Monday, September 20, 2010

Game On

In case you missed it, there was a great little press release for the Gates Carbon Drive Cyclocross Team published last week over at CXMagazine - a great site in it's own right!

As for me, the reintroduction to "race-pace" started on Saturday, when I went down to Colorado Springs for the Pikes Peak Velo Cross race. I have to admit that they usually put on a great race, but a portion of me definitely does the drive, so that we can hit one of the extremely rare Dunkin Donuts in Colorado. This race always seems to have cold weather, but the forecast looked down right hot, and it was a gorgeous morning at the house. Though I definitely worried for a few minutes when I came over the ridge, and dropped into Boulder with 50 degree temps and drizzle, even at noon!

Colorado Springs was very hot and dry with a good bit of wind though. The course was similar to last year, but definitely rode differently, since there was a constant rain shower during the race last year.

The Single Speed race was pretty much between myself and Travis, taking off together from the start. I was a mess however, and my brain and body didn't seem to be riding for the same team. It was taking a bit to adjust to the slippy, technical riding at race-pace, not helped much by a leak in my front tire. It sealed up, happily, but I didn't have nearly enough pressure for the powdery conditions. Still finding the right gear on the Gates Drive too, it turned out I was a touch over-geared for the course. That made things tough, as I had to push really hard on the short "high-gear" section, to put time into Travis, and then push even harder, to keep the gear rolling on the steeper, slower stuff, where he was making time on me.

In the end, Travis put in a huge chase to come back, passed me into the last uphill barrier, and while we raced straight to the line, he was the faster man. Whew... that was a tough race, but at least that should kick-start the body after a month away from racing.

I hadn't really planned on racing again on Sunday, but how could I resist!? Especially with the majority of the new team coming out to play? Even worse than Saturday though, it was 96 degrees at the start of our race, and the legs were feeling rough. I had a great spot on the front row though, and figured I'd drill it from the start, not being sure how long I would even last. it was Carlos and I at the front, forcing a nice selection of riders, right from the gun. Once again Travis was flying and he had a bit of a gap on me, after Carlos had a bit of an off. Mitch came flying past though, and raced right up to Travis (pretty great having teamates), and I settled into a nice steady rhythm with Garrett on my wheel.
(Credit to SixDegreesToSlush for the great photos!)

Unfortunately though, I came around the corner and Mitch was off his bike, tending to some issues - figures, he was the only teamate NOT on his Gates bike yet.

So it was back into chase mode, hoping Mitch would fire back around soon enough. It took him a bit longer than he had hoped, but he got back up to second, after a bit too much time on the side of the trail kept him from getting all the way up to Travis. Meanwhile for me, the heat and Saturdays effort, convinced me let two riders get past at the end, finishing in 5th. It was great though, being in a single speed race (both days really) with lots of battling back and forth between riders, and close time gaps all the way up to the finish!

More than anything though, I was relieved that I hadn't forgotten how to ride my bike, and after a sketchy day on Saturday, I had no dabs on Sunday, and was much, much smoother. I tweaked my gearing a bit, and that helped, and also worked a few minor things out on the bike, so it ran bombproof all day Sunday. After two really dusty days, there would have been a lot of chainlube to go through, but the belt drive was still totally smooth and quiet yesterday - the opposite of my lungs coughing up the dust. Garrett and Carlos battled through with some issues with flats, while Derek snuck in for 7th place, just warming up after a busy weekend of his own.

I definitely think we're all looking forward to a ton more great racing in the upcoming races.

And after more than a year and a half of waiting, I'm dying to do some racing of another sort, starting tomorrow!

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