Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tour of KC

So last weekend was the Tour of KC and my first crit's of 2012.  I was super interested to see how I would feel since I've tackled no true intervals of intensity and have spent most of the spring on a mtb.

Ira joined me for the two days of racing and come to find out these where his first crits... ever!  He was stoked as his fitness has been solid. 

I had originally planned to race both days in the masters field, but since Ira was going off at 4:40pm on Saturday and the masters was at 11am I decided to switch up to the 4's to make a much better travel day.  Either was fine with me as the whole weekend was a check of the system and had little to do with trying to obtain a top finish.  I really like crit racing and typically will do 5 or 6 per year, but as I discussed with Ira I don't think it's my cup of tea to focus for a season (but thank goodness there are are a ton who do, which makes racing fun).

I love the Longview course was it's tighter than usual and with 8 turns and a couple slight risers it makes for a selection as the races develops.  The temps were pretty warm, but not near as hot as it's been in the past.  Quick warm up with Ira and the 'cross bikes (that's right, it's what we both ride year 'round) and it was time to toe the line.

***Elizabeth Rangle gets credit for the above photos***

Good group of front guys kept the pace decent and steady, but most of all clean (no nutty cutting on turns or pushing folks off wheels - nice).  I made sure to keep in the top 5 or 6 and took a handful of turns up front; was able to maintain my place in the group without ever being under pressure.  Few digs here and there by some folks, but the top 10 were keeping it all togehter.  With three to go a group of six were moving away from 4 or 5 behind and then out of nowhere we had officials on the course neutralizing it all and stopping us at the start/finish line.  Quick explanation was a wreck brough emergency vehicles on to render support.  I was slightly disappointed to hear how many folks were complaining of the stoppage, but it's a hobby race and when someone is injured it takes 100% priority over pedaling a bike.  After close to 10 minutes it was time to race for the remaining three laps, but an interesting this was how many folks reported to being 'with' the front group as there were close to 15 now on the line (while the others were being staged with time gaps).  Not a huge biggie, but sort of funny to listen to guys justify their position to the officials.  Kuddo's to the officials for doing their best.

Off we go and quickly it was pretty much the same folks driving the race.  On the last lap up the final riser I was in the top 7 or 8 when a guy tried to cut the corner (instead of riding the same line as was taken every lap before) and BAM!!! straight into the curb right in front of me and another guy.  It was spectactular as his bike shot up one way and somehow he shot up another - literally said 'Awesome' at the moment it happened.  Luckily there was room to swerve inside for the both of us and kept rolling.  Ended up 7th on the day and have no idea how that happened as I had no zip or pop for a sprint at the end.

Ira rode well and ended up not to far behind; more importantly he had a great time!

Stuck around for a bit to catch some of the Mercy-Kuat guys in action before heading off to meet up with teammates Crusty and Alyssa for a Sushi Feast.

Up early(ish) for a spin from host Crusty to the Lee's Summit downtown crit (8am start) with the Masters.  Nice spin of 15 minutes from his house let me grab a handful of warmup laps prior to start.  Fast, FAST course with 5 open/wide turns and all flat.  Several big boys lined up in the masters field which made for a steadily fast pace with little 'let up' during the event.  Surfed without being under pressure at anytime and with 1 to go drifted to the back to get out of the way of those wanting to win (no pop or zip = why even jack up those with).  Even at 8am it was warm, but not near as hot as it would be for the rest of the races thru out the day.

Cleaned up back at Crusty's, got Ira up and going for his race at 1:40pm, and enjoyed watching him suffer (just kidding, he did great). 

Packed up and headed home with a great check of the system which let me know my fitness feels ahead of where I was at this time last year and with two months of tuning/sharpening the engine 'cross is going to be a blast this year.

Originally planned to hit Tour of Lawrence, but with the temps forcasted and a positive 'systems check' at TofKC, I started a 10 day 'down period' 100% off the bike and any type of excersise.  This will let me mentally and physically 'flip the switch' to full on 'cross prep.  Fun things equipment/sponsor wise on the horizon for MWI and I don't remember looking forward to a 'cross season so much.  Might be I am now 45 ('cross race age) which puts me in a new class or that I just love this sport and it's growth/appear more and more each year.

On a side note:  Ian played up in another 7th grade shootout the other day and went off for 27pts (his team scored 36 total) going 7 for 11 from the 3 line - nuts (he's 11)!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Waffles Anyone????

Yesterday was the latest edition of the Waffle training race put on by the Mercy-Kuat boys and as usual it didn't disappoint.  Pretty good turnout (maybe 20+ in the A race) with most of the SGF area kids in attendance.  Pretty civil affair with a few instigators (mostly Eric Haynes) whipping up the action, but for the most part the group stayed together and sorted out things up the dam hill on the 3rd (of 3) lap before the finish.  PK took the win in a sprint for the line and I trickled in a bit back around 6th or so. 

The temps were pretty decent and not near as hot as I expected.  Good workout on the legs and as always a solid bunch of guys. 

My boy Ira is riding the best I've ever seen and reached the last climb with the main group which is just an indicator of things to come in 'cross for him this fall. Him riding at a good level is only beneficial for both of us as we start the turn for 'cross season; I'm crazy stoked!

The Huffster was out on the scooter heckling and giving out some pointers and took the below shot.

Pre-registered for Tour of KC this weekend in the Masters and after last night I feel pretty good about the two days of racing.  Now don't mistake 'feeling good' as meaning on the sharp end of the group, but more as hopefully sticking somewhere near the main field...

Ian had a Shootout basketball event yesterday wherein he played up with a 7th grade team for four games and he played really solid.  The standout point was in the first half of the 2nd game he went 5 for 5 from the 3pt line and finished the game 6 for 6 and only missed one shot (a little floater).  I think for the four games he was 11 for 17 from the 3 line and handled the ball well.  He had a blast but was dead tired after a busy day on the hardwood.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Late Addition to the MTB Races...

Last entry I talked about hanging up the mtb and heading off to Tulsa for the TTough, but things didn't work out that way so I jumped to plan 'B' - one more mtb event and the Missouri State MTB Champs (not confused with the week prior MO State SS Champs as it's a separate event) in Warsaw, MO at the Down-n-Dirty event.  Little bummed to miss TT, but with all things 'off-season' you just roll with it and move on to something else.

Temps were expected near 90* with a bit of humidity in the forecast and they didn't miss it by much.  Got to the venue Sunday mid-morning and it was already a little warm.  I've raced at Warsaw a handful of times and didn't need a warm-up loop as it's pretty straight forward: fast, rocky, dry/loose, rocky, not much elevation, rocky, but most of all fun every time.  Mac and his crew put a lot of effort into their events and this one didn't disappoint.

Debated between marathon, SS, or Cat 1 Masters, but with the temps on the rise and my history of melting in the heat (heat injury in 2008 in NE adventure race still lingers), I figured the shorter the better so it was SS class this time around.  The loop was around 8 or so miles and SS was doing 2 with the Cat 1's doing 3.  After a quick 20 minute warmup it was time to toe the line. 

Start of the SS Class

Not a big field for SS, but definitely quality.  Right off the start I am sitting around 5th or so and within a couple miles moved into 3rd with 2nd in sight for most all the lap (just couldn't reach him).  Pretty routine layout for Warsaw and it was moving along pretty fast, but with every effort I was noticing my HR took longer to drop and my body temp was causing me a little concern.  I made a decision early into lap 2 to keep a steady pace, not kill it keeping my efforts limited, and hopefully not 'melt'.  This was working out until about a 1/3 of the lap to go I was caught by Dan Fuhrman (solid SS'er) dropping me to 4th.  I stayed close to him for some time, but was above my 'heat' comfort level so I let him go.  At the end he finished less than 15seconds in front of me (couldn't tell until the very end as the woods were thick) for 3rd (I was 4th) which was kind of a bummer, but I rode decent for the temps of the day. 

Cleaned up and headed home for a fun afternoon with the crew.

So, looks like a down/easy week, the Mercy/Kuat Waffle training race next Tuesday, then off to the Tour of KC.  That's the plan, but that obviously changes for minute to minute....  I can say with confidence though that the mtb is hung up for the rest of the year.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

MO State SS Champs

Last Saturday Ira and I hit Hwy 44 up to St. James for the UFD MO State Single Speed Champs.  Neither of us even knew St. James had single track, but turns out there is around 8 miles of single track well hidden on the southeast corner of town. 

There was little expectation leading into this; it was just great having Ira back and any day on the bike is a better one than not.  Decent turnout with some fast guys on hand and some fun solid promoters (Eric and Dan from Route 66 Bikes).  Temps were nice and cool for the 3 lap (7 miles per) 21 mile race.

After a lite warmup it was time to go.  Fast start on open gravel roads for about 1/2 mile before hitting the single track.  Oh, turns out the single track was tight, twisty, and tight (did I mention tight?).  This was not so good for me as I need it a little more open with pedaling and not so much handling, but it was what is was so we are going.  Hit the single track around 4th or 5th with Ira right on my tail.  After the first lap I was 5th and feeling like I rode way about my head actually flowing pretty well on the tight stuff.  2nd lap starts and quickly three guys fly by and I jumped on the back holding on for dear life.  The leader gaped the rest and dangled off the front about 20-30 seconds (we could see him from time to time as the trail doubled back).  A DJR (or DRJ, not sure the team name) guy leading our trio was killing it, but I was able to dangle on the back.  We hit a end of the lap (about a 1/4 mile gravel road) and the DJR blows (felt bad as he was killing it) and the Team Segal guy and I get a gap.  I stopped at the beginning of the last lap to grab a new bottle (and a gel) while the Segal guy took off.  I chased and 1/2 thru caught and dropped the Segal guy.  Rode well the rest of the lap and nabbed 6th at 1 hour 51 minutes.  The 5th and 4th place guy were less than 1 minute ahead, but the front 3 were gone...  Ira rode well getting 9th not to far back.

Much like the couple marathon races I felt better as the race progressed, but the concentration was the most intense I've had in a race for some time due to the tight single track.  Had a lot of fun, but with the rising temps of summer that was probably my last mtb event of '12.  Mission accomplished for this season as my handling is the best it's ever been and my fitness for longer events was solid without overly taxing my body.

This just might be one of my all time favorite 'editing' jobs I've done; I love this shot!

With that said I'm now looking for a month of crit/circuit races on the road to get a little leg speed going.  This weekend is Tulsa Tough and as of now I'm doing both days in the Masters field.  In a couple weeks is Tour of KC (with one of my favorite courses at Longview CC Saturday and a routine crit on Sunday) which dropped from three days to two and then Tour of Lawrence with the 'monster' circuit on KU's campus Saturday and a routine crit on Sunday.  Having no interval session with my HR above 165 (threshold is 184) I am looking to 'hang on' at each of these and simple improve form (i.e. results/placings will not happen). 

After that it's a couple weeks laying low then building to 'the season' in mid-September.

On the home front not much shaking and sometimes that's just fine with me.  My blackberries are killing it and so far Deb's whipped up a couple awesome cobbles (there would be more if I would quit snacking so much).