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.