Tuesday, October 30, 2012

slight advances in mediocrity

Internet friends, in order to not overload you on one mega-post, I did my write-up on our trip to Colorado two weekends ago below. Now onto State's and NEOCX #7 and 8. So Carry on. 

We went to the Ohio state cyclocross championships last weekend. I completed my secret no-openors approach on Friday and felt like I was dragging my legs around on Saturday but still got to win the junior category. But this, coupled with a long cooldown, led to BEST LEGS EVER on Sunday for the real deal cat 1,2 showdown.  

The start was kind of silly with order of registration for call-ups (?) but being only a 21 person field, no one cared to complain. I attached myself right onto Paul Martin's wheel which I am realizing now is also kind of silly because of Paul's acceleration-heavy approach to life. BUT WHEN YOU HAVE THE BEST LEGS EVER, NOTHING CAN GO WRONG. So four (very short) laps in, PROppe has already decided it is time to launch and is dangling off the front by maybe 6 or 7 seconds. I am marking Paul like a dork (this was a crit, right?) when I eat it going on the uphill of the whole course. Dropped chain, ok don't panic, no one in the front group is trying yet anyways. Get going again, dropped on the inside of the bottom pulley on the rear deraiuller also (?!) so back off the bike. Ernie and Gamm roll by just off the lead pace group. Ernie is a seasoned, smart guy though and waits for me to hopefully get us both back to the front group of 6. I start pulling then Ernie goes to work in the real twisty stuff when we get to said uphill corner again. Roll tubular. End of chase. End of podium chance. End of life. Not really, but I've never been so mad during a race. I rolled her back on and scooted to the pit and dropped down to 15th. . .I kept going half-heartedly on my file treads (JUST LEFT THEM ON PIT BIKE BECAUSE WHO NEEDS A PIT BIKE ON A DRY DAY WITH BEST LEGS EVER) so my chase really was ill-equiped. Ended up 11th, again. I really wish and feel like that result could have had one less 1 on it but hey. I don't mean to sound delusional or living in a fantasy world but I really felt like I could have pulled that one down with ma dude JPRO's
As much as I wanted to unleash the anger inside me, I felt like I was simply riding around at Brett's two-day NEOCX halloween spectacular. I didn't feel great or terrible either day, but also couldn't kill myself like I wanted to. But, I was riding in third place pretty early on both days and apparently that was ok for my mind, so I simply continued through the motions for my third places over the weekend. WHOOPIDEEDOOO! After the race I (appropriately in my jailbreak outfit) thought of one question both days: 

tale of two races

Two weekends ago now, we were posed a nice option of staying with our recently transferred Boulderite friends- the Morrissey's, along with being able to do the USGP's just up the road in Fort Collins. Colorado is pretty much the coolest place ever so I knew we couldn't go wrong. I have only done the Louisville gp's once before but once was enough to know all about how highly attended and well run events the usgp has to offer so this trip really was a win-win (besides the actual racing part that is)

Anyway, this year I am racing my last season as a junior for cross and wanted to start doing some bigger races since I want to have a killer later part of the season. Originally, the usgp series was put on by exergy. Exergy pretty folded though due to bankruptcy so some of the events were cut back, including removing the UCI portion of the elite 17-18 category. This essentially whittled down the field of the half dozen super, super-fast kids that need to scoop up UCI points for freaking WORLD CUPS. So, I was only left to deal with the fast kids of Colorado, but considering everyone is a P-R-O in Colorado, I had my hands full. And I didn't even mention racing at altitude for the first time!

The first day it started pouring right before our race. I got a boss start from the second row for once and everyone kept crashing so I was for real sniffing out the front of the race before the course really got treacherous. Since everyone is a P-R-O in Colorado, everyone cool switched to their mud-tired bike after the first half lap and my handling skills were instantly, not only neutralized, but counter-acted as everyone's real deal tires cut through my perfect dry tire lines. Then I started crashing my brains out. People I talked to after the race would be like, "oh, I went down over there" and another would say, "oh, mine was a little after that section" and I could say "so did I" to every single section of the course. I guess my lack of mud racing on dry tires finally caught up to me. My head wasn't in it the last few laps after my crashed but I still pushed hard enough not to get caught by any more juniors. 

Day two I was determined to not back down after the start. I think in our local hour long races, after about 20 minutes, there is a good lull for about 20 minutes, then it is picked back up again in the final 20 to make sure your place isn't lost. In fact, I know this is true since I KEEP STRAVA IN CYCLOCROSS, haha. Anyway, I crushed myself for the full 45 minutes (elite junior races are2 only 40 minutes- but when you are ~3 minutes down on the winnner...) and literally was at the limit the whole race. But I ended up with 11th place, again. I am going to blame the altitude for my best effort of the year. 

Here are the time splits from Fort Collins of day one's mentally checking out vs day two's "staying in the game" for the full race.

(I am too lazy to mess with the formatting but you get the idea internet friends)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

one more thing

I was joking around after the last race about if someone in our series had been secretly motorpacing, I don't think it would really help anyway with the slogfest kind of racing we have had. After about the first third of a lap, everyone is stuck mashing around below 80rpm for nearly the whole course. It kind of sucks for people who have natural leg-speed but at the same time it is really teaching us all how to ride better in the mud for bigger races later in the year. Speaking of bigger races later in the year, I might be seeing this guy in the video this weekend at a race!

Monday, October 8, 2012

more progress + muddy races make good pictures

I had a rest week leading up to the neocx #5 euclid race this weekend so I was expecting to feel good. The good news is I felt good, but the bad news is I didn't win. But I figured out a few very obvious things I need to work on, and the best part is I wasn't losing that much time at all running with fresh legs. Therefor I am not tempted to run at all.
I put in toe spikes and rode as much I could with momentum then really pushed myself on the runups. Having ok fitness but not much form, I seem to be able to recover if I just push myself but not try to win the race running. 
So onto the things that need immediate work. I crossed lines a bunch in the mud to not fall. I didn't ever fall and I dabbed a total of once in the whole race. I probably need to take a little bit more risk on flat, tight turns and just fly through the rut instead of gently crossing over it safely.
This slow crossing of the ruts lead to a difficult acceleration at a very low cadence. Note the effort and "heel scrape" needed in this picture. I was nearly falling off the back of my saddle trying to restart in a few sections. This would make sense since the lowest cadence for intervals I have ever done is probably 85 rpm. Then, once I could going again I would settle into my usual 95 or so rpm. In a true muddy situation (this race was more wet than muddy) I would probably need to drop it down a cog to maintain traction and really propel myself forward. I also got lazy once the front group of three got away. Zak Dieringer was slinging to his quote "best race ever" when he noticed I instantly put ten seconds into him once I saw him. I told him yes, I was riding a comfortable tempo trying to not mistakes then once I saw the need to put in a real dig, I did so. 

Boring real race report: Got the actual holeshot. Front group got away in said "grinding the gear" sections on the second lap. Kind of broke some spirit when it started raining again. Stayed steady and Brett Davis yelled at me to stay on it since one of the front three would have a mechanical. As if he heard it, JawnP broke his chain when he finally got a gap. Watched him take off leg warmers so he could run to the pit. Laughed hysterically. Rode into 3rd then almost got caught by said JawnP after he got his pit bike. I guess it was pretty spread out even though it was only 50 minutes. So yeah, 3rd place woohoo (sarcasm in place for last sentence)