Monday, October 27, 2008

One of these days

...I'll be a bit more diligent about posting only one day post-race. Until then, you just can't rush greatness, I say.

ahem.

Anyway, The Louisville GP weekend was damned near perfect for both me and my team. I love unexpected surprises, such as the #1 bib for the 2/3 races of the weekend.
This gave me pick of the litter on grid position both days. It helped that PRO mechanic and teammate Zach got #2 and second teammate Ryan M got #11 to grid right behind me. Coach extraordinaire Don got shafted by his own silliness (ie, not registering before the week of) so he was #55, in about 8th row.
At the team meeting, we kinda joked that Ryan, Zach and I would slow things down so Don could use his mad pack skills to slice through the field, never thinking it could actually happen. But happen it did. I was in the lead, soft pedaling and coasting through the first two laps yet nobody wanted to come around. Far be it for me to complain. The best part was that a gap was forming to the rest of the field.
True to form, Don bridged so we just started working the lead group over. It was fantastic to hear the announcer over the loudspeaker (Richard Fries, BTW) talk about the tactics we were displaying. In the end I broke away with about two laps to go and held it to the line. I must say it was an awesome feeling to look back and not see anyone in sight so I could get my salute on.
It was even better to see when Don came across the line in second, and Ryan M take 4th with Zach a close 6th. Teamwork fo' sho'.

Day two had the same grid with a slightly altered course including a smallish ditch. I saw potential for somebody to stack it up so I wanted to make sure I was first through it. Having an open road ahead at the start makes getting the hole shot fairly easy. I wanted to push the pace a bit more so we didn't have 11 guys in the lead group as was the case Saturday. I think that was the cause of at least two crashes that slowed my teammates down a few times. Anyway, Don again bridged after a few laps and the smaller lead group again contained four DRT teammates. I had to laugh because Richard Fries was hamming it up on the PA, calling my boys "my henchmen" and me Mr. Mexler. Funny stuff.
Four out of five? you do the math!
With maybe three to go, it was down to three; me, Don and some other guy. I was a bit peeved when said guy did zero work throughout the entire day, but that just gave extra fuel to the fire for when Don and I attacked and countered several times.
Naturally he was forced to chase down and got tired in the process. We never dropped him but it sure seemed like he didn't have much left for the sprint. Don was leading us out and I was third wheel coming onto the pavement the final time. A self-proclaimed slow twitch man without a sprinting muscle in his body, Don was pulling away from the front of the 3-up sprint. Once I dispatched of what's-his-name, I wasn't really sure if I could close the gap to Don and figured it asshole-ish to punk a teammate on the line so Don took the win and I took second, a flip flop from Day 1. Ryan again took 4th - just shy of the podium. Zach had back problems but came in a respectable 14th.

After the post-race interviews, it was great to have Richard Fries off-mike say how that was probably the best display of teamwork he'd seen in a cross race. I'm guessing probably not ever but I'll take it.

So it was a good weekend all around. Another teammate of mine, Nicole B had strong showings both days for her first adventure into Elite level CX racing, netting two top 25s. Especially considering her back-of-grid starting position, she moved up well and represented!
Mike had shit luck on Saturday, which needed no less than 3 bike changes, and not-good luck on Sunday needing just one bike change. Ryan got a top 30 on Saturday then showed determination on Sunday by keeping at it to recover after hitting the wall good for a top 25. Isaac raced clean all day Sunday to get just outside the top 20. Awesome work boys!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

the 'nati

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

Friday started off pretty well. The course was super bumpy and I actively chose NOT to run my 32 spoke box section Reflex hoops laced to Record hubs. Why? I'm lazy. I simply did not want to swap brake pads. Plus deep section hoops look sweet.

Problem is they are crazy stiff. Alas, I'm lazy and therefore took a pounding.
The race itself was pretty cool, I yet again managed to avoid about 3 crashes, one of which was when Rad Skills Ryan took a digger in a corner. I dropped a few dudes towards the end mainly from me unexpectedly riding away from them. Once I had a gap I was just trying to hold it. With about 3 turns to go, a guy bridged to me then passed me going into the final corner. A little odd since he effectively put himself in position to give me a leadout. Regardless, my misinterpretation of the start line as the finish line (super PRO, BTW) and resulting bike throw had him shut down in time for me to realize the real line was about 30 meters later. I won that bike throw, good for 21st in a C2 UCI race. Not awesome, but not DFL either.
Friday night was not so good for recovery... delays and a fancy restaurant that took 45 minutes to serve a plate of freaking bread (honestly?) had me eating at 9p, well beyond the replenish window.
I started Saturday's race a little behind on food but my position in the OVCX series netted me a 3rd row start, behind Troy Wells and Marko Lalonde. Troy missed his pedal at the start and steered into the starting bunch, and I yet again missed the 30-man pile up. I hope my crash avoidance luck never ends.
Anyway, the two way sand pit was interesting... A nice downhill led to one side of the pit with a 180 turn back into it. I typically ride on the flats for sandpits so I don't drive the bike too much, but the immediate 180 required brakes, and didn't give much time to shift down for the return.

I rode it both directions all but once and no matter how hard it felt to ride, running was worse. I finished in 26th, probably from poor recovery on Friday night. Otherwise, top 15 totally.

Sunday's C1 race at Harbin Park had a killer course with a little of everything. And by everything, I mean a rising sand pit, hairpin corner on a descent, a crash, a rolled tubular, and my fast-becoming favorite - course tape in cassette.
To hit the highlights - my front wheel washed out when I thought I was anchored --> dropped chain and scraped right knee. Broke too late into said hairpin --> rolled tire, nice gouge on inside of left knee from canti brake, time lost remounting tire on wheel plus swapping front wheel in pit. All of the above led to me set to be lapped by the big boys, which leads me to my favorite - course tape in cassette.
I wanted to not be a dick so as the leaders were passing me, I pulled over to the right (wind coming from right and blowing the tape into the course) so the PROs could have the clean, un-taped line. Nice... after stopping to remove the tape, I rolled back to the finish line to get pulled and take my sweet 39th place.
So that race sucked, which sucks because I at least felt like I was able to hold a good pace when a lot of guys were cracking and hemorrhaging time. Eh well, there's always next time.

Later

-the ATM

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

"Oh, excuse me Russell,

...but I believe I requested the hand job."
-Wayne Cambell, Wayne's World

I can't say that I ever thought that quote would ever fit in another conversation. I remember in my cycling youth hearing tales from my brother of cool names from Ibis. Names like SilkTi, BowTi, Moron and Hakkalugi. Quite clever when you consider the both the SilkTi and BowTi used used the material properties of Ti to flex without a pivot for rear wheel travel (ala C'dale's Scalpel), Moron - which is their version of double butted tubing because there's, uh, More On the ends, plus the Hakkalugi cross bike. My personal favorite, however, is the Hand Job:

Quite possibly THE best detail any bike could ever have.