Monday, June 30, 2008

All the jucy details....

Mass start of the; Pro/ Semi-pro/ P-Xpert SS/ Expert 19-34..

Location: Ft. Ord

Class: Pro/Expert SS

Sunday was the conclusion of the CCCX mtb series. I did the whole series and did reasonably well for my first time contesting it. Hard choices were to be made this last weekend. The Skyline race was on the same day as the final. To make matters worse, I heard that there was a chance to get an entry's to SSWC (top 3 in SS?)which will be at the same location in a few months.

I missed the reg deadline for SSWC so had written off getting in. With so much invested in the CCCX series I couldn't blow it off for a "chance" to get a ticket to the big show. I knew it would be a fierce battle and it was. There were 28 riders! Cameron won with a wicked time, good going champ!!

Anyway, I knew the best I could do was 3rd overall even if I won. Mark and Cesar were tied and whoever beat the other, would take the title. So really my job was simple. Follow the wheels and do little work. If I could hang until the last lap I would have a chance to win.

Things started out well enough with the huge mass start. Cesar. Mark and I settled into a 3 man freight train. The course was fast and rolley with some climbs, a few of them sharp, short kickers. We stayed together and I had the speed to hang with them.
Mark just out of the picture. Cesar and I.

After about 2 laps we started to pass and drop geared guys from the pro/ semi-pro/ expert field that we started with. I was surprised. We were really flying. Our avg speed for the race was 15+ mph/ for 2 hrs!

The race at this point, was fast and we kept catching and dropping guys. The laps were counting down. 4-3-2.... I'm still there and not having any issues. My confidence was building that I would be there for the finish. At least keep it close...... really close. On the close of the 5th lap I put my left foot out to dab for balance in a loose turn and I got a monster locking cramp in my hamstring!!! Ouch!--totally out of nowhere. I could not get my foot locked back in, much less pedal, so I had to stop for a sec, shake it off and walk for 20-30 meters. In the mean-time, the boys were not slowing down and a few geared guys we had just passed went past me :(

I re-mounted and soft pedaled for a bit--then my legs felt ok? I thought drink! Oops out of water... I blew thru 1.5 ltrs in under 5 laps. Guess I was thirsty... Crap- I hit hyper-drive and gave it everything to close the gap. I re-passed a few guys that had gotten in front of me when I was stopped, so I knew I was going well--again. At this point, I didn't think catching up was possible and was racing for time and some pride on the last lap. I had the best race to date for the series. You can see the effort I'm putting out in the pic below.

Going for it on lap 5...

Well I'm glad to finish the series. It was a lot of work, with driving etc.... A big thanks to the CCCX crew Rod and Keith, Rick for the awesome photo's! Mark and Cesar for showing me what it's all about (these guys are no joke!) and forcing me to raise my game. I enjoyed it all, especially the beer at the finish!

Although the series is over, my mtb season is far from done. I'll be out there, mostly on the SS but with a few outings on the Superfly as well.

CCCX MTB 2008 Pro/Expert single speed overall podium...

L-R: Greg G.(4th) / Nick H.(3rd) / Mark H.(1st) / Cesar C.(2nd) /Erik T.(5th)

Rod working away.... Thanks!

In the end all were happy!


CCCX Final

Waiting for the podium call up... More pics and report soon! Good times...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Release of expectations....

Today, I rode in the Headlands and it was super foggy. It's one of those days when you can't see even a 100 meters up the trail. Beside just enjoying the lack of scenery due to the fog it did provide a great filter for all the smoke from the wild fires that have been raging for the last week here in Cali....

I chose to not ride the last few days and stay out of the smokey haze. So.. needless to say, the ride, while what I really needed--was not to much fun. Of course, the espresso break was good and gave me a minute to reflect on the CCCX race on Sunday.

For the series, It's a dead heat for 1st place between Cesar and Mark. The best I can do is finish 3rd--even if I win. I'm going into this race with no expectations. The last 2 weeks training has been solid and anything can happen. I will give 100% and do what I can to win the day. But when it's all said and done, I can't be disappointed by my results thus far. Both of these guys are strong competitors and I have been close racing with them, in my first season in the Pro/Expert SS class.

While I have more mtb races to do this season, I'll be happy to finish the CCCX series. its been challenging and a lot of hard work.

Here's to great day of racing!!!

My new favorite place for a coffee stop in sausalito....

Sunday, June 22, 2008

More like--monkey roast..

No... Lake Sonoma.

This picture best describes the last few days including the mtb race @ Lake Sonoma. We have been in the grips of a heat wave that was pretty impressive until today when nature's AC (fog) came back and cooled things back down.

ON Friday night I could not sleep at all, maybe 3.5 hrs. Getting up to go to the race on Sat morning I was in a pretty crappy mood. Geoff picked me up and we got there pretty fast. Once we reg'ed it was apparent the temps were already climbing over 80 and it was only a little after 8am! Oh going to be a hot one.

I did one sighting lap and tried not to cook myself, anywhere. 1 lap about 32 min. Not to bad...

I got a terrible start from the back of the group but by the time I was at the top before the dirt turnoff I was in around 5th and lead SS. I was a bit surprised I got such a good start and despite the heat thought I might have an ok race.

While on Geoff's wheel, barreling down the trail I hit a big root and burped almost all the air from my rear tire! I stepped aside and watched as guys flew past. Game over.

Just as well I guess anyway. Riders were dropping out left and right. Geoff did 2? laps and pulled out. I talked to this kid Cody who said "he pulled over in the shade" and "just threw up his raisin bran" felt bad for him, not an easy day for anyone.

When I got home I called Dan and we planned to meet @ 2pm and do Paradise. It was still hot but I need to get in some intensity and we ended up doing sprint workouts. It was good and I felt stronger sprinting than anytime so far this year.

I put in another 3 hours toady with the team which included many hard efforts (flats/ climbs) and my legs are sufficiently shattered. This weekend I set broke 2 PR times one a climb and other flat out speed test (not a sprint). I'm stronger, no doubt. Now its time to rest up and pre-pair for the CCCX Final.

1 Km T: 00:58 sec/ 56 kph--new PR

1 sec less, = about 2k faster avg speed and @ 489 avg PW.. Sweet.

Mr. Powerfiles out....

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Monkey Business

Lake Sonoma/ Bike Monkey course.
I am feeling somewhat recovered from the epic double this last weekend. I went on a spirited small ring only, Paradise loop with Dan and I felt much better around the 2hr mark.
This weekend I'm going to do the Bike Monkey race on Sat. I did a few races back when it was Billy Cross quite a while ago. The course is up and down the whole way and the heat can be tough if the temps climb over 80, which it had done in the past.
The picture below is from the last time I raced there, maybe 2001?? I was on my Bianchi SS w/ #777-- It turned out to not be so lucky on that day as after being in the lead for a couple of laps, I flatted and was out. It was one of those great weekends tho, as Brandon and I had camped out overnight and before leaving to go back to the city, plunged in the lake to escape the 95+ degree temps that beat down on us all day. Miss ya B.... Good times.

Man do I look goofy, weekend warror kit and silly 26" wheels--lol.....

Monday, June 16, 2008

Double-header madness....

Pescadero Race Report.

Date: 6/14/08
Course: 2.7 Laps for a total of 75 miles. 3 times up the big finish hill climb.
Category: Elite 3
Field: 75
Teammates: Marc, Geoff, Josh, Scott, Hendrik
Place: 16th/ *T 3:26
This race was a total flop for me last year. I was having a bad time and got dropped on the 2nd ascent up Haskins and in so much pain I DNF'd. I vowed at that moment to get my shit together and return next year for a second crack at this classic Nor-cal road race.
Lap1: Things are fine, stayed near the front on Stage and the first time up Haskins Hill I was working pretty hard and hoping the legs would loosen up for the next round. It seemed like the climb took forever! 2K, 1K, ..... 200 meter. Phew!
Lap2: We lost Scott who couldn't get back on after his solo break and then later Marc and Geoff, who both put some time at/on the front. Josh was keeping thing lively at the front on the climbs and I tried to keep an eye on Hendrik. Going up Haskins (finish climb) I was right on Hendriks wheel and in the top 10. A small victory already since I dropped out at this point last year after getting dropped before the top of the climb.....
Lap3: So with the start of lap3 we were down to 3. We had planned to work for Hendrik and as we passed through the feed zone I was looking around for him while on Josh's wheel. By the time we got close to the base of the Haskins we were together for the most part and the group started to surge a bit. my legs were feeling heavy and I just tried to find a good gear and start TT'ing not to concerned with anyone until the 1K sign. I was riding through guys and thought I might be able to close down some riders. sure enough I rode past a few guys threw it in the big ring and had a hard sprint with some guy for what turned out to be 15th which he got me by a tire width, I even threw my bike but was just to tired to care.
I thought the team did a good job (Hendrik placed 6th). We tried to up the pace on the Stage climb a few times and it strung things out. Good.. Bad... not sure. I do know only 53 of 75 finished so it wasn't easy by any means!
I managed a small victory by just finishing and with a decent 16th place only 30 some seconds off the leaders. Not bad for a guy who has had a crappy track record in road races. All the mtb is paying dividends! Which bring us to the next ball buster....
CCCX #8 Ft. Ord
Date: 6/15/08
Course: 5 Laps for a total of 26 miles.
Category: Pro/ Expert SS
Teammate: Geoff in Expert (geared)
Place: 3rd/ *T 1:46

A little pre-race recon

I was really tired from the road race but determined to follow though with the plan. I knew if I could get though both races it would be a fantastic building block going into the Series final in 2 weeks. I did about 3 laps easy and almost missed the start. It was right on time no delay! that was a little close. Anyway I got to the line and we took off in short order.

We got started with the Pro/semi- pro again and yah! the sweet draft on the long pavement until dropping onto the dirt. I managed a good position and once on the first climb, drilled it to move up. That worked and I felt pretty good for the first lap. Going through the finish area I could see Mark up ahead and just tried to keep on the gas. Cesar was right behind and chasing also. On the downhill run into the final climb section, I overshot the course and had to turn around and lost out on some lead I had on Cesar--he was now on my ass. We hit the climb and he slowly scooted away. Oh man.... Well I put my head down but the legs were feeling non-existent. Not too painful--just not there.

Chasing..... Chasing... Chasing.....

Starting lap 3, all of a sudden the legs started working and I picked up speed and started to feel better. I figured I better down all the food I had and start clearing out the hydration pak.
On lap 4, I started to get passed by some of the expert age group guys but slowly, one at a time. 1....2.. hung on his wheel for a while. Coates caught me but he didn't get away to fast to my surprise--either he was tired or I was going pretty well. I figured he must have been tired cuz I felt like crap! I kept expecting to see Keith come around at any moment but not to be. I kept my head down and drilled it home for 3rd.

Geoff manned up for the double as well, good on ya!

Got to give a big up to Geoff for doing the double! I know it hurt but it will make you stronger! I promise :) this was round 8 of 9 for the series. 2 weeks to go for the final and I hope the investment will pay off later for the final. I have been close with two 2nds and feel I can win but Cesar and Mark are great competitors and no slouches, so to beat them will take some strength, mental toughness and luck!

Mr. CCCX (Rod) enjoying my 29er :)

After the race drops (2/9) for the series it looks like I will be in 3rd for the overall unless I have a real bad day/ DNF. Its my first year of doing a full mtb season and I can't be disappointed with the results thus far. But... man do I want to win the Final. Even if I did win I don't think it would effect the overall but I really would feel better about the 3rd overall..... We'll have to wait and see.

Cesar! Your beer looks pretty dam good right now....

Mr. powerfiles..... out...

Monday, June 02, 2008

CCCX #7 Ft Ord

Central Coast Round #7
Pro/ Expert SS
3rd place

I was looking forward to returning to Ft Ord for Rd #7. I still had a grip on 2nd for the series and planned to just go for it from the gun. Both Mark and Cesar were present, it has been a good battle between the 3 of us for the most of the series. Up to this point they have been getting the better me although I did managed two 2nd places.

We lined up and got our own start this time. So I just drilled it up the pavement and onto the single track. I managed to stay in the lead for about 2 laps with only the duo on my wheel. I sat up and took a breather and it wasn't to long before I started to loose ground. My legs were all loaded up and not coming back quick enough. They put a small gap into me that I maintained for about another lap but with 2 to go (of 6 laps) they were out of sight.

Crap... Well I was taking a chance going from the gun but I need to try something. it didn't work but I ended up on the podium in any case so not so bad. There are 2 races left in the series and I will do everything I can to up the anty, especially for the final as it holds extra points.

Working hard!

On the solo chase..