Monday, December 15, 2008

elite nationals cyclocross

What a race!
Started 42nd....... moved to 26th...
I don't really remember the first 2 LAPS. All I remember was being in traffic. So many people and so many wrecks. It was a blur of bikes and jerseys. I just tried to stay up-right. I had a to run a few sections early to avoid a few wrecks. I must have been in the 50's or s0. By the end of the 2nd lap I was flying. Trying to get across to riders that had huge gaps. I felt great. I was leaping by groups of riders on the climb. After another lap I started to look around and notice I was catching some pretty good riders. 1 lap later I saw a ton of good riders coming backwards on the climb. I started to get pretty motivated. I was going hard but felt great. Near the top of the climb I was close to the top 20... and took a nice over the bars wreck. By the time I got up and shook it off I had lost a few spots and a ton of momentum. I re-grouped on the downhill and was ready to start killing it again. I jumped on my bike around 35 minutes into the race and felt my seat crack. Bummer. I wanted to pit, but I love my race bike more than my pit bike. The seat felt OK... and didn't feel to bad and was just sagging a bit. I sucked it up and climbed out of the saddle when I could and jumped on the bike softly. I was riding in the TOP 30 and wanted to stay there. By the final lap I was with Carl D. and Bart G...... Both riders I was happy to be hanging with. I nailed it the final time up the climb to get a bit of a gap before the downhill. It worked. Bart caught me on the final run-up and passed with class. I was happy to follow him to the line. This was one of my better results and I felt great the entire hour. I would have loved another lap 0r 2. It would have made up for the awful first 2 laps.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

masters nationals cyclocross 2008

..Master’s Nationals has come and gone. In some ways it is a relief and in others I can't wait for next year. It was killer… everything was perfect. I fell in love again with cross.... tons of cow bell... my dad made the trip from Iowa... my wife was there... Ken Lefler....from Iowa city and tons of other...friends were screaming.... it was rad!

First... I must say if you had to a design a course that screamed my name.... well Kansas did. Tons of climbing. TONS... Not very technical.... the way cross should be.... and DRY....( just my opinion) I love the mud...but race better when it’s tacky. It was super tacky.... you’d could have ridden road tires and been OK. The day before it was so muddy you had to walk most of the course. Today the WIND picked up to 30+ MPH and dried it out fast. IT was perfect. ALMOST like riding SLICK Rock in Moab.

So standing at the start..... I wanted to make some excuses ……but had none. Front row... Perfect course and weather.... Ok I was super sick this week.... but felt great... I took a Z-Pack... and felt like a crisp $100 bill.

The start went well... not great.... I was off the LINE fast, but didn't get on the gas hard enough and went into the first corner in 10th... I needed to PANIC and didn't. I knew there was a ton of climbing coming up and thought I would be OK.... Big mistake. It was the only thing I did wrong. I normally think it is best NOT to PANIC.... BUT when Andy Macaroni & CHEESE.....
is there and the wind is blowing 20+ MPH.... I needed to be in the front group... I was 5 meters back. I felt great... I was in 10th or something.... I jumped on the gas on the climb and moved up a few spots but was on the tail end of 3 0r 4 guys. We were riding hard, but they were riding harder and faster. I topped out solo in our group but just couldn't get across. They hammered the downhill..... and opened it up a bit.... I soloed down and got caught by a group of 3. The next time up the climb I hammered it hard. 100%.... I was able to ride away from the riders that came across….. and catch and drop one of the guys from the front but was in 4th.... over the climb and was 15 seconds back.
Yankee Doodle dandy… was way!!!!!!!!! off the front…….2 guys were in front of me…. And 4 chasing. I did everything I could to get across the gap…. I just couldn’t. I was in limbo for 30 minutes…. I felt great … the problem was that the guys in front of me…..were just as fit as me. Ali Goulet made the split early and wasn’t about to give me an inch….. I literally threw the kitchen sink at it and I couldn’t close it down. The last time up the climb I BROKE myself. Everything.... I brought it down to 12 or so..... Not good enough.... They were gone. I wasn't going to catch them on the down hill... I had a huge gap.... I enjoyed the last 1/2 of lap and gave myself a huge pat on the back.... I had a great ride.... I gave it all I had. Congrats to ALI... he road a great race. Congrats to Weston... He killed it also... See you guys next year.

How do you close a gap to riders that are just as good or better? I sat at 12-18 seconds for the entire race. I was able to open up a nice gap on 5th…. but I really wanted to get across to the Weston and Ali… I sold my SOLE several times ..But I just couldn’t get across.
Overall I felt great and raced great. .........I was certainly in the hunt today and it felt great. If you get rid of the Noodle I was right there. It felt great. Tons of hard work and I could tell it paid off. To be only 15 seconds back most of the race from 2nd…. For me is incredible. A small part of me wishes I would have gotten across on the first lap. But to be honest... if I could have.. I would have..... and I didn't....

BUT damn…. Today was a great day…Oh how I wished I had my A.K…..

Monday, December 08, 2008

Nationals in 5 days

I can hardly believe that cyclocross season is coming to and end.
Months of hard work.......... all boil down to a few hours of riding this coming weekend. I ofter feel like the skinny guy in the picture. Standing at the line in Kansas...I will be looking around at the super stars of our sport. The past 365 days have been spent getting ready. I am prepared to throw down 2 of the best rides of my life ......the question is where will that put me. I have to be honest and say that is one of the hardest parts about our sport. Cycling is pretty cruel sometimes. We all have a ton of excuses why we didn't do better. The problem is almost every weekend we have an excuse and rarely a result. That is when our personal expectations might not match our ability. When I was a kid my parents didn't tell me I was the best or the fastest. I appreciate their honesty. If you look through my results you can see I am not the fastest and certainly not the best. For some reason at 32 years old I am still heading to races all over the country to prove this exact point. So if I am not going to win... why do I go? I think the answer is I like take a good beating. Every once in awhile I get a chance to hand one out. The other 99% of the time I have to take it. There is something great about getting your ass kicked. Not during the ass-kicking... that is when it hurts. But sometime shortly after I start to feel great. Not just great... I feel incredible. This is when I start to plan for next year in hopes of getting my ass a little less kicked. I don't think you can appretiate how hard something is until you are out there on the recieving end. We are involved in one of the few sports where you can actually stand on the 50 yard line with some of the greatest riders on the planet and see how bad we actually are.

A few days back someone(non racer) was talking to my wife about a cyclocross world-cup they saw on the internet. They mentioned the riders looked slow and didn't have the best handling. I got tweaked. To judge Sven Nys.... that is insane. If it looked slow .... then I can't imagine what a mortal would have looked like on the course. To critique riders with a VO2 max of almost 100 and say they look SLOW.... that blows me away. If Sven is jogging you would have to CRAWL...

I think I am headed to Kansas so I know "how good..... I am not."
The crazy thing is I am completey OK with that. And I know I will train for 365 more days just to do it again.

Friday, December 05, 2008

UCI points and racing NATZ

So I am headed to kansas next week for masters nationals....... This will be my 4th trip to Masters Cyclocross nationals and I have been lucky enough to make it in the Top 10 each year. The field is insanely strong. Looking through the UCI list I noticed:

216 POINTS.....

ranked as the 7th FASTEST American... good enough for a front ROW in the ELITE race... is racing masters also.....damn.... yeah that pretty much says it all. ...maybe its time to start drinking heavily....
This Looks like a good time to restructure the goals. Top 10 is the goal... Top 5 is the SUPER goal... making the PODIUM will take the best day of my life.

The one thing I have learned racing my bike... you have to show up to have a chance.

So Mr. Jac MAYNES...................I will see you in KANSAS.... and in 2009 again.....2010... again.... 2011... probably....

.................. I noticed that Tim Johnson, Jonathon Page, and Todd Wells all are in there early 30's........looks like they can race masters also... It may be the easiest way for PAGE to get the jersey back.... So here is the invitation... if you see PAGE... tell him I will pay for his registration if he races 30-34.... heck I will pay for all 3 of there registrations.... so WELLS and JOHNSON... If you sponsors are hurting and you need the cash... come race 30-34.. I bet you have a great chance of winning form the back row.

Heck the rule is just 30-34.... So I guess it is game on...
I also nocticed that Sven Nys is 32... I wonder if he races masters nationals in Belgium?