Thursday, October 20, 2011

holy october and too much info

I can't believe October is already here! Now that I think of it, it is almost over too!! The State Cyclocross Champs are less than two days out and I need to get into fine tune some things to be ready.. Anyway, I should have probably posted my schedule a bit earlier but here is the complete thing anyway: As you can tell I started writing this post over two weeks ago and haven't filled in Orrville or Cap City #2. I think both were 11th place. Maybe 10th in Columbus. I'm not sure. I put the whole Jingle Cross weekend on the schedule but I doubt we will be doing those races. Most of the others are actual possibilities. Also, Kirtland may possibly be moved to Sunday to better coincide with the rest of our series. And here are the bicycles I have been (and will continue to) riding this season:
I have one white bike that has two rings in the front. And I have one red bike with one ring in the front. *After some recent episodes (dropping my chain multiple times in Dayton and breaking off my rear derailleur in Columbus) I finally switched this bike over to dual chainrings also. I also caved and bought some cool guy Thorne chainrings in a 38/44 combo. While I am on the info drop (productive streak) here are some pictures from the last few weeks taken by me when I have time (or my mom) and julie:
- Cascade Park and Julie's
- Wendy Park and Julie's
- Kent Stark and Julie's
- John Bryan and Julie's
- Orrville and Julie's
- more actual bike pictures
Hopefully some of are you and not just me...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

change of plans

I'm not going to go through a whole complaint list about how my race went Sunday. The original plan was to do Cap City Big Run Saturday, then Spin's Willoughby Sunday. Well, apparently Cap City moved when I wasn't looking and Spin got cancelled due to flooding in the park.

So, Sunday we motored down to Columbus-ish for a very difficult hour of racing. I felt pretty flat from not riding Saturday while my Dad and Julie felt flat from actually doing something on Saturday: trail building in our actual home-town (much more later) Either way, I suffered like no other and my stomach hurt from overheating and the bumps. But, I rode steady for an hour and wasn't even too close to getting lapped, but it wasn't quite the confidence-inspiring ride I was looking for going into I think five straight weekends of bigger 2-race weekends. Having no "pop" on a course like that just doesn't work. I also managed to break my bike on the last lap and had to walk/jog a good bit. Let's just put it this way, it was just nice to finish... But, as I know far to well, you learn something from every race and I am very much looking forward to more racing.

Monday, October 10, 2011

if it's not one thing it's another

Someone asked me before the race Sunday, "top five today, right Robert?" maybe slightly joking knowing how good the competition is at even our local races.

I responded something like, "all the fast guys are here today and I'd be happy to be in the top ten if I am lucky..."

It is funny because someone else asked me after the race how it went after getting eleventh and I said, "good for about half the race then crappiest ever... so mad... so disappointed"

I then later explained to an even different someone that when you know you are feeling good during the race, then screw up ever so slightly, loose focus, and lose five spots over the last four laps, it is disappointing. Even if, you only finished one spot lower than your goal. The end result wasn't too bad but I will remember from this race was having a good one, then not finishing well.

It is weird. It used to always humor me how intense guys got in the A race, but now I understand how. I don't know where I was going with this but either way Sunday I felt good and enjoyed the course. And because of that I was/am mad how the result came out. But, as my buddy benjacat says, it is just bikin'. Perspective. I've been using Jeff Craft's method of not blowing your gasket early on. I started in the back and slowly picked off and maneuvered by riders into a nice group early on the second lap. This second group soon split up and I found myself riding for 8th/9th place with Brent Evans. I sat on Brent for a lap then somehow got a gap running the run-up. I used this momentum and rode up to Jim Baldasare. Dan Quinlan and I had a nice battle somewhere in here to before I think a crash took him back a few spots. I should also mention SteevO flatted or switched bikes after a nice wreck and came storming past somewhere around the 5th lap. As luck would have it, Jim was having a rough day and going backwards when I caught. I managed to go through him also and latch onto Erik Lesco riding in 6th. Just as I was going to try and attack Erik with 4 laps to go (of 9) something started grinding on my front chainring. I figured it was a stick or something. My big ring was barely turning over so I noted to my teammate Nate in the pits that I wanted my spare bike. I rode the 6.5-7.5th lap in my little ring as Dan and Jim got back around me putting me 9th.
(big ring still)
Ok, hold on to the place now, still top 10. But wait! My pit bike is working but didn't like my tire pressure (too much- so much my back starting complaining) so for my 8.5th lap Szabo tells me my bike is fixed and I swing back into the pits. I lose a few seconds and I can now see Brent/Greg reeling me in.
(My dad tells me to go faster but I just can't in my little ring!)
I loose focus and shift down to my little ring and now can't get back into my big ring. Flecher comes by and says he has 5 seconds on Brent, let's finish this out. But Greg drops me across the field stretch while in his big ring. I give up and Brent blows by me. 11th it is. Phew... 6th place sounds so much better than 11th. Stay focused my friends.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

last weekend before this weekend.

Julie, Dad, and I swung a trip down to somewhere dry near Dayton, Ohio this weekend for some good 'ole aggressive OVCX racing. Needless to say, I am still looking for that elusive victory this year.
I got pinched in a bit at the start saturday and had to do a really, really hard first lap effort to get in the front group. I could tell I felt pretty good because I was able to recover after that first lap and sit in at the front group still. We had 5 persons in the group and weren't really working together but we had a big gap anyway (the sandbagger race as most would call it) Tony and I made sure no one was riding away until he had an untimely tangle with course tape and dropped back from the lead group. Mike Jernigan and I kept riding hard and dropped the other two in the group until a different guy bridged across midrace. He tried riding right through us (awesome) and I was like, "who is this guy?!," but he eventually calmed down and resided on the back of lead trio. We started rotating through but with one to go the real attacking started. I was surprised that our last lap was only 4 seconds faster than two to go, but, it was 30 seconds harder between the constant big accelerations and slowdowns. We each gave it a little gas but I soon realized we were going to come into together. I felt relatively confident in my sprint and got in Mike's wheel into the last 180°. I wound up in a gear two easy (get it, I shifted down two too many times) and was reeling him in but couldn't get around in the 11 inches of pavement I had to work with. They even still let me on the podium after that weak sprint. Tony and I talked a bit after the race and even though it didn't seem like we were going as hard as an A race up north here in Cleveland, one small mistake and we couldn't make it back onto the front group. Sunday was my turn for that small mistake... The starting uphill was very long and T and I capitalized on our 2nd row spots moving up to 1rst and 2nd rather quickly. I drove it pretty hard for a lap and only one other dood was able to bridge up so our lead trio again was formed. The other dooder who came up was insanely powerful up the 2 separate one-minute drags and me and Tony had to work together to catch him each half lap after he gapped us there. On the fourth of five and a half laps, as Tony and I were just catching up through the logs (he was running and me and T were riding) I dropped my chain. This was probably to be expected considering I was rather out of control each lap and one lap even legit bunny hopped the first log we came in so hot. Of course, my chain was a bit jammed in between my chainguard and I lost 4 spots and 16 seconds. "I guess our phat gap wasn't as big today," I thought to myself as 4 doods came ripping by.

The only reason I kept pushing it was when I rolled through the finish stretch and the announcer said "schrokkuh is cracked! schrokkuh is cracked! He went from the lead to 7th this last lap!" Everyone's hero 14-year-old Spencer had caught me and I got pissed for some reason at this abuse. I sprinted past their group and back into 4th but couldn't get 3rd back after he had rolled through the group. To be honest, my legs were feeling pretty jello like after spending 16 seconds doing the lawnmower dance to get my chain out. Jokes on Kyle (the winner) though after that lame off balanced attempt at a victory salute. Just kidding bud. And me looking quite pleased to be OTB of the podium. It was a fun weekend though, and its nice to know I have the legs to win some type of race, even be-it a cat3 sandbagger race. Julie had two solid rides netting two more top 10s to the résumé and Dad crushed single-speed on Sunday with Kastu. He also rode in the elite races both days and got in the money Sunday!