Tuesday, December 13, 2011

MO State Photo Dump

Here are some pictures from Nate taken at the MO State Champs (a little late getting these out):

Monday, December 12, 2011

State Race and the Bahamas

Quick post to catch up on the last couple of busy weeks:
After three days at Jingle Cross I was surprised to find my legs were not cooked (as they were last year) and I felt pretty sharp all week leading up to Sunday's MO State Champs in KC. Dale and I both skipped Boss Cross #4 as the forecast was for rain and figured it was best to skip and save it all for Sunday.
Loaded up early Sunday morning with Dale, Ira, and Nate and headed off to Raytown (KC) in a chilly conditions. Showed up to the course and found it pretty much like BC #3, but this time a muddy mess very similar to Sat/Sun at Jingle Cross. Walked the course and skipped pre-ride and snagged a decent warm up; felt ready to go.
Lined up in the Masters 45+ with eight others while the other masters categories had several racers in upper 30's* temps but not too windy. Looking at the competition I felt confident in my fitness and needed to ride a clean (relative term) race and not make mistakes. My group was the last to go off and shortly into the race I established a large lead and moved through the younger fields. Rode good lines, only bobbled once (down hill mud corner), and came away with the win. First State jersey (2nd twice) which felt pretty good (2nd goal of the year accomplished). The Blue was totally junked up with thick mud, but never had a single issue handling it; Nate let me use his bike in the pits, but I never really needed it (nice to know I had the option).
more pics coming...
Dale killed it in his 55+ race taking home the win and State jersey; awesome and a great reward as he worked so hard this 'cross season and rode so smooth in adverse conditions.
Ira skipped racing as his clinicals had kept him from riding for a handful of weeks and Nate took a tons of pics. Fun having the crew on hand hearing the support (and heckles - ha!). These guys are awesome and I owe a successful season to them; wouldn't trade these guys for any training partners.
Season consolidated: 18 races since Dogfish (Hermann) in mid-Sept; two primary goals (win Cat 3 Dogfish and win State race) accomplished; rode pretty decent at L'ville and Jingle Cross; and had only two races in which I felt flat - Gateway Cross (20th - ugh) and the 2nd race at Jingle Cross. Other than that I was encouraged with my fitness and driving ability which makes me hungry to increase this for the '12 season; especially since I move to the Masters 45+ division at the larger races - very motivated! According to USAC standings I ended my season ranked 9th in MO (all categories) and even though these are subject to scrutiny, I'll take it.
Cleaned up at GLove's casa after the race and then Deb and I headed to the airport for a week of relaxation on a cruise to the Bahamas. Flight and overnight stay in Orlando before heading to the boat in Port Canaveral; departure mid-afternoon and the relaxation began for the next 6 days. This is Deb's 5th cruise and my 4th so we know exactly what to expect. This time around we opted away from excursions at each port (Nassau, Half Moon Cay, and Freeport, Bahamas) and wanted to keep it simple spending tons of time soaking up the sun (Deb w/a book and I napping) on the deck or on a beach. Mission accomplished as that was the most peaceful/restful vacation ever!!!!! Had so much fun with my girl. Every day was clear and sunny in the lower 80's* - perfect.
Flight home Saturday night and back to the boys; great welcome home.
So what's up next? My 'cross season is done even though there are a handful of local events coming up and Nats/Worlds in early January. Deb and the boys have given me so much freedom to play 'biking rockstar' since September that I simply couldn't ask for another six weeks especially with Christmas thrown in there; absolutely no regrets or issues skipping Nats (after all its Madison, WI in January - brutal). Every year at the end of 'cross season I brake down the bikes until Jan 1 and totally take a break from riding, but always lace up the running shoes and hop out on the trails (love winter running). This February Jake (50k), Ira (25k), and I (25k) are signed up for Sylamore trail race so its time to hit the trails. After that it's back to some spring mtb racing as it worked out pretty good last year racking up some base miles and improve handling skills.
So as I just mentioned, I can't say thank you enough to Deb for letting me train daily and be gone pretty much every weekend since mid-Sept; she is awesome!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Jingle All The Way...

After a well timed weekend 'off' after L'ville it was time to load it up again for Jingle Cross '11 in Iowa City, IA (my second year racing it). Dale decided to make his rookie appearance so I had my travel partner. It's pretty much expected that JC will include cold wet conditions and last year didn't disappoint, but I was cooked at the end of the three days of full gas. With State 'Cross next Sunday I was trying to figure out if I wanted to go all out all three days or hit it Friday and Saturday and pretty much take Sunday as a workout and not a race trying to save some steam, but it's hard to line it up and not compete...
Friday morning I swung by Dale's and we headed north. Got in to Iowa City around 1pm, ditched some stuff at the hotel, then off to the race venue. Absolutely perfect conditions as the ground was tacky and the temps in the low 50's - awesome. Pre-rode and found a fairly non-power course with the 'run up' Mt. Krumpit as the main focus of each lap. Hit the MWI compound for a super sweet set up with full wall'ed tents on the start grid/line with heaters, chili, hot drinks, Mrs H's cupcakes, trainers, and whatever else needed to prep before and after a race.
Dale killed it in the Cat 4's getting 5th.
I entered the Masters 35+ race for all three days; knowing that this is a smoking fast group I had no expectation of finishing places, I just wanted to race clean and see how it goes. 2nd row start was nullified after missing a pedal at the start and dropping quick. After a lap I was feeling decent and moving forward steadily. After two I was sitting in 10th with 9th not too far up on me, but a handful of guys not far behind. At the top of Krumpit with 1 1/2 laps to go I dropped a chain (usually not a big deal with a regular set up, but with my Paul's catcher it is a pain to get it back going). I immediately settled my mind and started working on it never looking up; but I knew several spots disappeared. Got back in the groove and by the end I caught one and finished 12th; good start to the weekend.
The below is a great video from Keith Walberg (visual extraordinaire) of Friday night's pro action
Cleaned up, headed back to the venue, and caught the pro's; amazing how fast and technical savvy!
Day two, Saturday, was started with waking up to rain everywhere; soaked all night. Decided to skip the pre-ride and simply warmed up in the MWI tent. Ran my Vittoria tubies around 28psi on a course that was total slippage (and the temps were upper 40's).
Lined up and actually got a good start then things went south... I felt like a rookie going thru every corner for pretty much the entire course, every lap. The feature of the day was the long ride up the slippery Krumpit and then the slip-n-slide down the zig zag the other side. I tried to ride the descent the first lap and messed up my leg pretty bad as I ended up on my back more times than I'd like to admit. From then on it was running down only. By the end of the 45 minutes I was 16th (of 6o some odd riders). I wasn't physically spent as I never felt like I was racing and more like riding around.
Cleaned up and watched Dale race the 3's; he raced well. Watched the pro's then off to the hotel for the evening. Got hooked on Pawn Stars (never saw it before time in the hotel) and am looking forward to upcoming episodes.
Sunday morning came way too soon. No rain, but not dry outside with the temps mid 30's with the windchill in the mid 20's - cold! Had to put the MWI kits back in the bag and go with the Big Shark thermal fleece skinsuit as it was just that cold. Dale jumped in the 55+ race at 10:20am and bagged 6th place. As evidence of his bike, the course mud was different than the day before as it thickened and grasping to every part of the bikes. I took a walk about to view the technicals spots of the course and opted to skip the pre-ride again. The feature of the day was the 'run up' Krumpit (much like Friday) with a short riding climb afterwards before a much more humane descent down (all rideable). Not a great start but immediately was 'driving' much better than the day before. Mike H let me use his FMB Gripo setup and with 27psi they were spot on. Moved up pretty well during the race, but dropped some time on the second and third laps when I stopped on the flyover to pull out as much crap/mud from my drive train as I could get. It was amazing how much I picked up every lap. **Note to self: pit bike in 2012 is a must** By the end I finished 12th (a couple people had me at 11, but they must have been wrong), but the better news was my bike was still operable and I didn't feel like I dug too deep (maybe leaving some legs for next week's State race).
Quick clean up and Dale and I were south bound (in a warm car with the heater blowing) taking in the last bit of a great weekend.
Spent today cleaning up the bike, clothes, and gear; amazingly everything is in good shape and working smooth.
Saturday is Boss Cross #4 and the day after is State Champs (at the same place BC3 was held - BMX track). Looking like I will skip the BC4 and save the legs for Sunday, but I'll make that choice on Thursday. Hard to pass up a race knowing it's the last weekend of the season for me. So far I've raced better the 2nd day after racing a day before so we'll see.
On a side note: Sunday afternoon Deb and I are hooking a flight to Florida to catch a cruise boat to the Bahama's for a week. That was the thought that kept me warm at Jingle Cross the past couple days...

Monday, November 14, 2011

USGP in Louisville

This past weekend was so much fun on so many different levels; racing at an incredible venue, seeing good friends, but most of all was three days of one-on-one quality time with my girl.

Friday morning with the car loaded up and my mom taking care of the boys for the weekend Deb and I hit the road for our first time visit to Louisville, KY for my first experience with a USGP 'cross race (Saturday and Sunday races). Pretty uneventful drive (especially S. Illinois) of 8 hrs until we pulled into downtown and picked up race number down on 4th Street Live. Over to the hotel and some chow before hitting the sack.
Saturday morning I jumped up early and rode over to the course a couple times before heading back to the hotel to change up for my 9:30am start in the 2/3 race. The course was super fun and challenging (more from a power standpoint then from a technical one) with a little bit of everything requiring 100% focus. With our race only 40 minutes I wasn't looking forward to the ensuing pain as there would be no recovery with 100+ races.
After a decent warmup and a good luck smooch from Deb it off to the starting grid where I run into Ross and Patrick (MWI teammates) and chit chat a little. I considered myself in an OK position getting a 4th row start. Gun goes off, pace shoots up (and never lets up), and find myself in the upper mix of the top 30 for the first lap. On the 2nd (of 4) lap I totally bit it on a barrier not lifting my stupid foot up high enough and I went flying face first to the ground. Regroup, back riding, and trying to shake it off (lasted about a 1/4 lap) then it was back to the pain cave. During the 3rd lap Ross catches up and immediately goes on the attack. I tried to hold his wheel on the open sections, but that kid is soooo freaking strong that it would take a couple technicals section for me to catch back on; this intensity benefited as we were distancing a bunch guys and catching some. Last lap I couldn't hold his pace and dropped off, but luckily didn't have anyone too close and was able to keep steady and ride in for 19th. TOTALLY EXHAUSTED!!!! Hardest effort of '11 by far.
Warmed down before meeting up with Deb for a day of watching some incredible racing at a great venue. Deb is awesome and actually convinced me it was OK for us to hang out and watch Jeff in the 35+; crazy fast group. Had a fun day moving around the course and showing Deb different aspects of the course/race. We were both quite impressed with how easy the Pro's make it look.
Later it was off to downtown for some eats at the Sports and Social Club before catching a show at The Improv (funny comedians). I was surprised how spent physically I was at the end of the night (and in the back of my head I was a little worried about Sunday's race).
Sunday morning I skipped the early ride to get a little more sleep before heading to the venue with Deb around 8am. Took a cruise on the slightly altered course and my legs felt incredibly flat and heavy. Warmed up a little shorter than regular on the trainer (saving what I had left in my legs for the race).
Back to the grid for a 3rd row start this time around. Race starts about the same as the day before and to my chagrin my legs are 100% under me and firing great. Moving comfortably in the 30's until I have to bail from the 'fast line' in the back corner sandpit when the guy ahead of me bobbles and immediately I lose 10 spots (in a blink of an eye). Recover mentally and get back to racing. Start moving through some groups and by the last lap Ross had caught me and he was flying so I jumped on the express. Going through the technical sections toward the end I let a guy slip between us and Ross was gone. I stuck on this guy onto the pavement and was able to time my sprint at the line to take 23rd (one spot behind RC) finishing way better than I expected during warm ups. Local KC guy Chris Hersey had a solid race and was with or near us for most of the race (always fun having familiar faces nearby).
Jeff was on course and cheering (maybe heckling, I'm not sure) me on and took the below pics:
Back to the hotel for a quick clean up then off on the road for the drive home. Deb and I stopped in STL for some Christmas shopping (and for me to stretch the legs). Got home around 8pm in time to put the boys to bed before the always brutal 'unpacking' and then hitting the hay.
Great weekend with Deb and also racing. Looking forward to making L'ville a staple in the future.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

360 Cup & Blvd Cup Weekend in KC

Racing first then on to family activities.

This past week I did some smart things after doubling up in the Masters/Open at BC #3; I made sure I got plenty of rest (Monday & Tuesday), got in a great 'big gear' interval session with Ira on the Frisco finished up with 4 start simulations which included a long dismounted run for each (felt totally recovered), another rest day (Thursday) and then a little bike driving with Ira and Dale on Friday (included routine openers). Recovery & rest had me feeling ready to go for the 360 series races.

Planned to travel up to KC alone and crash at JB's casa (thanks for the offer) and jump in the Masters, but the little guy had an early basketball game and Dale was going up by himself on Saturday so I switched up plans and made the 2:15 hr drive (one way) with him, raced, then came back home. I enjoy drive time with my training partners as we discuss cycling stuff, but mostly share non-cycling aspects of life and it really increases our bond as friends.

Back to Stump Park... pulled up and immediately realized elevation was in play. After talking with a Jeff Yielding (amazing weekend for him in the Masters races) and taking a quick pre-ride it was clear there were places to make solid efforts and plenty of places to recover. No dismounts required as the barriers were short (easy to clear) and the potential for a run up was rideable every lap (even in the opening traffic). Fun course with a lot of off-camber stuff and just a great layout.

Dale jumped in the 3/4 race, got after it, and had a great finish of 18th out of 45+ riders; awesome. Got there too late to watch Karl racing the Masters, but I imagine he did the MWI kit proud.

Good pre-rides and warmup had me toeing the Open line with 23 others (most notable was the front line of who's who of the fast kids minus only the Tradewind folks). Got off to an OK start and things went better as the race progressed. Ended up riding most of the race with Troy Krause (NE masters guru) until I simply couldn't hold his pace up the climb with 4 to go. From then on it was chase and fend off those coming behind. I caught a decent second wind with 2 to go and made a run at TK only to come up short by about 5 seconds to finish 12th (of 24). I am not a climbing type of guy so I was pleased with my result and especially my handling as it was a clean race hitting good lines pretty much all race.
***Great photos from Roger Harrison, Keith Walberg, and Jon Peck***

Loaded up, chowed at Gates, and was back home in time to settle in with Ian to catch the Bama vs LSU game (not a disappointer).

Changed up Sunday plans (for the better) as Deb and the little guy came with me so I dumped the Masters and went with the later Open. I love when Deb and any of the boys make a race as it just makes for a great day.

Pulled up (next to the playground for D), pre-rode the fast power course which was totally different from the day before. Flat open start into a couple switchbacks, more flat pedaling into tall barriers, to a fun technical section (that kept you on your toes) of up and downs and off camber turning (with a short steep dismount bump), then more power pedaling, thru a deep sand pit (totally rideable even though I dumped it once - can you say Her-Crustules ala 2010 Herman?) back to open pedaling... and do it for an hour with no recovery to speak of.
Got to catch Karl drilling it in the SS events; great job, my man.

Lined up with another good sized field of fast kids (27) and off we go for the BLVD Cup Open. Got a decent start (for me) and tried to keep the gas going from there on. For most of the race I swapped spots with a guy from NE (Noah something) in the lower teens in placings; I would put in a dig and open a gap, he would then counter... it made for a non-stop on the gas FUN race. At the end Noah bobbled in the technical section, I punched it, and was able to hold on for 11th. Once again I was satisfied with the way I raced mentally and physically and came away with a little confidence boost going into the rest of the season. Oh, on a side note, I dumped it three times during the race (once in the sand - embarrassing and twice simply pushing the technical sections a little too fast when smoothness and reserved was needed. Fun layout and great racing!
Another great course layout! The last three races/venues have been super and the FUN FACTOR 'cross racing on these courses is off the chart!

Still tentative to really open up fully on the first lap as in the back of my head I continually think "it's an hour, conserve for later...". I need to get past this as I am losing too many places early and spend the rest of the race chasing those I should be near early on. Now, that being said, it's interesting racing with the same guys several times as I can pretty much tell you who will go out hard and fade in the last 20 minutes of racing while I feel I am hitting close to negative splits (runners term). Gotta figure out how to fix this mentally...

Loaded up the crew and made the drive back home. With the time change it felt like it was way late getting home, but nice to see we had some evening left to relax.

Next weekend Deb and I are heading to L'ville for my first USGP. I registered pretty early and might have a 1st or 2nd row start for the 2/3 race. With it only being 40 minutes I am going to have to kill it early to hope to get in the top 20 (wishful thinking and actually have no expectations). Should be fun.

Family activities: the little guy had his first kindergarten basketball practice on Wednesday and first game (Saturday morning); he scored a basketball and generally had what appears alot of fun.

Speaking of D, early in the week he was pretty sick and stayed home a day and a half from school and then Thursday night Ian came down with 'the sickness' and it still battling it (missed two ball practices in hopes of recovering for this weeks games). I crashed with him on Saturday night to monitor his sleeping and am now waiting for it to hit me...

Other than that (I am sure I am missing tons) it pretty much routine operations at work and home.

Monday, October 31, 2011

BC #3 - Doubling Up

Boss Cross #3 was yesterday and for the first time this year I doubled up (Masters and Open). Scheduling has been the main reason this hadn't yet happened, but with a single day of racing instead of two this past weekend and a little extra time I jumped in the pain cave...

Sunday I picked up Ira bright and early and we headed to KC for a new venue; Raytown BMX track. The layout was fun with a semi-technical section on an actual BMX track (high bern corner, rhythm section...) then the rest of full on open flat pedaling (full gas).

Parked next to JY, got in some good warm up laps, then off to the start line. Gun goes off, David H drifts my way a tad, Jeff and I almost lock bars, and by first turn I re-gathered myself and set on David through the BMX part, then BOOM! Once we got to the open area he flat took off. Shea Bergman and myself kept it steady with Jeff on our tail and we were not closing anything on David. Jeff jumped around and I went with him (with Shea on my wheel) until I fell off Jeff's pace. From there Shea and I worked some together until he dropped me. I worked for a good 1/2 lap to trying to close it to him, but it wasn't happening. 5th place was wayyyy behind us and knowing I was riding the Open in a couple hours I backed off the pace to save what was left the legs. Ended up 4th (DH won, JY 2nd, Shea 3rd).
Kicked back and watched T Jay and David race the Masters 40+ Cat4 and then got ready for round two.

Funny thing between races, Jeff and I are chatting and he checks out my air pressure and make a 'holy cow' comment referencing my 'over inflated' pressure and I had to remind him that 32psi for a 173lbs guy is a 'tad' different than the same psi for a 135lbs guy; HA! And no, Ira, he doesn't ride a 42cm bike...

Regular fast kids lined up in the Open and settled in 8th-15th (pretty good group just stuck together) for the first couple of laps. I pushed the effort a couple times trying to break it up, but felt the efforts of the Masters race and decided to 'hide out' for a couple to see if I could make it to the end. During this time Micheal Gaherty, my MWI teammate, started mixing it up and so for the first time in forever we actually raced as a team and took turns firing attacks while the other covered all the moves behind. Mike made a strong move with about four to go that shattered the group while I sat on a Dogfish rider who was trying to run him down. A Colovita guy jumped the group next and I quickly moved to his wheel as he was moving pretty good and with three to go he had caught Mike with only I on his wheel. This guy tried to attack us in a gravel section and went down (hard!) so Mike and I quickly buried ourselves swapping pulls and opened a big gap. I grabbed a second wind just about the time Mike started to cramp. He moved backwards to the chasing Dogfish rider while I held on for a couple laps to get 10th. Some of the funnest racing I've done in a while and big thanks to Mike for such great teamwork.

As we loaded up my body was completely drained, but in a good way. Don't know how many more 'double ups' I have, but it was definitely what I needed for this one day event. Solid day of racing!

Ira nabbed 3rd in the Cat 3 so it was his treat for food on the way home (we have a deal that whomever wins cash buys the eats afterwards).

Up next is 360 Cup on Saturday and Blvd Cup on Sunday; cash payout for Masters which is a rarity these days.
So for you non-racing types here is a run down of 'family' activities for the past couple days:
Thursday night was District football play for our HS and it was a great game, but sadly Helias beat Bolivar with 1:30 minutes to go..., but the night was 'saved' when Freese blasted a homer to send the Card to game 7!!! Ian and I went nuts!!!!
Friday needless to say was all about Cardinal baseball and they didn't disappoint. During the evening some pumpkin carving went on and while D chose a traditional look for his Ian went with the crowd favorite 'up chuck' pumpkin look.
Saturday morning we caught the SBU homecoming parade from the cozy breakfast eating flat of Tom and Sarah Jones. Right afterwards it was off to watch BHS girls and guys teams qualify for State Cross Country - great job Coach Bandy and crew!
Saturday afternoon I got in a lite spin with Dale and got my openers done, before heading back home for some yard work.
Deb's parents showed up for their early winter (from Blackhills SD area) stay and the evening was spent catching up with them and getting the little guy familiarized with some new 'grandparents'.
Great weekend!
**Photo's courtesy of Roger Harrison, Mark Breeding, and Kat Gaherty**

Friday, October 28, 2011

Where Was I...

Totally slacking on the past week's activities, which were plenty. Quick recap:

Last weekend no racing as I needed a week (a couple actually) of recovery riding as the next six weeks are loaded -
10/30 Boss Cross #3 (Masters and Open)
11/05 11/06 360Cup and Blvd Cup (Masters and possibly some Open)
11/12-13 L'ville USGP (2/3)
11/19-20 Tulsa CX (Masters)
11/25-27 Jingle Cross
12/4-5 Boss Cross 4/MO State (Masters and Open)

Got in some great dirt/gravel longer rides with Dale on some awesome weather days. Threw in some intervals to keep sharp and am anxious to see how it goes this weekend as the legs feel ready to go. Should be a stacked Masters 40+ field.

Ian's basketball season has kicked off at The Courts and it's going pretty good. He is playing solid and scoring as expected, but he has really stepped up his defense. He is playing 'up' with a 6th grade team and also playing with his 5th grade team. Keeping him busy, but a good busy.
Jake is popping in from time to time to raid the fridge. School is going good and he is really keeping on top of his studies and getting good grades (so far...). He's still running quite a bit on his own and is debating doing his first marathon next weekend or waiting until mid-December.
The little guy is doing really good with us and really loves school. He (and we) have come a long way over this past 4 1/2 months and we are excited where it is going.
This past weekend Dale and his daughter Mary joined our crew (short of Jake) for a fun Sunday afternoon hike at Sac. I ride there quite a bit and have run also, but I had never taken my time on a nice stroll. Everyone had a great time especially when D and Deb squealed and jumped after almost stepping on a snake (a little green grass one); Ha!
Been enjoying the STL Card World Series even if it is about to 'stroke out' Ian. Game 7 tonight ought to be a good one...

Friday, October 21, 2011


The following is totally non-bike related, but absolutely blew my mind.

Last Friday we took the young boys to SDC and met my folks there. During a routine conversation my mom brought up the issue of Jake using his monthly 'college' money from them to support an under-privileged child and how she's always been impressed with his generosity. That's when she pulled out a small stone from her pocket and said "that's why I always carry this stone." Not ever seeing it before I asked it's relevance and she said when Jake was young (probably 8 or 9) he was showing her his rock collection. He picked out his favorite one and showed it to her. She then made a comment about how nice it was and he immediately insisted she have it; his favorite one. After some discussion it was clear he was not budging so she received the gift... and has carried it in her pocket every day as a reminder of selfless generosity (over 10 years!).
Incredible and Powerful!

I have reflected on this a handful of times over this past week and it makes me realize I need to do a much better job of 'carrying' God's most treasured gift which he gives freely with me daily and sharing it with others. Now, this all being said don't run from me if you see me at a race or event as I'm not going 'TV evangelist' or nutty, but do snag me if you have questions about salvation or just want to chat.

On a sidenote: Jake has always made me want to be a better person...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Joules Cross Weekend

Busy week at home leading up to the weekend and I debated and debated between heading to STL for a Bubba weekend (Sat night and Sunday late afternoon race) or head to Lawrence KS for Joules Cross (Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning races). Ian and D had soccer games early Saturday so racing the Masters at Joules was out of the equation and it's always nice getting back to the crew with some Sunday afternoon left so... Joules it was, but that choice wasn't reached until Friday afternoon.

Speaking for Friday, Deb and I took Ian, one of Ian's friends, and D (Jake couldn't get out classes) to Silver Dollar City for the day. We ended up meeting my folks there and having a great day. Nice cool weather made for a super 'stroll around' atmosphere.

After the boy's soccer games I loaded up and headed off to Lawrence for the Open race. I raced one day at Joules last year (mechanical took me out 15 minutes in) and it is not high on my list of favorites, but it's fine. Wide open power pedaling (not a strong suit for me in the Open) is the only focus of the day as there is 0.0% technical aspect.

Got to the course and the pre-ride found it much like last year which meant slight up and downs, bumpy and rough and wide open. Chatted up some friends, warmed up, and at 3:15 it was go time. A smallish field of 14 lined up and after an hour of suffrage I was 9th after a frustrating day of felling 'off' and never could mentally or physically get it going. I will openly admit it's hard to get mentally fired up for a race you know your going to get drilled; in other words I could have my best race of my life and be absolutely lucky to get a top 6, oh well, enough pity...

*photos from Keith Walberg and Roger Harrison*

After the race I headed to Mass to people watch and grab some food. Ended up keeping it simple at Pickleman's. After snagging some groceries and checking out some cars (hopefully changing out the Durango in a handful of months) it was back out to the venue where they had free camping. Beautiful night made 'Durango Camping' perfect with the tailgate and windows open.

Sunday morning got in a solid warm up and pre-ride (much different course with less elevation change, but a little longer) and lined up in the Masters 40+. Good group of guys and solid racers.

David H. jumped away and George Robinson (Slimen) dangled the entire race around 10-15 seconds ahead (simply couldn't close the gap) and finished 3rd. I raced much better as being near the front will do that to a person (unlike the Open for me).

With the boy's soccer games coming to a close I will have more opportunities to race Saturday Masters events, which is a great event for me right now. Saturday afternoons will still find me getting punished in the Open also...

While I was away Deb took the boys to the SGF zoo and had a great time. Sunday afternoon, upon my return, we all played a bunch of soccer at SBU before crashing in front of the tube to watch the Cardinals pound on Brew Crew to move on to the World Series (who would have thunk it...).

Next weekend is race-free and I am looking forward to being home with the family. I now have 8 races done and achieved my main goal of the early season with winning the overall Cat 3 at Hermann and racing solid at both Boss Cross 1 & 2 events. I feel like I am racing better, smarter, and faster than last year, but that might just me my imagination.

My next month 'run' includes Boss Cross 3 (masters and Open), 360 Cup & Blvd weekend, and then L'ville USGP.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Crossing Out Cancer During a Rest/Recovery Week

This past week worked out way better than I ever imagined...

I try to stick with a training routine of 3 weeks on the gas and 1 recovery/rest and this past weekend it came at a really good time. I was starting to feel the five races over the past three weeks and after Boss Cross 1 & 2 I turned the training volume and intensity way down. Got in some cruising miles on the road, the Frisco, and some good ol' Polk County backroads and restarted my two-a-week run/stadium step workouts.

Debated heading to KC on Sunday for the Cross Out Cancer race as last year it was my worst race, but David Evans (local Bolivar 'cross crew) wanted to do his first 'cross race and I like the KC Livestrong guys and didn't mind supporting a good cause.

After four soccer games Saturday morning (Ian had 2 and D had a couple) I jumped out with Ira for some cruising and openers. He was putting the smack down on me and it had me worried about maybe taking the week toooo easy...
I needed to get back to Bolivar early for an event Ian had Sunday afternoon so I opted for the early Masters 35+ race instead of the Open three hours later. David and I jumped in the car and headed north. It's been since early last year that I last toed the line with the masters and was surprised to find 28 guys in my race alone (and not really sure how many of the other categories were on course at the same time, but it was a ton).
Course was pretty similar to last year, some open pedaling stuff, lots-o-turns, regular set of barriers, and a low set (which was easily 'hoppable' every lap). Temps were a tad warmish for Oct cross and with a lack of rain the ground was hard and bumpy (easy fix with tubulars). Not a favorite, but it was fine.
Gun goes off and Brendon Jenks (360 guy) jumps out and solo's for most of the first lap with myself and a Slimen guy close behind. The Slimen guy joins Jenks and I get pretty close to contact before they open up a gap and that was it. Slimen guy rides off solo for the win while I chase Jenks at a 20 second distance for the rest of the race. We finish that way while 4th (a Cow Town guy) finished not too far down on me.
David raced well and nabbed a 3rd in the Cat 4 Masters event.
Loaded up and headed back south. Good day and the 40 minute race was just what the recovery doctor ordered on this last day before hitting it full gas again.
Up next is a couple Bubba (I know, the name if fitting for Missouri) races in STL next weekend; a Saturday night event (starts at 10pm!!!) and then a Sunday day race.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Boss Cross 1 & 2 (KC at it's Best)

Been looking forward to Jeremy and Joe's events since pulling off of the State course in December (they are just that good at setting up courses and running them off smoothly) and this weekend I partook in the goodness that is Boss Cross in KC.

The week leading up had some quality workouts and bike driving, but Wednesday's intervals with Ira had me cooked and hoping I would recover before the weekend; which I did, but I was sweating it.

Friday I took a new 'cross virgin (T Jay) out for some basic handling, dismounting, and mounting skills as he was itching to race his first 'cross event after watching the rest of us have so much fun at it. He picked up his Specialized Crux on Thursday, we dialed it in and fit him that evening, covered some basics on Friday, and Saturday morning he was in the truck with Dale and I heading to KC. Fun adding to the sickness and it's pretty nice in a 9,000 person town to have six guys who consistently ride 'cross bike and five of them who race. Per capita I have to believe Bolivar is the 'cross capital of MO - ha!

So Saturday morning Dale, T Jay, and I (Ira drove up separately) loaded up the bike and headed to north KC. Got to the venue in time to watch JY finish 2nd in the Masters and to catch how they were riding some of the course.

A quick walk thru and a couple lap ride found it had a mix of a little bit of everything and was typical of a KC course (need to be able to drive a bike and have fitness). Bit bumpy in places, but with the dryness of late it was expected.

Dale and T Jay raced the Cat 4 Masters event and placed 2nd and 3rd respectively. Both had a ball.

Ira and I lined up in the Cat 3 field and before you know it I was off the front with Kyle Skinner (Bicycle Shack, or something like that). I led the first lap and then he took over for a couple. I put in a couple of attacks and he did they same and the result was neither could drop the other so 1/2 way thru we briefly chatted and took turns riding laps. On the last lap Kyle put in a well timed dig as we were passing a lapped rider (who apparently wanted to race us - sigh) and the lapped guy dove in front of my on a tight corner and blew me off of Kyle's wheel with two turns to go and I never could reach him and finished 2nd. Oh well, it was a solid effort by both of us and he deserved the win. BC races the Cat 3 field with the Open so we race and hour like the big boys, but when after 3 laps they flashed 8 to go I knew it was going to be a long day and it turns out we raced for 1:13 minutes.

Ira finished 7th after rolling a tubular in the final lap after being in 5th - bummer!

Picking up the awards (a little cash) Joe and Jeremy gave us some humorous crap about racing up as apparently we finished minutes ahead of 3rd place. Speaking of cash payouts: I'm of the opinion that two classes should get paid cash for placing: Men's Open and Women's Open, the rest should get some swag or a little something, but cash in the lower categories only entices guys like me to stay a 3 and collect. Example (and I told Joe this): Skinner got $60 for the win in Cat 3 and that's the same amount 2nd in the Open gets; I got $50 for 2nd and I believe that's the same as 3rd in Open... keep the cash for the Open guys and don't bait baggers (not saying that Kyle or I was, but the enticement is there).

Sunday Ira and my son Jake jumped in for the drive to KC for BC #2. I debated what to open and after a quick chat with Jeremy and Joe I moved up to the Open race. Smaller field than the day before, but still quality guys. The course was ran backwards and one technical section was removed which made for a much faster race. I felt good and at the end of the hour finished 8th (of 17 starters). I think this shows I need to race Open (and throw in some Masters) from here on out. I'll never see the front of these races, but don't imagine I'll see the tail end of them too often either...

Ira had a tough day and finished 7th again.

Two great days of racing in somewhat warm temps, but nothing too bad. Looking forward to some events in the near future in the 50's for sure. My fitness appears pretty good and my 'punch' and 'snap' is still coming along nicely. Bike driving is at an all time high as the mtb'ing all spring and early summer along with our routine driving sessions during the week have me confident on most anything a course can throw at me, but I will admit the sand started feeling really long the last part of day 2...

Picked up my new MWI custom Giro Aeon helmet and that is the lightest lid I've ever seen. The MWI graphics are spot on sweetness; Mike H knocked it out again.

It was nice having Jake there as he had never been to a cx event and it was his first time watching his old man suffer like a dog (usually it's me watching him). Fun day with the boy and hopefully it will happen more often. Speaking of Jake, the kid is putting in miles in preparation for the Bass Pro marathon and this past Saturday he nabbed a solo 22+ mile run (yeah, I think he's ready...). It's nice seeing him do this for HIM and running for the love of running.

Next week is racing in KC on Sunday at Cross Out Cancer.