Monday, November 19, 2012

3 down - 3 to go

Jingle Cross is always a tough tough weekend.  This year was no different, but it did help that we had amazing weather.  Hopefully its never like that again....

After Iceman/Cincinnati & Louisville weekends I wasn't exactly sure where I would be.  You can't get in a ton of training with all the time spent driving in the car and recovery has to become more important.  So I showed up Friday night feeling pretty good.

The race started and I could tell maybe I was a little too fact maybe I was a little stale.  I watched as the lead group rode away during the first 1/4 of a lap and there was nothing I could do.  Before the finish of Lap 1 Tim Johnson had crashed out.  Half way through Lap 2 I found myself riding Mt. Krumpet and riding through the group of 6th - 10th who were off their bikes and running.  I descended Mt. Krumpet at mock speed to find myself in no mans land.  The lead group was long gone and nobody was behind me.  I made the decision that chasing hard would not be in my best interest for energy reserves that needed to be saved for Sundays C1 race.  I rode conservatively the rest of the lap and then Cody Kaiser latched on to my wheel.  Same thing though next time up the climb...he was running and I was riding and putting 10 second into him per lap.  We continued this pattern until the end of the race when Alan Krughoff started catching back and we had to push the pace a little more...I finished 5th

Saturday was a little bit of a deeper field with a few guys who couldn't make the Friday night race in attendance.  I had a great jump off the line, but again the first 1/4 lap saw me getting gapped off the lead group and riding in a spot where I was not really happy.  I did most of the race in 10th position and towards the end was able to catch and drop Candelario, Shriver, and Krughoff.  I finished 7th

Sunday was the big race, with the big points, and the big money.  I did a much better warm up on my new Saris trainer, but was feeling the fatigue of the previous 2 days.  With a little Shot of caffeine I was on the start line for the 7th time in just over a 2 week time frame.  This time I had the mental strength I needed to fight.  My Trek Cronus was rocking...its amazing how much better a bike can feel when you are confident.  I was crushing the hard climb up Mt. Krumpit and bombing the downhills.  After a Lap I was with the lead group and the sat up into the I took my chances and went to the front.  Maybe not the smartest move to pull into the wind, but hey - you gotta give it a go if you get the opportunity.  Timmy J attacked me in the muddy section before the fly-over and Mt. Krumpit.  I was hurting a little from pulling into the wind.  I drifted from 2nd position to 7th up the climb so I could stay within myself.  The gaps opened on the descent on the chase was on.  Tristan did the majority of the hard work with Driscoll sitting on his wheel.  Next time up the climb I just latched onto the lead group again.  I pretty much did the same multiple laps and was just dangling off the group.  I suffered but was rewarded with another top 5 finish and some valueable UCI points.

Now its break time.  A little rest a little recovery and then Portalnd, North Carolina, and Chicago.  Thanks for reading and a huge thanks to all who kicked off the holiday season in style at Jingle Cross!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Top 10's

red shoes rule!
Another weekend of racing in the books!  This time it was the big one.  The preview of the Louisville UCI World Championship race course.  The 3rd stop of the USGP.  I've always had a good time going down to Louisville and racing and this was no exception.

After a hard week of training in Athens at mom and dad's house I was back on the road again.  I Friday afternoon just in time to get in a good preview of the course.  After a nice dinner and some Graeters Ice Cream it was back to the hotel for a long night of no sleep.  Not sure what the deal was...but maybe I was just pumped to race...or too much Ice Cream.

Day 1 was a world of pain.  I dangled off the back of the lead group for way too long.  I was suffering, I wasn't comfortable at all, my HR was pegged, I couldn't see straight, my legs burned....yeah it was one of those races, but somehow after a mediocre start in about 15th after the first sandpit I moved up throughout the race and finished with a strong attack on Allen Krughoff from Boulder to finish 8th.

Day 2 was totally opposite.  I felt great, MY HR was mcuh lower, I was recovering, I felt smooth in the technical stuff, but I finished 9th.  At one point I actually bridged across to the lead group and was more than comfortable sitting there, but then I slight slip on an uphill off camber and I hooked my bars on the fence and came to a stop.  I went from a pretty comfy spot in the top 6 guys to chasing back on to the group of 5th - 12th.  The last three laps I was still pretty good with the main moves being made in the long uphill sand pit.  I ended up passing Summerhill with 1/4 lap to go in the sand and then sprinting with Zach for 8th.  Zach was first on the pavement and first across the line so I finished 9th.  For the legs and the feelings I had I felt I let an opportunity slip away.  More motivation for this weekend at Jingle Cross!

  Time to go rake some leaves!  Before Iceman we scraped, sanded and painted our garage and I went pretty good!  So I'm thinking working around the house good for the form....Andrea might like this new training plan!

with the #1 superfan

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

all you can handle

Back at it again in a major way.  This years prep for Iceman included a much needed 2 weeks at home after a crazy 2.5 months of racing every weekend except one(Hawaii).  The part that I didn't really plan on was a major home improvement project.  I think I spent 5 or 6 days outside in the cold scraping, sanding, and prepping our garage to get painted.  I kind of thought it was like Rocky training to fight the Russian...

The 2 weeks at home was really huge though...lots of training and more importantly lots of rest.  I left home on Thursday with the crew from Trek to head to Iceman.  We arrived just in time for an awesome dinner with the Buermans and the Masseys at Traviso's.  Friday was the standard pre-ride from Williamsburg Rd w/ Trav & Chloe.

Race day was also pretty much standard operating procedure.  It started with a fresh layer of snow on the ground.  A good breakfast at the Grand Traverse and a long wait for the 2:30 start time.

The race itself was great.  I felt awesome and prepared about as good as possible.  I had a good start.  I was never in trouble.  My bike was perfect.  - TREK Elite 9.9 w/ 26" wheels.  2.0 XR2 tire in the front and 2.2 XR1 in the rear.  Full confidence in the sand and the mud!  Old school!

Game on started really late this year in the race.  Kabush made the first hard move and Troy Wells was quick to close it down.  The group of 10 or 11 was starting to shatter on the last few rollers of the Vasa trail.  With less than 2k to go I was starting to hurt a little and didn't have the punch to battle for the last singletrack section.  I went into the woods in 4th wheel.  Coming out of the singletrack Mike A pedaled .001 seconds too early and slipped just a little in the mud.  I went around him and crushed it up the final IceBreaker climb to close the gap.  Unfortunately that didn't leave much for a kick in the final 300 meters.  It was really a race to the last left hand turn because after that there was no passing.  I tried, but I think my brain was experiencing some major oxygen deficit and I just couldn't get around Sam & Geoff.  All and all pretty happy with another Iceman podium!

post race interview w/ Michigan Youth Cycling
Things changed up a little when after the race we hit the road for Cincinnati.  Usually its a relaxing evening with friends, but this year I had to make it for some valueable C1 points.  My dad and I drove to Ann Arbor Saturday night and then another 4 hours Sunday morning to Harbin Park.

Before I knew it I was lined up again but this time on skinny tires.  I knew I felt great as soon as I started to pedal around with Tristan during warm up.  I was a little bummed to get #9 thinking I would be on the 2nd row, but luckily someone wasn't present and I got a front row spot.  I took full advantage of the front row and easily sat 2nd wheel the entire first lap.  I went to the front a few times and was racing really strong as the lead group was dwindling from 10 or 11 guys to 7.  Then I crashed...pretty hard too, on a pavement crossing that was more like ice from the mud that was being dragged across.  My shoe buckle broke and I thought I was done for...I could hardly pull up on the pedals, but I had to close the gap and get back in contact with that lead group.  1/2 lap later I made contact and on the start finish stretch I was able to somewhat fix the buckle.  I went right back to 2nd or 3rd wheel as I didn't want to get spit out the back when things started lighting up.  Then with 4 to go Zach took a pretty good spill and I was gapped off again.  I closed the gap again, but right as I made contact the fireworkds started and I had to sit on Berden's wheel as he let the top 3 ride away.  I think we were both hurting.  Zach eventaully caught us with 2 to go and with 1 to go they opened up a small gap that turned to 5 seconds by the end of the lap.  I sat up in the final straight to finish 6th.

Now I'm in Athens OH healing up from my crash at Mom and Dad's house and getting ready for the USGP in Louisville this weekend.  Huge thanks to everyone who has played a part.