I'm a little wiped out from riding to work 3 out of 4 work days this week. Here's a view across the stone arch bridge toward downtown, midway through my ride. The weather has been perfect. I hope you are enjoying it as much as I did. I'm ready for some couch and TV action.
I raced at the first state series race yesterday. I was real close to going home due to an hour long downpour. Luckily, they pushed back the start of the races. The sport class guys rode first, taking all the mud on the trail, and putting it on their bikes. Thanks guys!
This was my first comp race. It went very well. I got a satisfactory start. Not great. I entered the single track in roughly 20th place in my group. The mud that the Sport guys and gals had fun with an hour earlier was just about completely gone. Anyway, I didn't have that much passing to do on my first lap. I started seeing the back of the expert women group about 3/4 way through the lap. In the end, I wound up 22nd overall out of 96 and 6 out of 18 in my age group, less than a minute behind the age group leader. Last year, this was one of my worst races in the sport class. I'm very happy I did better and that I decided to stay.
The MNMBS race organizers did a great job dealing with the weather. It was funny, though. Because of the mud, the sport guys actually had a longer race than comp. Judging by last year, the Afton race will not be that way. Hopefully, I can come to that race a little better rested. I'm not sure how I'm going to dose out a ~2 hour effort there.
Here's a couple phone pictures of the sport men as they came out of the single track on the first lap. The photos don't really convey how much mud there was. These guys deserve a hand. This looked rough!
So I get to the race, I warm up decent but not great. I got a lot of socializing in which was better than a proper warm up anyway (Cool to meet you Josh!) My three main goals for the race were to 1) get a good start 2) Ride the trail clean 3) Race really hard.
For the start, I was really really casual about getting to the line. That put me in the very back row, about 5 deep and 10 wide, give or take. At the state race last year, a friend clocked us at 35 or so MPH on the rollout with me leading. That same friend, in the same position as me for this race had us at 25 mph. So I did what I could, rubbing wheels and banging shoulders on my way up the pack until the log jam at the single track entrance. So, I get a D for goal 1.
For the first lap, I found myself in a pack with some familiar faces, including a really crafty lady racer who was killing it. About midway through the lap, Brenden, a guy I was trying to keep up with, passed her and I panicked. Right away, I bobbled a section and apparently fell off. A couple riders slipped by, and I got back on and eventually regained my position, but Brenden was out of sight for the duration. I eventually got behind this other guy who's sole mission was to hit every fu**ing jump and obstacle. After another half lap, I finally got around him. I rode the rest of the course clean. B- for goal 2.
Near the end, I passed a guy, Rick Ochs (Cool to meet you too!) who was gassed. He stuck right to me until about 1/4 lap to go then blasted by me never to be seen again. Two more guys that I passed earlier passed me back between then and the finish. My brain was pressing "turbo" on the controller, but the legs didn't have it at that point. I was giving it everything and that's a good thing. A for goal 3.
I'm looking forward to the race on Saturday. Hopefully I remember to snap some photos. Cheers!
So there I was rolling along Bren Rd., going past Lone Lake park in Hopkins or Minnetonka or something, when I saw it. A huge freakin' coyote! Make sure you keep Fluffy and Mittens in the house or supervised!
Other than that I had an uneventful pleasant ride out to Orono and back.
It seems to me there are three distinct limiters in bike racing.
Endurance. If you lack endurance, you will slow down throughout the race and perhaps bonk. To get better at this, ride lots and drink a sports drink.
Muscle power. If you go backwards up hills, in sprints, on flats, or in any steady effort, you may lack muscle power. To get better, practice that effort (1 min., 5 min., or 20 min.) which you are bad at, over and over.
Recovery. If you take an inordinate amount of time to get the heavy feeling out of your legs from an anaerobic effort, recovery is your weakness. To practice this, do workouts with short recovery, walking the line between repeatable hard efforts and puking. I'm not an expert, but to get the bad juices out of your system is a complex process that involves your muscle cells, liver, and probably more. I think that's why racing can sometimes leave you feeling like you just pounded 10 shots of tequila.
I just did a workout and I can tell you that number 3 is getting me down. Please pass the tequila.
Got my bike, an '08 HiFi Pro, back from Freewheel with a frame replacement. The mechanic found a crack and Gary Fisher waranteed it. 2X thanks! The new frame, a 2010 HiFi Pro, has larger looking tubes, aluminum rather than carbon seat stays. The rear pivot completing the 4-bar is now concentric with the axel. I think the frame is a smidge heavier, but I can't verify that. With my new wheels, it weighs in at 25.0 lbs. The green black and white paint job is infinitely cooler than the royal blue.
The new name is Grave Digger. I gotta get some pics.
My only qualm with the bike is that the position of the bottle cage causes the little red switch on the shock to toggle when getting a drink. I may flip the shock and see how that works.
I ran into a racer acquaintance at Wirth on Sunday. Holy crap! I did the fastest lap in a long time riding behind him! It was cool though; he was playing tricks, just like in a series race. Like getting around a slower rider in a tight spot, then hitting the gas, leaving me to wait for another opening while he motored away. Whew!