Sunday, September 26, 2010

Start Delay

As I write this it's 1:25 AM in the Springs and I'm sitting in Tokyo/Narita airport lounge waiting for my last of 4 flights for the day that will take me into Taiwan for the week. By the time I'm grounded again, it'll add up to a 26 hour door to door journey.

As much as I would like to see if I could capitalize on last weekends decent start to the season, duty calls but after taking at look at some preliminary ride reports from the first race of the Boulder series today, it looked like another hot, dry and dusty affair. I don't mind forgoing this weekend in hopes that Frisco will bring some colder temps with the possibility of some precip, which is badly needed.

Before leaving for Taiwan, I prepped my bikes and packed my race bag. When I return and have been successful at avoiding some kind of viral malady I plan on getting in the way of the 45+ guys next Saturday and will most likely jump back in with the 35+4 gang on Sunday. I swear, there is nothing better than getting over jet lag than some openers with a number pinned on.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sven's Pick

Thanks to Pete Webber for cluing me into Sven's new choice for brakes ..hmmm..interesting
photo credit is ISPA

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Saturdays Pikes Peak race was just enough of an appetizer to whet the palette and with a bunch of travel looming on the horizon, I made the decision to drive up to Golden for the Green Mtn cross event on Sunday. The not-so-little voice inside my head was telling me "don't go, ease into the season, it's going to be 120° today, you wilt in conditions like this". Never mind, I threw everything in the car and made my way North to a course I'd never raced on before. Upon arrival it was a full on reunion of sorts, all the familiar faces were back, a bunch of new ones as well. Our 35+Cat4 group filled up 6 registration sheets and that's when they capped our bunch at close to 125 riders ! I ran into both Dale and Bob Prieto who might have made the wise decision to bypass the mass and opted for the 45+ group. Too late for me, besides I wanted to race early and get back down to the Springs at a reasonable time. I took a warm up spin around the course with the Rich from the Frites group and we caught up on all things crossy.

An amazing fun course that I felt suited to someone else's talents, like perhaps a roadie that had been racing all summer. The course lacked any real technical difficulty, it was a flat-ish power course that required some decent cornering skills and speed across a soccer field covered in deep grass. Just 3 dismount sections, one additional if possibly the rider in front shanked a steep short climb that immediately followed a wickedly loose steep descent.

By now I'm thinking it's crazy hot (no likey)this course doesn't suit me at all (no techy) and no decent start position(no points). I weaseled my way as much to the front of the line as possible and was about 4 rows back when the whistle blew. Without much effort I had pushed my way into a decent spot ( top 25?) by the time we looped the field and headed out to the proper course. Because the course wound along close enough to sections behind, I could immediately see massive ball-ups and crashes behind, thankful to have missed the carnage. Races were averaging 7-8 minutes so picking out the line choices was key as we weren't going to be doing that many laps.

Then the strangest thing happened...I seem to be moving along pretty well...and I feel good ?! It was one of those "planets in alignment" days on a bike. Steadily moving forward, hitting all my lines. I passed Dale while he was filming and heard "top twenty" on lap 2. On lap 4 or 5 I head big B- Graves yell out "top fifteen" and thought to myself, well he's obviously started drinking early today and is suffering a mild case of heat stroke, and probably mixed in a few to many pain killers from yesterdays crash at Pikes Peak....poor fella. I manged to roll through in 8th place. This would be a new high water mark for me for any race in the vicinity of Denver with a field size this limit. Blown away would be an understatement. I hope I don't lose whatever mojo fell upon me on Sunday because it was working !

Now to the complaining: Call-ups, man I cannot let this one go. I really can't understand why the ACA will not keep track of finishes to determine call-ups at all races this season. It frosts me that the official stands in front of our group and runs through the top 20 from last season and that nets a total of 3 riders to the line.(seriously.) Do your homework and figure out who has either moved on to Cat 3 or 45+ because the current system is not working. Call-ups serve many purposes, one being safety. I think most races have a pretty honest view of their abilities and line up where they think they should be but no all do and when we continue with field sizes as large as they are, please reward the riders that are putting in decent, consistent top placings and award them a place at the front of the line for so many obvious reasons. This policy must change. Done

And now to something completely different, some pictures from the Pikes Peak race !

Thanks to Ultrarob for the pic


Saturday, September 18, 2010

In the beginning....

Wow, I am super stoked to have the first race under my belt. It wasn't a super impressive effort ( 12th out of 38-40 something riders ) but it was buttery smooth which was challenging on what is typically a ridiculously loose course covered in dried out grass, decomposed granite and hidden rocks everywhere. The course was the standard layout that it's always been used with one new section of very tight. compressed 180 degree turns. We haven't seen rain in quite some time here on the Front Range and the terrain has been baked into a very hardpacked slippery surface.

Call-ups seem to be determined by last years season long ACA standings and results to date, needless to say, no call-up for me but thanks to the thin field size, I had a nice outside second row start.

Whistle blows and I'm thinking to myself that it really doesn't seem like we were doing this that long ago. First turn, no calamities, most riders are being respectful and adjusting their speed and line accordingly. As we feed into a very sketchy off camber high speed right into a short straightaway left I see the Frites' own Brian Graves piled up on the left side of the course in a huge cloud of dust as he's screaming obsentities as another rider going down the road. Ah....reminders of Castle Cross last year when it was a poorly placed rock that was bearing the brunt of Brian's fury. The rest of the race was spent trying to move forward through the field and keeping the bike upright. This will be my first year ( ever ) racing on tuby's and I honestly don't know why I've waited this long. ( oh wait, I remember now,..... because they are ungodly expensive ) It feels a bit like cheating, running such low pressure, no risk of pinching and they hook up like mad. ( Dugast Typhoons btw ). I'm sold...until I slice a sidewall and have to take out a second mortgage for a replacement.

Being the first of year, I'm definitely feeling the 2-to-go fade, I thankfully held off riders from behind but was feeling the effort. I'm seriously thinking off making the trek up to GMVC tomorrow when I assess my condition in the morning. This is it for racing for me for awhile as I have travel plans to Taiwan again next weekend and then potentially Europe after that. My season may not start in earnest until the 3rd weekend of October. Great to see the cross family again. Lortie, Brian Graves, the angry Asian, Mr. Compton, Bob Prieto, Ms. Emmit and the Boob who planned on racing until he realized when heading out the door ready to ride to the race that he had left his cross bike at work.

That is all, thanks for reading, I'll try to dig for some pics as they are posted

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Back To School

Where to begin ? I suppose where I left off, which was back in the Spring and not feeling terribly motivated to write through the Summer. So first off, thanks to the Frites guys, Keller, Lortie and Dale for picking up the slack and keeping the crossy vibe going though our Colorado summer. I trust that everyone enjoyed theirs ? I certainly did and as always, the season passed by far too quickly with most every weekend packed with something. Jen and I were able to carve out time for the must-do list. Steamboat on the 4th, a couple of shows at Red Rocks, hike a 14er, a few Colorado high country epics on the fat tires, a trip back East to our old stomping ground on the coast of Maine to partake in Lobsters, Whoopie Pies, Moxie and the deepest, darkest, root and rock infested terrain that you will ever roll a knobbie through. All on all, a fine summer, but I digress, because the fairest season of all is upon us, cyclocross season, otherwise known to some as just,Fall. Trust that even with a summer filled with extracurricular activities, I was still devoting some spare time prepping for our season.

Twins: yep I did it, after racing cross since '95, I finally put together a proper pair of bikes, Does it scream "poser" ?! Perhaps a little, but whatever, I harbor no illusions of grandeur, making my wife/friend/abducted stranger stand in the pit with my spare waiting with baited breath on my every gesture that I might come in for a swap. I'm relying on my puritan, Luddite New England roots that "by-jeezum, it's just common sense!" After last years mucky mud fest every weekend, I wanted an option so now it's done. Yes I will feel shamed when I finish in 46th place and sulk off back to the pits to pick up my "B" bike

Rule changes with Disc Brakes and 32c tires: the UCI and it's infinite wisdom decide that it's wise to massively increase braking power while reducing the size of the contact patch on the ground. Brilliant, this should make for some good racing

Call-ups: There aren't any. Granted I get that the ACA is trying to bring up the quality of the race experience with the Colorado Cup and just applying points on those specific races. However, this is troubling for the 100+ riders frothing at the mouth in the beer drinking dads league. I used to bank on cherry picking certain races ( Pikes Peak, Frisco, etc ) that I know would have smaller field sizes in order to earn a decent call up spot when it came time to race the larger events ( anything in or around Boulder ). So, I'm thinking about jumping in with the 45+ guys just to avoid the rush for the start line which may prove to far uglier than the fight for the hole shot.

I'm finished ranting, I can't wait to see everyone soon. As of today, I'm not even sure I'm racing this weekend as I seemed to have sprained my groin with an over enthusiastic remount with cold muscles. Riding a bike right now isn't feeling too comfy but I'm trying to be good about staying off the bike. As usual, my plan is to race myself into some type of shape. We've been granted an extended season this year so I'm in no hurry, especially when the weather doesn't scream "cross"

Thanks for reading