Thursday, February 26, 2009

V is for "Very tired"

Wow what a CX season...

Gentleman's competition was tight this weekend so I had to cross dress and wear a wig.

Some time there's a man....

Cx season is officially over in TN and I'm glad to say for once it'll be nice to take a break from the constant traveling and racing on the weekends. Even though CX races are short doing them every weekend often 4 (CX1/2 and SS) wears you down. My season ended in 4 very good races in the Knoxiecross series finale weekend.

Some how Dave Looks much larger and in charge with the Sunsphere behind him...go figure.

Saturday- Going into the races Saturday I had a 3 point lead on Mike Biegalski so I knew I needed to beat him once or stay close to keep my margins. Saturday's race went well, although my goal for next year is to learn to start stronger. I always find myself at the very back of the field on the starts and moving up especially in larger race is a big disadvantage. I rode with Dave Worth for a while who had multiple crash and burns before he finally had to drop to the pits to fix a mechanical. His pulls on the open power sections (where I have non) helped bring me closer to Mike. By the end of the race I had caught him and we were jockeying back and forth for position. On the last lap we decided we would not sprint until the flatter open section on the sidewalk so as not to kill each other passing on the pavement. I knew in a dead sprint I would be at a disadvantage, but I thought in the back of my mind that if I could lengthen it out I might be able to hold him off in a longer one, so as soon as we rounded the last corner I went. I could hear him downshifting and I thought I was pulling away until the last 50 feet or so before a short section to a 90 degree right turn right in front of the finish. He began to come hard on the right side so I shifted over to block this move but was surprised when he left the course hell bent on passing me before some flagpoles. in a flash I saw where he was going to have to pass mere inches before a pole and through some marker tape. It was at this point I had a moment of clarity and realized I wanted to ride my mtn bike this summer so I backed off a little half expecting him to get clotheslined by the tape. Unfortunately he's a big guy and he plowed through just like a bull through the classic china shop and he took the race by a few bike lengths off the last turn. Lesson learned...never try to out power a sprinting beast. The single speed race went well but we started with the geared 4's and I found my way fighting traffic for the first tow laps before the majority of the top SS riders were clear of the field. Bob Davies and Greg Casteel pushed it hard off the line and immediately put the field in the hurt locker with no where to go. After 3 laps I was able to close on them and keep a slowly expanding gap on them till the close of the race.
Phil (up) and Derek (down) demonstrate the pain of 54 steps per lap.

Sunday- When I awoke Sunday morning I knew what that bright light was coming from my window, (reflection off of snow on the ground) and I was terrified. Fortunately the pavement on the downtown sections was spared the worst and for the most part remained surprisingly dry. I got there early to help with course re routes taking two jarring pavement transitions out and adding a longer field component to the course. This race again showcased my inability to start effectively as I immediately was shot off the back like a kite in the wind.

The pro who had won the day before though seemed to bit of a mud wussy and he was the first one I caught. He was cussing his pedals (looked like some sort of wellgo or shimano) which were in my opinion a poor choice for mud, and he couldn't get clipped back into them. A good tip for when you have to unclip your bike to run is don't run where the mud is deep. Anyways he succumbed to a problem I have noticed in a lot of elite racers known as "Pro racer sissy syndrome" PRSS (pronounced "purse"- like a ladies purse...a hissy fit). These fits are often times seen in the strongest of riders who seem to do well at lots of races, and then decompensate completely when something goes wrong. This misfortune is something akin to when a villain in a superhero movie is monologuing and is blind sided resulting their complete and utter defeat. When I saw his difficulty I offer words of support only to be answered by "f-ing pedals!". At this point I knew PRSS was about to happen or happening and the best way to beat a pro rider when PRSS is going on it to lay it down when they are vulnerable. Needless to say the house of cards fell and the guy actually quit the race without telling any officials and went home. Lame.

Mudand grass froze to frames/ components making for some interesting weight additions.

From here I began to steadily gain time on racers in front of me until I caught Matt Googe, a very strong semi pro mtn biker who knows how to handle a bike. We went back and forth and were able to reel back in Mike to my delight. Then I suffered one of my 2nd mechanical of the season. It seems in our quest to rip up and redistribute the grass in places of WFP, I managed to get what I initially thought was fishing line in my derailleur and cassette. I couldn't pedal and it was like someone had installed a seized coaster brake on my bike. I stopped to see if I could undue the tangle and was horrified to see the extent of the line, which at this point was positively identified as plastic bio matting and I must have had about 12 feet wrapped up in there. I was able to clear the large cog barley and pedal slowly around to the pit where my single speed was sitting. It was like riding a resistance bike with the setting on 11 half a lap. After this I handed off my geared bike to Phil and Andy in the pit, who immediately went to work on the mess. I lost lots of time here and spent the next few laps thinking about how I had lost the points series off of a piece of landscaper's fishing line. Then a glimmer of hope, I was catching Matt on my single speed. This decreasing gap made me more confident that if I got my geared bike back I might be able to pull Mike back who was a few seconds in front of Matt at this point. I needed only to finish behind Mike to win the series by one point. At this point I have to stop and sincerely thank Any and Phil for getting the line out, they literally saved my Knoxiecross series standings by untangling the line and passing the bike out to me with a few laps to go. The resulting drop of a few pounds to an aluminum frame with gears from my single speed beast and the prospect of not letting my friends' helpful efforts die in vain helped me to establish a good gap on Matt. I was able to eventually catch Mike but a vicious attack on the last lap after I had caught left me watching as I just had nothing left in the tank. So I finished 1 position behind Mike and 1 point ahead of him in the standings. I couldn't have asked for a more action packed dramatic weekend. After thawing out my toes in the bathroom it was time for the final single speed race of the season and riding off of a high from the first race I took a uncharacteristic gamble that paid off. I attacked as hard as I could off the line, got a gap, and maintained it to the end finishing up the season, the TBRA single speed points series, and Knoxiecross series with a win.

This season made possible in part by my many friends, family, and bling bling.

I never started the season with any aspirations of competing for a TBRA Jersey, but as soon as I found the joys of the Single Speed division I ran with it for the entire season and I have to say I worked my ass off for this shirt so I will wear it proudly when I can. Now I can also get fat and slow and say, "yeah I remember when..."

Next race on tap isn't for a couple of months so it's time for concentrating on school and home projects...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Lost February

Where did February go and where did my updates go? Into a black hole that happened to pass with a cold front somewhere in mid month I think. In as few words as possible and with pictures here's the rest of February.

We got some more snow...

Some of our daughters enjoyed it.

Some didn't.

Tracks of our children

Fluff up if you're cold.

Boogs and the snow devil (aka snow bunny)

Built an iron fence and gate to keep the ladies in the backyard from scraps off of our cast iron fence from out back...

Lots of CX some warm...

Some cold...

The things you do for points in the gentleman's comp...
(41 deg F)

Jahn Snakin' it...

Abby rocked our "loaned fam cross bike" to a second place points series finish in KCX09.

Valentines Day...I traded Abbs flowers for a red velvet cake...Fair nuff.

Also sparse visits back home (Bristol) with G-mo and the parentals. G-Mo again taught us words with her extensive vocab on upwords, and English is even a second language for her. We saw a flick and also saw that Mary Kay Cars of the heads were meeting in a rented out theater there. I was amazed and had never seen a pink Cadillac since Graceland, so here they are...

Boogy is gaining weight. He's now on Dog watcher's.

A visit from the grand boys in the secret city with the other grandmotherly unit. She treated us to a wonderful diner once again and kept us busy with her mischievous stories.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Always wave

It just so happens I have recently been implementing a new years resolution of "always wave" when I commute. This applies to all manner of things from people saying hi to when motorists are about to explode with anger because they cannot pass you on a blind hill to save 2 minutes getting to work. This morning just that scenario played out and karma got the best of the situation. As I was commuting in on Riverside drive a car pulled behind me and began to lay on the horn. She ( I didn't know she was a she at this time) preceded to do this for about 100 yards. This was a waste because in this 100 yards she could have executed a beautiful pass, but she decided to wait until the blind hill to pass. As she did I waved and it caught her eye and she scowled at me, while on her cell phone. She then proceeded to plow directly into a line of cars in front of us and I could only laugh at the situation once I realized everyone was OK. As I slowed I saw what appeared to be fragments of cell phone on the dash and one very pissed woman in a suit who had been rear ended. With that I decided to scram just in time to hear yet another car screech to a halt and it sounded like plow my honker. I'm saddened I didn't have my camera to document the festivities, but now I am a firm believer in the "always wave" policy and I will continue to wave friendly waves and distract angry motorists. So enjoy your commutes and don't forget to wave!

As an aside it might not have been the wave and instead could have been the new stash look, but I figured these things are so prevalent in the East Knox county area, surely this couldn't have been that distracting.