My sleddogs

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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Last and first race of the season.....

It was a busy weekend for me. I had to work on Friday so I didn't make it back to St. Louis. It also helped that there was a dryland dogsled race yesterday. The Missouri State CX championships was today as well as the Illinois State race here in Chicago. I decided to just stay put and do my/our first dog race and then do the Illinois state race today. I was a little disappointed I couldn't improve on my 2nd place finish in the Masters race from last year.

Todays race was at Montrose Harbor, right on the lakefront. I wasn't really feeling it, my motivation to race has been a little low. I don't know if it's the commuting, the weather, or maybe because dogsled season is around the corner. To make matters worse, I knew I wouldn't get a good start position so the thought of starting in the last row was a real downer. I think staging was done in order of Chicago Cross Cup points, then Crossresults.com points. I figured at least I could get into the mddile of the pack. The next thing to figure out was which race to do, the 40+ masters or the CAT 3. The promoter emailed me stating there were only 55 preregistered in 40+, 85 in CAT 3. 40+ it was.

40+ was the first race, 8:45. I got up around 3:45 and started to work on my bike. I hadn't done anything with it since the Mt. Pleasant Winery bloodbath. I cleaned it up, tweaked the brakes, and cleaned the mud out of the right shifter. I got all packed up, made it Starbucks, and then headed out. For somebody who doesn't usually register until the last minute I actually made it there before registration even opened. I love when the preregistered line has 20 dudes in it and the day of line has nobody in it. I signed up and rode two laps. I got 1.43 miles per lap. The race had a nice mix of features. a couple sand pits, some twists and turns, and then a nice little climb straight into a headwind.

There were roughly 65-70 racers. We staged and I didn't even make it to the middle of the pack. I was propabley two to three rows from last. I was able to make up some ground on the long straightaway, but once we got to the first turn everything bottlenecked. I had to take some risks and I ended up going down on one turn, but I was quickly back up. I could see two groups forming in front of me. I thought maybe 20-30 guys in front. I had such a bad position to start from that catching the lead group was a pipe dream. I ended up picking off a few guys and then at the end I was in a battle with about three guys. I caught and passed one. I traded the lead with the next guy, but then he faded. The last guy had a sizeable gap, but I ended up keeping pace and then he must've faded. I caught him just prior to the last lap and I just stayed on his wheel until the twists and turns. I passed him and gassed it out of the corner. I slowly grew my lead on him. Even though I wasn't in contention just catching and passing some strong riders was a victory in my book. The IL CAT 3 champ from last year could only muster 2 places in front of me.

Chicago is a whole different animal then Bubba. There's twice as many guys in each field, and that includes three masters fields, which Bubba doesn't even have. That's no knock on Bubba, but Chicago has so many more racers to draw from. I've gotten a few people saying I need to CAT up, but they are the same people who haven't raced up here. While I've been pretty consistent in Bubba(especially after a few updgrades), having all top 10's and several podiums, I'd be hardpressed to say I'd be that consistent up here. It would be nice to see how I would've faired in the CCC series. I may still CAT up and next year concentrate on Masters and CAT123.

Now for the first race of the year, my first, I mean, our first bikejoring race. I met the Green Valley Dog Drivers group once last year, before I left for Kansas City, and then once last weekend. They let me take out an 8 dog rig for the first time. The most I'd done was four on a rig and on my bike. Anyways, I made the 2 1/2 hour drive up to Fond du lac, WI. It was raining when I got there and continued to rain off and on all morning. I decided to enter the four and two dog class. They were pretty laid back and ran rigs, scooters, and bikes all in one class. I was hoping to run my dogs with one of the strong lead dogs from the group, but as it worked out I ended up using my dogs in lead with two unknown dogs in wheel position. Kasha looked just like Teemu, only she was all white, and Kormack was a tall lanky husky. Nothing went right. My phone went to roaming so I had no maps on my phone gps and I had to call Jess for directions, then I wanted a Starbucks, but once again, couldn't dial one up on my phone. Then I went to prep my bike wanted to strap my gps and video camera to the handlebars. It wa just too cold and wet to tape the camera up. We finally got them staged to go. sFrom the start Skates and Teemu were enthusiastic and were perfect lead dogs. They were really going. I had no idea what to expect from Kormack and Kasha, but they both did great. Kasha pulled her little heart out. My first bikejor race didn't go without a hitch though. Kormack decided to take a poop break, then I took a good spill. The dogs were really going and there was a big long puddle right at a turn. I hit that puddle and there must've been ice at the bottom because my front tire washed right out and I ended up plowing right in that huge puddle. I was up and back on pretty quick though. My next hiccup was when I got to another transition. I ran into a fork and had no idea where I was going. I decided to get off the bike and run the 30-40 yards so I could see the next marker. I got my bearing down and then we finished it up strong. I brought the dogs to the car and gave them some canned chicken. We had about 20 minutes before they had to go again. This time the enthusiasm wasn't quite there for Skates and Teemu. Right from the start they just trotted out of the chute and found the first tree to pee on. Then then Teemu had to go poop. It wasn't until after about the first mile that they started to go. They were pretty tired. Since this was an all class race I was told to either not pedal or take off the chain. I just didn't pedal, but I did use it scooter style and pushed my bike with one leg. In the four dog group the GreenValley club had four of the top five spots. I ended up in 5th, about four minutes down on 1st place. In the two dog I ended up in 4th. All in all we had a great time and I learned a little bit more about this sport.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mt. Pleasant mudfest.....

Yesterday........or should I say today since I haven't slept yet, was Bubbacross #9, Mt. Pleasant winery. I had been feeling a bit under the weather on Saturday. I actually had thoughts on skipping out of the race because of it and I didn't do much for training during the week other then a couple hours on the trainer on Wednesday. I woke up sunday to cold and wet conditions. I had a lot to do before the race since the race was an hour away and then had to make the drive to Chicago after that in my old, loud, rusted out, lacking of any power 94 Jeep Wrangler. I knew it was gonna be a long drive. Short of waking up with the flu, not racing was out of the question, especially since it was really the first race this year in true cross conditions. Aaron called me on the way to say it was coming down pretty good, great, more rain was not what I wanted.

I got to the winery an hour before the start. It was cold, wet, and had,the makings of something really miserable, but I usually do pretty good in the mud. I was able to sneak onto the course for half a lap to check the conditions. They pretty much sucked. Aarin had said it was a skating rink out there, but I had to experience it for myself. As I rode back to the car my nemesis Peter, from Bigshark was sitting on a trainer under a tent.......hmmm, propably the only smart way to warm up in those conditions. I had to get my heartrate up, especially since I hadn't really done shit all week. I did a few quick sprints in the parking lot.

Everyone was already lined up, I lined up right behind Peter. We started out neutral through the slick pavement area and then hit this grass, or should I say mud. Everyone was taking it very cautiously around the turns. It soon started to get thinned out with only four of us. Peter, Matt, myself, and some other nameless guy I'll refer to as mt. Bi,er dude, only because somebody else refered to him as that. The race at the front started to get established. Peter, then Matt, myself, and then mt. biker dude. There were gaps being created between all of us. A few laps later I suddenly passed Matt. I could see he was in some sort of difficulty. I ran passed him on the big hill. I didn't see him again until the end of the race. I was having all sorts of difficulties navigating the big off camber turn in front of the sellout crowd. It was fun hearing all the cheers and heckling. I was able to ride it about a third of the time, the other thirds I was crashing, having to run it. I think my lack of practice and tire pressure on that did me in. I also took it too hot. I seemed to have forgotten that one rule that sometimes its fast to go slow! I started to slow and soon the mt. Biker dude caught me. We played cat and mouse for a few laps. He'd catch and pass me before the big hill, but then I'd end up passing him on the climb and then put a gap on him. It was during theses last few laps my fingers were so numb from the cold I couldnt even shift or brake without feeling pain if I could even do it at all. Finally, before the last lap I figured if I just stayed with this guy to the hill I'd easi y pass him. That idea didn't pan out. I went down on Amen corner which allowed him to get a gap that I couldn't recover from. I'd say he only got 10-20 seconds on me, enough for second, and I got third. About a minute or two later I was surprised to see Matt come in for a sprint finish for 4th with ss Pete.

After the race I made the trip to Chicago in my old faithful Jeep. Almost 20 years old, but still keeps truckin along. The natural 70 mph governor kept me at the speed limit, but it was a long and slow drive.

My next race may be in two weeks. I'll more then likely be up here in Chicago for the holidays. Jinglecross over in Iowa looks like the closest race this weekend.

Two'fer cross weekend.....

Another two race weekend. Saturdays race was at the Concordia Seminary where I took third last year in my only bubba race, and Sundays race was in my backyard at Creve Coeur Park. I really needed to get some points this weekend after the fiasco last week when I forgot my shoes and had to drive home and try to make the B race. I missed the start by about two minutes. I ended up just doing the A race, which wasn't bad. I ended up 13th out of 18 racers. I did beat Denny though, my nemesis from crossresults.

The Concordia course was set up similar to last years, which was a good thing, technical and fast. I finally got my spare bike built up and was able to get it in the pits. It's actualy nicer then my regular bike. I was able to get a partial lap in for my warm-up. I had a decent spot in the first row. There were 32 starters for this one. From the start I was able to get a good jump. I tried not to start out too hard, but definetly wanted to be in a good position before the tree section and definetly before the log obstacle. I figured too far back and I'd get caught up in traffic. I was third going into the woods. There was one guy I tangled with a bit, I tried to squeeze by and he shut me down. I was finally able to pass him a bit later. I can't remember if I was first over the log, but by the time I got back to the start/finish line I had the lead. I think I had a pretty good gap with only a few guys in the chase. I was eventually caught by Peter J, and SS Peat with Patrick G not too far behind. We were making good ground and Peat took over the pacemaking on his singlespeed. I knew Peat had just raced and thought he might fade so there was no sense in taking the lead. Peat was struggling up the slight incline after the log all day and Peter decided to hammer it and we eventually dropped him.

It was a two man race after that. I had the luxury earlier in the race to follow Peat's line outside the staircase while Peter was in the lead. On the last lap I took the outside line while Peter ran up the staircase. It gave me just enough time to get out in front and put a small gap on him. I didn't even think of it being illegal at the time. There was no tape and several other people were taking that line. I just thought of it as being another risk vs. reward obstacle. There was a post that was situated to the right that really could've created havoc if you got your bar caught on it. From a strategic standpoint, Peter didn't have the advantage of watching Peat take that line. I don't know if it was because of this scenario, but apparently there was a thread started on the stlbiking messageboard about people taking that line, http://stlbiking.com/forum/index.php/topic/29086-riding-around-obstacles/. In any case, I stand by the line I took. I put a small gap on him, but I knew I had to work because he was just a bit faster then me on the slight incline after the log. When I remounted after the last staircase he was right behind me through the twist and turns. One bobble and he'd pass me. We came out of the trees and I sprinted the last 200 meters to the finish. I waited for him to come around, but he never did.

I've had a few seconds and thirds in road, mt. bike, and cross, but my first victory since my xc mt. biking days in the mid 90's. As much as I enjoyed that win I think Denny was actually happier then I was.

It was back to work on Sunday to try and get back those points for the overall. After checking out the points, it looks like it may be an uphill battle with the amount of races left. It was nice having this race in my backyard, but the course setup did not suit me at all. It was mostly flat and not too technical. Before the race I saw teammate Dwayne G. It was his first cross race. He asked for a bit of advice, but honestly what could I tell an off-road superstar that he doesn't already know. I just told him to treat it like a mt. bike race and he'd do fine. I got a couple practice laps in and knew it would be a tough course for me. We lined it up and from the start I was out in front for the first two laps. As we started the third lap I had Mark H and Dwayne behind me. I didn't want to lead this race and blow myself up so I let dwayne and mark go. Dwayne really poured it on as he passed and soon he and Mark had a gap. Matt D eventually caught me and I pulled him for a few laps before I decided I shouldn't be doing all the work. He took over and we soon caught and passed Mark, but still had a contingency of riders just behind us. I soon fell off Matts pace and was caught by Peter, Mark, and I think Patrick. I still kept the lead throughout the last lap half heartedly thought I could make it stick. Pete made a well timed pass at the end to get in front of me. He had the jump on me on the last turn and we sprinted for third. He won. Teammate Dwayne showed his ability by walking away from the rest of us to take the win by a decent margin. Great job Dwayne.

Next up is Pleasant Hill Winery.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cross season in full swing.....race reports

As the title states, the cross season is well under way. I started out the season slow with only hitting one Pride race where I raced the Masters, and then the Chicago Cross Cup race. Those were my races to get the cobbwebs off the old pistons. It's now three weeks, and five races later. I've been concentrating on the Bubba Series B race(cat 3/4). This is only my second season doing cross so I'd like to do well in the B's before moving up to the A's and get my ass handed to me.

I've been doing relatively well placing in the top 10 through the first five races. I'm actually in contention for the overall sitting in fourth place. Two of the guys ahead of me have have now upgraded to CAT 2's so now I'm actually in second place, but I really need to bear down and pull out a victory to gain maximum points. The other guys in the top 10 are still very strong and it's gonna be tough to maintain high places for the rest of the series. My travel and work schedule make it hard to get some good mid week training in, but I've been making do. I've been trying to put up my race reports, but usually after every Sunday race I'm getting in my car and making the five hour drive to Chicago which doesn't give me a lot of blog time.

Bubba #1 Queeny(night), 5th
Bubba #2 Queeny, 6th
Bubba #3 Fort Bellefontaine, 7th
Bubba #4 Faust Park(night), 4th
Bubba #5 Faust Park, 3rd

Bubba #4

This was a night race and I was pretty tired. I helped Denny pour concrete in the morning. He supposedly gave me the easy job, but it was still back breaking work. My upper body was a little tired and sore eight hours later. I was able to get on the trainer for about 10 minutesbefore the race, enough time to get the heartrate up a bit before heading to the start line. There was about 35-40 racers and I was able to get into the first row. There were plenty of costumes at the start line. The best was the dude with the creature strapped to his back. I felt how heavy it was and I can't imagine him having much fun. While I was there Sunny G.(triathlon superstar) squeezed her way right next to me. She was in a nice Sequenced short skirt, I didn't know if I wanted to pass her or stay right behind her. As the race started Devlin took off and I stayed right behind him. After about 3/4 of a lap I had to make the pass along with a few other guys. It came down to myself, Frenchy, another guy named Pete, and Matt D. We had a four man lead on everyone else before I started to fade. Those guys were really hammering and the course and played to their advantage. I was in no mans land and I could see Peter J in his bright orange carrot suit hot on my tail. The last couple laps I started to have drivetrain problems. My chain was slipping and I was just hoping to keep it in one piece to the finish. I was able to hold him off for fourth place. The next day I looked at my chain and it turned out one of the links got bent, so I ended up replacing the chain.

Bubba #5

This race was a crap shoot. I felt like crap. I dug so deep the night before that I had stomach cramps that kept me up all night. I had to take a little pepto just so I could fall asleep. The weather was made for cross, mid to low 50's, windy, and a little drizzle. Once again I was able to get a front row spot. There was only 30-35 racers for this one. Right from the gun I got the holeshot and just kept on hammering. Before I knew it I had a decent sized gap. I started wondering if I had started out too hard, but the body wasn't telling me I had. I decided to slow up just a bit. I led for about two laps before finally being caught by Patrick. Later he told me he was actually yelling at me to wait for him. I didn't hear him, but it worked out and he caught me. Patrick and I took turns for a few more laps. I could see Matt D slowly creeping in on us and I told Patrick we needed to get on our horse because that guy really has a motor. It didn't matter, he ended up catching us and we had a three man paceline going. Myself and Matt ended up taking turns pulling as Patrick sat on complaining about his back. Matt really did more of the work, but we also had a Mack guy slowly catching us. He got really close a couple times, but Matt and I really kept the hammer down as best we could. On the last lap I had just taken a pull through a bit of an uphill section as Patrick came around us like he was shot out of a cannon. Matt followed, but I just didn't have any gas. I did what I could to keep the Mack guy at bay. Patrick took the win and I took 3rd.


Bubba #5 Faust Park, 3rd

Monday, October 10, 2011

dan ryan woods race.......


This was my second race of the cross season. The Chicago Cross Cup races are great and very popular here in Chicago. I did the Wauconda race last year and had a blast. I had to start work at O'hare today so my original plan was to drive up Saturday afternoon and get settled in at my crashpad and then be rested for Sundays races. I also planned to do two races. Originally, I wanted to race the 40+ and then the CAT 3 race. I would have, but as Saturday wore on, it got later in the day and plus the Blues home opener was on tv that night. I decided to just stay in St. Louis and then drive up in the morning. I got up at 4am and was in Chicago by 10am. I had to scratch the original plan to race the 40+ since it started earlier in the morning. I then tried to sign up for both the CAT 3 and CAT 123. I didn't read the fine print on the flyer and found out day of registration was an extra five dollars, so instead of $40 for both races it was $45. I only had $40 on me. I figured I'd try to find an ATM after the CAT 3 race.

I warmed up on the trainer for about 15 minutes and then rode one lap around the course. The course was longer then I was used to. It had a nice steep tree covered climb, another climb, some technical stuff, two barrier sections, and a log jump. It had a bit of everything, but it also had some good, flat power sections which worked to my disadvantage.

When I got back from my warmup lap they started call ups. There was close to 70racers, and when it was all said and done I was in the last row. This ended up working to my advantage. When we started everyone got piled up within the first 50 yards. I hadn't ridden this part of the course and I couldn't believe there was already a pile up. I thought there must've been a sharp switchback turn. I ended up crashing into someone. I got my spokes caught in someone's skewer, but was able to untangle myself pretty quick and get around the worst of it. I could see the rest of the race splintered, but had no idea what position I was in. I ended up passing a few more people before everyone settled in. I could only think I was in top 30, possibly top 20. After a few laps I decided to bunny hop the log. It made for a smoother transition. I was also in a battle with a couple guys, one was an ABD guy, the other a PSIMET guy. They were both very strong. Over the next several laps we were all exchanging the lead. I then ended up slowly putting a gap on the PSIMET guy, but he kept on digging back up to me. I decided I needed to get away from him, and right behind him was the ABD guy. I didn't want to ride with these guys because I figured I'd lose the battle on the power sections towards the finish. It was hammer time, several times he caught me, but each time he did I laid it down before I broke the elastic and distanced myself from them. I could still see them bearing down on me which kept me motivated to keep pushing. The bell lap finally rang and I had the gap I needed, but just needed to keep it going. I actually gained more time on that last lap and cruised in comfortably ahead of my biggest rivals in the race. Having those guys to battle really made it hard, but fun at the same time.

I was satisfied with an 18th place considering my start position and limited racing. After the race I rode out to a Walgreens down the road to get some cash, but by the time I got back they had closed the CAT 123 registration. Honestly, I wasn't too heartbroken, I was pretty spent from the CAT 3 race, so I just watched a bit of the race before I headed out. I gotta thank the Beverly bike shop. They trued up my reynolds carbon wheel for me after the race and then I went to their shop and they replaced my bent spoke(from the crash) free of charge and even gave me a spare.

If you get a chance you've got to get out to a chicago cross cup race. There's plenty of competition, big fields, plenty of cowbells, and just a lot of fun. I'd love to do next weeks Wauconda race, but I'll be back in St. Louis for the Bubba series.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

first cross race of the year.........

Well, time for my quarterly update. My job in Kansas City is finally history. I thought I would give KC a try, but it just wasn't for me. It was great for commuting, but eventually making it a permenant home was just not appealing to me. I then thought I may be going to Colorado Springs when my company put in a few openings, but as luck would have it they seem to have put it on hold. My girlfriend and I were pretty disappointed about that one. My second choice, and propably the smart choice was to head back to Chicago. I was able to transfer back and should be up there within the week. I was a litte apprehensive when I originally transfered to KC anyways, so I'm lucky it worked out and I can head back.

Time to get to the racing. I had a pretty successful cross season last year eventually placing 2nd, right behind Denny, in the masters field at the State Championships. The start of the cross season hasn't exactly been ideal for me. The Pride series races over in Alton only had one Saturday race which was disappointing for me. Last year I was able to go right from the road season and right into cross. This year I haven't been able to race the road as much, having a wedding to go to, and the lack of Saturday races has really put me behind the eight ball. To really put salt in the wounds KC's cross season finally started yesterday, but I had just packed up and moved out of my apartment the day before and headed back to St. Louis. Luckily the Pride series had there one and only Saturday race yesterday.

I had to take my nephew to his soccer game in the morning so I was only able to make either the Masters or Open race. With the lack of racing in my legs I decided the Masters race would better suit me. I was short on time and still had to do a lot of work on my cross bike, which I hadn't touched since the State race last year. I got to the race about a half hour before the start and still had to adjust my brakes, change tires, change, and register. I got that all done, and still got a one lap warm up in.

We lined it up behing the Open field and they started us 30 seconds later. I didn't have my Garmin mount and my Dogfish skinsuit had no pockets. My only choice was to throw it in my skinsuit and I figured it needed to be on my back to recieve the satellites....not the best choice. I was able to get the holeshot, I didn't really even try too hard, but managed to be first. I had to look back because I was sure everyone was breathing down my back. They weren't. With my lack of racing I started to wonder if I started out too hard and if I'd hit a wall. Right about that time I got passed and looked back and saw my teammate Berndt with his crosshairs on me. I just kept trucking along. Remember that GPS I threw in my skinsuit? Well, not so much, eventually it worked it's way down and after dismounting to go over the barrier it ended up in my butt and I was sitting on it. It must've been a sight to see as I was digging it out of my ass. I never wanted to stop so I eventually did work it to the top of my leg. Berndt eventually did pass me. I stayed with him for a bit before he pulled away. Now I was in third with several guys clawing to catch me. I picked up my pace and just kept Berndt within striking distance. That worked out because the guys behind me finally faded and I had a sizeable gap and was assured a podium so long as I kept it upright and didn't have a mechanical. I even started closing in on my teammate. I don't think he finished more then 20 seconds ahead of me. It was a good Dogfish 2-3 finish.

Next weekend I plan to be in Chicago for the Cross Cup series.

Monday, August 15, 2011

alligators creek triathlon and other going ons.....

it's been a while since last updating, but a lot of things have been going on. first, i've pretty much wrote the rest of the road season off. the constant commuting and long hours have finally made me decide that i was just wasting my time and money trying to be competitive this season. basically, my training just hasn't allowed me to be competitive. i decided to pack in the season and start fresh for cross season, but back in early july i did a team triathlon with my girlfriend and another friend. i had a blast. i've been wanting to do a full one, so what better time then to start then now. over the last several weeks i started putting in more time at the pool. i also started running, which i hadn't really done in years, just because it hurt so much, propably because i still biked 99% of the time. i actually used to be a decent runner until injuries and bike racing got in the way. it's easier to do swim and run workouts in kansas city too, where i don't have a lot of free time. i can have a workout done in less then an hour.

i really wasn't training for any specific triathlon when i first started running and swimming six weeks ago. i tried to sign up for lake st. louis, but it was full. then i stumbled upon the alligators creek triathlon. in o'fallon it was a sprint and only a 300m swim. it was actually the perfect distance for my first triathlon since i hadn't ran anything significant and only ran four miles once in the last six weeks. my run times had been pretty poor too. back in the day(15-20 years ago), i was putting out six minute miles, now the best i could do was just under eights. jess has also been working on my swimming over the last couple years, so it was time i put her tutelage to the test.

she gave me tips on for the swim and for the transition, but it was up to me to just go out there and do it. we got set up next to eachother in transition. she went off about 25 minutes before me. i also talked my buddy greg into doing this with me, who's only done a couple tri's himself. he was only two minutes in front of me so it gave me something to go after. it was also a pool swim, so i was somewhat used to it. all my nerves went out window once i got into the water. i was going to start my stopwatch at the end of each event, but once i started i hit the wrong button and fumbled with that the whole length of the pool, still not ever starting it. i gave up on that. i was nervous about getting caught from behind, but actually caught about four people and at one point they both stood at the wall and let me go past, pretty cool. when i got out of the pool i wondered why the people in front of me were going so slow, i thought it was a rule or etiquette, but i just ran to my bike at a good clip. when i got to my bike i realized i hadn't opened up the straps and latches on my sidi's, and had to fumble with that, got a gel, and got going. i knew greg was only a couple minutes in front of me and i figured i might catch him, which i did, a little earlier then i thought. i caught him within the first couple miles. i think it gave him a bit of an adrenaline rush because as i passed him he grabbed my wheel. he hung on for a while. as my gap grew further i yelled "you'll catch me on the run!!!" while riding, i thought, hmmmmm, why is everyone wearing their number, is the chip for the bike and run? in the heat of the moment i forgot to strap my number belt on. i was pissed that my first tri would be negated because of bonehead move on my part. i thought i just needed it for the run. oh well, couldn't do anything more, but race. i passed quite a few people, i even thought i might get dq'd for passing a cop on the centerline. they were slowed by a couple slower riders and i had no room on the right so i made the pass on the left. i'm so used to road races so it felt a bit awkward, and especially since it was an o'fallon cop i passed. the course was a little hilly, i had almost 1300ft. of climbing, and i couldn't really get into a good rythm until the final few miles. i blasted to the transistion and started out for my run. i wasn't much more then a mile into the run when greg ended up passing me. i couldn't believe he made up that much time. i caught a few people on the run and got passed by a few. it was only three miles, but i could feel it in my legs. in the last half mile jess ran towards me and gave me a boost. as i came in for the finish i sprinted the several hundred yards to finish in about 1hr 23m. i told them about the number issue and she said don't worry, "you were entered manually", phew, i was relieved. i ended up finishing 13th overall and 2nd in my age group, i'll take that for my first triathlon. on a sidenote, my girlfriend jess finsihed 1st overall for the women, not too shabby for someone i had to talk into doing. i was pretty happy for her for her first triathlon in four years and several injuries later.

lastly, i may be moving to colorado springs. over the last two years since they shut the maintenance base in st. louis i've been trying to find a city i wanna call and it looks like it may be the springs. there's more details i've got to get before i say for sure that i'll be leaving kansas city.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Ste. Genevieve State RR(#12) and the KOM!!!!

Today was the Missouri state RR. I've had some disappointing finishes this year so my main goal was to finish with the main group. I also took it very easy on the bike prior to this race. In some past races I've done too much riding during the week and not enough resting. I made it a point to turn that around. I did an hour recovery last Sunday after the O'fallon debacle. Then on Monday I rode three hours, Wednesday an hour, and friday another hour. It must've worked because while the legs didn't feel 100%I could tell they had a little jump to them. The race had three short climbs per lap and in the end it was almost 4000' of climbing. I lined it up in the front row and stayed towards the front for the first lap. Two miles in Sean, from momentum, went solo. Nobody followed. He's done this before, but it's like rolling the dice. While it was almost a 70 mile race he has the ability to stay away, but still we let him go.

The first lap was uneventful, except for one guy who always dices things up in the first few miles of a race and then gets dropped. One of these days he's gonna cause a crash. He's always the most animated in the fist 10 miles of a race right before he gets dropped. I find his antics somewhat amusing though. When we came to the first little climb it caught me by surprise and I couldn't shift to the little ring and had to tackle the first climb in the big ring. It was fairly easy in the big, but I didn't want to put to much lactic acid in the legs. The next two climbs went fine and I was able to stay near the front. I was able to stay near the front after the KOM and we blasted back into town. At the feedzone both Denny and Brian grabbed bags of waterbottles. I got mine and we gave a couple others away. I was prepared for it to be another hot one, but I don't even know if it made it to 80*. I only drank one bottle that first lap.

The second lap was a bit more animated with several breaks trying to go away, but all were brought back. I could also start feeling cramps in my legs so I stretched them out on the bike and tried the best to shake them out. Maybe I should've drank more water that first lap. The first and second climbs I could feel my legs cramping a bit more. I started to foresee myself cramping to a halt, but I tried to shut it out of my mind and just kept spinning. The last climb came and I was still towards the front. For some reason I could remember suffering a lot more on these climbs in previous years, but it was still took an effort. This is also where the final selection was usually made in the past. I was able to hold off the cramps and make it up in the top 10 or so. Luckily I was able to somewhat recover before the surges to the finsh started. I was able to stay around the top 15 as we hauled ass into town. We made a left onto the main finish straight, but I wasn't sure where the finish was which was my downfall. I thought we would go around town and finish in the same direction we started, but we finished in the opposite direction. This effected my positioning and when I started to kick it up it was too late. I ended up in 13th and Brian was just out of the money in 6th. Denny, Aaron K., and Dwayne were just behind.

The team is growing and looking pretty strong. We had several guys make some moves and animate some of the race, but in the end it was all together. If I could ever get any consistency I could be more useful to the team. I can tell my climbing is coming around and if I could just lose that extra five pounds I'd be that much better. We also have two more CAT 4's that are getting consistent top five's so we should have a few more strong riders soon.

Now for the KOM, it wasn't me who won that, but my girlfriend Jess. It was also her first roadrace. I do a lot of training with her in tow and know she's got some ability. While she's done triathlons before she was a bit worried about riding in a pack which she's not used to also. She also looked like a rookie because she usually rides with a tanktop and I didn't know that she had to wear a sleeved shirt. She ended up pinning her numbers to her t-shirt. Denny and myself gave her as many tips as we could think of. I also know how good of a climber she was so she may want to go for the KOM. I told her if she got up the KOM in the lead and depending on the gap then she should just bury it and TT it to the finish. She took that advice, but a couple girls were able to close the gap for a three girl break for the finish. They made it back onto the finishing straight before getting caught by the group, but was still able to hang onto fourth. This race was a learning experience. She took a couple extra pulls on the way into town because the eventual winner skipped a couple. It was one of those things where that could've been her strategy, but then if she didn't pull they could've got caught a lot sooner. I'm sure next time she'll think twice before taking those extra pulls. All in all it was a great first race, she got paid, and I got a great KOM jersey out of the deal..............just kidding Jess!

Another great race Todd and thanks to the folks of Ste. Genevieve.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Races 8, 9, and 10........

The last three races I've done I've DNF'd, pack finish, and DNF'd. This is not quite the season I've been striving for. Since I moved up to CAT 3's I have yet to be in the same form I was back then. I used to be able to mix it up and go on attacks back then and be competitive. Nowadays the struggle is just to not get dropped. While there is additional stress of working and commuting to Kansas City I refuse to let that be an excuse. I think my biggest downfall is my lack of races, lack of pre race preparation, and being about 5-7lbs. over my ideal weight. i know that doesn't seem like a lot, but for cyclists, that can be a lot.

My last race was the Hot as Hell O'fallon Grand Prix road race. A 75 mile tour around southern Illinois. It was in the high 90's and it just really felt like an oven. By far the highest temps I've ridden in this year. I figured this race would be a race of attrition since there were no real kickers or places to get a split in the peleton. The race started out easy enough. It was pretty much a parade lap. When we came into town up the hill I was up in front with no issues on the climb. I ended up being the first one to take a feed. I actually had a good gap and could've rolled off the front with a good lead, but I knew I didn't have good legs and I had Denny and Brian's bottles. It didn't matter. We were neutralized shortly after the feed because a bunch of guys were crossing the center line and one guy was dq'd. I ended up staying out in front for most of that lap. I even rolled off the front to see if anyone wanted to follow to catch the few riders off the front, but nobody followed so I drifted back to the peleton. Everyone was just content in staying put with the heat........so I thought. As I drifted back to the middle a few attacks started and there was a group of seven, then everyone turned it up and I had to go. My only problem was my legs would not go into overdrive. I had too much lactic acid in my legs from the previous weeks training and not giving them some rest. I paid for it, I couldn't latch onto the effort made by Brian and I was shot out the back. That was the race for me. I rode with a few other guys, and caught and dropped a few more. There were two Chicago South Wheelmen guys riding really slow. Later, I found out that they were in the lead break and one of them rode onto shoulder and caused a pile up. One of them was Brian who went over the handlebars. Luckily he was ok and stayed in it to get a top 10 along with Denny. As for me, I really thought about doing another lap, but with as hot as it was I just called it a day and chalked it up as a training race. The fact that I rode three hours two days before the race didn't help. I really need to start being smarter in my training and learn to take it easy the week before big races. I've got a new approach for next weeks race at Ste. Genevieve.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

race #'s 6 and 7....

If you're wondering why I went from race #4 to # 6, well, I forgot about Hillsboro. Anyways, it seems as if this moving shit is like a broken record. Between moving my things from Chicago to a storage here in St. Louis, to a new apartment here, and then also moving into another apartment in Kansas City it just seems as if this moving process is never going to end. Anyways, I took this weekend very easy and tried not to move too much as to keep the legs loose for this weekends races. The only problem is I rode semi-hard on Thursday which is what did me in today. It was supposed to be an easy ride, but the wind didn't help.

The Tour of St. Louis was this weekend and since I couldn't race on Sunday I figured I'd just do two races today. I did the Masters in the morning and then the CAT 3's a little over an hour later. The weather was pretty horrible, it was drizzling and about 40* and windy for my first race. My goal was to try to get a top 10, but as the race started I soon found out my legs had nothing. There was no overdrive and I was doing everything I could to just be mediocre. I'll contribute that to my ride on Thursday. The masters races are a little harder then the 3's seeing how there's a lot of good, well seasoned riders and less riders, which doesn't bode well when your redlining it and need to recover and there's nowhere draft or to hide from the wind. The bottom line is a break went away and the pack wasn't too motivated to chase it down so I ended up with a pack finish.

I ended up going to Starbucks after the race to thaw out and dry out all my clothes using the heater in my car. The CAT 3 race was next. There were twice as many guys as in the masters race. We had plenty of Dogfish riders in this race. Seeing how I didn't have much to give in this race I did what I could. This race for the most part was a bit easier, but there were still moments where I was struggling to get my legs going. This race was pretty much the same. While there was no rain it was still cold and windy. A break got away and ended up with another pack finish. There's more racing tomorrow, but intead I'll try to get in a recovery ride before my drive to KC. No racing this weekend, so hopefully I'll be done with all this moving crap. It looks like the racings pretty slim until Tour de Grove so we'll see what races are upcoming.

Monday, April 11, 2011

race #4 Hermann RR.......

I decided not to do the omnium and wanted to just concentrate on the road race. Having to commute back and forth for work now just doesn't give me enough time at home. I've also taken on more of a role keeping up with my niece and nephews sports. Either way, the Hermann road race is tough enough on it's own.

I made sure I road early in the week as to save my legs for Sunday. I usually don't ride on my work days because I'm too tired after 12-14 hour work days, but I road the trainer on Tuesday and then I was able to get out for two and a half hours on Wednesday before work. I also didn't move anything from my storage as I did the days before Hillsboro, and paid the price. Needless to say, I thought I was as prepared as I could be for this race.

I made it to the race with plenty of time to get a warm-up on the trainer. When I made it to the line I saw we were well represented. We had Dwayne, Denny, Brian, Justin, Dawson, and myself. By the way, Dwayne was sitting 5th overall in the omnium, pretty good for his first season of road racing.

We started through town and made it to highway H, the first climb of the day. I made it up in a decent position. I could tell that the compact cranks really helped. It still hurt, but now I could spin more then power up. Throughout all the climbs I was able to maintain a decent position. I only had one bobble where I almost lost my chain shifting to the little ring, there's a little more I'll add to that later. The first 12 or so miles was just undulating hills that seemed to never quit. We finally made it to the next major turn which was fairly flat and fast for the next several miles. Brian really laid the hammer down on this section to really string it out and see if we could lose anyone hoping to recover. This is also the section our other teammate Denny lost his Powertap head unit hitting some of the nasty potholes in the road.

We were also getting close to the KOM and several attacks were launched. They hurt, but I was still able to keep my position and if I lost any it wasn't much. As we flew down the hill into town I was able to gain positions. These new Reynolds wheels are FAST!!! Heading out of town and up Guttenburg, not sure of the grade, but has to be around an eigth of a mile and at least a 25% grade for some of it, I was not too far of the lead group of twenty or so. I got to the top with a couple other guys and we were able to catch back on within the next mile or two. We hit a few more climbs and my legs finally started to slow and now I found myself getting spit out of the lead group. The group did some damage because it was in these next couple miles guys were getting spit out one by one. I found myself catching and passing a few guys, but now also found myself on my own. A couple guys caught me too and I tried to stay with them, but my legs had other ideas. I would be on my own for about the next 8 miles or so. I started thinking to myself that this wasn't too bad. I got further with the main group then I did the past two years and if I could just make it up the last few hills to the flat section I'd be able to recover enough to make it to the finish line with a result I'd be happy with. That was until my chain broke going up one of the last hills. It was an awful feeling. One minute I'm telling myself I'm gonna finish this damn race this year and the next I'm picking up the pieces of my chain. I have a feeling that I torqued my chain earlier in the race and it was just deteriorating from that point. I use a connex(quick link) so I searched for the pieces and found them intact. I put it back together and about that time I saw Denny and Brian coming with a group of four or five guys. I latched on and made it about 10 feet and my chain came apart again. My race was over at that point and knew there was nothing more I could do.

As I waited on the side of the road for the sweep vehicles none ever came. I saw many racers pass and one I even gave my last bottle of accelerade. to who was dieing for anything. Since sitting there wasn't getting me anywhere I decided to walk up the hill and then I coasted/walked to the next turn where there was a marshall. We sat and talked for a bit, but now time is just ticking away and I'm not any closer to my car. Out of the blue I asked him if he had any safety wire. He said he didn't know, but he had a bunch of junk in his trunk and I'd be welcome to anything in it. There was a coat hangar and all kinds of stuff. At the last minute he pulled out the safety wire, but now I need something to cut it and twist it with. Next he pulls out an old pair of rusty needlenose pliers. I was in luck. I put my chain back in place and connected it with the wire. It worked. I was saying to myself I don't care how far behind I was I was going to cross that damn finish line. I made it about five more miles down the road, but then as soon as some more hills came the tension was just too much and my chain blew apart again. As I was fixing it for a third time some woman driving down the road asked if I needed a hand and I said, "ya, a ride back to Hermann!!!", she said hop in. I jumped in the car and had a nice chat with her. I know she'll never read this, but thank you. Well that was my 2011 Hermann road race, until next year!!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

races #'s 2 and 3, Forest Park

Yesterday was the Forest Park. I entered the Masters and CAT 3's races. I was a little skeptical that my legs wouldn't hold up since I moved a bunch of stuff into our new place over the weekend, but thought I couldn't miss an opportunity to gain some fitness.

The first race was the Masters. I think there was anywhere from 30-50 guys in it. The race was pretty smooth. I chased down a few breaks and tried to catch another group of two up the road. I got caught in no mans land and realized my legs didn't have overdrive so I gave up the chase and fell back into the group. About 2/3's through the race there was several guys up the road a bit. A couple guys jumped and another groups was slowly starting to form. At this point I found myself in front leading our the main group only to watch a few guys jump to catch the few up the road. I saw that Denny was one of the guys that jumped so I held off and just held my ground allowing the group to form. It was at that point the lead break formed. I was relegated to the second group. I think by the end of it we widdled our group down to about 10. One guy jumped before the last corner and I thought he would take our sprint. I was about third or fourth wheel and as we sprinted towards the finish we caught that guy and I ended up getting second out of the field sprint.

The CAT 3 race was right after the Masters. I got one cool down lap before lining up for the 3's. I changed water bottles, but had no gels. I forgot them all in the car. The goal for this race was to just have a respectable finish and get more racing in the legs. I would also try to help my teammates in any way I could having just done the masters race. The only problem was that we didn't communicate anything to anybody and had no idea who was doing what. We basically had no gameplan, well, at least that I knew about. We also had several new faces that I never raced with before. The Dogfish representation was by far the most talented I've ever seen in a CAT 3 race. We had a mix of everthing, sprinters, all-arounders, workers, you name it. This race had at least 50 guys in it. I was a nice sized field and not too shabby for an early season race. The race finally settled after about 20 minutes and I was able to get into a rythm. I started to position myself on the last few laps to get towards the front. I thought the best line would be to stay on the outside on the turn heading into the headwind. I seemed to be getting boxed in on the inside. Well, that was the wrong decision. On the last lap a couple guys bumped and they were swerving from left to right. Finally, the guy absolutely lost it and turned right in front of me. I had nothing to do, but T-bone him. Fortunately for me he broke my fall and I was unscathed, just a chip taken off the paint. I was back on my bike in a matter of seconds, but long enough that the group was out of sight. I checked my bike, jumped back on, and rode to the finish. That's when it got a little embarrassing. After I crossed the line I looked down to check my bike and when I looked up I nailed the curb and fell into the grass. I played it off as best I could, but still pretty embarrassing.

All in all it was a good day. Afterwards I drove to Kansas City and then straight into work.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

2011 season begins......Froze toes

It's been a while since I've updated this. Since December I've started working and commuting to Kansas City. I finished off the 2010 season with the Missouri State Cyclocross Championships where I got 2nd place in the 35+ Masters. I then took a month off the bike until early January where I hit the trainer pretty hard. With the winter being what it was this year I spent all my training indoors on the trainer, except for the bikejoring with the dogs. That hardly counts as training though.

I hadn't had good starts to the last two seasons, but mainly because I stopped after Gateway Cup and did little winter training. This year racing cross I hoped to take my season deeper and have a little less time off the bike. With that being said, Froze Toes was this past Sunday so I figured on getting a headstart on the season. It was also my first ride outdoors for 2011.

My racing age is 40 this year(that doesn't sound right!), but here in Missouri most masters fields start with 40+ for some reason. Anyways, Denny talked me into doing the Masters race. It's a smaller field with less riders then the CAT 3/4 field so I figured I'd get a better workout since this is what it's all about this early in the season. I had to park pretty far from the start so I had to go back to my car and when I rode back the Masters field was rolling out. I guess I timed it just perfect. I only knew it was the masters because I saw Denny in it. With only 20 or so guys I was able to make it to the front pretty easily. Klages from Bigshark started out at a decent pace for the first few miles before we mixed it up a bit alternating pulls. A few breaks tried to get away, but none ever did. I had just taken a pretty good pull and then an attack went, Denny was in it so I didn't chase. The everyone else started to chase it down and I had to jump on. That one really hurt, but I was able to latch on and recover for a bit. About midway through the CAT 3/4 field was smokin' up our rear so they neutralized us and let them pass. Upon our restart we finally got our shit together. We soon came to the rollers and I went to front and started to drill it the best I could. Then more breaks tried to go. Denny tried one, but no one went with him and he dangled out front for a mile or two. He was finally swallowed up and the another guy went. He got a pretty decent gap and then Sherkat from Mack went, then I followed. Nobody else went and before we knew it we had a sizeable gap. I actually looked back and thought with the three of us and all the rollers we had a chance to stay away. That is until we caught the CAT 3/4 field again and came to a crawl because we couldn't go around. They finally let us pass, but at that point we were caught and we were all together again. We took our small group to the finish and the sprint seemed to start from about a mile out for some reason. My legs were toast at that point and I was only able to muster up a 10th place. Denny was able to get sixth. I was satisfied with my performance in the race considering it was my first actual ride outdoors since early December.