Last race of the season for me as the snow is flying, the chair lifts are turning and it is time to hang up my skin suit and don my ski patrol jacket and pack. Yesterday rode the State Champs along with 17 others in my class. The course was dead flat but with enough chicanes through the trees and in the straightaways to keep everyone on their toes. There was one barrier section through tufted grass which made you think do I run or ride it. And the long curvy sand section with only one single track tested an ability to ride a straight line! Finished 6th; places 2 through 6 were seperated by 13 seconds or ~ 3 seconds a lap! The winner from Walla Walla smoked us by over a minute+… Good day of racing under clear, cold but sunny skies. Great way to end the season… For me it is time to rest, clean the bikes and begin to put in long steady distance prepping for next year. For those of you going to Natz, to Masters Worlds or finishing your local races, good luck!!!
I don’t know what it is but I seem to be the magnet out there for guys to put their wheels into my derailleur. Today was WinterCross at the motocross course. I was interested to see if the hard training was going to pay off since I haven’t raced for 2 weeks. I got a great start and sat 3rd wheel and when we hit the fist hairpin turn someone from behind decided not to slow down and plowed into the field and of course my derailleur and bent it. 30 seconds into the race and my bike is messed up. The gears were skipping away and the other riders were riding back. I had to to a hole lap to get to the pits. I put it in a gear that wouldn’t skip and finally made it to the pits and grabbed my B bike. The goal now was to see how many people I could pass. Lap after lap I felt good and dropped guys here and there and finally made it to see the leaders. 2 laps to go and I was sitting 4th after moving up from the back. I stuck on rd place with 2 laps to go and was waiting for one lap to go when we get close to the finish and they say you’re done and 3rd stomps it and it’s over before I knew what was up. That stupid 80% rule in effect again. We didn’t even get passed by the leader of the 1/2 race. At least I know the fitness is coming around. I felt great today. I’m hoping my bad luck with dudes crashing me out is over, because it sure it getting old and the big races are coming up with USGP Bend next weekend and Masters Worlds in January.
On November 20th, I made the short trip to Anniston Alabama for the Bama State Champs under the lights. I love this race. I love this course. I love racing under the lights. I have had some of my best finishes in this race over the years and I was really looking for a strong showing. The course weaves around some softball fields, with some technical aspects, a big sandpit, and very little climbing. Did I mention very little climbing? This year the course had a little more climbing thanks to some use of the hill on the entrance road. But it was not a lot and it was still a good course for me. The family went with me so I skipped the Masters race and was looking for a good finish in the C race. I like it when they go with me, but they hate the cold early mornings. But the closeness of the race and the late afternoon, early evening start made a family outing possible.
I got to the start line in good time, but it was very narrow. You could only fit about 5 guys in a row. So, I squeezed onto the second row. I got a GREAT start. I thought I had the hole shot, but 1 guy rushed past me. I was second as we left the pavement. I was feeling good and even had to back off to stay on his wheel. At that point, I was in a good position and content with riding his wheel as long as I could. After the first lap, there was a group of about 10 in the lead. I was right with them. A couple of guys went off the front, but the rest of the group stayed together. So, I was feeling good. I was railing through the sandpit and trying to pick up handoffs. Somehow I missed the beer and ended up with bacon. Yes, bacon. That’s the first time I have ever had a bacon handup. Just saying. I also managed to pick up a few dollars in handups. I was really feeling a top 10. But then it happened again. The cleat on my other shoe came loose. So, everytime I pedaled, my foot would move. And there where 2 spots where you had to dismount. Each time, I had to stop and force my foot out and then do the same thing to get clipped in again. As a result a few guys passed me on the last 2 laps. I still ended up in 18th. Not to bad, but I really wanted that top ten. Then on Sunday, I did a practice race as part of the Rome Winter series. This is the series that my LBS does in January. I ended up doing and hour and 45 mins worth of racing. My legs were cooked.
I’m really getting tired of these equipment problems. I’m not sure why I can’t get everything working at the same time. So, I’m taking everything apart and putting it back together before we race again this weekend. I put in new cables, and new cleats. So, I’m keping my fingers crossed that everything will work this weekend for the Georgia State Championships.
Talk to ya’ll later. DS
On November 13th, the Georgia Series returned to Jim Miller Park in Marietta. This is one of the original Georgia CX courses and the site of the infamous Red Clay Run-up. I really like this course except for that run-up. It is back in the woods, about 50 feet long, almost straight up, and hard to get any traction. I started the Master’s race and was actually feeling pretty good. After half the race, I was still in the middle. But then my bike stopped shifting. I ended up pulling out so I could try to get it fixed for the C race which starts immediately after the Masters. I got it going, but it still wasn’t quite right. Luckily, Trey from my LBS was there and he managed to beat it into submission so I could do the C race. I got to the line as quick as I could, but still ended up starting with about 40 guys in front of me and only 30 behind me. I got tangled up with a couple of guys early and lost a few spots, but then I steadily pulled a few guys back each lap. I was finally feeling good. I had trouble with the hill, but I made up for it through the field and the pavement. With a lap and a half to go, I was looking for a top 20. I came to the run-up and…I couldn’t unclip to get out. So, while I was fighting my pedal about 10 guys passed me. Not sure how it happened, but I completely lost one bolt, and my cleat was just spinning. So, I had to finish the last lap without being able to clip in. The cleat was still hanging and it made it tough to keep my foot on the pedal, but I finished and somehow even managed to beat a guy in the final sprint. But it dropped me down to middle of the pack again.
Talk to ya’ll later. DS
I again had my daughter’s softball on Saturday, so I was running late geting to the race on November 6th. As a result, I didn’t get there in time to do the Masters race. So, I just signed up for the C race. This race was put on by a HUP United racer and the course was quite a challenge as it went around a high school campus. I got a good warm-up and a second row start. We started off through the parking lot, and I was in the top 5. Then we rounded the building and went through the front parking lot. That is when the young guns stepped up again. Two of them decided that they wanted the same piece of asphalt that was UNDER that big orange safety cone. I guess they don’t have to get up and go to work on monday morning. So, they both went flying and I had to grab a handful of brake. As a result, a bunch of guys went right past me. I hated to give up that good start position. But I got it going again and actually had a pretty good race. The top 3 riders lapped at least half the field, but not me. I managed to hang in for a top 25 finish, which puts me in the top third. I liked the course, but I just don’t have the legs to stay at the front. I would have liked to have not been caught up behind the wreck to see where I could have stayed after that good start. But as usual, I’m feeling a little better on the bike as the season progresses.
Talk to ya’ll later DS
I know. I’m behind again. Its kinda like my races, I guess. I start off strong, with good intentions, but then slowly fall behind. Finally fininshed up with my daughter’s softball late on October 29th, so I decided to get up early on the 30th to give it go. The Georgia race was at the Conyers horse park, site of the equistrian events from the 1996 Olympics. I usually like the course with the exception of the one main hill climb in the woods. Has anyone noticed my distaste for climbing? That’s what a lack of training and 20 extra pounds will do for you.
I got there early though and felt pretty good, so I kitted up for the Masters’ race. There is an ongoing discussion here in Georgia about sandbagging and as part of that there is an offshoot into the fact that there are basically 2 teirs in most of the Master’s races. You have the first group of guys that are also capable of doing the “A” race, and then you have the back of the pack that is old and out of shape. I have advocated for spliting up the Masters race. But I digress. Needless to say I fall into the second group. I have had quite a few mechanicals this year. Not really sure why, but it seems like something always breaks in the first race of the day. But today, nothing broke. I started off good, but as usual, gradually fell towards the back. But I finished and beat a few guys.
Then I turned right around without any break and did the C race. But by the time I got to the start line, there where about 70 guys in front of me. So, I spent most of the day in no man’s land between other racers. I finished up in the middle of the pack again. But I still love being out there.
Talk to ya’ll later. DS