Sunday, June 29, 2008

What sound is worse than finger nails dragging across a chalk board?

The pssssssssssst sound coming from your tire as it is going flat....

Let me start from the top. I got the holeshot at MNSCS#4 held in Mankato today. I was going hard, but not out of my comfort zone. After the first lap I had about a minute on SamO and Cam Kirkpatrick. Near the end of the second lap, I had held the gap and was riding at a maintainable pace. On one of the technical rooty downhills call "Quick Release" I hit an off-camber root sending my front wheel sideways and me OTB. I was fine, but the air was rushing out of my tire. I flipped the bike over and tried to get the sealant to work but to no avail. I inspected further and found a bunch of mud trapped between the tire bead and rim. I pulled it out as Sam and Cam went by. I let the CO2 fly and the tire seemed to hold so I hopped back on for the chase. I knew it would be hard having lost several minutes, but I was just happy that I didn't have to DNF. I spent laps 3 and 4 catching Cam and getting to w/in 15 seconds of SamO. Unfortunately, the hard effort was too much for me, and I couldn't hold on (cramping again!)....with all the chasing, I hadn't been hydrating appropriately. I rolled home in 3rd very disappointed but accepting the fact that mountain bike racing on technical courses can get you face says it all.
The next few weeks are going to be focused on family vacation (near Two Harbors WI), mid season recovery, and rebuilding for National Championships in Vermont. After 12 races in less than 8 weeks so far this season, I am feeling a bit shagged.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Good and The Bad

Good - I won Buck last night without wearing myself too thin for Kato. I tried some new tires and liked them. I need more evaluation time before committing to a complete switch.

Bad - Paul Hanson crash hard on the first lap and was in a world of hurt (I found out after the race). I don't know what the latest is this morning, but I hope he is back soon....we need someone to kill us up the first hill every race=)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Mont Du Sludge

I love the Mont Du Lac course...when it is dry=) We got poured on several times yesterday and it made for tough conditions and a seriously muddy bike. THat is mountain biking though.
I didn't have the mental edge yesterday and it showed. I was riding quite comfortably until it got greasy. Rather than stay cool and ride smooth, I got frustrated and started crashing. Anyway, SamO, Jay and Ben were all riding great and SamO did it on the same tires I had (SMB8's).
The highlight for me yesterday was getting up from a crash on one of the steep whoops that I wasn't sure my bike or I would make it through (although my seat shifted and I had to uncomfortably w/ my saddle pointed up - right into my seeds - for the rest of the race)!

Kato and Buck this week...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Thats a Wrap

Last night we wrapped up Buck Hills first 6 race series. After a lead out and some trash talking by Scott Ralston, Paul and I went to the front and got a quick gap. I put in an attack on the first pavement climb and backside single track, and from there I was solo. I ended up winning the race and the first series.
The only other significant note is that it was HOT @ 85F! I like the heat, my legs always feel better in heat, but it takes a few hot races to get acclimated.

Next up is Duluth...not Mankato.

Keep em turning over!

Friday, June 13, 2008

No More T-shirts

My tradition of racing in cotton out at Buck Thursday Nights was broken yesterday. The new skins suit was in full effect and they don't have a pocket so the only opportunity to wear them will be in shorter races. Either way, I have to admit that it fells a lot better to race in lycra.

On to the unfamiliar face showed up to the races. Josh Bezecny a Trek VW pro rider from Boulder was at the starting line (I didn't know who he was, but I talked to him afterwards and found out that he raced here in MN back in the late 90s - early 00's). Absent from the starting line were SamO and Paul. I took the hole shoot, and kept the pace high. Josh and I had a 20-30 second gap by the top of the hill. I pushed on the pedals a little harder through the single track and opened up a small gap. From there, I was able to extend it a little in the second lap. Finally in the 3rd lap, my legs started to snap-to and in the last 2 laps, I grew the margin to almost 2.5 minutes. I rolled across the line to a little guy name Tegan begging for the left overs of my orange drink mix (He knows when I am done he gets a sweet tasting drink =)

I think the legs are coming around, and I haven't moved my cleats in almost a week. I really struggled with that earlier this season when I was switch shoes. 1-2mm of fore or aft movement makes a world of difference in power for me.

This weekend I will not be going to Wisco for the WORS cup. I think my legs are good enough to do well, and my wife told me to do whatever makes me happy...what an awesome wife. Honestly, being with her, Tegan and my parents, getting a little training in, and watching the Nature Valley Grand Prix with friends is about the perfect fathers day weekend for me. I know the WORS cup would be is the 9+ hours of car time and the 1.5 days away from my family that sealed the deal. I guess it is pretty obvious where my priorities lie... it may sound lame to some, but I think most daddy's would understand.

Next up will be Buck again and MNSCS#3 in Mankato.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Looking good is important while suffering...

Any time you show up to Afton for a race, you better be ready to climb. Luckily the whole VeloRochester crew was looking really good in our new team kits while we suffered!
The MNSCS #2, Afton Avalanche, was a 24 mile bruiser of a course w/ 5000-6000 feet of climbing thrown in, and the median finishing time for the experts was over 2 hours and 40 minutes....good preparation for Mt. Snow.
The race started out up a small-ish hill (but big enough) to allow for "natural" selection. The Velo crew hit it hard of the start.
I got the hole shoot at the top of the first hill, and just kept it a at a good hard pace. To my surprise I was gapping the rest of the field. I wasn't trying to attack, as I knew it would be a long race to try and go solo from the start. However, by the top of Shady Lane (the first of several time each lap you fully climb the hill) I had 20 seconds or so on Ben, and I wasn't under too much pressure so I pushed it on the punchy climbs and technical descending portions of the trail. The gap continued to open and was nearly a minute by the end of the lap. After that, I just set a maintainable climbing pace and rode fast and smooth on the downhills. By the third lap, I had nearly 3 minutes on Ben and Jeff Herrera (who was up from Arizona), but my legs started to get crampy...I HATE that. There was lots of power left in them, but was unable to use it because they were freezing up...darn! I tried a different drink mix for the race and will be going back to my tried and true double top secret formula next time. I rode a pretty slow 4th lap knowing that I had time to spare. In the end, I had a little over 1.5 minutes on Ben. He rode a really strong race and a very strong last lap.
Fisher suffered a flat but hung with he on a typical Afton decent.
Tegan and others provide a great cheering section. If you hear a little voice saying "go, go, go" by the water stand, that was him=) Jen said that he cheered for everyone!
Thanks to Bruce at Skinny Ski for all the pics (except the one of Tegan..that was Jen)

Next up is Buck on Thursday and maybe the WORS Cup on Saturday. I hear the WORS Cup course is a fun one...the only down side would be that I have to start in the second row.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The race must go on.

Sorry for the late update, but I have been busy.
Anyway, the storm warning sirens turned off around 6 pm last Thurs so we did race. It was 55 and raining=( It sure didn't feel like the end of May. Ben took it to me and I did not have a lot of fun out there, but "the race must go on!"

Other than that, here is Ben's update from this weekend in sound like he had fun, but suffered the same fate as may other riders:

Well the race yesterday didn't go quite as well as would have hoped. The start was weird, slightly downhill/flat double track lead-out gave way to a few miles of rolling doubletrack/gravel roads. As such it was fast for the first part of the lap with drafting and pacelines playing a major role. Jesse Lalonde put in an early attack but it didn't materialize, Eppen took the reigns for a bit through the first sections of singletrack but sat up a bit when we got back on the road. Soon I found myself sitting on the front, I worked hard but soon started to feel some pain so I slowed up a bit and Lalonde and Eppen came sprinting past me followed soon after by Marko, Tristan, Guerra, and Matter. I soon found myself in 7th place in no-man's-land blown to pieces. I sat up a bit as there was no one within sight behind me. I ate and drank and began to feel a bit better when Paul H and Bender caught me. I hopped on Pauls wheel and we began to work pretty well together. On the las
t lap I took to the front and was feeling pretty good, about to catch 4th place when in one of the extremely rocky sections of trail I heard two horrifying sounds: pssssss pssssss. Rear tire went flat immediately. I frantically and in vain tried to get two holes to seal with my co2, but the holes where took big. Stans was squirting everywhere. I had about half a canister of air left when I noticed that my front tire was down to about 5 psi. Simultaneous double flat. With only enough air for one tire and one tube, the situation was unresolvable. Defeated, I strolled back to the start/finish in a cloud of mosquitoes and called it a day. Come to find out like 40% of the field fell victim to the sharp rocks as well. Mike Phillips, Tristan Schouten, Brian Matter, among many others flatted out as well. I've never seen so much flatting on a single course before. Those rocks must have been razor sharp.