Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Moving right along

Aside from a rain-induced hiccup, my racing season marches on.  The DRT stop at Wapehani was a good one, with a more World Cup style lap count – 6 laps of about 6km each (yeah, with World Cup counts comes World Cup units).  A nice small hill to sort out the pecking order into the woods saw me in P1.  I must have subconsciously channeled Todd Wells because I was railing that trail like I never have before.  I had a small gap that I was just trying to maintain (not extend) since I was feeling good and wanted it to stay that way.  Unfortunately my first semi-mechanical of the season dropped in to see what condition my condition was in, in the form of a slipped front derailleur cable.  This left me with a tiny 29t front ring with which to ride.  Not ideal since I’m more of a big dog guy, but I wasn’t going to take a technical break to fix it.DSC_3608

Photo courtesy Matt Link

I still rode well, and the 29t really probably helped in a few small punch climb sections.  I rode yet another consistent race which makes me think I’m a little better at pacing than I have been in years past.  In any event, my last lap (actually the last 3k probably) wasn’t so awesome.  On the last steep climb I noticed my HR was about 30 bpm below my normal race average.  Clearly this is not good.  I ended up hemorrhaging several minutes to first, but held on for second.  Of course I can’t download my data because Vista 64 doesn’t have IrDA drivers, but that’s beside the point.

Anyway, last weekend’s race was postponed canceled due to rain, which left me with a Sunday to make up for no race effort.  I wanted to get in a good hard road ride with some climbs so that I could beat myself down.  All told, I got 4 hours in and just under 70 miles in with two hard 5 minute efforts plus a few county line sprint dubbyas so I guess I get the virtual Green jersey.

Speaking of Le Tour, I was disappointed at the end that it was over… it seemed to fly by, with excitement every day.  I guess I expected Contador to win but it seemed like he was always looking for approval and acceptance as a force to be reckoned with.  Was it me or did his eyes seem like he was looking for someone, anyone, to give him a thumbs up?  I guess he would have been looking for a pistolero from somebody, or whatever the hell stupid logo is on his hat.  Anyway, he was most definitely the strongest guy, even on TT day, with taking 30 freaking seconds out of Mr TT himself… I pity the fool, Fabian Cancellara.

I do have to say thanks to DVRs… there is no way I would have been able to watch coverage as efficiently as with 2x and 3x speed fast forward.

Finally, this weekend should be a cracker (learned that from David Millar and Bradley Wiggins!) of a good time… Revolution Bike and Bean is hosting the midway point SAG of the HMBA century with burgers, dogs, PBJs and various other goodies.  Of course there will also be coffee and espresso, so come on out to 10th and Grant in Bloomington for some sweet fun.  I’ll even buy you a shot of espresso if you mention this post.  If you cough up $5(with proceeds going to HMBA) , you can eat grilled goodness, too!  While you’re there you can register for the DRT off road Time Trial at Brown County State Park on Sunday.  It’s a point to point from the North Gate to Hesitation Point.  It’ll be awesome, mainly because there will be hotdogs at the finish line.


-the ATM

Friday, July 10, 2009

yes, no and yes

I've had a bit of time to reflect on my performance in the cross country race over the July 4th weekend, and while one can always want more/better/faster I can't really complain about a 3rd place finish.
Things were moving along really well starting at about 12:15p on Saturday with me having just won the short track race then finding out I'm the the state champion as a result, but about 12:30 things started turning pear shaped. You see, that's when the rain started and didn't really stop until about 11p that night. It was no gully washer - just a steady light rain that kept going. This sucked big time because Muscatatuck does not really do well with rain. There is a lot of tree cover that makes even the smallest amount of water sit for days waiting to dry out. While the local trail crew had done a great job of changing things to mitigate that, the simple fact is that the trail is mostly a dense clay that turns into peanut butter when wet.
There was a sparkle of hope when a race day report from a friend who had already ridden a lap came back the trail wasn't THAT BAD and his bike wasn't loaded with mud to back it up. Unfortunately, my pre-race recon did not give me warm fuzzies and I was on the limits of safe low tire pressure. Anyhoo, I had a great start and took second into the woods. I felt like I was cornering like a sissy but had good climbing legs so I pushed when I could. After superstar Slowinsky passed me (he apparently felt bad early on) Gentle Ben and I settled in to a good battle for 3rd/4th with him cornering better than me but I seemed to be climbing better. I took my opportunity to push it on a climb and created a gap to Ben. I was able to hold it to the line for third behind untouchables Matt Battin and Slowinsky.
After about 3 hours worth of cleaning, the talley was one spent chain, two rebuilt (but semi-worn out anyway) jockey pulleys, one likely destroyed crank arm, and perhaps the worst is what appears to be blown BB bearings. I'll dig into that this week.
Fast forward a week and I was finally able to toe the line on my road bike for the first time this year. Alas, a flat tire only 15 minutes in and no spare wheels meant my day was done. At least I was able to keep upright when the rear went flat leading into a corner. Even better was that nobody went down getting around me as I had to straight line the corner.
On to Sunday's MTB race in Warsaw at the great Winona Lake trail, I took third into the woods after Dave McComb lit up the start. Matt Light was setting a mean pace and him being a local to the trail I was not in any hurry to take a pull. It didn't take long for Matt's two teammates to bridge up so I was, um, outnumbered. 1 vs 3? Sweet. I probably rode a little too hard trying to stay 2nd wheel in front of Isaac Neff and Chad Salla, which was remedied when my front wheel washed out in a sandy corner and they came around. This turned out to be good since I settled into my own pace and got bits of micro-recovery. By the end of lap 1 I had bridged back up to Isaac and Matt but Chad had already checked out. I was able to get around them to start lap 2 and eventually brought it down to 25 seconds, but Chad was able to drill a section or two and stretch it back out to a minute.
If I hadn't had a set of BB bearings seized, I would have won. Totally. I swear.


-the ATM

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Muscatatuck STXC report

As it turns out, the short track event was the state championship. So now I'm the short track state champ. I wonder if I should get a jersey made for that...
Anyway, the start chute was rather short and my thought of lining up to the outside didn't net the position I was looking for. Alas, I had to settle for 5th wheel. After two or three laps, tho I had moved up to 3rd wheel after a few bobbles from the guys ahead of me. With first and second content to pull me around for the duration, I was content to let them. At the end of 2 to go I launched an attack that was apparently pretty good since it stuck and I was able to post up across the line.
So now I guess I like short track races. Much better result than the first (and last) STXC race I did back in 06, anyway.
So now I'm chillin out for tomorrow's XC race watching Le Tour. Sweet.


-the ATM

Friday, July 3, 2009

'Bout that time, eh?

You know it's getting to 'cross season when goodie boxes start showing up.Fresh bar tape, a few new Campy freehubs and a pile of sweet Grifo XS tubulars. With any luck, I'll be able to start rebuilding the Record hubs and Mavic Reflex hoops next week, but that will require removing 2 years of glue which is no too terribly appealing. In any event, I look forward to building another set of wheels.

In racing news, I started my sizeable racing block last weekend at the OMBC event at East Fork. I was a little disappointed with the start since we weren't going balls out up the opening climb (where I set my 1 min max power last yea), but then again we weren't going balls out. I took 5th into the woods after the ~2 mile road section and was riding comfortably. Unfortunately, I got slowed by a few bobbles in front of me and didn't want to/couldn't bridge the 20 second gap. With a coupla PROs like Anthony Slowinsky and Brad Wilhelm ahead of me, I didn't figure it wise to try to bridge only to hemorrhage time later.
As expected, I started feeling better as the race progressed. This was bolstered when I passed the guy in 3rd who had flatted and asked if I had a pump. I did not, so I could not oblige. Let me say that I would have dropped a CO2 cartridge had he asked for one, but I'm not going to potentially strand myself by giving up my CO2 gun so a competitor can continue. If he did not prepare well enough then this is not my concern. Carrying on, I was solidly in third going into the final lap and was just about to throw in the 'chase' towel when I saw P2 about 30 seconds in front of me. I'm assuming he had shut down until he saw me because that's what the gap stayed and I definitely gave it the ole' college try to close said gap, so any efforts by me were matched by him.
At the end of the day, I ended up 3rd behind Slowinsky and Wilhelm, and I was only 2:30m behind Anthony and 30sec behind Brad. Sure, Slowinsky flatted and ran the last half mile in but I wasn't 6 minutes behind, either.
So the next race is the AMBC event @ North Vernon's awesome Muscatatuck Park, and starts Saturday with a Short Track race followed on Sunday with the XC race. Fingers crossed, I have a good weekend.


-the ATM