28 September 2009

We need more of this...

I'd like to see more of this in the local races.

Diamond Blackfan Cyclocross Challenge

This is the second year of this race which is held for a great cause: raise funds to fight Diamond Blackfan anemia. Tige Lamb's daughter has this disease and because it is so rare there are very little resources dedicated to curing/treating it.

Just like last year, this race was a "cooker" at 85 degrees. The odd thing was that the temps haven't really been that hot lately. Everyone complained about the heat, myself included. It was uncomfortable for sure, but I suppose it could always be worse!

As usual, I doubled-up with the Masters and Open races. Although this surely has a negative impact on my ride in the Open race, I think its important to get the work in with limited training time during the week. This is even more necessary now that all the local promoters have decided to shorten the Open races to 50 minutes. I object!

The Masters race started off fast with Brendon Jenks bolting from the start line. One of my goals for the race was to start harder than last week so I pushed it up to Brendon's wheel and tried to stay on the gas. I ended up coming around him in the upper field and started to get a little gap. I lost my gap when I shorted a corner thinking it was tighter than it was (it was last year). I ended up going through the tape and had to pop back out and get going again. I didn't get much pre-riding on the course so I guess that's what happens.

I stayed on the gas trying to accelerate hard out of the corners and push the legs. Mark Studnicki moved into second place behind me and settled into a conserve mode (he was also riding the Open race) so my gap stretched out. I continued to ride fairly hard, which I would pay for in the Open race, but I figured there wasn't much use in soft-pedaling around the course. If you want to build up CX fitness you have to race hard.

The Open race was relatively stacked with Josh Johnson & Jon Schottler from Columbia coming over. Pretty much all the local guys came out. Not surprisingly, Steve Tilford lead the fray. I chatted it up with Aaron Elwell at the start, we haven't lined up together at all this year. Scanning the photos of the event, it looks like Aaron did a Ben Raby on the barriers. Hopefully, no permanent damage was done because he's racing the 24hr at Moab in a couple of weeks with Cameron.

My other goal for the day was to get a good start in the Open race. I didn't get this done. Between a relatively bad starting position--third row--and just getting stuck behind a long line of guys, I just didn't get up front quickly. Luckily, I was right behind Josh Johnson and I just followed his wheel up through the group. After a few laps we had moved up fairly well with only a handful of guys in front of us. At this point I thought I had some gas and pushed ahead of Josh and up to Shad Schreiner. I ended moving ahead of Shad too, putting me in 4th. Unfortunately, the wheels came off shortly thereafter and I gradually drifted back to 7th. Despite fading at the end, I am fairly happy with my ride under the circumstances. The legs were pretty decent and I'm sure will improve as I continue to get some more quality CX efforts in them.

The KCCX/Verge boys had a good weekend. Joe Schmalz got it done up in Madison, two podiums in the U23. Smokin'! Locally, Adam Mills, Bill Marshall, Alex Edwards and I all finished in the top 15. Will Gault also came up from Tulsa and doubled-up in the Masters and Open races. The course didn't suit his strengths, but he got in some quality efforts nonetheless. He'll be kickin' some butt when the big races come around!

KCCX/Verge also had a guest appearance by my honey in the Women's beginner race. This was her first bicycle race of any kind and she had to suffer through it with a 26lb mountain bike, a cold, and allergies. Of course, she soldiered through it like a champ. Good work, baby!

Bicycle Shack junior, Luke Lininger rode the Open race, too. He's a relative newcomer to CX and is using the season to set up a breakout road season in 2010. I expect to see him improve week-to-week and start to put the hurt on some guys.

On another note, Doug Stone rocked the Cat 3/4 race, riding solo for the bulk of the race for the win. This was his first CX race of the season and first race as a Cat 3. Awesome start, I'd say!

20 September 2009

Saturday = CX, Sunday = XC

Busy birthday weekend:
  • Saturday: Swope Cross Masters 40+ and 'Cross Under the Lights Open (this is the first time I've ever doubled up in two different cities: KC in the AM, Hermann in the PM)
  • Sunday was back in Swope for a MTB race

    The body is feeling the new little aches and pains from the first time on the cyclocross bike. I haven't done any cx-specific physical or technique work yet so the body is feeling it. It was good fun and thankfully I wasn't so rusty that I embarassed myself. In fact, the barriers, sand and stairs all went reasonably well! Looking forward to polishing up that technique over the next few weeks.

    Physically everything was about where I expected it to be. I have two fairly inconsistent fitness goals right now: 6+ hr endurance and cyclocross speed/intensity. After Burning at the Bluff and Berryman Epic I'll be able to focus exclusively on cyclocross fitness. Meantime, maybe someone wants to put on a long cyclocross race, i.e., 180 min + 2 laps?

    It was great to get out with the KCCX teammates and get this season started.
  • 18 September 2009

    KCCX Gear coming in!

    The new gear for CX is starting to roll in! For starters we've got some hip messenger bags by Outlaw Earth. You better get one, all the cool kids have 'em!

    And the races start tomorrow: Swope Cross in the morning and Hermann Cross at night. Swope is a brand new race at a brand new venue, hope it is cool. Hermann 'Cross Under the Lights is definitely cool. Last year it was the awesome kickoff to the CX season, I'm sure it will be again.

    08 September 2009

    The Grinder at Binder!

    Saturday morning (too early) Jeremy and I headed to Jefferson City to race the Binder Lake 6 HR. We made a stop at Bob Evans in Columbia for a little breakfast and then arrived at Binder Lake to watch the light rain for the couple of hours before the race.

    Jeremy rode a recon lap and reported that the second half of the course was pretty greazy (not greasy). I was a little nervous because I was not running a good tire setup for the mud. I had a Maxxis Crossmark up front, but a Continental Race King in the back and its got some very compact small knobs. I looked around and most other people were running Crossmarks so I figured I'd almost be in the same boat as everyone else.

    We chatted it up with Cameron and Travis (Ethos duo team) before the race, including a light-hearted discussion of the merits of my new 6" travel Scott Genius 20. I've been running a hardtail Fuji for the last two years and had pretty much bought into the consensus view that lightweight and short travel was the setup for off-road speed. Not true in my case. I can definitively say I am faster on the Scott. Apparently, my roadie background requires the squishiness that the Scott provides!

    Anyway, things got off in the standard way with a nice little jog across the field to the bikes. I was on the bike 4th, Cameron and Chris Ploch were out in front and another unnamed rider was in just front of me. This rider graciously let me by shortly after we started uphill and I pushed myself up close to Cameron and Chris. I was dangling a few seconds behind them for the first 1/3 of the lap and we had separated ourselves from the rest of the field.

    At this point we got to the slip-'n'-slide portion of the course and my rear tire was not hooking up real well. I decided to ride conservatively and let them go away from me. I came in about 1 minute behind them at the end of the first 7 mile lap. The second lap was a new story. The course was much drier and I was able to move quickly and smoothly through the sections that were slick the lap before.

    Over the course of the next few laps I settled into a rhythm and was turning consistent laps. I didn't really have a good sense of where everyone else was, but I got a couple of time checks and it appeared that I was pulling away from my solo category competition: Mike Best and Dan Miller.

    I turned good times for 5 laps and then I hit my weak spot. In these races I tend to start strong, slow down in the middle and then get it back together at the end. Review of the results indicates that it happened here too. Splits for laps 1-5 were within 1 minute, then I slowed a minute on my 6th and another minute on my 7th. At this point, I did some lap-time math and figured I had a chance at 11 laps if I could pick it up for the next 3 laps. I got it back together and ripped some good splits on my 8th, 9th, and 10th laps. I ended up riding laps 9 & 10 just as fast as laps 1 & 2. Cool! So I squeaked in 10 laps at 5:56 and headed out for the 11th. I was pretty tired, but managed to roll at a steady pace and made it home without too much trouble.

    This was definitely my strongest ride so far this year. I was only 2-3 minutes behind the Cameron/Travis duo (although they had cramping issues and lost several minutes that they wouldn't normally lose) and about 13-14 minutes behind the first place duo team. If I can build on this race and solve my mid-race slowdown, I'll be psyched.

    Jeremy ended up riding 6 laps in about 4 hrs before calling it a day. He was sitting in 11th when he'd had enough. He hasn't had enough time on the MTB this year to get his body accustomed to the punishment.

    Thanks to the organizers/promoters for a great race. The trails were awesome and a good time was had!

    What's next? Maybe a marathon race in the Psycowpath Series and a couple of CX races (Bearcat and 'Cross Under the Lights).

    01 September 2009

    Gear Liquidation

    So, its time to unload some old gear to make room for the new. I am selling the following, contact me if you have any interest.

  • 2007 Ridley Supercross 54cm w/ Ultegra and Ksyriums - $900

    The frame is scandium w/ carbon seat stays and carbon fork. This bike has Shimano Ultegra shifters/deraillers, Ritchey seatpost/stem/bars, 4ZA brakes, Mavic Ksyrium SL wheels (w/ ceramic bearings), FSA cranks/BB, Candy SL pedals. This bike has been raced, but not abused. The frame has some cosmetic scratches and smudges, but no dents.This bike is great, but I have 2 team bikes and don't need it any more. Also, its a little big for me--I have an 86 cm inseam. According, to Ridley, it is for riders with height approx.: 181.8 cm (71.5 inches) and inseam: 87.9 - 91.1 cm (34.6 - 35.9 inches)

  • 2008 Fuji Mt. Fuji SL 19in w/ XT - $1800

    The frame is full carbon. Full XT gruppo, SID fork, new DT wheelset & Schwalbe Nobby Nic Tires, new big/middle chainrings & chain, new Easton MonkeyLite carbon riser bars.

  • 2009 Specialized Tarmac 56cm w/ Ultegra SL - $2000

    The frame/fork is full carbon. Full Ultegra SL gruppo, Ultegra wheelset.