Monday, December 25, 2006

One Speed X-Mas

Happy Holidaze!

Ya, X-Mas. My favorite time to go ride trails. Hardly a sole in sight and the whole Headlands feels like it is your playground. I went out today with Dan and we rode out to the F.A.A. radar sight in the Marin Headlands and back, for a nice 2 hour ride. The weather started out cold but after we dropped into the backside valley the temps were a bit warmer than I had expected. With the cloud cover it was 60 and humid. I haven't ridden my SS in 6 months? and I was kinda amped up this morning to go ride.
The Destination...

I was tired but I had fun. It had been awhile since riding up to the radar site, what a great view! I was glad to have brought the camera and took some pic's. A little bit of mud, some hard climbing and good company. On the way home I bombed a bit of the Presideo with Dan and then cut off for a bit more single track. I forget how much good moto there is in the Presideo! The Boyz..

My SS felt really good and I plan on doing a bit more with the SS here in the next month. A good X-Mas ride for sure. Here are a few photo's, enjoy!


The rides....

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Got Mud???

Date: 12/0/06
Category: Elite Men
Field: 21
Teammate: None
Place: 11th

Last Sunday I ventured down south to Monterey for round #4 in the Central Coast Series. With rain on the menu it looked like cross was finally here. I’ve never done a “wet” much less mud-fest, CX race. Once again I carpooled with Brian and we got there in good time. When we got there it started to rain hard, like buckets…

I threw on the spare kit and headed out for some course re-con in the now light rain. I managed about 40 minutes and it was chaos, a bit of fun, topped with some suffering…. I headed back to the car to change clothes and had to tighten my rear brake as it was pretty worn out from the mud. I forget how much this stuff eats everything…

I get to the start line in the 3rd row. Before I know it, Rod yelled, “GO” and everyone was fumbling to get going, including me. It’s an up-hill start on pavement, then a double barrier, off to the side in the dirt, then up over and then down onto the first dirt… I mean small lake section. Ha! It was nuts going into that first turn with guys ripping through the deep puddles throwing water overhead. Epic.

It was at this point that I realized finishing this race would be an accomplishment in itself. I had planned to not worry about anybody else, just keep it on 2 wheels and moving forward. Slippery, deep mud is a lot easier to ride at speed and with us packed up you couldn’t get the good lines. After a lap or so it was strung out a bit more and I settled down and started finding my groove. Now with clear runs into the down hill muddy sections and the bigger mud puddles, I started reeling guys back. I switched straight into moto mode. From there on out, I was mixing it up with a few guys and felt like I was getting faster as the race wore on. With 4 laps to go I really had some problems with the rear derailleur. It had turned into a 3spd! I lost the 11T to the 16T and couldn’t sprint on the pavement very well and it made it challenging to keep the speed up.

There was a long mud run with barriers (see photos) that just drained you. I stayed really steady and on the last lap and managed to hold off Lance for 11th place. I wasn’t sure I could hold him off with only the 17 to sprint in but it worked out. Right after the start of the race the sun came out and started to dry out the course. Towards the end is was a lot tougher with the mud thickening up!

The long muddy run....

What a great time, crazy race in the mud and my best finish yet. I got a lot of reminders about racing in the rain/ mud. Things wear out FAST! This week after washing my bike twice… I had to replace the breaks, the headset bearings, and the front chain ring. Pulled the B.B. and cleaned it along with the detailers. Cables needed replacing or lubed/ cleaned. I don’t mind being my own mechanic but dam it’s a lot of extra work!

I did well enough, to move up in the overall from 19th to something? we’ll see how that works out. The bike worked great and I did not have any back pain or other issues which is a trend I hope will continue. I actually felt better than worse on Monday, just a bit tired. This Saturday is a race in Livermore at the rodeo grounds. A course I really like. I don’t know who will show up, I hope lots of guys do. It’s close to home and if it rains, there is a lot of sand and should be fast!

Props to the CCCX crew for a great race, Rick Rasmussen for the Pic’s and to the Ritchey boys cheering section. I can’t wait for the final, I hope they use the fast downhill pavement like last year, hint, hint….

Beer me.

Talk about climate change, the photo's are in the same spot but about an hour a part.

Warm up

Later in the race:

Monday, December 04, 2006

I'm super, Thanks for asking!

Great day for racing

Bay Area Super Prestige Series #5 / NCNCA District Champ.

Date: 12/03/06
Category: Elite Men
Field: 44
Teammate: None
Place: 24th
Series Overall: 12th Place

This weekend was the final round in the Super Prestige Series, the C.C.C.P. event (Cyclo Cross Coyote Point) in San Mateo. I have raced here twice before in the last 2 years. First as a “C” then last year as a “B”. Normally there had been back-to-back races for the weekend but this year would only be one, a Sunday race and it was also serving as the NCNCA District Championships. With this being the case, the “cream of the crop” Nor-Cal racers would no doubt be on hand and I would have the hardest race I’ve ever had to contend with.

The weather played nice and we had fantastic conditions, some dust here and there but ok. I was there early and setup the Bianchi tent, bike rack, etc.. next to the Williams booth who is a new sponsor for our team. The 30X wheels I have been using have held up great so far in Nor-Cal cross, even with all the bumpy stuff, I’m 6’ and 165 lbs, very impressive…

A little too early

I was determined to get a good warm-up and headed out onto the course with plenty of time. On the first ½ lap I remounted after the far barriers and heard a “crunch”. I got off my bike and realized I broke my seat post (yes it was a Easton carbon post). It was cracked and not broken off completely, so I rode back to the pits and swapped out seat/post with Juan’s seat and post. Thanks Juan! After a few min. trying to get it set up I headed back out. I couldn’t get it quite right but I needed to get out and warm-up, so it would have to do. I did 2 full laps and then started looping the tree section. There were a lot more twists and turns than in previous additions so I wanted to really get some good lines through there. I also did at least 3 full speed runs to the upper parking lot, which was good. I felt ok and thought with a good start I might have a chance to have a solid race.

I came into the weekend in 14th place overall and hoped I could finish well enough to retain that, if not improve a position or so. I had a good race last weekend and trained well this last week so hey, why not! I got a good 2nd row start and when the whistle blew, got off without to much trouble. The start was a long uphill pavement run until you reached the flatter portion then it turned slightly and went into the dirt and up again to the parking lot. I knew that unless in the top 5, getting off and running was key and sure enough it backed up, so I ran around a bunch of guys on the left and got onto the pavement without blowing myself up! Sweet…. Down through the trees, I felt smooth, not trying to punch it, just following and waiting until the sand to see how it would sort out. I was ok running in the sand and when back on the pavement found myself in a solid group and not completely blown up. I focused on getting into a groove and was waiting until the start of the second lap to assess the group, well I felt good going into the sand on the second lap and tried to ride it. I can ride sand pretty well but this was a bad decision cuz I bogged down and by the time I had dismounted and started running, 7-8 guys flew past me running. Ouch... that was a very bad decision. With loads of spectators cheering I sucked it up and tried to sprint back to the group that just passed me in the sand. I managed to just get back on towards the end on the long pavement section but I did too much and when we got into the power sucking soft grass and hairpins, I started to loose touch…

Photo: Lauren Haughey
In the sand

From there I tried to settle into a tempo I could sustain and focused on being smooth with no mistakes. I managed to move up and traded spots with Jay for about a lap or so and started to feel better so I opened up the throttle a bit. I swapped places with someone from Freewheel and then Rick but they got away from me with about 3 to go. I kept up the tempo but my back was starting to ache a bit and had trouble picking up the pace on the bumpy ascent through the trees. Standing up had the bike all over the place but I was lacking power seated, to roll over them, so I just tried to stand and be “light” on the bike. With 2 to go David caught me and dragged me within striking distance to Rick again and I thought I might make the bridge but was having a hard time where Rick seemed to be real smooth, so we yo-yoed for a lap then I noticed a big group had made some time on me! With a lap and a half left, I focused on staying away from the chasers and less on catching Rick or David. My buddy Isaias separated himself from the chase group behind and was getting close but on every section of pavement I busted out the “roadie” power and wound it up on the pavement and managed to keep him at bay across the finish line.

After the race I enjoyed a cold beer and watched the last 2 races. The vibe was great, people firing up the BBQ and beer drinking was rampant and lots or bench racing. It was great to chill out with everyone.

My goal going into my “rookie” Elite season (and only 2nd year racing CX) was to try to not get lapped and finish in the top 15 overall and come home with a little $$ to show for my effort. 4/5 races I was on the lead lap and finished 12th overall of 73. This was due to being consistant than any dominating performances. Experience comes with paying dues and I hope by the end of this season, I’ll be paid up enough to be a better player in next year’s series... we’ll see.

Although the Pilarcitos Series is over, the season is not over yet. I’m going to do the remanding CCCX races, the Livermore race (I love that course) and possibly some of the Winter Peak stuff, before getting ready for the early road season. The Pilarcitos series was my focus, so now I can race more for fun/ fitness without to much pressure and my form seems to be coming on, if a bit late but hey. I’ll take it!

Thanks once again to Dad for the water/ support and all the folks cheering out there, it makes a huge difference!

Up next: CCCX#4…


HR AVG 174/ MAX 180