Sunday, January 29, 2012

Getting back to it

This week was about getting things moving again. I'm not really operating on any schedule right now, which never lasts too long for me; I'm just too routine oriented. But I usually try to make it a few weeks of "winging it" and doing whatever whenever.
The weather is helping right now. I got out 4 days this week. Plus I did some core/strength work as well. My low back/hips (left hip esp) gave me real problems throughout the CX season, but things feel better already after taking a week off and starting up some core exercises. Things aren't 100% in that region, but they're much better.
Today (Sunday) was the elite CX World Championships in Koksijde, Belgium. The races were shown live via the internet with the women's race airing at 5am our time and the men's at 9am. Getting up at 5am to watch sports seems crazy to me on pretty much every level, but I did it anyway. I really thought Katie Compton could win worlds this year. She didn't I went back to bed, but made sure my alarm was set to get me back for the men. In both the men's and women's races the winner rode off the front early on and soloed to a boring-to-watch victory. It's pretty cool to think that next year I will be at Elite CX Worlds as it is in Louisville. At least I won't have to get up at 4:50am to watch.
After those races I ate something and waited for it to warm up a bit. Also the 4th stop of the 2012 Supercross was on (yes, I like motorcycle racing too) so I watched that then headed out for a couple hours of riding.
It was insanely windy, but I wanted to get in some seat-time and hit some grave roads I'd never been on.

This is Farr Rd which runs between Anderson Rd and Old SR 37 north of Bloomington. It's a cool road and it climbs the entire way from Anderson to Old 37. I also planned to ride Bryant Creek road, which runs between Old 37 and (new?) 37. I was just going to ride out and back, but about halfway down it there's a creek (I'm guessing Bryant Creek) and you can tell it is probably dry in the summer, but it was hub-deep and I didn't want to get wet with it being ~38deg out, so I just turned around. I wanted to get ~2.5hrs in and I ended up over 2/under 2.5 but whatever.
So I'm going to spend the next couple of weeks just riding, with nothing in particular as an objective. Just riding along. And keep up on the core/other stuff. Then I need to start thinking about intervals. Which I love. Riding w/ purpose. Training.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

2011-->2012 the year in CX and stuff

The 2011/2012 CX season can be searched for in the RAM of my mind by a few key words.

1) muddy.

2) sweet artsy photos.
3) hardware and/or Worlds.

Without being (or consulting) a weather historian, I feel safe saying this is the wettest/muddiest season the OVCX has ever seen. 2010 was undoubtedly the driest/dustiest, and though not EVERY race this year was muddy, I did get pretty good at pre-laundering my cycling clothing outside with the hose. Not to mention having to deal with three bikes (my A, my B and Lindsay's) nearly every week. The kind of "dirty" they were getting requires more than just superficial cleaning. It took a lot of time. Also the way the weather has been lately more mud is on tap if you're not on the roads. And even still you're going to get messy just from wet nastiness. I feel like The Mudfather: every time I try to get out, it pulls me back in.
Also this year saw about every other person at any given race w/ a camera. This made for a crap-load of photos and most people gave them away for free download as well. Some even have a keen enough eye (and fast enough shutter) to catch killer shots like the one above. So thanks to them, I won't forget the 2011/2012 season until my hard drive crashes and the data is irretrievable.
Finally: hardware. Going into the state championship I liked my chance for gold or at least silver. After finding out Eric Anderson is a Cat II, I liked my chance for silver, maybe bronze. I brought home bronze. Not exactly what I wanted, but at least I have more crap to hang on my wall. Worlds. See previous post. I'm still not happy with Worlds a week later. Blah.
As for my overall season, I was a little behind were I wanted to be. The structure change of the Elite class made more of a difference on the top of the results sheet than I had anticipated. And though I worked hard throughout the season, I learned a lesson and will do my homework for next year. But that's many months off. We need to get to and through the Spring/Summer first. Not that I normally do a ton of rad racing anyway, but this year looks even thinner than normal in terms of a road race schedule (and it's usually pretty thin anyway). I'm hoping to get in a couple RR's, but honestly right now it's not looking like there is going to be much offered. Good news is there are two full MTB series' up and there should be a good run of TT's to do. Every year I say to myself 'maybe I'll jump into some crits again this year' and every year I don't. But who knows, maybe I'll jump into some crits again this year. I mean, when I last did crit races I was new to cycle racing and just didn't like the style of racing. But I'm a lot more experienced no and a lot better cyclist. I still probably won't though.
Let's go get 2012!

Friday, January 13, 2012

The good, the bad, and the ugly: CX Worlds 2012

The good: my preparation. As for the bad and the ugly, well those are the course and as a result, my race.
My preparation and general lead up felt good and felt 'right' for the most part. Things seemed to fall into place as I would expect for a good race. My fitness was good but unfortunately, for me, it wasn't really a test of fitness.
We went down to Louisville Wednesday to pre-ride the course and get our numbers (or "accreditations" as they called them). When we got to the venue we weren't sure if we would be allowed on the course to ride or not. There was a good deal of standing water and it (obviously) it was very soft/muddy/wet. We walked most of a lap then suited up to ride. Other people were riding, so we figured the officials were allowing it. It was almost 60 and misting rain. The course was good and hard; I liked it.

(ruts across the entire course, but not frozen)

We went and got our numbers which were assigned via a random draw. I drew 18. With 8 per row, this meant a third row start. Not ideal, but the start straight was long and I was feeling confident; I wasn't too concerned (and as it turned out, I was somehow 2nd spot of the 2nd row anyway, not too sure how that worked).
Thursday was a full day of heat races. I worked all day, but kept tabs on what was going on at the races. It was 50+ and raining all day as it turned out. The course conditions deteriorated to such a degree that the heat races were eventually shortened to just 2 laps to not completely destroy the course. After reading this I wasn't really sure what to expect for our race the following day. It was supposed to be below freezing over night, but warm to around freezing during the day (our race was at 1pm). My thought was that the course would freeze over night, then begin to thaw and get totally churned up by the heat races that took place prior to our race.
I was wrong (as were the weather reports). It froze over night, but it reached a blazing high of ~26. So the muddy racing the day before left the entire course nothing but frozen-solid ruts. I can't describe how difficult this was to ride on. It was nothing but ruts from tape-to-tape that were parallel along the course and ~3-5" deep. It's a helpless feeling when you are trying to ride on a straight, flat piece of terrain and you simply can't go straight and are pulled off line, but onto more ice and then hit the ground. I ran more than I ever have in a (non running) race. Plus I fully crashed 2-4 times (I can't really remember how many). It was a terrible race. I guess a good CX racer is one who can be good on all/any conditions. Well I sucked horridly on ice. And those who were willing to throw all caution to the wind, be willing to break bones/bikes are the ones who prevailed. I wasn't able to do that.

(this is basically concrete. I cannot describe it)

I felt good going into this race and had a high expectation for myself. I failed at that. But being part of the first CX World Championship to be held outside of Europe is a pretty cool thing. There was a Belgian, a Brit, a Spaniard and a German all in our race, but it really hit home to me that it was truly international when the starting official gave us the "2 minute" call. He was an official I'd never seen before and when he called out "two meenoots" I got the feeling he wasn't from around here.

So though I am disappointed with my race, I'm trying to keep perspective. Given how fast those top guys were, there's no way I was going to win anyway, so I need to just be satisfied having participated. And as you can see from the pic above (which is not me btw) the sun did come out and the course did thaw. I wold have far-and-away preferred mud to ice. I think it's probably true that we had some of the worst conditions of the event. And hey, I finished and got a finisher's medal to prove it. Now I take some time off. This week is no working out at all. Other than my commute to work, I won't ride in order to rest up. Then next week I plan to start some lifting and general strength stuff, then get back on the bike some either late next week or so. It's crazy that it will likely be into February before I start back riding. I usually take my time off and do some strength work in December/early January. I guess that means I need to start thinking about the spring/summer of racing. Dang, I just finished racing a couple days ago for 2011...

Sunday, January 08, 2012

One more week

1 more week until 2011 races season is over for me.

Sorry, but I don't have any cool, epic or even lame pictures this week.

This week was about getting in some final good training days leading into Worlds. The week started out with pretty cold temps in the mornings so I was inside Monday and Tuesday. I got a good trainer workout in Tuesday. For me a good trainer workout is about putting out some decent numbers while keeping it "busy" enough to not want to kill yourself. If I can accomplish these things and be turning over the pedals for 1.25-1.5hrs, then it was a good session.
Other than those two days the weather has been off-the-chain-good. I got out every other day and got some quality riding done. Wednesday I spent some solid time on the CX bike and Thursday I busted out one of my favorite workouts: Vo2 intervals at the Monroe causeway.
Today (Sunday) I had a bunch of time consuming things I wanted to do. I wanted to watch the Belgian National CX Championships race at 9am, then I wanted to watch the American Nationals which between both men's and women's races took up from 1pm to 4:15pm. So I needed to ride after 10, but be back by 1 to accommodate my sports watching schedule. So by the time I got ready, ate, etc I got out at about 11 and put in a solid 2hrs and watched all of the crap I wanted to catch. Wheew. Tough day.
So all that's on the racing horizon now is Worlds. We're going down Wed for number pick-up and pre-ride. I'm taking my B-bike for pre-ride because 1) my A-bike is totally clean and I don't want to get it all dirty and mess w/ all that and B) I borrowed my friend Will's wheels with Challenge Limus tires on them so I can mud tires on both bikes. But I have never ridden this tire and would like to have some idea of how it rides prior to the race. Of course hopefully I don't have to pit in the first place and can just stay on my A-bike, but if I can be prepared, I might-as-well. One of my favorite quotes is "success occurs at the intersection of preparation, execution and luck." I feel like I've prepared well, I feel as ready as ever to execute and for luck...well, that's out of my control so wish me that.
After this week's racing I'm going to take a little time off the bike to recover physically and mentally. I've been hitting it hard for many many months now and to have a good spring/summer/next fall I need to take a break. Plus that will give me time to start thinking about 2012 bike racing. I haven't really though about it much yet. Plus my poor TT bike has been hanging from a hook for 5 months or so. I need to dust that thing off as well; I love TTing.
Well, talk to you all after my first World Championships!

Sunday, January 01, 2012


Holy crapoli. Another year has passed. 2011 was definitely a great year, but I can't really fully reflect just yet because I'm not done racing for 2011 yet. I can recall last New Year's Eve though. It was spent in an Indianapolis Hospital w/ Lindsay after her surgery. This time of year last year kind of sucked; 10+ days in the hospital, me going back/forth and spending several nights in a waiting room. But at least I hadn't been cut opened and had to have tubes going into and coming out of me, right?

Anywho, NYE this year was spend racing bikes! And in true form, the beer helmets were out and in full effect.
I'm not sure that these are UCI legal, but nobody was checking this day. Also in true form of the 2011 season, it was muddy as all hell. This course in Zionsville was tough. The ground was very wet and to make matters more difficult, the grass was very long and thick. It wasn't a "groomed" cross course. It was a full-on slog.
My race was good/bad. Not in that order though. It was actually bad/good. I got off to a good enough start, but then I started crashing. And I don't mean bobble-put-your-foot-down, I mean off the bike, on the ground crashing. I think I was on the ground 4-5 times. I crashed more this weekend than I do in a typical season. This saw me kind of buried back in the field and having to ride around people that I normally wouldn't be around. I eventually got my head on straight and started making up places. Once I started riding and stopped making mistakes I rode myself into 4th place which is where I finished. What started out looking like a total disaster turned into an okay race.
After leaving Zionsville we continued north to my parent's house for a late family Christmas. My brother, his wife and their daughter were there as well. We spent the night and did Christmas stuff on the morning of Jan1. It was a nice weekend with everyone.
That brings us to this week. This is really the last training week before the Master's World Championships. Our race got moved to Friday 1/13 (Friday the 13th!), so the following week isn't really going to be much in terms of actual training. We're going to go down mid-week to scout the course and get our numbers, so this week is all that's really left. And a cold front is parking here for next few days. Actually, it was carried in today by 30-50mph winds from the west. It was a little sketchy driving home today with that kind of wind. But I'm not complaining about having a few cold (probably average) days because we have been above average so far and the weather has been really good considering.
So that's that. Happy New Year people. Make 2012 good for you and yours; I intend to for me and mine.