Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas to All!

Well, I spent another Christmas alone. Which is totally fine. Actually I wrote that purely for dramatic effect to draw in the reader. Because as noted by the pic below, I wasn't alone at all!

Lindsay went home to OK for a week for the Holiday. I skipped the trip because I need to hold onto my form for Master's Worlds and honestly I hate traveling; it's just not my thing. My brother said their are a few types of people: people that love to go places, but hate travel and people that love to travel and love to go laces (himself being the former). He let out one set though: those that don't care to travel AND don't care to go places. That's me. So I hung out here for Christmas. And that's just fine.

We at work have started (something of) a tradition of Chinese food on Christmas for those that are here. We changed it up a bit this year and went to the Great Wall Chinese Buffet on Christmas Eve. It should be noted here that while Chinese buffets generally are terrible, The Great Wall is truly a cut above. Any B-towner worth his weight in Mu-Shu pork can attest to this. So four of us met up and ravaged the buffet. We were given our own private "karaoke room" but thankfully for the other patrons I was too stuffed to belt out any killer Christmas songs. After we ate I parked on Kirkwood and walked around town a bit (and snapped the pic above). It wasn't too cold, and there was uplifting organ music coming out of churches along my route. The town wasn't quite dead, but there weren't a lot of people out. It was nice (plus it kickstarted the digestion required to process 3-5,000k/cals of Chinese buffet!).
Christmas day weather here was the best I can ever remember having. It was 50* and sunny. I got out for a couple hours of riding and felt absolutely great. I know it's absurd to even think, but I had a tailwind in almost every direction. That is great, but usually a tailwind means lost power. I had good power numbers too though. It was just a great day.

Plus while riding I saw this guy and stopped to give him a pet. By far the friendliest "random-ass cat" I've ever run across. He had a companion, but (it) ran off. Not this one though, he ran right up to me wanted petted. Nice little guy. So despite doing nothing festive whatsoever, I had a great Dec. 25, 2011.
This coming weekend is the final race of the ICX series on New Year's Eve. I plan to race this unless the weather is total crap, but right now it's looking okay. Then we're going to spend NYE at my parent's house and have a post-Christmas Christmas get together with my brother and his family then. They were elsewhere today and with Lindsay out of town it was decided to do it that way. I'm not a big fan of celebrating holidays in general and am even less of a fan of celebrating a holiday on a different day than the holiday actually is, but it'll be nice to get together with everyone all the same.
Thanks for reading and I do hope you have great holidays.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Back to the Backyard

It's bronze in case your monitor settings are out of whack. Not exactly the hardware I'd hoped to bring home, but still not terrible. My real motivation was the software though. For the first time ever, IN is going to have State Championship jerseys.

There were two guys I knew I had to beat to be the first CatII. This was my goal for the day: beat those two, get the software. As it turns out, one of the absolute top guys in the state (region?) is a Cat2 also. That put a serious damper on my plan. But in CX you never know what will happen, so even w/ odds against you, you have to lay it out.
It was going to be another muddy affair due to freeze/thaw. The sun popped out long enough to thaw the top layer of soil to make it muddy, but then cloud cover came through to keep it cold for most of the day. It was above freezing, but below 40 (and w/ no sun), which made for a cold day to be out in lycra. I once again rocked the old colors to be in the (relative) comfort of my fleece-lined skinsuit.

I wore a long-sleeved baselayer under my race suit and kept on leg warmers as well, but prior to starting I couldn't stop shivering. I felt fine once we got going, but I was slightly worried for a minute.
In these local races they are starting the Cat 3 with the Elite men and our field had maybe 30 guys in it; a big field for a smaller local race. The start was fast as always, but I was in good position. I was trying to keep tabs on the two guys I'd set my sights on, but it gets hard to do in a scrum off the line. On lap 2 I passed guy #1. He and I were taking very different lines on certain sections and I passed him in section where we were riding on complete opposite sides of the course (probably 12feet apart) so he couldn't jump on my wheel and use it for motivation: he was gone. Guy #2 was further up the road, but I was closing on him. I passed one guy between us which helped me along, but I didn't get him in the end. He beat me by 4seconds. I'm not one for "if _____ than I would have beaten______." But, our race is normally 1hr, but we're racing 50min here. I was riding well and making time. I am confident saying that if our race were 1hr, I would have beaten guy #2. But that shit doesn't matter because our race was 50min.
Regardless, I rode well, was in the money and got a medal.
Next weekend is Christmas and there's no racing to be done. The following weekend is New Years Eve and the ICX series finale' is NYE. I am undecided on doing this race right now. I want to wait and see the weather first. Then two weeks after that it's Worlds in Louisville. I'm taking this week "off" of training, so no intervals and probably and extra day off. I have to take Lindsay to the airport Wed to go to her family's Christmas, and with actual Christmas falling on a Sunday we're not really closed at work for any extra days. Bummer. Basically I'm not sure how this week will turn out training wise. Whatever, I'm just thankful the weather here is really good right now. It's nice!

Monday, December 12, 2011


This weekend was the Indiana Cyclocross Series race "Backyard Cross." It was Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY) because my yard's too small. But the dude's backyard it was in is perfect for a CX course; because his backyard is an empty housing addition thanks to the crappy real estate climate that occurred right after he bought the addition.
It was a cold dry day. I had to bust out the old threads because I don't have a fleece-insulated cross suit in the new colorway. The dryness was deceiving because the ground was frozen over night and most of the morning, but the temps creeping near 40* and the sun being out made the top layer of soil thaw leaving a muddy mess. Plus this was some of the heaviest soil I've raced in (on). You could have made pottery with the clay stuck to my shoes. It made a for few tough clip-ins after being off the bike.
I felt pretty good for most of the race. Pretty standard, I guess. And despite the mud and general slipperiness I rode pretty clean.

This course was used once last year and I have to say I really do like it. It was kind of a mini-OVCX race with a lot of Kentucky and Ohio riders making the trip over to get some more racing in before nationals and worlds.

I raced good and hard but only managed 6th. 1 spot out of the money. To add injury to that insult, I experienced some of the worst "effort sickness" I can ever remember having. Relatively short, but super hard efforts often cause stomach issues for athletes. Because cross is by its very nature a short hard effort some people call this "cross gut" and things to that tone. I get this "sickness" in other disciplines as well, hence I call it "effort sickness." ES in-and-of itself is nothing new to me; sometimes I get it, sometimes I don't. But this round when I got home I was out for 3-4hours. Just on the couch motionless. I could actually feel my stomach throbbing. I have felt pretty bad before, but never that bad for that long. I knew I needed to eat (all I had eaten was some cereal, a Cliff bar and a banana all day), but I really couldn't make myself get up. When I finally got myself up I ate some toast, took a shower and started feeling mostly normal around 10p.m. It was rough.

This coming weekend is once again at the Backyard venue for the Indiana State Championship race. Our State Championship is usually part of the OVCX, but it's been moved to a local ICX race and later than usual. Oh well, I don't even really know who all are Cat 2's, but I'd like to win that title as an Elite. I won the state title as a "B" 4 years ago when there "A" "B" and "C" races. It kind of blows my mind a bit when I think to how far CX has come around here since then. A long way.
Photo Credit Chris Jones. thanks.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Fancy Footwork

A very muddy course made for a very run-heavy race this weekend in Cincinnati. Fancy footwork could take you far here.
It was an interesting day from a weather perspective. I guess it had rained for several days in Cincy leading up to this race. And there was basically a 100% chance of pretty much all day rain. It was pouring rain for most of the drive over, but when we got near Cincy it stopped raining and the sun was even poking out; it hadn't rained there (yet) at all. As the day progressed you could watch fronts push through, and everybody had their mobile devices out saying " it comes..." but it never actually rained. The ground was so messed up from the the week that rain would have made for better racing conditions, as it would loosed up the "drying" mud which as is was like riding through clay which just clogged every open spot on your bike. Well, since weather-men are never wrong, about 10minutes before the start of our race, it started pouring. Hard. And it poured hard the entire race.
The course went from real bad to way worse very rapidly. I somehow missed the call to staging and though I was called up in the front row, I had to squeeze in to the 3rd row. A race this messy was sure to "sort itself out," but the less traffic one has to deal with the better.
I was able to pass several people in the first few corners and despite shitty conditions, I felt really good. I had the course as dialed as I could for the sloppy/slippery conditions and I had a couple of people in pit for me so I could swap bikes in order to get my "A" bike cleaned. It was raining enough that the real muck wasn't building up like it was in earlier races, but I knew since I had people in the pit, it would be a good idea to pit and get the bike cleaned.

Problem was I had dry/intermediate tires on my "B" bike and I was used to riding the course on my mud tires. I was all over the place once I switched bikes. I knew I needed to get back on my "A" bike ASAP. When I got back around I saw they had my bike ready so I came back in and swapped back to my familiar bike w/ mud tires, but it was clean now. Weird thing was, it was somewhere around this point I started to get very cold. I know it doesn't seem weird to get cold when you've been out in the rain and 50* for an hour in lycra, but I've never really gotten to where I feel cold while racing in these conditions. But I felt shivery while riding. Then I started making mistakes. Nothing huge, just little things here and there that cost me a few seconds here and there. During this time when my mind was going hay-wire and my body was revolting 2 people passed me. There was another coming, but it was very close to the finish and as the course was, the finish was on foot because it was far too chewed up to ride. I entered the finish stretch first, dismounted to start the run section and thought 'okay I got it, this is a bike race not a running race and I beat him on the bike, so I just have to 'run it in.'' It was at that exact second that he ran by me like Usain Bolt would run by The Refrigerator Perry. Obviously I'm trying to be funny here, but no joke, this dude ran by me like I was standing still. Full on sprint while carrying a bike in ankle deep mud. I had no response to that and settled for 15th. Not a great result, but not terrible. And good enough for 7th overall in the series! I will take that for sure.
As you can see it was all smiles and fun at the after party thing. This was a great OVCX series. I fell a little short of where I wanted to be, but I had a good series. Lindsay won the overall for her category and that's awesome for her. She also won the overall race here and that's the first race she's ever won. So very good for her.
From here there are a few more local races to do, then it Worlds in January. I don't have my training fully laid out beyond this week yet, but it'll come together. The weather could do just about anything at this point though, so maybe it's best to play it by ear...