Friday, September 18, 2009

For Whom The Cowbell Tolls...

Cyclcross season came in last week with a fury! I hadn't really planned on hitting the Pikes Peak race down in Colorado Springs, but Craig offered to drive, and there is a Dunkin' Donuts down there... so... game on! It seemed like perfect weather to start out the season, about 44 degrees, cloudy and light showers when I left the house. It got a bit warmer and a bit drier once we got south of Golden though.

The course looked interesting, since it was running backwards in some sections, from how I had done the course before. But it was pretty fun, and it was great to be one some fast, loose trails again! There was a brutal 30m run too, just to really make sure you were breaking into the cross season properly. A brief shower during our warm up laps made the course a touch tacky, which was perfect. But as we were waiting in the start area, it started raining pretty good, and wasn't going to let up anytime soon. There goes that tire selection out the window. I was racing single speed, and started the first lap out fairly mellow, before ramping it up and working my way through the Cat 3 field. The legs felt good, but it was frustrating because the mud made clipping in, difficult at best, and kept everyone from really putting down the power.

Good first race though, taking the win!

After the drive down to the Springs and back, Saturday was going to be that much longer of a day. It was time for Velocross, the Subaru-Vista Race that the team was putting on, so it was going to take some work! Up at 5am, and down to the Velodrome by 6. Setting up the course, pre-coffee even, and then by 8, I was back in the car to shoot up to Ned. Jessica was racing the Neder-Nederland 5k. It was a good morning for race!

Jessica and Alex were cranking along, with pretty good looking splits!

And turned out Jessica had a great race, finishing with her personal best 5k time. All the more impressive that she did it at 8300 vertical feet! Alex was showing off her new haircut during the race, which confused the announcer as they were coming through, as he announced "Alex coming through the finish... HE is from Nederland".

Alex had really "man'ed-up" for the race.

As the ladies went off to their well deserved breakfast, it was back to the velodrome for me, to help with the race, and get ready to do my own racing. I was anxious to see how the course was working out, and what people thought of it. It was a fully new course, in a very "urban" area, and we the defining feature had to be the way the course was routed into the building for the velodrome, before shooting down a ramp back to the grass section!

First up was the Open race, with a pretty solid field of guys showing up. The legs felt pretty good during warm-up, given the previous days race, and already busy Sunday. I didn't push the start, but probably should have a bit more, since as things started to sort out, I was in a pretty good position. All the more so as I settled into the groove and some others started to slow a bit, and I caught a few guys. I liked the course, it flowed pretty well (which was a worry of mine) and had everything from twisty off-camber sections, to wide-open fast stuff, and some tricky corners and dismounts. I was drilled the whole race though, and it hurt. All the more so since I was already starting to get used to the shorter 45 minute SS races - that extra 15 minutes feels like another 30 minutes instead! I was pretty happy with the race though, especially the first real Open race, and finished up in 8th place.

Oh... and the Hakkalugi... it was a freakin' dream! That bike is so fast, and so smooth! I didn't notice the bike at all, which should mean it was working perfectly. I can't think of a single thing I would have changed on it!

After that, I was pretty blown, and didn't think I could motivate for the Single Speed race, a couple hours later. I tried to stay busy, tried to NOT drink the free beer or eat from the grill that smelled so good, and before I knew it, I was lining up for the race. I tried to start mellow but there were definitely some faster guys at this race, than there had been at Saturdays. After about a lap there was a selection of 4 of us, and as we got into traffic from the back of the 3's, D-Strong and I got a bit of a gap from the others. I'd have to counter his passing moves, to try to keep him in touch, before I was finally able to pass him on one section, and then a lap later, make a pass of a big group of 3's to distance myself.

The single speed was hard, especially on the road section. I found that I had to go really really hard, to pass anyone in front of me, because the next section had some tight twisty stuff, where people in front of you could really slow you down. So the race had a lot of hard efforts followed by trying to not puke on yourself while you recovered. D-Strong made a hard push at the end, as the weekend was really starting to take it's toll on my body, so I just tried to stay smooth and eventually, finally, beat him to the line for a second win on the weekend.

Now it's Friday, and almost time to do it all (well, most of the racing anyway) over again. Hopefully the legs will recover, since I was pretty cooked most of the week. Off to Breckenridge this weekend, which is always a great race, and the race is back on schedule with Brecktoberfest as well! Let the people-watching commence!

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