Saturday, December 12, 2009

...and with that, I'm out!

Another season in the books. I didn't have near the season ending race that I wanted to have, but as they say, it is what it is.
After nearly wishing for more work emails to arrive just so I could have something to do, race day finally came. The course had thawed nicely, so it was a sloppy, muddy mess, not the frozen mess of the past few days. The soil around Bend is all volcanic ash, so everything was gritty. Traction wasn't really an issue, but there were still plenty of ruts to avoid, and there were also a few sections of loose mud that were somewhat treacherous.
Because of the atrocious sign-up protocol from USA Cycling, I drew a 7th row starting position. As per my typical shitty starting position protocol, I had to aggressively force my position without taking people out. After 3/4 of a lap I was in about 25th, so that worked out. Over the next few laps I picked a few more people off, and was just about ready to make contact with a group for 18th when my front wheel washed out in one of the aforementioned ruts. It wasn't really a bad crash, but I lost a bit of mojo and it took a bit to get it back. In the mean time we were still picking off some guys that had gone out too hard. I think the highest I got was up to 14th but then with 1/4 of a lap to go I had a blow out and had to run/creep to the finish without letting too many people pass me. All told, I ended up 20th. Not nearly where I wanted to be but unless I would have made it up to 8th or better (callups for next year) it didn't really matter.
So now I'm getting all my stuff packed for the trip back to Portland tomorrow after Ryan's race, then jump on a plane Monday morning and back to the real world. Ugh.

A few parting thoughts on my week here:
-Oregonians, or at least those from Portland and Bend pretty much all stop for bikes and pedestrians. All the time. Crazy.
-Once you get past the tragically hip-ness, everybody is pretty cool. Alas, an occasional shower wouldn't hurt though.
-As I pretty much already knew, Jeremy Powers is quite possibly the nicest guy out there. At the number party for the USGP, I flagged him down just to say hey, and he ended up talking with us for about 10 minutes and was engaged in the conversation the entire time. Class... Pure class.

So anyway, yeah. I'm out.

-the ATM

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wrapping up in Oregon

As silly as it sounds, I haven't had time to post a new entry even though I'm smack dab in the middle of a ten day vacation. To catch you all up, day 2 of the NCGP was, as it turns out, an introduction to Nats - but more on that in a sec. After day 1's not stellar result I moved up one spot to 15th. The real story was the weather though, in that it was 40 and rain. It took me two hours to stop shivering even with the heat cranked in the toasty warm car!
Fast forward through a week of work and I was on a plane heading out to Portland to finish out the USGP series, then a week of chillaxin between Portland and Bend, where the 2009 Nats are being held.
First, I'll hit on last weekend's racing at the final stop of the USGP that had me galavanting across the country in search of glory and race schwag. After a mixup with numbers I found myself with #107 and no callup. Calling on some modified J-Pow ninja skills, I finagled my rightful spot on the front row and knocked out the hole shot,
and after clawing back from a flat tire back up to the lead, I lost the sprint for the win. Dummy.
Day two was a little less hectic at the start only because I asked anybody and everybody how to make sure I was on the front row. I was a little off and ended up third on the day, but that was good enough to lock up third for the series, which is nice.
So after hitting a few local bike shops, we headed back to our host housing to get in a day-after-race ride and stumbled onto an awesome twisty couple mile climb. Can't find that in Indiana.
Now I find myself holed up in a hotel room in Bend, dodging the 20 degree weather waiting for Saturday to come so I can put the wraps on my season. Not that I'm wishing it away - I'm not - but I am anxious to see how the good form I'm on stacks up against others' good form. I'm sure the course will be interesting - it's frozen now but after a few degrees higher tomorrow, coupled with a shit-pile of racers to mangle it up means it's gonna be sloppy. This means I've got my work cut out for me since I'll line up in the 7th row. Eh well, it wouldn't be a race otherwise.

Game on.

-the ATM