Tuesday, September 30, 2008

flickr photos...

Originally uploaded by Robert Sroka
Are finally up. HERE is the final set from the first BA Cross Race. This weekend is the Leroy Township Cross Race where I'll shoot for a podium spot in the C's. The results are up from this weeks race but should be changed soon because they have me down as junior.

Monday, September 29, 2008

TLE Cross #1 Wendy Park: Report

Originally uploaded by inquintessence
Saturday I had the option of three things, race at Cap City, help set up the Wendy Park Course, or fine-tune my skills at Shawn's Camp. I chose the latter. It definitely helped, too. We made it to Wendy at about 9am to finish setting up the course and make sure everything was it tip-top shape. Unfortunately, there was a lot of stakes down from previous days because of the high Lake Erie Winds. It took a while to finish but an hour and a half later I started riding the course. The first lap I took really slow to scope things out and see where I could pass. Gary describes the course in great detail here. Then the second lap I went a little harder here and there and figured what gear to start in for the race. Then I took the off-camber gravel descent to fast and ate it. Hard. Sting, Sting, and more Sting. I couldn't find any blood yet so I continued my warmup. The final lap of warmup was close to all out but tempo in the longer, flatter sections. I unclipped my inside foot and took an inside line to get down the hill the next time. By the end of the warmups, I was riding the sand pits pretty easy and decided to ride them in the race. Which would get me later. My pictures should be up by late tonight.

Sean Gilbert and I had a good plan for this race (he wasn't racing). I would get as close as I can to the front on the first lap and if anyone wants to try and go by me, just try. It seemed to work out pretty well at the start. Bill said all juniors to the back but I said I was doing C's so everyone was quiet. I got the perfect line, as I did in warmups and a Shawn's Camp, took 2 pedal strokes, got clipped in and slammed it. I grabbed the first corner nicely taking it very wide through some gravel bits and through the first corner was leading. I gained a little gap before the off-camber gravel descent. Unclipp right leg, take grass, and go slow. Then still nearly wash out but lose a few seconds to Nate. Take the next few corners fast and am leading into the road. Nate says he'll pull and it helped a lot. I got too anxious and took the inside line on the round a bout. I passed Nate over the cement barricade as I down shifted to perfection. Hammer the rest of the course and get about a 5 second gap going into the long sand trap. Then almost eat it but dismount in time but get repassed by Nate. Re-catch at the railroad ties and sit in first after lap one because of Nate flatting out. Lap 2 I was greedy again into the sand pit while I was winning and get passed by one more. A mtb. gets me after the technical dirt mounds and one more somewhere in lap 2. I kept the gap steady between the group of 1,2,and 3rd place and gain on 5th. Lap 3 I was more careful but punched it harder between tech. bits. Ended up 4th overall in C's 21s behind the winner and 11s faster than 5th. Overall, I felt great but my technical bits or confidence bits caught up to me. I definitely thought I was one of the strongest in the C's.

The rest of the day went very unbalanced for TLE. Matt takes 5th in A, Shawn 2nd with 2 flats I think, Julie 2nd woman, 23rd B, dad was 1st master, Jeff 3rd, Tony flatted 3 times but finished, Bill twice, Zach was 6th junior (#2 in BMX states rankings), and Mike flatted but ended up finishing too. Also, Brandt flatted out. Final results here.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Wendy Park

Originally uploaded by benjacat
Is soon approaching and I'm feeling pretty good. No tapering for this race or the next six, so to speak. I kept good fitness after being sick at P.I. and have found new light on my cyclocross bike. Its so awesome to ride and even better on hard rides. Tomorrow I'm off to Shawn Adam's cross clinic to add some final prep before Wendy. Now it's key at Wendy to do good because only your best 4 races count in our series, and 3 have to be B.A. produced. I think Wendy will be my kind of course with the twists and turns and only one long road stretch.

Also on the calendar is the Leroy Township Cross race next Sunday. Then Harbin Park, followed by Spin Willoughby. And most likely two Orville crosses! Schedule is booked until Nov. 2nd with cross! Every weekend! NICE!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Michigan Double Cross Photos

Gary sent a link over to me about these smug-mug photographer who was at the race. There is one of me taking the hole shot. And then another over the barricades Then riding up a ride-up or run-up. There are some good ones of Julie and dad too.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Michigan Cross Day 2: Race Report

With yesterday in the bag, I had a few goals for day 2: a)stay safe b)don't flat c)help Julie win if she wasn't feeling well d)win the juniors by a good margin. I think I did most of those things.

Before you know it, it was start time again. I had a good warmup on an awesome new course that was a little bit longer. I took my starting position on the inside line when the official came and said well, juniors start back row. I simply asked why and he gave me some stupid answer but it got me mad. Just what I needed for the race. I had to cut off a few girls to get top 3 into the first off-camber. sorry. At the first corner, Julie took it wide with the second girl following going right into the tape. She was Julie's main threat so I saw the chance and jumped. hard. I got a good gap on Julie and held. And held it. 1 lap gone. 2 laps gone. Can I hold it off? A lot more suffering and I grew the gap between me and Julie to 45 seconds. I rode a lot harder and smarter on day 2 and the results showed.

Not a very good race report on my part. Jeff flatted. Dad 2nd. Julie ended up winning. Bill 6th, impressive. JP winner.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Michigan UCI Cross: Picture Dump

Here is just a few before race report #2. Complete Set HERE. Videos up soon. Dad - Day 2 - Off Camber
Tony Chasing - Day 2 - Pre-Barricades
Julie - Day 2 - Victory #2
Bill- Day 2 - Barricades
Dad - Day 2 - Descent
Planet Bike Bus - Day 2 - They know how to get around; the elements quite close
Me and Julie - Day 2 - Top 2 Overall over the barricades
Bill - Day 2 - Overtop Descent
Jon Page - Day 1 - He only won by like a minute and a half against the Switz Nat. Champ

Michigan UCI Cross - Day 1: Report

Friday night we headed up to Davisburg and got a hotel. We arrived race day with about 1h 30m to spare. I used it quite nicely. Get registered, pin skinsuit, make final bike prep (including borrowing Shawn's tubulars making my total bike weigh a mere 18.71 lbs.), and use restrooms multiple times. I was aiming for 2-3 laps with at least one fast lap. The course was started on a short road section like all UCI Cross races now followed by a longer grass pound-away center to split things up. After that was a set of doubles that were enormous, then some off-camber climb, a short sand section, and then an awesomely groomed double track in the woods. After that was mainly slow off-cambers with many places to tumble with one more three logged run-up. I did one preview of the course looking for good lines especially about 100m after the start up an off camber looking for that great start. The warmup went great and I found a couple good lines which helped me get by some riders.

At the start, the C riders lined up first and started one minute ahead of the Women. Then the officials noticed that there were 3 juniors and 10 "beginner" women (Julie) and decided on a bunch start. I quickly noticed one lane open on the front row, inside line and took it. The start wasn't hectic at all. I expected Julie to jump off the line but she wasn't feeling that good so I took it and grabbed the whole shot up to the off camber. Julie passed me through the grass and towed me around through the barricades and all stacking up a 10-second gap on the second woman. We were about 20m from the finish when I ate it on the final off camber and both Julie and the second lady got by me. Well, my job was done... I guess. I started good, helped Julie obtain a lead, and left myself in a good place in the juniors. After that I took it down a slight notch so I wouldn't fall but still maintain and gain position. I finished the race clean, tired, and had lapped every junior. All two of them. I also ended up passing 13 "C" men that race so I was very pleased with my first cross race. Julie also ended up sewing up the victory by a ten second margin. I was ready for Day 2.

Next up Tony Marut showed us all how its done, making the group of 5 and getting a gap. Then disaster struck, a flat. The first race of the year too. Tony was quite disappointed as I would be and took it hard out on tomorrows race. Bill didn't fair much better getting a great start and then fading because of chain problems before snapping his chain in half and running half of a lap. Jeff Crafft didn't have the luck either as he flatted on the first lap only to run great lap times later to finish 8th in the 45+. Dad also took on the 45+ race and faired with much better luck with less legs finishing second.

2 Races, 2 Victories

Ended up at Michigan UCI Cross Spectacular. Great course with mucho corners and coasting lead to two junior victories, and maybe, an epic battle with Julie? More write up later. 187 photos in my flickr uploading by the second.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Wendy Park and Spare Wheels

The Bike Authority Clan of Bill, Tony, Kevin, Jeff Crafft, Julie, Dad, and myself made our way down to one of the nicest cyclocross settings on Sunday. Wendy Park has some beautiful views and picture worthy places great for a cyclocross race. We couldn't wait to race on September 28th there so everyone came down to help design a course. With those 40mph winds the course came out a bit turny from moving us so much but its very Euro style bankings and round-a-bouts with a touch of sand and maybe a little single track. I won't go into too much detail because I know you all will shove this data into your computrainers and race us with our lap times.

After about an 1h, 30m of constructing (more like walking and talking) a probable course, we started to load down the bikes and try this stuff out. I first tryed out the Port-O-Pottie which worked very well and didn't reek stench for miles. A little less than 2 miles of course to be exact. After a few trial laps we (everyone besides myself, I was content not knowing how many times I would be lapped) started picking up the pace. I was still just checking out the course working on my skills though so I had no intention to try and keep up. In the end, we developed a very reliable CX course, got some chit-chat done, and got to ride for an hour and a half.

At Wendy, I also got to test out my spare CX wheels. They are the aluminum AIR wheels I won at the raffle at the State TT with Maxxis Mimo tires on. They worked very well with the exception of the skewers not staying tight and me dropping my chain once... or twice.

So, an old pair of skewers, an extra bashguard acting as a third-eye, and a shorter chain (that needs replacing) and I'm ready for this weekend's trip which I'll announce later in the week.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

It Takes A Lot of Energy To Ride in the Rain

hammer fuel
Originally uploaded by Robert Sroka
And I don't think I have enough Hammer Heed to supply me. Today we hit up Bike Authority for a few fuels from Hammer for cross season. I added the Heed Lemon Lime 80-serving to my water bottles along with Hammer Energy Surge. The Surge is something you put under your tongue about 5-10 minutes before a hard ride or race. I'm looking forward to trying that along with utilizing my banana gel more often.

Look for an update later on my spare wheels for cross. Photos included.

Friday, September 12, 2008

'08 Cross Setup Released

thursday reagan ride
Originally uploaded by Robert Sroka
I've been up to quite a bit since my last post. As you can tell by the photo a few things have changed on me and my cross bike: a) I transitioned to the lighter Easton Circuits with Kenda Small Block 8's on. b) My dream single ring setup has finally happened. So what did I go with? Dad and I compromised with a 36t chainring to go along with my 12-27 cassette. c) What bashgaurd did we order? A Salsa aluminum Ring Dinger 36t with a 110mm pattern. No crank upgrades yet...so far. d) That is a Sram Force rear derailleur, as you remember I had some troubles with the last time at Reagan and we looked for a replacement Rival at B.A. so we had to order something. And dad was nice enough to order a Force derailleur for me. e) The Sidi Dominators 5 arrived on Monday and were used ASAP and worked AWESOME! I've never felt comfort like this before but each ride I've done with them I've felt good and I think it's power transfer. Super light and Julie is letting me have a few spikes she found. Here are the final specs:

Size - 52cm
Frame - Cannondale Optimo Blue
Fork- Slice Ultra SI Carbon
Rims - Easton Circuits
Hubs - Eaton Circuit Hubs
Spokes - Easton Double Threaded
Tires - Kenda Small Block Eights
Pedals - Used Times
Crank - Truvativ 36t - Looking at upgrades
Chain - Sram 10-Speed - Needs Replacing
Rear Cogs - Shimano Dura-Ace 12-27
Bottom Bracket - Truvativ Mega X-O
Rear Derailleur - Sram Force
Shifters - Sram Rival
Handlebars - Vista ITM
Stem - Profile Design Hammer OS
Brakeset - Cannondale Aluminum
Saddle - Fizik Wing Flex Pave Sport
Seatpost - USE Alien Carbon
Extras - Various Ti bolts and Grease filled bottle cage bosses

Monday, September 8, 2008

Presque Isle Fall*: Report

I guess I'll recap about how great my week leading to Presque Isle was. Tuesday - Cold hits me really hard. I can't sleep or train. Wednesday - Same thing as Tuesday with medicine involved. Thursday - I complete my intervals with wheezing Incorporated as expected. Friday - I felt decent but ended up taking off riding. Saturday - It hits me again and I'm sore, tired, and down.

Then Sunday came. I thought I'd be better by then but apparently not. I woke up and felt energized and got plenty of sleep but something felt sick about me. The Diffenbachers arrived at 5:15 sharp. We made good time and arrived at about the same time as before. I got everything setup and chose the under armour long sleeve for a base layer. For warmup I put on everything and really tried to get warmed up.

The start came around too fast and I didn't have time to reset my computer. I started off awesome and held 24mph into mile 2 purely because I knew I didn't have any endurance whatsoever. Then the low numbers started to shine. Approximately 21.8 seemed to light up the most.

By mile 4, everything hurt. Back, ribs, lungs, nose, and throat to be more specific. I felt like falling over but just kept pushing. It seemed like it would be a great gutsy performance for the record books but I just couldn't go a second faster.

The mile marker 10 came around quick enough and I made the final turn. I definitely held back a touch before the final corner because Presque Isle is advertised as 12.4miles. I guess I fell for that again. I guess that's how it goes.

In the end I averaged a respectable 22.25mph and shaved 2 minutes and ten seconds off my spring time. I also made up one spot in my age group and took home the family division again with dad! We knew it was ending up close between us and the McCkrackens. Here are the family results:

1 Sroka 1:00:17.84(Rudy Sroka,51,26:35.56)(Robert Sroka,13,33:42.28)
2 McCracken 1:01:34.06(Kevin McCracken,37,30:10.31)(Kody McCracken,14,31:23.75)
3 Diffenbacher 1:04:10.46(Brian Diffenbacher,38,28:38.78)(Austin Diffenbacher,11,35:31.68)
4 Fenstemaker 1:10:02.24(Stephen Fenstemaker,46,32:10.68)(Evan Fenstemaker,12,37:51.56)

And the 10-14 results:
Male 10 - 14
1 Kody McCracken,14,Wellsboro,PA 31:23.75 23.89 41 Twisted Spokes
2 Drew Chidester,14,Pittsburgh,PA 32:34.18 23.03 52 Trek of Pittsburgh
3 Robert Sroka,13,N. Royalton,OH 33:42.28 22.25 72 Team Lake Effect
4 Austin Diffenbacher,11,Broadview Heights,OH 35:31.68 21.11 110 Team Lake Effect
5 Evan Fenstemaker,12,North Canton,OH 37:51.56 19.81 79 Stark County Bike Club

Overall I know this race will always have an asterisk for me. The top finishers were Brian Batke with the overall and sixth fastest time ever, Dad 3rd overall, and Ray 5th overall.

Next years goal is 24mph for the spring and hopefully a little more for summer and fall. Time for Cross!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Weekend Wrap-Up

Monday started my taper period before Presque Isle but I really wanted to go on the team ride so a 30m z1 turned into a 1h 30m tempo. I hope I'll be able to recovery but I think I'll be okay.

Saturday I felt guilty for not doing Greenford so got out early for an intervaled ride. Here are the final specs:

Daily Log for Saturday 8/30/2008

Workout 1 : Bike Actual 1:21

Workout Description:
20 min warmup
10X2 min LT intervals
2 min recovery
20 min cooldown

Workout Data
Distance 20.7 1152 kCal
Pace (mm:ss) 03:55 Speed (mi/hr) 15.27

I felt really good after the first two intervals were completed resulting in me feeling more guilty for not racing. For interval #3, I averaged near 25mph.

Sunday I went out on an easy ride with my mom and felt so bad, feeling trashed would be an understatement. Either way, I got in 16 miles in about 1h 20m. I felt good to spin out the legs though.

Today I went out to the team ride at Camp Manatoc for some much needed mtb'ing. It was some great fun on some fantastic trails that were in perfect condition. Now it's time to start recoverin'!