Sunday, April 25, 2010

Manfeild O Cup Report

So my first race in Elite went...... all right. I finished 32nd out of 42. Goal was top twenty, but with the Quebec team in town, and some world cup level racers stuck in Canada, that would have been harder than usual for an O-cup at Mansfield.

I had a good start today. I was on the back, but made my way up about 15 spot on the first climb. I felt good, lungs were burning, but my legs felt strong. I was in a train of about 10 guys and felt like I could handle the pace being set. I did for about 3/4 of the first lap until I had a little spill. Not a bad crash at all, just a wash out in some deep sand, but I lost the train and a couple more spots. I got back on and regrouped quickly, but noticed a bunch of noise coming form my front derailleur. It was bent in; likely from whacking it with my foot during crash. I was now stuck in the big ring, but the chain was rubbing bad no matter what cog. A bunch of Guys come storming by while I was distracted by this, included the leaders of the Junior X race. I rode it out till the feed zone, and I stopped there to pull the derailleur straight while I got a new bottle. It didn't seem like my derailleur moved much at all, but it worked fine after that quickish fix.

So dead last...or close to it I had four laps to make up some ground. The usual back pain crept in on lap two, but I rode strong. Coming in to the end of the lap I slid out on the grassy right hand turn...Just came in with two much speed, and wound up sliding on my stomach. I got up quickly and hammered away, with a bruised knee and ego. Not a big loss though..

Lap 3 was good. Painful, but I made up some spots and made no mistakes.

Lap 4 I felt better. Less back pain, and energy felt high. Thought this would be my fastest lap, but it was not. Less pain must have been the result of riding slower..

Lap five went great. Lots of drinking through the race meant no cramps to worry about. My energy was lower, but I had tones of power still to grind the big ring up climbs. I passed a couple more elites and closed up big gaps on others, but ran out of race and couldn't catch em.

So there is some room for improvement. Dry sand seems to be my weakness, so I will have to put in some miles down at the beach. Also, my lower back still killed. Worked so hard on it all winter and it still hurts so bad in races. Thinking it may be worth seeing Physio Therapist about it, but more dead lifts might be the only solution. Gonna think about that more.

Weather was great for race. Rain held off and temp was warm enough to leave arm warmers in the truck. Kinda wanted it to rain though to keep the dust down but w/e.

Now more pics from Derek MacAulay (who just missed a podium; nice job) Check out the new kit- I'm representing the Short Hills Cycling club this season:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Paris to Ancaster

Wow, what a race.

The P-A turned out to be a lot more intense then I thought it was going to be. That was likely due to the large number of elite and expert racers that came out from all disciplines of racing.

I succeeded in making the top 20, which was my goal, winding up in 14th overall. 14th was what the results said post race, but according to the video my dad made of the finish, getting everyone before me, there was only 12, so I may have been 13th but w/e.
(Results have been fixed, I was 13th....)

Unfortunately I had to line up with well over 100 racers ahead of me, having never done this race before. With a good warm up in, I was ready to try and make my way up to the front before things split up to much. That was a little tougher than I anticipated. I picked the right wheels to follow and they brought me up a little, but the front seemed to be 1km ahead heading onto the doubletrak.

I gained a lot of spots taking some turns wide, and a bunch more by dodging a crash, but it was my sneaky moves off the trail that got me right to the front. What I did was go on the grass on the left side of the doubletrack and pined it passing about 30 riders at a time. I had to burn a few matches to get there, but I did it and was able to relax for a bit before things sped up. I lost the leaders on the rocky climb when I got stuck behind some guys who dismounted, and my legs felt like jello when I tried to close the gap. I couldn't do it and settled in with a group of strong riders.

The race was quite uneventful for some time. We worked together, I was able to pitch in more later on as I felt better, and we stuck together for the most part. I didn't feel super strong today, and closing some small gaps had me working really hard, but I always closed them, and was able to cover attacks later on.

With about 10km to go, on a straight gravel path I tried to bridge to the group I could see ahead. I felt great at the time and chose a Cancellara style attack. I got clear and gained a ~200m gap, then started to fade quickly with still another 100m to close on the other group. We turned down to a muddy dh with a big tree spanning the trail, an I didn't know where to go. A bad line resulted in me being caught, and I found that Ben Perry had caught this group, so that was good to see.

I got my legs back on the road section by hanging on the back, and I got by a few on the muddy downhill near the finish. We caught some others here, and I started the final climb with about five guys within striking distance. I got by all of them, but one passed me back just before the top and I could not respond.

The end.

I managed to get three gels in me during the race, and 1.5 bottles of water. Two would have been ideal, but I lost a half bottle about 15km in when it shot out of my cage because of a big pot hole. I was out of water with 5km to go, and felt cramps coming on, so I had to stay seated for the rest of the race. No big ring grinding up the last hill for me. That's the way she goes I guess.

Course was kinda cool, a bit more adventurous than I expected.
I will be back for it next year.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Falling On My Ass

Monday was a well deserved recovery day for me. I was sore all over, but it was my back that made me want to just lay around all day. Unfortunately I could not do that because we had to roll on the first coat of epoxy on to the floor at Liberty. This took about 5 hours of rolling with an hour of vacuuming before. I thought of it as active recovery for my back...

Yesterday I felt way better and was ready to roll on two more coats of epoxy; one at 8am and the final at 7pm. I would have a mid day break to get out for a ride, so I was happy about that.

I got out for a ride around 2pm and headed to NOTL and then up to Queenston along the Parkway. I remembered hiking some cool trails up on the escarpment before, and thought it would be fun to ride them on my cross bike. It was fun, really fun and they where in great shape. I headed down York Rd. and then back up the escarpment on the Bruce Trail at Con.2. I had never been on this trail before, an would have to say that it was way cooler than I imagined possible. Great views, good flow and cool tecky bits. Shit turned for the worst when I came to a steep switchback downhill. This did not look rideable, so I started to walk down it. There where lots of big rocks on steep angles and it was one of those that I slipped on, and landed on.

It was like one of those slips on ice where both of your feet shoot out and you are laying horizontal in the air for a sec before gravity sucks you back down to earth. I let go of my bike when I slipped and it took I nice tumble down the hill before a tree and some brush stopped it. Bottles flew out, but no damage to report on it. Lucky for me I suffered no serious damage, but man did it ever hurt. I landed on a pointy rock right on the back/left side of my hip. I flopped to my stomach, clinched my teeth and immediately thought that I would have to skip the P-A, and maybe still be hurt for the first o-cup.

The pain was bearable after a couple minutes and I slowly made my way to my feet. I limped down to my bike, bushwhacked down to the golf course, and then started the most painful 10km ride home I have ever done. I could feel the big goose egg forming, and just wanted to get home so badly to get some ice on it. I made it home, and iced it on and off for an hour and a half before heading in to work to roll the final coat of epoxy on the floor. This was not fun, but once I started moving the area loosened up, and I could work without much pain.

This morning it was really stiff. I chose to take the day off from work to rest it, and am happy I did that. I even took a Tylenol. I can't remember the last time I took one of those, but I would take anything today to help with it. It seemed to work and I was able to cut my lawn and walk normally rather than limp. In the afternoon I attempted to ride my bike. I figured that going really easy could help keep the area loose and help it recover faster. I spun around real slow for an hour and it felt better and better throughout the ride. still hurt a bit and the harder I pedaled the more it hurt. Getting aero hurts the most so I had to sit up tall.

I was in a debate about weather to do P-A on my MTB or cross bike, but I have decided now that I will use my cross bike, because its faster, and I need all the help I can get with my busted ass. I plan on pimping it out a bit by stealing some parts of my road bike, just because I can. I wanted to do it on my mountain bike because the first o-cup is the Sunday after, and I felt the need to get more miles on it, and more comfortable with going fast on it to prepare for it. I will just ride it as much as I can the week before instead.

Moral of the story is.. don't put your life at risk by walking downhills. Riding them is much safer!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Homage To Dust

I felt the need to rename this race because there was no ice anywhere, maybe a bit on the ski hill across the road, but that was likely slush.

So it was very dusty. Dry and Dusty, like Mansfield usually is. I got lots of that dust into my eyes, and maybe some sand too, and they hurt quite a bit after. I removed my glasses during the second lap because a drop of sweat landed inside the lens and dried leaving a big salt stain.

So I would say that the race went very well for me. I ended up finishing fifth overall with 3 accomplished elite riders and the super fast Steven Noble junior finishing ahead. Peter Glassford won in the end finishing 6 minutes up on myself.

I felt superb at the start of the race. I easily made my way to the front of the group on the first climb, and was sitting in second on Jacob's wheel after climbing the long o-cup start climb. I took the lead on the long doubletrack section and had a small gap for a little before Peter and Jacob came by my before heading into the first singletrack bit. I held onto them all the way till my first crash. This one happened in a new section of trail that was very tight. What happened was my foot got caught on a small bent over tree. This pulled me over, and I scratched my leg on a tree and wound up a tangled up in the forest. I was fine, but I lost the leaders, and Noble and Carlton got by me here. I kept them in sight for a long time, but they where slowly getting away. I found myself riding with no one in sight for a while, until I looked back near the top of a switchback climb and saw Matt F and Cycle Solutions guy coming up to the climb. I looked back at the wrong time because it resulted in me missing a bridge to get over a log. I tried to hop the log beside it, but with very little momentum I couldn't get my rear wheel over and bashed my knee off my stem very hard while trying to do so. This hurt so bad, and got me so pissed off that it took me a long time to start riding well again.

Shortly after that I had my second and final crash. This one was on a very sandy right turn. I simply came in too fast, front wheel washed out and I flew into the sand. The two that where behind me got by here and I let them get a away a bit, but kept them in sight. I closed the gap on them just before the section of singletrack where my first crash took place. I rode with them for a bit, Then the CS guy pulled off, and it was jut Matt an Myself. I followed him for a while and was liking the pace he set. I figured I would attack him on a climb, but I didn't have to because he failed to get over the big angled log, and I rode around it getting any easy gap on him. I upped my pace from there and held it till the end.

So although I had some crashes I felt pretty good technically. I just need to get more miles on my MTB so that I can feel more comfortable on it and start to ride a bit smoother. Once I get smoother I will be able to squeeze out more watts on the singletrack and go a bit faster. Lower tire pressure will help too; I had them way to hard for yesterdays course.

All n' all it was a great day.
Thanks for the ride Jeff!

Congrats Etzl on your Bronte win, and Perry second. Nice.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Thanks Mother Nature


5 days of sun and record highs, with dry singletrack during a long weekend = :).

I got in loads of great riding this weekend, with two long days on my MTB. Thursday was a 2hr easy road ride to open everything up for Good Friday. You already know how GF went..... When I got home I went for an hour recovery ride on the flat roads near NOTL.

On Saturday I did a 50km MTB ride including just about every trail in northern Niagara. Conditions where unbelievably good, for this time of year, but I still managed to get really dirty. Those spots that are always muddy, where really muddy, and I hiked around some to try and keep my bike as clean as possible. Most of the mud I picked up was from Trail 1 in Shorthills.

Sunday I did a 55km MTB ride, with a 37 minute race pace lap of the 8x12. I rode the 8x12 once for a warm up, then cranked the puke meter to 11 and hammered out a lap as fast as I could. I started at the head of the Suzanne trail, rode it in reverse, did the course as usual, and finished where I started. My time was 37minutes, Averaging 22.1 km/hr. I have done it faster before, but the spring conditions make it much slower, and I had to slow a few times to pass other trail users. After that I went back out on Suzanne and up to Brock where I did Switchback City both ways then went up Hydro to come down that super fun decent trail with the twisty section at the bottom. Then it was back home along the 12 mile creek, through Suzanne for the sixth time, and asphalt home from there.

Today I did 150km on my road bike, in 5 hours. I battled some strong winds to make it to the top of the Eff, then did 7 laps of the Niagara classic to finish on top again. Coming home from there was super fast with the tail wind and I easily held 40km/h on the flats. My average speed in the end was 31km/h, the fastest I have ever done that route, and I wasn't really pushing it that hard. It was a good feeling.

Other than some super hard intervals on Wednesday, the rest of this week will be mainly recovery. Mansfield is coming fast, and I want to get in some good intensity training prior. Homage to Ice will be good for that too.

All for now....

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday RR

So the first race of the season is now out of my legs and I am very pleased with how they worked today.

The race started off fairly slow (S4) and only a few km's in I decided it was time to go, as did one other guy. We took off just before the first hill and very slowly pulled away. He wanted to sit up more than once, then said fuck it, and we put our heads down and hammered along. I told myself before the race that I would not go in a brake unless there was more than 2 guys to work with, but I figured some other strong guys would bridge, but that was not the case.

We stayed ahead for two and a half laps and were caught by a break of three. I worked really hard with them for a few km's two try and rebuild a gap, but we never really got anywhere and I was starting to feel cooked. My accomplice was cooked and dropped back, and all but one new guy in the break didn't have the gas to get away. The guy who did won in the end, and he pulled away from me with about 8km to go. I chased him alone until the pack caught me inside 5km to go. After they reeled me in no one wanted to work to get the leader, so I guess they were satisfied with sprinting for second. I recovered quickly sitting in the pack and ended up taking the bunch sprint.....for second.

I knew it would have been much smarter to attack later, or wait till the sprint, but I would have been bored sitting in the pack, and I knew I would get some excellent top end training riding in a break for an hour and half. I also wanted to make the race interesting for the spectators, and make the pack have to work a bit.

I am going to request an upgrade to S3 for road, and have decided to go up to elite MTB before the first MTB O-cup. The reason being is that the sooner I start racing at the elite level, the sooner I will get used to their pace, and the sooner I will be competitive for a podium.

Next weekend I am racing the Homage to Ice at Mansfeild. Very excited to race there, and now it will be an epic event. Hopefully this weather will hang around for it!