to be my story this year. I'm a 4 speed in a 5 speed race.

Still time to change it, though.

X took 2nd in the 3/4 race on Sunday. She pretty much sprinted for the last 1/2 lap to catch the solo girl who had been in second. It was good catch a glimpse of the old X back in action.

good weekend

"It's a think piece...

...about a mid level band struggling with their own limitations in the harsh face of stardom."

As said by Philip Seymour Hoffman playing Lester Bangs in the movie Almost Famous.

I feel like this quote describes me and my bike racing career, except im not in a band, im a mid level cat 4 racer. And im certainly not facing stardom. You get the idea.

See you at Tour of Lawrence!

"Do you take drugs?"


"Smart Kid."

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Tulsa Tough

Raced cat 4 on Saturday and Sunday.

Had a blast.

Day 1.

This is my 5th year of racing but i've probably raced less so far this year than any other year except my first. X and i started looking for a house in Feb and we bought one in May and moved in shortly there after. That takes up a lot of time.

But i've been determined to ride throughout all that.

I will ride my bike.

And thank god for that because when the race official mentioned, as i was on the start line for Saturdays race, that we would be racing for 55 minutes... i did a double take. 55 minutes!?!? That's long for a cat 4 crit. Plus there are a 100 guys in this race.

I was worried but in the back of my mind i knew i had been riding consistently since Jan 1. That has to count for something. Plus, and this has turned into a big plus recently, i've gotten a lot smarter at racing. I still make stupid mistakes but less frequently.

Perhaps the smartest thing i did all day was line up on the front row. They were forcing all 100 riders to stage and enter the course thru one gate about 3 ft wide. Instead of doing that i lifted my bike over the barrier then hopped over. It worked and i easily rolled to the front row.

I felt like crap all race and knew the most i could hope for was a pack finish. I almost quit around minute 25 but felt a little better after i got thru that bad spell. Later a crash forced me to hop the curb and ride the grass for a second and that really winded me. All race i was totally focused on being out of the wind and riding as smoothly as possible. i never put in any effort that i didn't have to. Not glamorous but it's what i had to do. A few times a gap would open up but i just kept it steady, hoping the group would slow or i could use a corner to catch bath on. That was kind of fun, trying to keep it just under the red but clawing for every last bit.

With one lap to go i got dropped. maybe i could have really pushed and finished with the group but i was at the very end of the pack and was already satisfied with my race. plus i personally witnessed three crashes and i didn't want anything to do with that.

finished 42nd, 42 seconds behind the winner.

drank some beers at the sound pony, great spot.

Day 2

got a 2nd row starting spot but took forever to clip in and was at least halfway down as we hit the hill. i'll blame that on new pedals. Proceeded to pass guys every time up the hill and slowly improve my positioning throughout the race. i was climbing pretty well. Missing that pedal was killer because the acceleration around the last corner was hard and im sure it was much easier up front. At one point i crested the hill just in front of Pot Pie, that was reassuring since he is riding way stronger than me.

climbing is my least worst cycling skill and it was on full display today.

A quick note on climbing cry baby hill: it's totally awesome. Even though we're slow cat 4's there is still a decent crowd, music blaring, water spraying, people yelling.... it's unlike any other climb (or race) I've ever done. And you do the climb like 15 times! Just thinking about it now puts a smile on my face. I had a bunch of folks cheering for me, that helps.

With 3 laps to go i was sitting around 20th and feeling okay. Then on the last lap i made a stupid mistake and let a gap open up as we approached the hill. I decided to drop both my bottles for weight (one was an insulated bottle filled with ice water that i was pouring on my neck every lap, felt great) and i was too casual about it because thats when the gap opened up. I hit the hill fast and tried to big ring the whole thing to make up for it but i kind of blew up at the top and lost any chance of catching the back end of the pack. i bet a lot of folks big ring the whole thing but at the moment im a spinner, not a masher. I did out sprint two dudes who took a horrible line around the final corner but also got out sprinted by another straggler at the line.

Finished 29th. 12 seconds behind the leaders.

This was my 4th attempt at this race and my first finish.

Tulsa tough is very very fun.