Monday, September 27, 2010

CCCX #2 Manzanita Park 35Bs

Race: CCCX #2 
Category: 35 Bs
Place: 1/23
Teammates: Just me (TED BURNS)

So the threat level for the week was moved down to GUARDED.  I had gone to Interbike earlier in the week and Caitlin said that both her and my daughter will still sick.  I rode on Friday after two days off the bike, and then rode Satruday morning.  I felt horrible on Saturday.  I thought i was sick i felt so bad.  I had felt okay in the AM, and felt fine when we hung out at the beach for the rest of the afternoon.  Anywhow...i was pretty sure I would race even if I was sick if Caitlin was feeling well enough.

Spending time with the family earned me some good will so Sunday morning we were up at a reasonable hour.  I still got on the road late but remembered my bikes which got me to Prunedale about 40 minutes before my race.  I have revised my travel calendar... if i want to make a 10 AM race I have to leave at 7:30 not 8:00.  I was able to register and get in one lap before lining up.  

I was cool, i got a call up and since last weeks winner wasn't there I got the primo spot.  The course is a good mountain biker type of course.  It starts on a longish paved hill which turns into fire road.  Fire road turns into some dusty single track before winding around to a descent that is pretty long but over varied terrain.  The course was super dry this time of year so there was a lot of dust, and deep sand.  The descent went through one really long sand pit which was a blind free for all.  After the long descent which was about 1/3 of the course you are dropped into a baseball field with two sets of 180's and some turns in cinder type of track.  There were a few dismounts down there too.  After the field there were some s turns on a hill that were fun and then a short climb to another diamond, which then descended back to the start finish, which was pretty dangerous due to a 180 in deep dirt right at the bottom.

I got the hole shot at the start.  Actually I didn't just get the hole shot, i got a good 50 yard gap at the start, i assume its the track racing, which the rest of the field never closed.  The chasers were about 5-10 seconds behind me and that gap grew about 5-10 seconds per lap.  It got really big when we hit traffic in the third lap. Overall I had some issues on the technical stuff, and could feel I made up a lot of time on the hill.  I think I probably just didn't loose any time on the technical portions which i took conservatively and was able to pull away on the hill.  There was only one chaser i could see and he fell totally out of sight by lap 4.  I tried to keep the gas on the whole race but it was hard when I had to navigate through the B category traffic for about 2-3 laps.  I caught most of the B's, i finished 5th overall, despite starting a minute down.   

I won my race by about a minute, which makes me officially a sandbagger at this point but I really wanted to win a race before moving up with the big guys.  I think my lap times will put me mid pack if i really kill it.  It's hard to tell since the A's don't have to navigate traffic and they have better rabbit's to keep them hammering.  I assume everybody will come to one of the cross races (Oakland, Night Race or Golden Gate?) to cheer BB and me on.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Never had this happen to me before - CCCX #1 Fort Ord (35Bs)

I feel like I need some kind of a warning system to display how things are going on the home front to provide some context to my race reports.  With kindergarten, new day care, citizenship tests, wife publishing some paper, et al the previous few weeks were hectic.  I thought things had settled down till my daughter came down with some weird viral infection on Thursday.  It had moved onto my wife Saturday night putting my cross plans in danger.  I was bummed cause I was pretty excited to start.  This would put threat leve of not making the race at HIGH!

I texted BB and let him know.  BB is in Monteray with his folks and sigo for the Jazz festival.  My opinion is Jazz makes you soft.  If you want to win you have to listen to that crap noise Balfus and Brian listen too.  So thats what I did that night.  I listed to that crap noise they call music.

When we got up my wife gave me the thumbs up.  She looked marginally better but she was prepared to suck it up.  I think she just wanted the crap noise to stop, so the quickest solution was to get me out of the house.

On my way out the door both kids (5 and 1.9 months) grabbed my leg and begged me not to go.  I was already trying to do math and logistics on who i owed reimbursement money too from Friday and how to get it to them and if i could pay for my race today and where i would get money.  I was able to extract myself and get out the door.

I hustled to the door, got in and took off.  I stopped at the Willow Cove gas station for gas and money.  Of course the ATM and Debit system were busted.  For get it, will figure it out on the way.   I could tell i forgot something... shoes? Check! - Helmet? Check!  Got it all.. I'm out of here, I hit the road and headed down 101 towards my destiny in Ft Ord.  I was gonna win that race, i could feel it.

So... i got to alviso and glanced at my roof.  I didn't remember packing my bikes on the roof.  I had forgot my bikes.  I can't believe i forgot my bikes.  I forgot my bikes.  I have to turn around.  I'm going to be really really late now.  It felt like forever until i found an exit.  Did the clover leaf shuffle and was heading back north.   I  got back, packed the bikes, broke some inside pieces of my car, and then ran up to the house to get my phone which i also forgot.  I'm attached to my phone.  I never forget my phone.  I freak out when i don't have my phone.  I was a mess.

Back on the road at exactly 8:05. The race was at 10 am who knew how long it would take to get to Ft Ord.   I can now tell you that without speeding TOO much, you can get there in about 1 hour and 26 minutes from my house.   I arrived at 9:32 (I subtract 1 minute for an ill fated stop at a gas station i thought might have an ATM but didn't open till 10 AM - what is up with that?)

I had called BB to try and get him to reg me but he got freaked out by the form Nazi's.  He was kind enough to give me the $30 - LIFESAVER - and so i put on my skin suit and rode over.  I paid my money, got my number.  Took my spare bike to the pit, and saw Karen Brems (former world TT champion) so got her to pin me up.  Karen is tough as nails and doesn't brook with losers.  To teach me a lesson she pinned my number (680) upside down so it read 089.   Lesson learned!

I had just enough time to get a front row seat at the start.  BB noticed my number and fixed me up - LIFESAVER - so now I wasn't "that guy" for the announcers.   I have to say, BB is like the soigneur who makes everything better in the cracks of the whole experience. Last time i went to a race he had gourmet coffee.

I didn't get a chance to pre-ride the course so I ended up making the completely wrong wheel choice.  I put on my file treads and given the amount of sand and dust on the course it was a disaster.  The course was bone dry, several areas of deep sand and dirt.  There was an 1/4 mile uphill section with some ruts.  It was windy curvey down for maybe another 1/4 mile and then got flat but technical in a grass section, that ran into some woods and fire road.  There was a short pavement section and a 180 which was nice to ramp up speed on.  There were four dismount sections which was a lot.  I couldn't hold my line on any corners with my tires so I had to be pretty conservative.

At the start i got in the front group pretty easily.  After the first lap i was able to take the lead and keep it for two laps until I totally biffed on a right hand 90 degree turn on a road section covered in sand.  Two guys chasing were able to pass me.  It took me a lap to regain my rhythm at which point i noticed I had broken the buckle off my shoe.  I had two more incidents caused by concentration, handling issues that screwed me up a little but they didn't totally take me down despite stopping me.


I could see i was gaining on the guy in first but we were knee deep in to the B's who were now clogging up the course so I lost too much ground on him between being conservative and trying to get around guys who were now dying.

The last lap I had a pretty good gap on the guy behind me.  At this point i started to notice my foot was coming out my shoes in the dismounts.  I had to take them a little slower which gave the guy behind me a little room to catch up.  In the end I was about 40 seconds down on the 1st place guy and 3 seconds ahead of third.

Cross is about having it dialed in - the bike, the routine, tires, etc.  I obviously did not have that but given the obstacles the day presented I was happy with the result and am looking forward to a race that I get things a little more organized.