Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Best and Worst of it.

Cross is chaotic. Sometimes you rock times you dont. Last saturday I did both in the same day.

First I just want to say that the Morgantown Monster Cross was by far the best cross course of the year. JR is doing a great job with this series and this course. The course had everything including the run up from hell.

SS Race

  After a very nice front row call up for my second in points. I was happy to be starting next to pflug and montana.  The start was pretty chaotic and a found myself sitting pretty far back in the SS/Cat 4 field.

Marc Glass had a really great start and was holding the Gerry's wheel for the first lap of the race. On the second lap the true front runners were moving towards the front. Montana and Gerry were pulling away together which was to be expected. I moved past alot of strong riders and was finding myself in no man's land. Morgan Miller was moving up fast to join me though.

For the second week in a row me and morgan would battle. My Cross Bike vs his MTB and I thought on this course that I had much better advantage over him. The course was smoother, and the turns were grippiery than  last week at Lost Creek. A fall in the sand pit from me left me in 4th chasing down Morgan. Instead of passing him like I would have weeks past I sat in and let him push wind.  For 1 lap he lead, and I got good rest. It was then time to fly or so I thought. I could here him breathing hard, about as hard as I was breathing. I got a lead and was faster on the run up from hell. I guess all that running was paying off....or it was just the lighter weight cross bike being easier to carry.

 This run up was tough. On a SS bike I think it was un clearable, some of the stronger 3/4 and elite group were able to ride it. Everytime I hit it thought I gave it my all knowing that there was a sweet SL downhill though some trees to recover on.

On the last lap I had pretty good gap on morgan but he was catching up fast. One last time Up that hill and I was givin it all.  Morgan still caught me by the end of the DH and was on my wheel for the sandpit. I carefully rode the sandpit hedging my bets on my sprinting ability. Out on the finishing piece of Pavement. I pounce on the pedals as hard I could and held of a hard charging morgan. 3rd place, according to my best finish of the year.

3/4 Race

The 3/4 race to follow ended up being my worst finish of the year. A really bad start and some glimmers of hope passing riders that I should be passing I caught up to my buddy Jason and being the nice friend I am, I wanted to put both of us into the pain zone.

I was just to exhausted from the first race to safely go fast though and it would soon show in an epic barrier fall. It was scarier and looked worse than it was. I was really stunned about the fall. Jason words to race him remotivated me. It was like remotivating a drunk to go fall down again. I caught up to jason and passed him again, some friend I am, eh?  I then proceeded to fall right in front of him. Yep. This was not going good. I start soft pedaling contemplating what I was going to do. My buddy Tim passed me missing a brake pad. I then decide to be charitable and give him my bike. My bike is tiny compared to his. We then both dropped out and joined the hecklers spraying people with whipped cream on the run up from death.

My first cross DNF. IT kinda of sucks but I literally just wasnt feeling it.

I am feeling the last cross race(s) of the year this weekend in Bruceton Mills and the start of ski season is less than 2 weeks away.

I do stink after cross race sorry Gerry

Monday, November 8, 2010

I won! ....for one Lap. Murrysville CX classic Race report

After a not muddy but REALLY bump and tight cross course in central WV yesterday. I was prepared for Murryville since there was no SS class at Murrysville I was running 3/4 men. I had a secret weapon though today. My buddies Redline Conquest Pro. After a couple laps of preride I was happy to have gears there was a couple uphill but on in particular that would have been a pain in the ass on a SS due to the hairpin prior to it.

 the course was varied much faster in sections than any of the ABRA races, some hard off cambered turn, the barrier were smaller and closer than what we have been doing in WV, and there was also some stiff climbs.

I lined up inside and first row, and no call ups so I stuck there! 6 of the top ten are first row

On the start initially I was only doing ok but after a couple hundred yards I was catching people, not only catching people but catching them easily I put in the Big Ring and hammered up to first. I entered the first grass section with actually a little gap. Surprised myself on the start thats for damn sure first time I have ever gotten a holeshot in my life. I kept it nearly flat out and lead the entire first lap. Start of the second lap I was still leading but hoping for some help from Todd and Jordan on the road section. It never came... second lap goes by Todd get past me really quick but I pass him again at the barriers. At the start of the third lap I say to him let put sometime in the other guys, I was out of breath and he didnt hear me. eventually there was a group of 4 of us and we are riding strong. My sticky seat was catching my shorts on remount and making it really hard to pedal with my shorts falling off.  Tim Baur eventually catches us while Brad goes off the back. Tim goes off the front. Tim starts dropping back. 2 laps to go Todd and Jordan are off the front at least a 10 second gap to me, I'm third, Brad is catching me in fourth and Tim was coughing up a lung, sorry tim but I heard you coughing when I passed you. Great job staying strong for 5th though.

Brad passes me just prior to the barriers before the last lap, I catch his wheel on the final time though the start finish line but I only hold until the grass. I still put out everything I have to try to catch back up to no avail. I truly left nothing out there today. 110 percent effort. 4th place behind 3 rock stars in a strong and big(30 plus riders I think?!) 3/4 field.

First lap trying my best to Bushwack the entire field

2nd lap me and todd hitting the barrier together.

Its 45 degree and I was getting to hot, I look like I know what I am doing here.

Jordan my dreaded friend went on for the win.

WV Night Club Cross

Thoughout the entire week I was looking forward to yet another cross race. The adrenaline high of cross racing is so great that the entire week kinda of suck. Monday suck the most and its almost down right depression from the lack of endophines flowing though your blood. Although the week the weather report were forecasting snow.  Being that skiing is my number one sport off course I was uber excited. Saturday finally came and at my house snow.

On the drive down though from Uniontown to just south of Morgantown it was snowing hard in areas heck some areas had snow on the ground! me and my road trip mate Jason were now really stoked to get a sloppy, cold wet snow cross race. Sometime just prior to Lost Creek, Wv though the snow stopped and sun came out. At the venue the race wasnt even muddy! ca va.....

Whatever! cross racing is fun no matter what, but oday would just be pain with maybe alittle bit of fun. Preriding the course I found that I was extremely over geared and that today's course was extremely bumpy. Never has  a otherwise benign grass field been such a bad ass mutherfer as today. That course kicked my ass. Hell I endo in a ditch on my preride! The grass was like riding on velcro, there was as many hairpin turns as Gunnar is old(which is alot), and it was bumpy as a ski mogul run. Did I mention there was singletrack section that led to a ditch that was pretty hard to bunny hop on a single speed speed? Then there was an slick off cambered run up to quick remount steep DH.

Start of the race after some hard effort warms up though I felt good and was thinking I would be better than most.  My call up was nice for a good start

I didnt totally suck at the start and ended up maybe 7th wheel. A hard effort though the first lap put me in second not to far from the Pflugger. My belief in cross racing is to go hard at the start no matter what. trying to ride though traffic is a waste of energy.  I kept a strong effort in a attempt to try to chase down Pflug unsurprisingly it didnt work. It did however solidify the gap I had on the field with the exception of local nightcluber Morgan Miller. Morgan was riding a lower geared SS mtb and I have to say that wouldnt have been a bad choice for today.

So an epic 3 lap battle ensued. Every time I would get a gap I either have to slow down to breath, get caught up in lapped traffic which 3 laps in is when we started to lap people, or I would have to dismount and run that stupid ditch when the MTB was able to bunny hop it. In the end morgan seized a moment on the run up with traffic and got me on that run up. smart move and after 3 laps of trying to out run him I was so beat my pace and motivation dropped way off. After a couple hundred yards of recovery, I went hard again to ensure Marc Glass wasnt going to catch me. The reality was me and morgan put in such a strong effort that noone was really that close at all in the SS class.

So a hard fought battle and a 3rd place

hopefully some pictures of the actually racing soon.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

WV cross weekend Marilla and WVU. I keep dropping myself.

I have been working my ass off to try to get faster at cross, mostly because its so much freaking fun! its also chaos most of the time sometimes with very little control.

 - Marilla Park Cyclocross • Carrera De Los Muertos

The race of the Dead, proved to be one of my most trying race this year. I committed many blunders today.

the marilla cross race was much more technical than anything we have rode on thus far, its truly did favor MTBs IMO or just might be that I am not as good of a cross bike rider as I was thinking.

1. I rolled up to the start thinking smugly "hey I was the third best SS last week" I am getting a call up. NOPE. noone got call ups. I sheeplishly moved way into second row.

2. I feel so many time on loose corners and overall rode like donkey poo.

3. I recently switched to single release shimano cleats to keep from popping out when mashing my SS uphill. guess what on the hill of death I wasnt releasing.  the hill of death

4. I attacked Marc and John when I should have just kept going strong, instead they smartly dropped my ass and I could never recover.

I ended up 5th place which according to was my second worst race this year after the first SS race of the year at Waynseburg. Good news? I beat Don Powers again call it revenge cause he is much better MTBer than me!

me getting ready to run past Powers

Me railing hard into the Hill of Death

me laughing at how terrible I was on the run up. photo.

and Pratt got a great one of me warming up

I also found out after the race that my square tapered cranks was done. I hate square tapered cranks with passion I am not ever willing running one again after this season. Luckly pathfinder hooked me up.

After  helping set up the course for the next day and some fun times in WVU town on devil's Eve and a surprisingly good night's sleep in a crowded college apartment(thanks Ryan!), I was feeling better the next morning for......

Day 2 - WVU Cross aka White Park aka the base ball field cross.

Day 2 of the weekend brought us one of the more varied cross courses off the year thus far. It was also sprawling and not compact like the rest of the ABRA course this year. The course started out with a road section after 2 sweepers put you out on to a very root hairpin on to 2 basketball court hairpins, some twisty grass stuff to a long straight till a quasi run up that most anyone rode everytime. it then went into a playground with the the worst gravel of the year so far.  After the playground short steep little climb to a hair pin back down the hill leading to a couple more hair pins then down to the mud pit of doom by the low baseball fields. You then started a medium length gravel road section that generally went uphill. this lead you into the 3 baseball infield in a row that was VERY tricky to navigate at first as the sand had such varying levels of traction. Till the final road section with a 180 turn before the finish line.

SS race 

 I showed up and got front row start spot. Beside my unclipping fail going into the first gravel pit I had a really good race, Ill give it a 8 outta of 10. seems to think it was second best race of the year and I can agree with it. I stayed strong the whole time and eventually caught montana but he got away again before the finish. Still only a 8 second gap to him is the closest I have been all year and Gerry didnt totally crush us either but then again maybe gerry didnt want to totally crush us either. 3rd place behind Montana and Gerry is ok and i got closer to them so I am happy.

The quasi run up that was clearable everytime

start of the gravel road section did I mention how cold it was?

3/4 race

 I was feelign good so I signed up for the 3/4 race. This would be what I thought was my best race this year in cross from a effort stand point. agrees. I started strong and was sitting in the back half of the top 10. I continued to move up and ride a pretty clean solid race. I was eventually finding myself in the top 5 then the top 3, and for a very brief moment I was second. While I was second with Duncan Oliver on his fast crossized Superfly I tried to drop him on the road and really just drop myself. The MTBer were killing it in the  baseball fields and I well wasnt. He eventually got past me, and Jason Cyr made me look like I was going backwards and evnetually Duncan's WVU teammate Todd got past me. I recovered and held of the ever fast Joe Lydic for a 5th Place finish. We (being place 2nd -5th) also were closer to beating Jacob Grantham that anyone has been in weeks.

My painface and my brief time in second

close up from

overall a great weekend I look forward to a double(maybe triple) header this weekend, should be cold muddy and maybe snowy!