Monday, September 26, 2011

Weekend Activities

Couldn't decide for the longest time whether or not to go race Saturday and/or Sunday at Manions in KC until Friday morning when I pulled the plug. The course used last year wasn't a big favorite of mine and with other races a priority I chose to score some 'home' brownie points.
Friday afternoon I got out on the road for a couple hours and spun pretty easy soaking in the beautiful day.

Deb, uncharacteristic for her, got really sick Friday evening so I took the boys and hung out a long time at the gym trying to give her some peace and quiet. Got the boys down and headed to a side room to crash for the night. By Saturday morning she felt 10000% better.

Saturday AM in my house right now is all about soccer; Ian's games start around 8am while D's are 9:30. Both the boys played well with Ian scoring two goals in his game and D once again blanking the other team while playing goalie. Fun morning followed up with a Brenda's breakfast.
Got out on the dirt/gravel backroads for 2:30hrs with Dale and David in the afternoon and cruised a steady pace. Felt good and the legs recovered from Wednesday's activities.

Watched a little USGP; it's always impressive how freaking fast the Pros ride and how technically sound.

Saturday evening was just a bunch of goofing around with the boys and Deb.

Caught the end of the Worlds road race and don't have a problem with GB and Cav winning the race. More times than not he is right at the right spot at the big events. Could have done without is dome cover...

Sunday church and then lunch with the crew to include Jake and his suite-mate Scott. Fun getting to know his friends.

After lunch Ira, Dale, and I set out for an afternoon of 'hurt' and the mission was accomplished. Legs felt sharp early, but as the session wore on I was gassed.

Got back in time to watch (all but last lap - sigh) of the USGP and oh how rain and mud can change the dynamics of a 'cross race. Surprised the other Belgies were not closer to the front, but that bodes well for the US guys who rode strong.

Last night Deb and I snuck off for a little 'date night' and took in some chow at the Springfield Brewery and then caught Moneyball; a quality flick that I recommend whether or not you are a sports fan.

All in all I'm glad I stayed home to not only be there for Deb, but to get a lot of 'home' stuff accomplished and hang with the boys. Those will be few and far between over the next couple months.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Gateway Cross Cup

Yesterday was the Gateway Cross Cup in STL Heman Park. Incredible event and a pretty cool venue which made the most of a pretty compact community park. Wednesday racing is a rarity, but no way were we going to miss racing and later catching the Pro's.

Ira, Peter Krause, and I loaded up the Durango early Wednesday morning and made the trek to STL in time to catch Dale in the Cat 4 race. Dale rode great and nabbed 7th and later Ira got 9th in the single speed. Had fun watching Jeff Yielding lay it down in Masters for a 2nd (later 8th in the Open - man on fire!).

Got in three laps a couple hours before our race and man that was a fast fun course with four dismounts (2 - short stairs, 1 - flyover, 1 - double barrier) and just about as flat of a course as I've raced. Lots of turning, but none very tight or technical and the Grifo's hooked up great. It was almost the anti-Hermann course; I was in trouble as there were a ton of great crit racers in my field...

Early registration for the USAC Open got me a front row on the start grid, got a solid jump (thanks Jim Davis for the photo) and almost got the hole shot coming off the asphalt, but I lost my nerve right before turning off and dropped into third or so into the grass. First lap was pretty quick and was feeling OK (but not great) and the second lap was disastrous; couldn't get my legs to do anything and had little zip which caused an immediate drop of way too many places. My mid-race I got a new breathe of life and felt really good, but the damage was done with all the spots lost earlier. I raced and felt much better the 2nd half of the hour and was able to reel in several in the last laps to finish 20th (of 63 starters). I was OK with that and had a lot of fun. *Side action shot from Dan Singer -*

After a quick change up it was off hitting various parts of the course as the Pro men shredded it up. Incredible how simple and effortless they make the barriers and cornering look. J-Pow for the win!

The best part of the evening was having my brother drive up to watch me in action; it was his first 'cross race and I think he enjoyed it.

Packed up and made the 3.5 hr drive (that's right JY, we stayed, watched, AND drove back home; hope your 1.5 drive didn't keep you up too late - HA!) back home. Super tired this morning, but still wearing the smile from the event.

Not sure about Manion's this weekend (Sat and Sun races in KC) as I could use a couple days to regroup as Boss Cross 1 and 2 (the following weekend) have priority. Will make the decision after I catch up on some sleep and have a clear head.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Dogfish Cross Starts the Season Off Right

And just like that we're back at it...

Jeff Yielding's Dogfish Cross is the kick off to MO's 'cross season and is a restaurant quality event; Jeff and crew go to great lengths to make sure every aspect of the races go off top notch to include seamless registration, great mix of a little everything on the race courses, prizes and swag, and endless entertainment. Now on to the racing.

Ira and I loaded up and made the three hour drive to Hermann is perfect 'cross weather/temps; everything about it just felt 'crossy. Got there in time to catch Dale racing the Masters 50+ and he looked good (especially considering one week ago he knocked out a great LOTOJA - 209 mile road race where he averaged 20.3mph). The course got some rain earlier in the day but it wasn't sloppy, just a little damp.

Checked into the Hermann Motel (not a bad place, but won't be taking Deb) and relaxed a bit before our 8pm start for the Cat 3 race. Back to the venue to roll a couple laps and found everything was pretty tacky and fast. The course was pretty routine (which = awesome) for Hermann Park with a good mix of stuff; especially like the double sand with the low barriers on the turn -nice touch. Course was pretty tacky and nothing slick to speak of. Time flew by and before you know it we were lined up ready to go.

Side note: In general I like Cat 3 guys as everyone usually super friendly and easy going. We all know we're not super fast like the Open kids, but good enough to have challenging races. I'm going to miss that eventually...

Got a good start and settled into second place off the asphalt and by the time we made a couple turns on the course myself and another guy had a little gap. I passed him leading to the stairs hoping not to get caught up behind a mess and it worked out pretty good as from that point on I had clean driving off the front. After 4 laps (of 8) I had established a healthy lead and settled in to maintain it and with 2 to go I was able to back off the gas some (hoping to save a little to Sunday) and cruise in for the solo win. Picked up the Source Endurance leaders jersey and hopefully would keep it tomorrow. Everything felt pretty sharp and hopefully a good indicator for the weekend and the season.

Ira rolled a tubular which cost him some spots, but he raced well.

Another side note: When you grab a 'beverage' handup from Jim Davis make sure it's opened; he did have it dialed in on the next lap.

Here is a video circulating from the boys at Airborne; incrediblely done! There's a couple clips of me early, but after that its all of the chasers.

Watched the Open race then grabbed some chow at a local bar and hit the sack.

Sunday was nice and laid back as we didn't race until 2pm. We grabbed a little breakfast then headed over to watch the Masters and check out the course. It rained overnight and everything looked a bit slicker than the night before. Back to motel to hang out and then back to race.

Rolled a couple laps before the race and while it wasn't bad there were some slick corners to watch for. Rolled to the line wearing the Source Endurance leaders jersey (target on back) and took by light-hearted ribbing from the others.

Another solid start and led off the pavement where I promptly took out the tape on the first little sweeper (embarrasing). Regained composure (still leading) and put in some good digs to get off the front with a decent gap by the top of the stairs. From there on it was like the day before - ride smooth thru the turns, stomp a bit on straights, and really push the pavement. By the second lap I had a decent lead and maintained it until to top of the stairs with less than 2 to go. BAM, chain gets jacked up in my Pauls catcher and it's time for cool heads. Took a bit but worked it back on just as a Big Shark guy passed me; jump on his wheel and follow until last time up the stairs where I put in a good dig; got a little gap and rode it to the finish for the win.

*Above pics snagged from Jason Watkins*

By winning both day I won the overall points and snagged some goodies from Tin Mill brewery (good stuff). I wanted to go well at Hermann and it worked out as I hoped. Great catching up with folks I hadn't seen in a while and as always chatting up Jeff.

Soooo, I appears I need to contemplate punching my Cat 2 license if I do well in a couple more Cat 3 races and just get it over with. I'm looking to race Boss Cross as a 3, but that may not realistic after this weekend, but I'll make that decision down the road. Outside of BossCross looks like I will race quite a bit of masters stuff this year with some Open mixed in.

Rest and recovery and get ready to do it again in STL on Wednesday...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

STL Cardinals and 'Cross Prep

This past weekend was packed full of fun (new) stuff for our crew.

Saturday morning both Ian and the little guy had soccer games and it was Darion's first one ever. He played super hard and did a great job as goalie in the second half of the game. Once while playing mid-fielder he ran by me and said 'this is hard!' and then kept on running. His little 5 yr old legs were in high motion. Ian played super solid in his game which finished in a tie. He plays soccer much like basketball seeing and reading what is going on far ahead of most others.

Back to the casa for clean up then it was off to STL to spend some time with Deb's sister's family. Their boys are a great fit for ours and we hardly heard or saw from them while we were there. Sunday we went to a Cards game as Tanner (Deb's nephew) sang with his school choir during the 7th inning stretch. Chris and I took Ian and Tanner down to the ball park early to try to snag some ATL autographs. Mission accomplished and the rest of the crew joined us for the game. We got tickets up high behind home plate and what I like about the new Busch is there really isn't a 'bad' seat in the place.


Everyone had a great time and Darion loved it; it was his first major league game. Packed up the car and headed back home later evening. Super trip.

Training is going well and I am feeling pretty good about the start of the season. I have no expectation of 'killing it', but hope to be somewhat competitive on the Cat 3 level. Hermann is getting a little bit of rain right now, but forecasts don't seem to have much more falling before Sunday (sounds familiar). Temps look to be incredible for racing.

This evening is Cross Vegas and I am looking forward to watching the action. On a side note: how freaking dominate is Gilbert when the finish has a bit of an upward punch?!?!?!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Labor Day Weekend and Ramblings

Wow, what a great relaxing (and taxing on the bike) long weekend! Bounced around here and there but never felt rushed or in a hurry to get to the next place. Monday evening both Deb and I commented on it greatness.

Friday morning got in a couple hours of bike driving with Dale. We ended up working quite a bit of technique getting on and off the bike and he will be way faster come race days as his mechanics improved tons.

Friday evening we got a sitter for the little guy and Deb, Ian, and I headed off to the Bolivar HS home opener football game. Before the game I watched SBU's home cross country meet - man those guys can run. Back to the football game; not much of a game to watch (BHS won 7o something to 7), but great night to hang out with friends.

Got in a good mix of longer climbing and shorter intervals on the road with David, Ira, and TJ. Tough workout, but it felt super good to hurt like that. Bolivar has gotten quite a nice group of guys with whom to cruise.

Grabbed some lunch with my folks in SGF and actually did a little shopping at the mall with them. The reason I bring this up is it's VERY rare to see my dad in a mall! He endured it like a champ and it ended up a good afternoon.

Sunday started the 'changing of the winds' and brought in temps in the 70's - awesome (actually made my 'cross sensors stand up and take notice)! After church Dale, Nate, and I hopped on the Frisco for a 2:30hr easy spin - incredible weather. Rest of the day was spent in the yard either playing or working.

Monday everyone slept in and lazied the day away! Rest day on the bike found me goofing around with Ira on the SBU 'cross courses making sure the carbon tubulars were glue up right (and they are). Like I said it was a day of easy pace and goofing off. Deb and the little guy made a handful of trips to the park and school playgrounds to get some energy burned off. Big bummer news of the day was the scooter gearing is toast so I have a choice to make: take it to a shop and spend some decent bucks to fix it, fork over bigger buck for a new one, or count it was loss and the fact that I paid $100 for it and it lasted two years... Not sure right now, but I do know I want it (or another) back; bad!

Tuesday at noon Ira and I hoped on some quality intervals at SBU and finished them off with a handful of race simulation starts. I'm feeling pretty decent and the legs are starting to get a little snap to them along with some decent acceleration. I was cooked when we got done.

The little guy had soccer practice last night and he is a lot like E-ball; all business and one heck of a good athlete. His first game (and Ian's) is this weekend and it will be fun to watch. Just don't hope he hurts to many others as he tends to go THRU them to get the ball and not around.

Got out on the Frisco at lunch today for a solid 2 x 30 min steady state effort. Great weather and a great place to train uninterrupted pedaling; very similar to being on a trainer, but without the stationary part.

Got on sportsbaseonline and snagged my registration for the Boss Cross series in KC. Joe and Jeremy do JY-like quality events and I love supporting them. Since the flooding played havoc with the Riverside venue they are mixing it up this year with bigger and better courses. Another great change is the BC 4 event (Dec 3) is the day before State Champs (Dec 4) so there won't be a couple different things going on in one race - nice change boys! The best news of it is Deb hooked us up for a week cruise to the Bahama's on December 5th so it all fits in nicely!!!!

Going to STL this weekend, but not to start 'cross; we are taking the boys to a STL Cardinals game Sunday afternoon to watch my nephew's school choir sing the national anthem. Should be a fun day!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

It's Coming...

Just secured my front row for this...

Took a look this morning at the Gateway Cross Cup (in STL) UCI list and looks like they'll have an all-star line up under the lights - awesome!

Going over a tentative 'cross schedule for my first 8 days of the season and it has me at JY's Dogfish Cross on Sept 17th and 18th, at Gateway Cross Cup Sept 21st, and then hitting up Manion's on Sept 24th and 25th. Nothing like baptism by fire... The following weekend is Boss Cross 1 & 2 (Sat and Sun in KC), but no information on this yet published.