Down

Over but not done…

The Goeriga Series ended right before Christmas. I certainly did not have the season that I had hoped for.  However, there where 191 different riders in CX4 this season and I ended up 28th overall.  That’s not too bad considering my lack of fitness, missing a couple of races, and going to an Alabama race instead of a Georgia race on occassion.  I had plans to go the Lousiville, but there is simply no way I can justify that with my lack of fitness this season.  I will have to regroup and try to get some kind of workable plan for better fitnes for next season and then go to Louisville.  but that doesn’t mean that I’m done.  This is the only time of the year where I’m able to get out and race, so I always look for races this time of year.  Since we have a more moderate winter, we can keep the cross season going for awhile.  this past weekend there was a small independant race that was put on by a local Hup rider.  We had been having rain so I expected mud, but it didn’t happen.  I got a great start and was in 2nd after the initial paved climb.  We ended up with a group of 5 in the lead and I felt good with that.  I was really hoping for a top five even though I had been sick and on antibiotics the week prior.  The 5 of us stayed together for about a lap, then it split up a little bit.  I was barely hanging on to the lead group as we hit a sharp uphill coming out of the woods.  For some reason my handlebar decided that it no longer liked that position and moved about 45 degrees.  So I had to make my way back and then stop and fix it.  I managed to pass a few guys after I fixed it, but I still ended up in about 15th.  Looking forward to the Rome race this Sunday. Good luck to the guys going to Louisville.  Hopefully I will see you next year.

Talk to ya’ll later. DS

GA Finals

It was the week before Christmas and all through the house, I was slammed with work and chores, and not on my bike. But it was the final race, and hope against hope, I wanted a good place.  I traveled to the Serenbe Farm with a smile on my face, and hope against hope, for at least one good race.  I hit the start good, and was in 5th as we hit the woods.  But a rider in front of me went down, and my luck left town.  My chain came off as I hit the pile, and so I was stuck for quite a while. I got it back on, but it was never quite right.  And the chance for a top 10 went out of sight.  I actually felt good as I scrambled to catch up.  But my chain continued to cha-chunk.  I rode hard, and passed quite a few, but 18th place was the best I could do.

More Cowbell and Merry Christmas Ya’ll

GA State Championships

I had high hopes…I know, I’m 25 pounds overweight and no training; But I can still have high hopes, right?  Once again we had a big field in the 4′s.  I was on the second row for the start.  I got a decent start, but slipped a pedal.  So, by the time we got up to the top of the paved start hill, I was sitting in 10th place.  I still felt pretty good and settled in for the long haul.  But after a coupe of laps, I started fading.  I liked the course with its rolling terrain through the woods and the long beach crossing.  You had to slow down coming into the sand, so I was never able to ride the whole beach.  But I had some good efforts.  I was yo-yoing off the top 10 about midway through the race, but then I cracked on the last climb before the finish with 2 laps to go.  I had several guys pass me in the last two laps and the legs just wouldn’t respond.  I still ended up in 21st.  It was just disappointing that I wasn’t able to get in decent shape before this season.  But it still is fun, right!

More Cowbell!!!

Talk to ya’ll later.  DS

Bama CX State championship–Darn the luck

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

GACX #8, the folly of youth

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

GACX #7 or spookiness

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

CX Heats Up the South

Sorry, its been awhile, but I’m back.  I’m not sure if it the Deep South weather or the cross action, but man it’s been HOT.  As you know we get started late down here, but things have started with a bang.  I’ve had three race days now, SO if my math is correct that makes a total of 6 times on the cross bike since last January. I really had good intentions…I tried to ride more (didn’t happen); tried to do some running (bad idea); got the bike out of storage early (it sat there pouting).  Feel free to add any more excuses here, I’m sure they will all fit.  I’m still coaching my daughter’s fastpitch team, plus my son started soccer and I’m coaching him.  Makes it hard to ride.  Then I reinjured my foot by trying to run too much. So, then I couldn’t do anything for four weeks.    By then, October was here.  So, I changed out the cables and heading to Birmingham.  Did the Masters race but had to pull out when my bike stopped shifting. Got it working for the 4 race. I got a great start in the lead group, but then started fading fast.  I ended up in the middle of the pack.  Then I went to Macon on October 9th. In the masters race, I continued to have mechnical issues, but I finished.  Then I did the 4 race.  Once again got a great start, but started fading fast.  But I did have a great sprint finish for 24th place.  Man, I looked like Cavendish on that sprint and I had to throw my front wheel to nip him at the line.  This past weekend I went back to Birmingham and tried the same thing again.  Got a flat in the Masters race so I pulled out to fix it before the 4 race.  This time I was a little more conservative on my start in the hopes of not fading as fast. I felt better and was able to maintain my pace, but I still ended up in middle of the pack again.  But man it was fun: beer handups, cupcake handups, kids on the rope swing falling in the creek (yes, the creek. It was hot), and enough sand to make you think you were at the beach.  I’m just happy to be racing.  I’m on the Jan Ulrich plan of getting a little heavy and then trying to race my way into shape (without the cocaine, of course).  But it is a long season and I’m hoping to be pack fodder at Master’s Worlds.  Anybody else want to clip in with me?

Talk to ya’ll later.

DS

Rome Winter CX#3 GA State championship

It had been raining and wet for a while leading up to this past weekend.  But Iwas feeling pretty good heading into the ‘ship.  The course wasn’t really too muddy during the warm up, but the frozen ruts started thawing and I knew it was going to be tricky.  Once again the guys stepped up and everything was great.  The course was great.  But it had a couple of features I didn’t like. Nothing wrong with them, just doesn’t play well to my strengths.  The climb back in the woods was a little steeper then it had been; plus there was a log right at the bottom after a 90 degree turn.  So, that made for a long run up which is not good for me.  But I was stoked.  I got a good warm up and #2 call up on the front row.  Not bad for an overweight, out of shape, 40-something.

I hit the start like a banshee with me and 1 other guy fighting to leave the pavement first.  With a last burst of energy I got the holeshot heading into the grass and the first mudhole.  I got some pictures and hopefully I can figure out how to get them on here.  It was great.  There was a group of about 4 or 5 of us that pretty quickly went off the front.  I was sitting in 3rd for most of the first lap.  But it just seemed like every lap, I lost a little ground on the long run up in the back.  Then I would try to make it up as I powered through the flats of the field leading back to the start/finish.  I was feeling pretty good, but I just couldn’t seem to hang on to 1 and 2 and then gradully 3 built a gap on me.  In the meantime a group of 3 had come up from behind us to make a group of 5 in the chase group.  We never could really work together though because we all seemed to have different strengths.  They would run by on the long run up and I would go by them as I powered through the flats.  But none of us could catch #3.  Going into the last lap I figured there was no way to catch #3 so I started working for position in the chase group.  Right before the long run-up in the back #4 took off.  I tried to hold his wheel, but we hit the run-up and he was long gone.  But we did manage to knock a couple of guys off the back of the group.  So now it was just 3 of us fighting for 5th place.  They beat me up the run up, but I was hanging on pretty good.  We came down a fast pavement descent and back into the grass.  This section was really strong for me.  I powered through and grabbed the wheel of the guy in front of me.  As we came up to a tight 180 degree turn and then a chicane I hit the inside line hard, passed the first guy and then took the chicane as hard as I could to pass the second guy.  Then I put the hammer down as much as I could to stay ahead.  I stayed ahead coming through the field and by the time I hit the last muddy turn I had about a 10 second gap.  So, I crossed the line in 5th by myself.  

All in all, it was a good race.  I was disappointed because the guy who won the state jersey was the guy I nipped at the line last weekend.   I was really hoping I could give the jersey a run and at least get a podium.  But I did feel like I handled the mud a little better. (it helped that it was only muddy in a few spots)  But I still felt like I was improving.

I then tried the ”B” race and promptly faceplanted after slipping out in a turn.  It was a spectacular crash with blood and everything and my face still hurts today.  But it quickly reminded me that I still have a lot of work to do.

I’m slammed at work and my little girls softball team has started back up. So, I’m not sure if I will get to do anymore races this season.  But I’m hoping for at least 2 or 3 more days of racing.  Just have to see how it goes.

Talk to ya’ll later. DS

Rome Winter CX#2

Winter is the operative word here.  Any one who has noticed the news knows that the Deep South got hit with snow and ice again.  I was basically unable to get out of our yard except when a friend came over with his jeep 4X4 for about 5 days.  So, the only training I had was on the trainer in the basement.  But Sunday came and I was stoked to make the short drive back to Rome for CX#2.  There was still a lot of snow and ice on the ground.  Cycle Therapy and Bob Kuhn adjusted accordingly and the course was great.  Everything ran great and I was looking for a good finish.  I got a top three start again, came off the pavement into the snow and then proceeded to once again slide through the tape as we hit the first hard left.  I lost about 6 spots, but slowly fought my way back.  I traded blows with several guys and could not catch up with 1 and 2, but 3, 4, and 5 were in my sights.  On the last lap I made a hard effort and moved up to 3, but lost a little ground on the climb through the woods.  I was in 4th with 5 right on my tail as we came out of the woods for the last time.  We went through a series of turns through the snow, ice and mud and we headed back to the finish.  #5 cut me off in a muddy turn with only 2 turns and about a 60 yard straihgt back to the finish line.  I grabbed his wheel, put my head down as we rounded the last turn and started hammering.  I can around him and kept pumping and I beat him by about the width of my challenge fangos at the line.  Man was it a great finsh.  I ended up in 4th and was really looking for a podium at the CX#3 State Championship.

Talk to ya’ll later