Monday, January 02, 2012

4th & 1

Two solid 4th place rides for me this weekend at the CCC NYR in Chicago; One To GO!

It was game on starting Friday.  Fidea Cup from Leuven on the web at 8am.  Training at 10am for 2 hours.  Lunch, Nap, Bike Cleaning at 3pm - 6pm, dinner, laundry, pick up Gear Grinder van @ 8pm.  Load van for an early departure 7:30am the next morning to Chicago.

I finally just caved in to the free Netflix trial.  So far pretty awesome.  We have the slowest high speed internet in the world, but no problem to watch a movie or a tv show.  Sat night before bed I needed 30 minutes of spacing out so I watch the first episode of The Wonder Years!  Gotta love that show.

We made it through Chicago traffic with no problems and arrived to the Indian Head resort.  It was more like a groomed tractor pull!  The bermuda grass of the golf course was more like a wet sponge, and if there were any dips in elevation it was a mud bog.

I felt good on Friday and I had been doing a lot of CX practice in the sand at the beach by my house.  I immediately felt comfortable in the mud, my legs felt good, my HR was responding, and I knew it was going to be a good day!  I just didn't know how good...

I had a good jump of the line and then pulled out of my pedal...luckily I was already up to speed and held a good position around the first few corners.  I immediately felt good and moved up to Trebon's wheel.  I even pulled through the start finish on Lap #1.  I was feeling good so might as well go for it...

The first slight the middle of lap 3 Chris Jones crashed right after the pits...I tried to avoid it, but went down when I ran him over.  Powers was going through the pits and was able to avoid the crash and Trebon was going off the front.  Jones and I started to chase.  A lap later half way through the race Jones stopped pedaling and told me we were getting to close to Powers.  The Rapha team card had been played...oh well, I was riding better than Chris in the technical stuff and all I needed was for him to make another mistake.  I pulled and entire lap.  Starting the next lap I nailed a mud bog perfect and looked up and saw Powers....I knew I was bringing him back.

As I caught Powers, Chris was off the back a little because he has just went through the pits...I wanted to keep the pressure steady and hope for that mistake.  No go.  With one to go I pulled through the start/finish and the crowd was was awesome.

I attacked then a couple of times and had some daylight, but never enough.  Jones took one little flyer, but it didn't stick.  Powers then went and I didn't want to get 1-2ed for an entire lap so I let him go thinking I had a better chance for the podium beating Chris one on one.  Unfortunately when you pull a guy around a windy course for 30 minutes he has a little more in the tank at the end....I finished 4th, but was very happy with how I felt...I think I can still get a little fast this week!

Day 2 I was tired.  I inspected the course and it seemed heavier so I wanted to save some energy for the race.  That was my mistake.  I didn't really rally it and when I started and hit the first section of mud I knew I was in trouble w/ too much air in the tires.

Half way through the race I went from holeshot to 7th or 8th place and then I crashed.  Myerson crashed into the back of me and the lead group was going going gone.  Lucky for me it was right in front of the pit, but the spare bike had the same pressure and I didn't have a chance to communicate w/ Tim that I needed lower pressure because I hadn't passed the pit yet..  Next lap I was able to do so and then next lap I finally got a bike w/ good air.  1/3 of the way through the race and I was finally dialed.

I was riding w/ Wicks and Lindine, but as soon as I changed bikes that lap I was on my own.  I was the first guy to ride the hill when I finally got my tire pressure dialed, but it took a lot of energy.  I settled in and started to watch Jones come back towards me.  With 2 to go I was on my good bike...the other bike's valve cores were frozen and there was still a bit too much pressure.  I put 16 seconds into his gap and I really did a smooth lap.  I think he saw me coming though and started to go faster.  I switched to my not so good bike and wasn't able to close the last 10 seconds...another 4th.

Another awesome weekend.  Thanks to Andrea, Elicia, and Tim for helping in the pits and cleaning dirty clothes, thanks to Gear Grinder for the van and the tent, the superfans, and all my other sponsors who make it possible.  Check out for more great pictures and full race recaps.  See you in 6 days!

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