Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Pack finsish > DNF

Grayslake Cycling Classic
Race #48

Short report: I raced. I kind of raced. I sat in. I blew my load and then I hung on the last 4 laps.

Well done ICA! It was a beautiful day to race and the setting was great, low key, relaxed and not blazing hot. Good stuff. I really like this race and the course.

It is amazing how much mental energy can waste away ones physical get-up-and-go energy. Grayslake was my first full race after a season of the highest highs and the lowest lows. Starting off the season with a win means a few things, immediate joy and excitement followed by everything else—averages being what they are, half of which is not too good. Or, its all (mostly) downhill from here.

While that was mostly not true, this season it still kind of was. The slide began when I crashed the sprint at Vernon Hills taking out a few guys at +30mph. Unable to do the next few races I decided to upgrade so I can squeeze in a few races in my new category before heading out to race the Fitchburg-Longsjo Classic, a 4 day stage race in Massachusetts. In my first race back, at Fox River Grove, I finished DFL. Humbled, I set out on six more hardcore weeks of “Fitchburg” training and by the time the end of June rolled around I felt ready…like really, really ready. Stage 1: after the first 50 min of a confidence building circuit race I was crashed out of stage 1 and subsequently the whole race. I damaged enough equipment that starting the “queen stage” road race the following day at 9am would have been very difficult (not to mention that the chief ref would not let me start the next stage because I didn’t finish the first stage). So that was it, 18 hrs drive and months of preparation down the drain. After a bit more than a week off the bike I needed to rebuild (literally) and decided to boycott ICC-Superweek. Why would a guy expecting his first child (and not filthy rich) pay $40-60 to get his ass kicked back into race shape? My common sense told me he shouldn’t. So I didn’t…I looked ahead to the August races—all of which are competitive and well run. I was also looking ahead to cross season, and in my delirium to ride in the dirt I went to Palos with a few guys the day before Elk Grove and dinged up my shoulder pretty badly. Luckily I kept some pain medicine from Fitchburg and was able to sleep pretty well for the week leading up to Grayslake, but I had to scratch racing at Elk Grove.

The accumulative effect of all the events, bad decisions and luck/bad luck I created led to one potent outcome: I was very, very nervous to race at Grayslake. I had not finished a race since mid May (remember, I finished DFL!); I had crashed out of two races; possibly broke my collarbone at Palos, and above that was in the best shape of my life (second to peaking perfectly in early July!). Everyone else, I’m sure, had done more than a dozen races since May, like I had in my previous two seasons, so they were probably not diverting their energy to nerves.

T1 Report: perfect leading up to my warm-up. I ate about 30g Ch too much which led to elevated BGs during and after the race. After the race, not ending in a full-on sprint for me, I was more than 300! That sucks. (but I finished. In one piece. And I didn't think it bothered my racing too much).

Race: I felt good for the first half of the race. Burnham worked the front. Attacks and surges were the order of the day. I went off the front for about 1 min with a guy who I thought was Nick R (Burnham), but it wasn’t, and one other guy on my wheel who said we had a gap (never saw who it was). Then when I pulled off the front there was a string of riders where I had hoped to slot back in third in a three man break. So, I drifted back and recovered. Then after a few more laps I found it more and more difficult mentally to maintain my position. Then some surges and a few more attacks brought about the suffering. I kept getting squeezed to the back, each lap. It was then that I really missed my race fitness. Then the crash happened. Because of my super fantastic ability to maintain position I was gapped off the back and blew my load chasing back to the field. Then, luckily (or not), the officials neutralized the race. I didn’t come back from that very well. The 4-lap sprint didn’t go well for me. I didn’t have the mustard to move up…but I think that was by design.

I’m not terribly proud of my effort, I know I am stronger than what I felt and the way I raced, though I am thrilled I respectably finished the race mid-pack and in one piece. Happily, I've got the fire back, just in time for the off season!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010



So, listen people, its the 21st century. Some things have remained the same: cubs still suck, sox suck even worse. But it's a new day and men are now supposed to go to baby showers.

And that is what I did on Saturday. So, lads shoulder your responsibilities and quit laughing at me.

...they had good food, and good beer. And that one-thingy was really cute.

Fox River Grove
Race #44
DFL, but not DNF

Nothing like a tough course to humble even ones modest ambitions. My race was over before it started. I learned a lot. In particular, I learned that I have work to do.

I've never felt my lungs hurt like they did on Sunday. Actually, they hurt more than my legs.

I also should NOT have done that race in a 12-23 cassette; even though this was a "C" priority race it was still my first race as a cat 3 and I think could have put in a better showing-in particular by being able to spin a bit more and thus getting dropped with two or three laps to go rather than two or three into the race. But I don't have the legs for that kind of hill. Yet.

Lessons learned; next time.

Monday, May 3, 2010

43 races; first crash

Vernon Hills
Masters 30+

There are two groups in a typical race: protagonists and the fodder. In this racer I knew I was fodder, but I was interested to see how well I could do. So, after half the race two get away and I was feeling pretty good so I decided that I'd go for the field sprint.

At times sitting in was not easy; at other times it was.

Last lap I made two mistakes. After turn three I made the first. I moved up the outside and the wheel in front of me slowed and so I slowed. I should have kept the momentum going and gone farther into the top 10. But I decided to be conservative.

Mistake two. As we arced to the right, into the wind, with about 250m to go, I waited. I leaned to the right to dodge the wind a bit more and as I did I overlapped wheels with a rider moving to the left. At least, that's what I think happened. I don't even know who's wheel I touched.

I touched the ground. PM read 33mph then 19mph then 0.

Two others go down. Sorry guys. I've been in that position 43 times and each time I've adjusted. Luck ran out yesterday.

I'll be back as soon as some skin grows back.