Tuesday, October 27, 2009

OMBC Season Finale

Made the wonderful trek down to Mohican Wilderness for the final race of the 2009 OMBC series.

The detour through Ashland is now cleared up, so I got there with plenty of time to spare. Thank goodness.

Looking on the OMBC site, I was only .28 points ahead of the second place rider, Trek Ohio Valley's Chris Spring. I wasn't anticipating it being that close, so the nerves were running a bit high.

We lined up, and man I got the best start of my life. I don't know what the deal was, but when we got out of the grass and onto the road, I looked back and had like a fifty yard lead. I'm feeling good and have a big smile on my face and what do you know: right before I went to turn into the singletrack, a convoy of like ten motorcyclists were coming in the opposite direction, preventing me from making my left turn.

Not much I could do about that but sort of shrug and laugh. Them's the breaks, and a mountain bike race is nice and long.

Besides that, the ride was pretty darn uneventful. Trail was in perfect shape thanks to Ryan O'Dell cleaning it up the day before.I rode my own race, tried to stay strong on the multiple steep-ass climbs, not mess up too bad on the downhill, and keep it clean through the rocks.

Stayed upright until the last lap, where I planted my front wheel right into a nice big rock. Big slow over the bars fall, hopefully nobody saw it :-)

Finished in first at 1:39, which I'm pumped about. A solid half hour less than my time at the beginning of the season mudfest.

The win set me up with the overall title for OMBC Sport Senior. I'm super grateful for the opportunity I had to race this year, and thanks to everybody who helped me out / encouraged / heckled me along the way. Expert will be a big jump next year, but I'm going to bust my ass this winter and see how it goes.

Brett's Chagrin River Cyclocross this weekend. Last year's was my first race ever, and man it is a blast. Everyone needs to come out; if not for the racing, maybe for the keg and costumes.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cross My Heart

Sorry for the late write up, I'm still traumatized by the hurting I laid on my body this past Saturday.

As chronicled elsewhere in the blogosphere, Spin's annual 'Cross My Heart and Hope to Die spectacular was tough.

If it wasn't the baseball feel spiral with the consistency of cement, it was the massive hill runup that was slicker than shit.

Spin ended up calling up the top ten in points, and I was left in the back with the rest of the point-less brutes. Off we went, and quickly the usual suspects (Paul Martin, Matt Weeks, Gerry Pflug, Steevo, etc etc) were long gone. For everyone else, elbows were flying through the thick mud, and we were trying to find our respective grooves to settle in.

My tactics stayed the same pretty much the whole race. It stay consistent in the slop, attack on the pavement, and dear lord try not to blow up on the Mount Everest-esque runup. Suffering was the order of the day.

Click on this excellent picture by photographer extraordinare Robert Sroka and peep the suffering.


Ok sickness aside, I got into one hell of a battle with John Ehrlinger. He rode a great race, and we were duking it out til the last lap. He gapped me every lap in the baseball field and on the fence section outside right past the pavillion. Kudos man, you hurt me so much I had to take a nap when I got home, that's how bad it was.

I ended up in 12th place, which I'm pretty okay with. Hopefully next race I can get a better start and have the wherewithal to get my legs nice and warmed up instead of messing around in the parking lot. Lake Effect rooled oncemore, with Matt Weeks and Shawn Adams in the second and third spots, Rudy and Tony in the top ten, Robert in the top ten in the B's, and Julie second in the women's. Good job all.


And now for some non-bike related goodness.

I have sold out to the man and got rid of the old mop for a job interview tomorrow. For those of you who are concerned, the grubstache went too (sorry for subjecting you to it.)

End non-bike related goodness, you may go on with you life.


Monday, October 12, 2009

UCI Weekend Wrapup / OMBC

Arriving in Cincy Friday morning. I started the routine of getting ready, warming up, and filling my body with barely inedible stuff that resembles food.

Friday's race was at Devou Park in the lovely Covington, Kentucky.

As predicted, the area took a hard hit of rain, and was pretty dang wet. Seeing the course get progressively worse as the cat 4 field started finishing up, I knew I was in for trouble.

Staging was pretty surreal, and I realized that I had by far the worst position possible... last row. Now I know I need to register as soon as I can.

So off we were in a stacked Men's Cat 2/3 field.

After a surge up the starting road section, I may have been about half way into the 50-person field. We were abruptly dumped into some sloppy peanut butter mud.

It looked like a scene from a war movie, bodies flying left and right, yelling and cursing coming from all sides. I'm not too phased by riding mud, so I was able to pick my lines well enough to stay upright.

That lasted for about 2 minutes, as the mud caused the first of many falls as I washed out. I went to put my foot down to save it, and what do you know... that slid out too. I was promptly ran over by the guy behind me. Sorry dude :-)

Quickly getting up and riding with a crooked seatpost, I knew it wouldn't work out too well for the rest of the race so I had to stop and straighten it out. A few well placed whacks with the fist and I was back in business.

This was plain and simple cross suffering at its finest. My game plan consisted of working as hard as I could to bridge the gap up to the lead group who weren't bottlenecked by the shitstorm that happened in the first few laps. Slowly but surely I ended up working my way up to a respectable seventh place. I'll take it. Hopefully I can snag some pictures of the random areas of suffering and elaborate a bit more on my technique for riding them, which mostly consisted of riding as far as I could, falling then getting up and running the rest of the section.

Great job to Tony Marut teammate extraordinaire who was able to kick some ass and end up with a fourth place finish. mustache extraordinaire Scott was also able to work his way up from a lousy start and finish in the top half.

Phew okay on to Saturday.

Scott and I showed up with maybe an hour to spare in Middletown. The course was fast, excluding the back-to-back sandpits and one quick muddy section. It really suited a guy who was able to put down some power. I am not able to put down too much power, so I had to bury myself deep in the pain cave to be able to hang.

Once again the last row start was pretty terrible, but I was able to work my way up to probably the top 15 or 20 by the first turn. After that it was pretty much keeping myself at the edge of barfing for 45 minutes.

The quote of the weekend goes a little something like this, "You know Johnny wasn't having a good time because he wasn't smiling."

Generally I have a bit of a grin on my face when I ride just because, hell, riding a bike is awesome and I'm having a great time. Not this time, I had my mean face on.

So mean face intact, I busted my butt the entire race. Greg Fletcher and I settled into a groove and rode together from about lap 3 on. That is until he attacked on the uphill start area on the last lap. I saw him go and I just didn't have the juice in my legs to grab onto his wheel. Man he is strong. So after all is said and done I finished up strong a spot or two behind Greg, nice and comfy somewhere in the top ten, mayyyyyyybe close to the top five.

Here's where the fun starts...

One thing I know about racing, is that before you leave it's always a good idea to check the results, just incase things get a little wacky and a protest needs to be filed.

Lo-and-behold, I stuck around until about 5 o'clock and the 2/3 results still weren't posted.

He what do you know, the results still aren't posted online and I learn from Scott that the results got all sorts of fucked up. I was marked as a DNF, and everyone else's results were all screwed up.

I don't really care too much about finishing and placing, and I understand that mistakes happen, but man that's a rough thing to hear. I spent a shit ton of money this weekend on travel and registration, and worked like a dog to do well in my race. Somewhere down the line some wires got short circuited in the officiating and I got marked as a DNF. Bleh... I guess it happens.

On a more positive note, good job to everyone that raced this weekend. Julie, Rudy, Robert (who kicked ass in men's 2/3!), Bill, Scott x 2, Nate x 2, Matt Weeks, Brett Davis, etc etc. Everyone that raced further reiterates that Northeast Ohio is a cycling powerhouse ;-)

So after all that shitstorm occurs, I've got a mountain bike race on Sunday at Mohican State Park. Wooo!

I roll down in typical last minute fashion and get to the line about 5 minutes before the gun with no warm up and stressed because of my last-minuteness. That's something I may need to work on.

Off we went. I lucked out and was able to win the race with a time of 2:18, in spite of myself. I raced pretty stupidly dropping my bottles a couple of times, a few dumb crashes, and somehow had the mechanical problem of my wheel coming loose a few times and my piece of shit multitool (Serfas Zipper; never buy one) imploding in my bag. My legs also felt pretty much like blocks of wood the entire time, and they never really got too loose. Oh well.

Congrats to Steve Twining, who was able to beat the seemingly unbeatable Dave Walker in a sprint finish for first. Hell yes Steve!

Phew that's about it. I've got to stay busy even as the weather gets crappier to stay up with cross and get ready for Iceman.

Friday, October 9, 2009

UCI Cincy Weekend

Heading down now.

Seems to be a wet one, which is pretty much my style.

I'll be racing 2/3 Friday and Saturday. Either driving home Saturday to race the OMBC on Sunday, or staying in Cincy if the mood strikes me.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cap City and Leroy

Two cross races this weekend:

Saturday was the first Cap City Cross race of the year. It was held at the Alum Creek beach, right where they started the OMBC race earlier in the year.

I got down there with perhaps an hour to spare. After warming up, and all that good stuff, we lined up for a Lemans-style start. Mixed feelings about that, as I think that starts are one of my stronger suits, but Lemans was pretty damn fun. Fun's the name of the game so I took off like Usain Bolt.

Running isn't quite my thing, I wound my chicken legs through the labrynth of bikes, and I was off, probably in tenth place. I worked my way up for about a half a lap, and by the time we got to the off-camber grass stuff I was in first.

Pretty much immediately after the grass stuff, Rudy caught up with me, as the Masters started at the same time as us. We worked together the rest of the race and finshed first in Masters and U35 respectively. It was a treat riding with someone as good as he is, as following his lines and pacing and whatnot really was beneficial for my inexperienced self.

Lake Effect had a great precense at the race. Along with Rudy and I; Julie finished third in the Women's race, Robert rode well, and Matt Weeks won the A's.

After motoring on home. I fell asleep with my stuff all wet and my bike muddy. Crap! When I woke up at 10pm, I realized I had a ton of work to do, as I was racing the next day. Midnight bike washing time!

I rose nice and early to get my arse out to Painesville for the Chagrin River Cycling-organized Leroy race.

Got there, said hellos to everyone, prerode the course, warmed up, did the usual stuff. There was a huge turnout and thinking about it, the mix of people is really what I love about cross. From national champs to first-time racers, everyone there was crazy enough to race out in the mud instead of sitting at home watching football. Awesome.

The A race was calling my name, so I finally grew a set and signed up for it.

I wasn't paying attention to the start and was late to line up as per usual. Time management is something I need to work on.

Off we went. I ended up getting a halfway decent start, and was near the front of the pack for a little bit. Right when we got to the section before the singletrack it was sort of like everyone in the race decided to go, "Ok that was fun, time to actually go fast now." Poof, they were gone.

From then on it was pretty much me just trying to stay upright and ride my own race. The course was awesome, and I felt it was right up my alley. Singletrack is my sorta thing :-)

Staying upright for the mostpart, I found myself battling with Cameron from RGF and Ray Huang. They both rode a hell of a race, and it was cool to see how the race evolved with our respective strengths and weaknesses.

I'd gain some time in the singletrack and the muddy stuff and any power sections they would do their thing.

When all was said and done I was able to get my second (or third, or fourth...) wind during the last lap. I attacked and was able to hold Ray and Cameron off. I rode across the line having no idea where I ended up, turns out it was ninth place. Hot damn I'm happy about that. Must have been my lucky day.

Once again Lake Effect had a good showing, Matt Weeks and Shawn Adams doing what they do as per usual, Rudy turning in a fifth place finish, Robert in the B race, Julie in the Women's, our juniors, etc etc. Kudos to anyone who raced through the mud and had the tenacity to keep going.