Thursday, August 28, 2008

CX Team Training Camp

Wow! I forgot how much I hate CX when there is about 5 minuets left to go in a race.

It was a good day. I woke up pretty early and rode the mountain bike for a couple hours at St. Edward before heading over to Marymoor for the team CX camp. I don't know the trails that well though, a little bit, but it all looks the same to me. CX camp started at 0930 so I only had a couple hours to ride.

Got to Marymoor and there was a crazy amount of people there for the dog show. I called Phil who leading the training camp to figure out how to get in the velodrome. Finally got there and was greeted by about 15 teammates, not too bad of a turnout. We did a bunch of drills. Got a pep talk for the newbies and also to get a refresher for the vets. I must have done the barriers 100 times this day. And the temperature reached 90 with only a few wispy clouds to offer a slight reprieve. We then ended the day with a team race.

Phil started fast early but flatted on the 2nd lap. Since he is a regular finisher in the top 5 in Masters 1-2 I waited until he caught up after getting his other bike. Randy and I traded the lead for a while but I was trying to save something for Phil. Sure enough he came through and I promptly let him lead for a while. I would say we were going at about 90-95% of race speed. It definitely hurt, but if someone attacked I think the pace could have gone up a bit. I'm glad no one did. Arron was riding extremely well for his first day on a CX bike. In the end it was a 3 up sprint for the line, with Phil giving pointers on the last lap. It was lots of fun and a great introduction to the season. And I was pretty spent at the end of this "mock" race.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

August 21st

Happy birthday to my brother! You would be 39 today. I often wonder if you would still have all your hair. I know you'd still be in shape, you'd probably be racing bikes too. I miss you a lot! You still inspire me and I'd do anything to see you just one more time. It's hard to believe so many years have passed. I really wish you could meet your nephew, Mikey is pretty damn awesome!

Roslyn Mountain Bike festival

Somehow I forgot to write this one up. Oh well. I got 2nd. Not too bad, tough climbing. Dusty and loose course, hardly any rocks. It was fun for sure.

Monday, August 18, 2008

North Shore 8/17

Thank you Wade and Chistina!!! You guys are awesome. Thanks for the bottles during the race. I can't believe I drank 4 full bottles in a race that was a bit less than 60 miles!Here's a clif notes version of the race.

Small field - 22 riders or so. 2 years ago cat. 3 was 8 riders, so with the reschedule they still did pretty well. This is an awesome course, not sure why people don't go up here yet they will drive to Mason Lake for a flat course in rain. Maybe people don't like hills...

7 laps - about 56 miles w. 4000 feet of climbing.

Lap 1 - attack on hill, solo for 5 miles, suck ass on next hill, get caught and think to myself, "Holy crap! I'm hurting already." Winning move of 2 people goes when I get caught.

Lap 2 - sit in and chill, follow a couple moves, nothing works yet though.

Lap 3 - attack, drag fat ass up to other accelerations - get caught eventually.

Lap 4 - attack, get caught.

Lap 5 - sit in, attack at end of lap, it finally sticks w/ 3 others

Lap 6 - catch 1 from break, only 1 left but he is gone! Work togeter OK.

Lap 7 - Nick and a couple others bridge to us - Now we're a group of 7 w/ 1 guy off front, he wins by about a minute and a half - impressive! Hagens guy attacks w/ 4 miles to go - gets 2nd, I'm not chasing anything anymore, neither does anyone else. Another guys attacks at the bottom of last climb, he weighs about 100 pounds - I'm not chasing him, I'm feeling whooped, no one else chases either. So we are a group of 5 heading into the 12-14% uphill sprint racing for 4th. I actually recover OK, feel good in the sprint and get 5th. Nick gets 8th. Good job Nick!The field was shattered. I'm not sure how many people finished, maybe 12 or 14? It was 1 and 2 people coming in so it was kind of hard to tell. Great course and overall a good time.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Greenwater race

Wow! I actually won a race. It's been about 8 months since I last accomplished this goal. Now I can say i won a race every year for the past 6 years or so if I include some triathlon and duathlon races as well.

There is always something new that you can try or learn or rekindle a long lost interest in that makes you feel like a kid again. And for me it's riding in the dirt. Some of you know that when I was in my early 20's (10 + years ago) I was a crappy professional motocross racer, and I didn't think there was anything that could match the adrenaline of sailing a 100 foot jump or charging into the first corner w/ 39 other knuckleheads - elbow to elbow at a high rate of speed while trying to hold the throttle on for a nanosecond longer than anyone else. Well, I'm older, my hair that I have left is now a more normal color (does gray count as normal?), but I still listen to punk rock and love to play in the dirt.

Greenwater was a really cool race, and not just because I won. It started off perfectly for me as I was 2nd behind my teammate TMT going into the woods. I don't like to lead early because I have a tendency to go too hard too soon and burn out. So I followed TMT up the first single track climb that kept going up and up, then it was followed by some fun little single track switchback downhill. Then it opened up a little bit and we got to the bottom of a hill and the banner was broken and no one knew where to go. We kind of stopped and asked one another if anyone knew the right way to go. I had ridden this part earlier in the morning during the Sport race so I decided right was the correct way to go. Someone snuck in front of me (perfect!) and led but he was going pretty slow. It was fairly full of tree roots and very bumpy in this section, I passed him and we ended up on a short fire road section for about 200 yards. Someone snuck in front of me again (sweet!) and I followed him into the next single track section which turned out to be really short. We were then on the long climb which was anywhere from 4-6 miles, depending on who you asked. I followed the lead dude (from Sega I think) and the pace was fairly easy, I could feel the pack coming up from behind so I moved over and didn't really attack per se - but slowly upped the pace. I was then alone but I could see everyone behind me but no one looked too eager to jump ahead and join me. So I tried to keep a steady / hard but comfortable pace up the climb because I figured someone would catch me on the climb. Another 1/2 mile passes and Perry Roper and Matt Lynch catch me. I know these guys are both podium finishers in nationals so I just figured I would key off of them as for pace. I tried not to draft off them though as that's kind of shady as they are in their own race - and so I am. So anyway, to make a long and boring story a little more concise, I stayed about 20-30 feet behind Perry up the last 3 or so miles of the climb. A couple times I passed him but he shot right in front of me as I don't think he liked that much. Matt Lynch attacked with a mile left to climb but Perry didn't respond. We also caught some Open class guy at the top and he yielded to us before the crazy ass descent started, but not before yelling...

"I hope you guys can descend!" Well, I can on a road bike. So I moved over after a few switchbacks and tried to keep up with this dude for as long as I could. And then I wadded myself on a tricky little section. I didn't fall off the bike, but we (me and the bike) got tangled and I hit the wall of the trail, cut my shin and got a charley horse on my quad. Cool! Now I'm bleeding so I must be a real mountain biker! And the open class dude was gone so I just tried to go as fast as I could on the descent without losing any more blood! Man! That was so much fun. I was riding pretty aggressively because I DID NOT want to get caught from behind. I rode around the bumpy ass stuff on the bottom as fast as I could, kind of banzai'd the creek crossing without really picking a line, skirted up the the hill out of the water and kept charging. My legs were feeling pretty good- that's a good sign. Then I finished the little loop (but not without popping a wheelie for the drunk campers that were yelling "Pop a Wheelie!" all day long, and when you did they would scream and yell - it was so much fun!) and finished one lap and I saw lots of blue and black and heard my name yelled out a bunch! That was so cool! Thanks guys!

The course kind of meandered around the flats and then I noticed I was on the familiar trail again. I wasn't too sure how I got there. And then I was on the logging road climb again and all I could think of was a bear or a cougar ripping me off my bike and eating me for lunch. I had one Hammer Gel left and I think it was raspberry or something like that. That might work for a bear, but the cougar would have some fun shredding me like a BBQ pro sandwich. So that was my inspiration climbing the long climb the second time. And being able to lock out your forks is so cool! Thanks Bruce for teaching me that a couple races ago. I am so naive. When I got to the top of the climb I caught the same Open guy as the lap before and just rode with him for the last 200 yards or so to the descent, no sense in passing him before the free fall down the mountain. This time I made it down with no incidents and only a 1/2 dozen or so ""Oh shit!" incidents. But each one made the smile on my face bigger. I really cannot get over how much fun riding in the dirt is. With my background on MX bikes I should have assumed it would be, but still...mountain biking seriously is so much fun! Everyone should do it. C'mon!

Back on the flat bottom stuff I started making stupid mistakes though. I hit something in the middle of a little corner that popped my front end up in the air mid-lean. Yea, I crashed there and got another little raspberry on my other side. But I still had a smile on my face! I jumped back on my bike like a CX race and continued mashing gears until the finish. I ended up winning by 2 minutes or so. But I guarantee you if I would have finished 15th the smile on my face would have been just as big. This was awesome! Each course of the last 3 races I did were all fairly unique and were all so much fun. But Greenwater with the tacky dirt, fun descent, and the logging road climb (made me feel like I was on High Rock!) was probably tops. Not too mention the crazy airplane that was taking off and landing on some strip of pavement in the middle of the mountains.

And congrats to TMT for winning the title! We are going to have a lot of fun next year!

Monday, August 4, 2008

375 miles this week...

...and what I really want right now is one of those giant Apple Fritters from Tulley's that we have at work. Man! That would hit the spot. I've actually been thinking about them for the past week. But I will do my best to fight it off once again.

Wow. I rode a lot this past week. I think I may have impressed myself in the process. And my feet and crotch are a bit sore as well, and some tendons in my ankle are sore, but it shouldn't be a big deal. I just have to make sure I recover well and will just do a short speedwork session on Wednesday and continue to ride to work everyday. I should be OK. But it was a great week to ride the bike. Although some of the morning commutes were pretty cold (46 one morning) I think I only got rained on for about 3 miles. And we need the rain, so I'm not going to complain - I'll save that for January when I'm only riding 500 miles per month, of which 400 will be in rain.

I did have quite a few calls out on the road though. I would like to think that none of them were caused by me also. I had quite a few cars, and also a semi pull out in front of me. Am I than invisible? I guess that's a rhetorical question. Otherwise I would not have to be so vigilant on the road. It is dangerous as hell out there and I have to remember to never forget that (elegant prose, eh?). I'm sure once that happens I will be a hood ornament. I try to be as nice as possible to motorists as they can kill me anytime they feel the need and probably will get nothing more than a fine and have to go to traffic school or something like that. Not to mention all that junk with the Critical Mass (or Ass) people pissing off motorists. They are just as bad as all the other idiots out there fighting a cause and creating friction instead of cohesion. What the hell did I just say? I've been living in Seattle too long. I sound like such a wuss.

Saturday was a 165 mile ride. I rode pretty much everywhere. Started on Seattle Hill Road, through Snohomish, Lake Stevens, Arlington, Stanwood, loop of Camano, Arlington, Granite Falls, Snohomish and home! A link of the ride is here:

Not too much climbing but it was still good. Thanks to a Wade and Aaron for riding with me for parts of the ride. You guys made the ride much more enjoyable.

I also did the High Rock climb in 17:15, a ways off my best of 16:35, but for this time of year I'm still going pretty good. I wasn't going that great in the beginning of the year, but only started getting consistent mileage in mid-April. I sure am having fun on my bike this year though!