28 April, 2011

Another Week, Another Race

This was to be my second update to my racing season.  However, I got quite busy at work this week.  Therefore the details will be lacking, after the 4 days I have forgotten most things.  This being my first time to PLRA, I am not familiar with the course to recall the sketchy areas.

The good news is that the Friday before the race, my sweet Metal kit arrived from Twin Six!  My first team gear, now I feel special.

The race was the first event of the "New " Tailwind Racing, the Pontiac Lake Time Trial in Waterford.  Single speeders were scheduled to race at 1:30 in the afternoon.  Plenty of time to sleep in a bit, eat, and make the drive without feeling rushed.

We arrived at the park a little before 11:30 and headed to the registration.  This is where the frustration began.  The line was way deep with people standing around waiting to get their information logged in.  I was not terribly concerned, as I had preregistered afterall.  The sport racer's start was being delayed 30 minutes, so they got priority in the line, then beginners, then us one-geared folk.  After 40 minutes, I got to the front of the line, and entered my information onto the computer, got my start time (1:20:10 a.m.) and was told to add 40 minutes to this time.  I also verified with the Tailwind person that my starting time would be 2:00:10 that afternoon.

Again, I wasn't upset with the delay, as I have my tag now, and sign-in should run smoothly at future races.  I was kind of annoyed about having to stand in line for 40 minutes, next time I am bringing a chair or something.

I head back to the truck and check if my bike is still there.  Did some assembly, stuck on my number, and headed back to the start area to browse around.  I stopped by the Big Ring Coffee tent, and picked up a bag of Single Track beans, for future race mornings.  Around 1:00 they guy showed up that I was buying a bike rack from.  So I made that transaction, and mounted a Kuat NV rack to the back of my truck.  I am happy to no longer have to take of my front wheel all of the time.  I am not sure if I am thoroughly impressed thus far, but still learning.

Any how, it is now ~1:20, time to change clothes and start warming up, still with around 40 minutes before race time.  I get some spinning in, an the legs are feeling rather warm.  I head back to the truck at 1:45 to grab my helmet and stuff for the race.  When I get there, my wife tells me they are starting!

I snatch my gear and get to the starting area at 1:50, a full 10 minutes before I was scheduled to start.  I get to the gates, and tell them "Number 904" to which I was told "We already sent the low numbers!"  I go to somebody else with a clipboard and was told I had to start at the back!  Again, WTF!?!

As I am standing there, straddling my bike, watching everybody go in front of me, I was informed that the promoters were trying to make up some time, so the moved the starting time back up.  Who thought that was a good idea?

Finally it was my turn to go, so I did.  I jumped on it, flew out of the gate and was down the trail in a flash.  Heart rate pegged, my wife said she didn't have time to take a picture.  I was pissed and letting it all go, I never saw the guy I started with until we were standing around waiting for results (stay tuned). 

I honestly don't remember much about the trail.  It was surprisingly dry, only 1 mud hole about 1.5 miles in.  I rode through, I wasn't slowing down for anything.   There was a climb at about 2 miles and I charged up it like a goat on crack.  Some more single track miles in, and I hit the climb around 7 miles.  I There is a sharp right-hander at the bottom which I almost washed out on.  As I result, I carried no momentum up this hill so I hopped off and ran it.  After this is was just more pedaling to the finish.  I was trying to catch my O2W teammate Gus Hemingway (or Hemmingway if you are looking at the results) who started ahead of me, but never caught a glimpse of him.

Once across the finish, it just felt different.  I didn't have my finishing burst, with the puffy-cheeks of fury.  I wasn't feeling overly tired, or stressed.  I am pretty sure I went sufficiently hard.  I almost crashed, at speed, three times.  I luckily recovered each time, only unclipping once.  Seems like I was riding on the edge.

So, I started around 2:00, finished in around 44 minutes (by my Garmin).  I stood around the registration area, and found out that sport awards were not posted yet.    They had to have started around 13:30 or 1!  So I went back and changed.

Now to cut an excruciatingly long blog post short:
~3:45: Sport SS times posted, I was not even listed.  Got in the "complaint" line and waited my turn.  Apparently I did not have a category assigned.
~4:00: I am now on the results sheet, last place without a time.  Back in line.
~4:15:  Awards.  Not sure where I ended up, as times weren't reposted.  I wait.

It turns out I got second place, behind Gus, who flew through the course a full 2 minutes faster than I.  It was an O2W 1-2 finish.

I grab my medal, jump in the truck and head to the Waterford Sonic.  In addition to spending ~5 hours at the race, I only had breakfast that morning (and some Gu).  Time to carbo re-load!

My dear wife ended up getting sun/wind burned face whilst standing around all day.  I have the best pit crew!

Now it is 3 days until Custer.  Cold, crappy weather in store.  See you there!

19 April, 2011


I am not a patient man.  Once I make a decision, there are not many things I wait to obtain.  However, after Iceman last year, it was time to seriously consider training for the 2011 MTB season.  It was 23 weeks before I found out if this extra work would pay off.

As I posted last week on this very blob, we went out to Yankee as a group for a ride of the course.  As I also mentioned, I also went out for a second lap, a pre-race trail.  I rode moderately hard, and completed the course in ~56 minutes.  That was a full 5 minutes faster than my 2010 race time.  Not bad for a second lap (which I probably could not have done the previous year).  I now had my goal time in mind for the race.

I received some of my remaining part in the mail the week of the race.  Thursday I got my new wheels set-up tubeless, just as Stan had intended.  I received the correct brake adapter, although it still didn't line up nice.  Saturday before the race, I was out in the garage shortening brake hoses and bleeding brakes.  The rain meant no test ride.

Rain the week leading up to the Yankee TT race day was excellent for the course.  However, 30 degree temps and 40 MPH winds were not the ideal conditions.  I say "not ideal" because I truly dislike being cold.  However, it appears that my legs thoroughly enjoy this type of weather.  I never have to tell them to "shut-up" they just keep giving without complaint.

I didn't get a great warm-up, maybe 15 minutes.  I wanted to ride the 2 mile warm-up course, but as I got there, the Kid's Race was going on, so I was left to circle the campground on dirt roads, and hoping I did my assembly work correctly.

12:02:10 arrived sooner than expected.  I was in line to start plenty early.  I was starting next to Pierre, a 50+ Sport rider.  As soon  as I got the signal, I was off.  Au revoir Pierre!  I took off down the trail, through the first ditch and water barriers with only one foot clipped in.  Soon enough the trail smoothed out, I got clipped in and began spinning.  I knew the trail starts mellow, and comes on strong at the end.  This is good, because due to an insufficient warm-up, my legs weren't quite up to the task at hand.

A couple miles in, and I was feeling good.  I was passing riders and not getting passed.  Perfect for a TT.  Racing singlespeed this year, instead of age group, allowed me to identify competitors pretty easy.  I would catch a rider, take a drink, and pass when clear.  No problems, other than when I called out to pass another rider, and he moved over that direction.  I shouldered a tree and had to unclip to prevent falling.  I was back on the bike in a flash, and now had a shot of adrenalin to get me back going.

7 miles in, plastic hill.  I was ready for it, stood and crawled up the hill.  I wasn't fast but steady, catching a geared rider hoofing it up the side. Good enough for me.  Time to burn another match.  I glance at the time, but I had no idea if I was going to meet my goal.

After plastic hill, I was pretty much alone for the rest of the race.  I don't recall seeing any more rabbits ahead of me.  No carrot for me to chase, I just sit-in and run my own race.  The sand had some packed trails I could easily follow, and I had no stupid fatigue related mistakes this year.

I pop out of the singletrack and make the left to head to the finish line.  Time to burn the rest of those matches.  I throw all the power I have remaining, only slowing for the last left.  I stand and hammer across the finish.  TT's come down to seconds, and I wasn't risking anything.  I shoot across the line, through the finish area, and climb off the bike (collapse?) next to the Expert/Elite awards going on.  I got there just in time to see Jorden Wakely get his (Elite) SS award for turning in a stupid-fast time.

Off to the race services computer, there were 3 SS times in already, and I was 52:14.9, in first by 15 seconds.  It turns out I was the 3rd Sport racer across the line.  Not too shabby.  I had enough time to got back to the truck and change before coming back and getting my coffee mug. 

I wasn't sure if I would like it, as the wood plaques of years past were kinda nice.  However, walking around all day with my cup o' joe has been pretty fun this week.   I took the top step with my Fat Cyclist jersey, it was the only Twin Six jersey I had since my Metal kit still hasn't arrived.

I wold like to thank Uncle Fred and his crew for letting us hang in "his" campsite, and sharing the fire.  It was a good warm-up after racing.

Saturday is the Pontiac Lake TT.  A non-CPS race, but I am still angling for another top finish.  I am not sure what to expect, as I have not ridden there before.  So far, for my 2 finishes this year, I am a total of 37 seconds over my goal times.  Payoff indeed!

11 April, 2011

You Suck!!

I had a relatively decent weekend.  The weather was finally decent, and I ended up not having to work.

However, it was a heckuva week leading up.  Several things happened that probably seem obvious to most others, that I didn't consider.

The main one being that an Avid brake adapter doesn't really work with a Hayes brake caliper.  But after borrowing some parts from a buddy, and some flat washers from work, I was set to ride out at Yankee with the Mid-State group on Saturday.

We got out to the Deep Lake area a little before noon, and ended up having to park along "Team Row" because the front lot was packed.

It was about 50 degrees and windy when we get going.  5 of us from the Mid-State MMBA chapter were there for the "group" ride, and I saw one or 2 others their on their own accord.

The trail was in excellent condition, and the group plodded along, introducing one or two of them to Yankee for the first time.  It is quite a departure when you compare the hills to the "climbs" out at Burchfield park.

As we were wrapping up our lap, we came across a group/family of hikers.  They politely move off to the side, and I thanked them as we cruised by.  When we got to the end of the line, there was a sullen teenaged girl, looking like she just left the basement of NCIS headquarters, and the mumbled "You suck" as I rode past.

I wasn't quite sure I heard here correctly, but then the rider behind me, Rick, explained to me that indeed, she thought I sucked. 

The more I pondered, the happier I became.  Just knowing that I suck relieved so much weight that I felt faster on the very last section of trails.  No criteria to maintain, no training, heart rate, or race related pressure.  Just pedaling along with my sucky bike, on a sucky day, with my sucky friends.

Back at the parking lot, we were exchanging stories and come to find out, Jason was told he needed to "Get a life".  This was such a helpful young lass.  I wish I could get here to come to all of my races, just to remind me that I am just wasting my time.

After splitting off from the group, they had other obligations, I took off on a second lap, hoping to come across the clairvoyant teen.  What else would she reveal to me, was my tire pressure too high, is Justin Bieber going to hook up with Hanna Montana, and most importantly, will Gibbs find out who killed that Marine? The answer is most likely yes to all of those.

I did see the girl on my second lap, but alas, she was too far away for me to hear her mumblings.  I hope it wasn't too important.

I hope to get the Superfly in race form by Sunday, still waiting on some parts.  I think I have it covered now though.  Wish me luck.  I am hoping to finish with a respectable time next Sunday, but should have an enjoyable time regardless.

07 April, 2011

Baseball Teams

Ever have one of those days?  Well, I am halfway thought my second week of those days.

This morning, I was trying to think of an analogy of what is the current situation going on within my group at work, so please try to follow along.

Imagine you are on a baseball team.  Your team has been awarded a new stadium, but you need to win a bunch of games first.

The first problem is that there are currently 3 players on your team, instead of the standard 9.  This is OK, you just  have to play 3 positions at a time.  You are told there will be new players coming, so eventually you will have help.  However, these new players have never even heard of "baseball" so you have to teach them how to play the game, in addition to playing your other positions as well. (Side note: They will also be signed to bigger contracts than you currently have!)

Now a baseball team is typically led by a coach.  This team has 12 coaches.  There are senior coaches, assistant coaches, and even a player coach or two.

These coaches want to win really bad, but don't want to be responsible for a loss.  They schedule lots of team meetings to tell you how important winning is.  However, they will not tell you the schedule of games, nor set a line-up.  Sometimes you find out you are playing a triple-header that day, other times you prepare for an upcoming game only to find out you are playing a different team, someplace else.

Lastly, imagine you are playing this game, and you are up to bat.  You look down third base line and see your coaches all standing there.  Each one is giving you a different signal.  One says "bunt" and another "swing" with a third signaling "hot dog".  It is up to you to interpret these signals, and make the right decision.  Choose incorrectly, and the loss is all your fault.  Choose correctly, and your coaches get closer to the coach of the year award, and you get to repeat the process for another game.

Some days you just hope you get hit by a pitch....

04 April, 2011

What a week...

It is still Monday morning, and I had enough.

Last week began well enough, things were starting to pan out for me, I received some good news and planning on moving forward.  Fast forward to today and I was informed that although this was a good idea, it isn't what the "company" is looking for.  Scratch that off the list.

I talked to my Mom and got an "Oh by the way your aunt has Leukemia."  Pure crap.  I really don't know what I can do.  I hate cancer.

Worked 6 of the 7 days.  Trying to figure out how this is going to affect my racing schedule.  Do I need to use my vacation time in order to not work on Saturday?

Shaved my beard off, and now my face is cold.  Not really, but I just wanted to complain some more.

I know the b.s. about life giving you lemons, but sometimes it seems that all I get are shitty lemons.  What can you do with shitty lemons other than throw them out and start over.

I seriously hope I can get my bike together, but I want... no, I NEED to get outside and blow off some of this anger and frustration that is building inside of me.