Monday, September 24, 2012

Sunday USGP

I really had to work around my work schedule to get out to the USGP this year. So in order to make it happen I needed to race the 2,3's on Sunday morning at 9:30am. That meant getting up early to drive the 1.5 hours but the course was so much fun last year that I was willing to do so.

The conditions were cool--in the low 40's--and sunny. I didn't get a chance to see most of the course before the race so my first lap was rather exploratory. Unlike last year where I started in the 80's this year I was 27th and in the 3rd row. A pretty good spot to be.

I had a good start. Nice and fast but under control and moved up about 5-10 stops in the first 2 turns. Then things slowed down quite a bit in a tech section and there was lots of bumping and pushing going on. Everything was going pretty well. Some guys shot in front of me and then I pulled them back. By the time we got to the run-up the positions were switching much less.

After the the run-up there was a steep downhill turn that I attempted to go through with no brakes. Which was fine until my front tire broke loose from the ground and I slid out. I landed hard and the guy behind me rammed into my back. He asked if I was okay. My reply was, "Yeah, but I broke my pinky."

I've broken it before, which is probably why it stayed straight as I went to the ground, so I knew it was broken. But I could still grip the bike so I kept going. Upon remounting my bike I discovered that my right shifter was turned in about 35 degrees. Amazingly though, everything shifted fine still.

I was clearly going slower now because I couldn't really steer the bike at top performance on either side. But I was staying in it. I raced two more laps until as I was running up the run-up and a guy yells at me "What, are you warming up?" I looked at him inquisitively. He yells back "Where is your number?"

I felt my back. Sure enough, my number was gone. It must have torn free when I went down. No number means they weren't counting my laps. So I stopped riding. Oh well.

This picture isn't a good angle. The shifter was turned much more than this looks.

After the trip to the med tent. It took two tries to pull the joint and bone back into place. I really should have taken a picture of it beforehand, but my phone was in the opposite direction of the med tent and after seeing my pinky, Paul advised that I go get it checked right away.

It is never a good sign when you have a tire track on your back!

I'm sure this post is full of typos, but give me a break, I have a broken pinky and two fingers taped together. I have a week off of racing coming anyway, so I should be good to go by my next race. I don't see it slowing me down all that much.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Lake Geneva Cx

I knew Sunday would be long a day. Getting up at 5:55am to be in Brookfield in order to give the message at 3 services usually crushes me by itself on a Sunday, but I wanted to try and get out to the cx race that afternoon even if I would be beat to start. I got to the venue in time to ride the course once between races. It was a great course with transitions all over; sand, grass, gravel. mud, dirt, pavement, a run up, a flyover, and a nice long uphill section.

Photo courtesy of Kate

Figuring out the pressure was a guessing game, especially only getting one look at the course. I ended up a little too low and was squiblly in the transitions.

At the start Maciej did exactly what I thought he would do and what he said he wasn't going to do, he shot off like a bullet. Angry Andy got in front of him. I hopped on 3rd wheel and stayed there until Jeff made a strong move and shot to the front. From there the chase began. It wasn't long and we passed Angry.

I gave chase for a while, but I couldn't close the gap to Maciej. Eventually, Andy H.went around me and I had a hard time following him in the uphill sections. He is riding really well. And that is kind of where it stayed for me the rest of the race. I worked my way through the p,1,2's and created a gap to the guy behind me. 

From now on I am going to act as though every person I see on the course is in my race. I got a little complacent this time and finished with more in the tank. This is cx, that shouldn't happen!

Photo courtesy of Kate

I was sure I finished 4th. The first results had me in 4th, then they posted new results right before the awards and suddenly I was 5th. I asked the guy when he passed me and he didn't seem to remember. I asked the official what happened and she showed me the lap sheet and the guy passing me halfway through the race. I wasn't going to argue about it and let it go. Then I check the official results online today and I am back in 4th. Not sure what happened there.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sheboygan CX: Bumpity Bump Bump

The WI cyclocross season kicked of on Saturday in Sheboygan. It was fantastic to see everyone together again. The course left a little to be desired as most of it was back to back straightaways and 180 degree turns. It has been a dry summer and the grassy field reflected that in the bumpiest, most jarring, cx course I have ever ridden. The highlight of the course was the 50 meter sand downhill followed by the 50 meter sand uphill.

According the numbers we had about 30 guys start the 35+ 1,2,3, although the results only show a little over 20. Still, it was a good sized field for this earlier in the season. I snuck in at the end of the first row for the start.

I had a good start and was third wheel. Mike H. was on the front pushing what could be called a very leisurely cx pace. About 3 minutes in Joe said he was on my wheel. I reply with cool and start looking for a place to pick up the pace. Before I can do it though, Joe jumps, so I jump, not quite bridging the gap  to him yet. And another guy hops on my wheel.

We get to the sand and this is where it all falls apart for me. I had ridden the sand fine in practice, but I don't know if I was pushing it too hard or what but I drove my front wheel into the sand and ended up laying the bike down and dropping my chain. I had my head down fumbling with my chain, got it back on and then started the chase. I thought I was in third at this point. Joe and the eventual winner of the race had a good gap and I could see them working together. I knew catching them wasn't going to happen by myself in the wind, so I started defending third.

Defense wasn't going so well though. I couldn't unclip into the barriers one time and did a sweet barrel roll over the first one (very entertaining for the crowd). I slipped out in a corner trying to make up time and dropped the chain again (I think I solved that problem now) and then, the next time through the sand I drove my front tire deep again had a sweet endo. The worst part is that my shifters got buried in the sand and after coming out my rear was no longer shifting into harder gears anymore.

I spent almost a full lap trying to work the sand out, but ended up just switching to my big ring and leaving it there. After two and a half laps I started to ride like a person who has done this before, and I finally started to think in the sand and lean back on the bike, then getting through became no problem. I was riding better but my body had taken a beating already and my legs were letting me know about it. Yet, I was still in third, or so I thought.

After the race I found out that I was in fourth. I never saw third pass me, but I did see him for most of the race. He was just up the course from me, but I thought he was in the p,1,2 field as I was making my way into it. I never thought I needed to catch him.

I ended up fourth after having a pretty cruddy first 20 minutes and not knowing that I should have been chasing down a guy in front of me. I'd say that is pretty good start to the season. I definetly got the bug to race all I can again.