Friday, December 28, 2012

Weak week.

Howdy all! I thought I'd drop a post on you to ease the separation anxiety.
With racing done for the season, I took a full week off of everything exercise. I still commute to work daily via bike, so I pedaled a bike for a total of about 20min per day, but otherwise I just lazed out. And I still am for the most part, though I'm starting to get a little activity in; just not too regular.  

Christmas eve I went out and rode the gravel roads. It was pretty nice out, about 42* and the sun poked through a few times. This was my first ride in 8 days. I made a conscious effort to go easy. That means overtaking the urge to push harder when the road goes upward and instead easing off, shifting down. It was nice ride, but it was on the loop which features the gnarliest hill in these parts known as the McGowan climb (though I think it's technically on Gilmour ridge Rd, not McGowan Rd.) So I took it easy on every part of the ride except the hill; you can't go easy up a hill like that. Even if you have to get of and walk it (which I didn't!) you're gassed. Anywho, it's normally an 1hr40 or so minute ride and It took me 2hrs. So I went slow. That's a good thing.

The next day, Christmas day, I didn't really plan to ride, but there was rumor of some heavy weather coming in. So I decided to roll over to the local MTB park and see how the trails were. I expected it too be too muddy to be (responsibly) rideable, but it was in really good shape. So I shredded for a bit. It's crazy how rusty my MTB riding is. It's so much different than CX. People assume they're much more closely related than they are. They definitely compliment each other, but they truly are they're own unique skill set(s). Whatever though, I had fun riding the MTB. I mainly stuck to the "new' stuff at the park; the N/W area. There's a lot of new trail there and it's actually pretty good. it's very 'turny' because there's not a lot of real estate, but it's cool. Plus I came across the sick double black super advanced area w/ jumps and skinny elevated bridges. Not usually my thing, but I hit for a while. Kinda fun.    

I also used the week off to get my road bike overhauled/freshened up. New cables, new BB (crank bearings), new chain, new cassette, complete disassembly, all that. So it'll be running clean and smooth when I get it back out...and it will probably get totally thrashed thanks to the aforementioned blizzard.

Sometimes blizzards can be cool. But this one just buried everything. This is pic out of our backdoor. It's relevant because it's where Lindsay's "square foot gardens" are and the boxes for them are built with 2x12's. And they're totally buried. Which means the snow is > 12". Bloomington officially recorded 11.5", which is the most in 5 years. The temps are scheduled to stay low for awhile as well, so this may be sticking around for a stint.       
Lindsay went home to Oklahoma for the Christmas week and she gets home today (Friday). We are going to jaunt up to my parent's house on Sunday for a Christmas get together with our nieces, et. all.
Then it's back to "reality." I'm going to keep the training very loose for the next several weeks. A couple/few rides per week, outside if I can get it, rollers if not, maybe a trainer sesh here/there for some more work than the rollers provide. And some strength stuff to hopefully take care of my long-lingering back/hip issues. I think I'm feeling better in those regions, but it's hard to tell. I'll just keep at it and do what I can.
Happy new year folksies!   

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The (bitter) End: OVCX #a million, Major Taylor Velodrome Indy

This weekend was the finale` of the 2012 OVCX series, which marks the end...of something. That would be the end of my CX season.

check out the mud roost above my head.

And things didn't go as planned. But sometimes they just don't. I don't want to get overly dramatic, or "philosophical" (as they say) about it all, but I have to admit I am disappointed with myself.

I sat in third place in the 35+ Elite men's series overall from the first race. I came into this last race with a slim, but holdable gap to maintain that position. The numbers had been crunched (for me, not by me) and I knew what scenarios had to play out. The person behind me in point, who is a good friend and teammate, had to have a really good race and I had to have a not-so-good race.   

I rode this section in the warm up, but didn't want to mess it up during the race so opted for the safe route (running it)

He had a great race (his highest Elite finish ever) and I had a slightly-worse-than-average-but-not-terrible race. And that was enough to knock me off the final podium. I am glad it was a teammate and not a full on rival, but it still bummed me out. But that's how racing goes. 

It was a good course and it had rained all the day and night before. The course as muddy. The flat sections were heavy wet ground. And the hilly sections were loose, sloppy and difficult. I was fast on the downhill sections, but that constituted about 1minute of the 8-9miunte lap. It wasn't enough to save me. I did all I could and I couldn't have ridden any harder. Sometimes it's just not enough.  

I feel as though my form has been dwindling a bit over the past few weeks. I am probably "overtrained." But it's a hard balance. I've been "at it" for nearly a full year now. This has been a really good season, even though I fell short of the final podium.    

Last finish of the season

I am going to do things a bit different for next year and take some more time off and build slower into (MTB) race form. I have some lingering use/overuse issues that just aren't ever going to get any better if I keep going full blast all the time.
So that's that. The end of sweet CX race posts for this year. I don't have a good idea of how many people actually follow this blog, but thanks. The posts will continue, but probably with a little less frequency and a little less interesting content (if that's possible!) 
Thanks again for reading and following my season. The fact is, I enjoy writing, so keep checking back!
Happy holidays, all.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

OVCX 12, Yellow Springs, OH. That just sucked

You can probably figure out from these two pictures how this story will go.

Too bad for you you have to read though it anyway!

This passed weekend was OVCX #12, the penultimate of the 2012 series. It's a long haul from here over in Yellow Springs, OH, home of Dave Chapelle

 I usually like this race. Even though I have crashed somewhat badly two years in a row now. Bummer is I rode a pretty decent race and had good legs this year.

This was another "forecasted rain all day" scenario. Again, it didn't happen though. I think it did rain most of Friday and Saturday, so the course was plenty muddy. Plus it rained for a bit during the day, but it was clear skies for our race (and by "clear" I mean totally clouded over, but not raining).

They changed the "normal" start at this race and moved it form a really long uphill paved road to a shorter, but still uphill grass start. No big thing, roll w/ the punches. However, I missed my pedal on the start, something I rarely do. This didn't cost me much, but definitely a few places going into the turns. 

Shortly after the first series of turns cam another off camber series of turns. I had ridden and re-ridden this series prior to starting and decided that running the exit of this series of turns was fastest. Especially in the first lap scrum. As I was running this short steep rise, another rider was trying to ride it and cut across the hill ramming into me. No big deal, this is racing and this stuff happens (especially in the first lap scrum). But after ramming into me he starts yelling, cussing and calling me names, etc. I know who this guy is and I know he's faster than me, so as we're approaching a 180* turn onto mud-scattered pavement, I looked back as he's berating me to say "chill man, that wasn't intentional." As soon as I got out those words I lost my front wheel on the slick pavement and crashed. Cut knee, shown above, and my bike was damaged too.

I had people waiting and ready in the pit by the time I got around, but having to pit messes up (my) rhythm. I had already lost a lot of places and my "B" bike doesn't have mud tires on it, so on a muddy course I am slower on it. I think I did 2 laps on my "B" bike while they got my "A" sorted out. Once they did I was able to get back on mud tires and ride faster.

I bet I had dropped nearly 20 places, so I had a lot of passing to do to get back into it. Passing isn't as easy as it sounds or seems. You have to set up for passes and take them cleanly so as to not crash out yourself or the person you're passing. Point is: it takes time. And time spent is time lost.

I eventually clawed my way back into 24th spot for the finish. Among my worst results, but these things will happen.  

 This coming weekend marks the finale` of the OVCX 2012 season. Ans since I've decided to not go onto Nationals or Worlds this year it also marks the end of my 2012 season. I'm ready for the break, but at the same time I already know I'm going to miss racing. But I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, I still need to get through both this week and this weekend. Then we'll worry about missing the racing.


Wednesday, December 05, 2012

OVCX 11. Brookside Park, Indy

This weekend was the 11th stop of the OVCX in Indianapolis. It was "unseasonably" warm for December and the forecast was calling for most-of-the-day rain. The temps hovered in the low to mid 60's and the rain came the night before; it didn't even sprinkle during the race day. But the course was left mostly muddy/slick from the previous night's rain. 

Despite taking several (3, 4?) sighting laps, I had completely forgotten the start sequence. I thought it far further up on the pavement than it did. So while we're setting up to transition from pavement to grass, I'm still rallying with my head down full blast. Luckily I sensed/saw peripherally that people around me were setting up for a transition and was able to react; it could have been worse...(me plowing through tape, etc)
But for some reason I had the entire first part of the lap out of sequence in my head, so it was pretty much like I hadn't ridden it yet. I didn't have a particularly great start anyway and this didn't help matters.

I don't know if it's the little cold I've had lingering that cost me a % or two, but I felt completely gassed the entire time. I rode a decent race, but just felt totally at the limit the whole time. I doubt that anyone rode a completely flawless race given how slick/muddy it was, I made very few mistakes. I just felt throttled.

This race had a good number of fast guys toeing the line. If I had one of my best races of the year, I'd still probably be looking at 13th place or so. Given the way I felt, I was happy to have finished 19th; one spot still in the money!   

This race was put on by my team, so we helped tear down the course afterwards. Speedway Wheelmen are absolute aces when it comes to course set up/tear down. Because I'm the last race of the day, I have to go to my car and chill out for a minute and change clothes and stuff before I can help. They are normally most of the way done before I even get a chance to help. I'm usually too tired to be of much help anyway, but I do what I can.

This weekend is the penultimate round in the OVCX at John Bryan Park in Yellow Springs, OH. That's right, the same race that last year I "hung out with" Dave Chapelle after. Maybe we'll see him again. I'm sure he want to catch up w/ me.

After this weekend it's just one more race for me and it's in Indy. This season is feeling long and my body is feeling tired. I decided awhile back that I wasn't going to do Worlds this year and I thought I may change my mind. But I am good with that decision. I don't want to or really think I can squeeze another 4+ weeks out of this season.
But I am looking way forward to going and watching the Elite World Championships in Feb. It's going to be awesome!