Wednesday, March 21, 2007

GSC Macon

This week has been a real roller coaster ride. It started with me getting sick right after FL. So it wasn't until Friday that I decided to race. I forgot to get pre-registered again so I paid another 8 bucks bummer, maybe next time I'll remember.

The course was in Macon Georgia which was really nice for a change since I didn't have to drive 3 plus hours back home. In fact we got home at like 4 o'clock which was pretty sweet because I could finally get me home work done on time.

Da race: Tash and I got there pretty early (2 hours before the start) and they had just started putting up the banners and everything. We drove around a bit while I showed her the finishing climb and the lake, bathrooms, etc. It was freaking freezing too. Probably about 40 degrees. Not much but not what I've been used to. So it was kinda funny because nobody wanted to get out and warm up they just wanted to race and get the heck outta there. My "warm up" consisted of sprinting up every hill I could to get really warm.

This race is part of the Georgia series and it's not as competitive as the SERC which is the whole south east. But still, there were some pretty fast people there: Woodall, Johnston, Luke (sorry I can't spell your last name Luke), Vertle, Cummings. To make matters worse the race started with a climb straight up the side of a hill, super steep-not something you want when the legs are cold.

Got a bad start but made up some time on the climb, first lap looked good I was sitting in fourth position behind Luke, Ryan, and Andy. About a quarter way around the first lap Woodall started going off the front and Andy went with him. I tired to bridge across and I almost made it when I wiped out on a descent. I still don't know how I did it either, it was a really smooth part of the trail. I guess I kinda rode off the side of the trail and lost the front wheel.

Well it really, really hurt and I had to stop for a second at the side of the trail, usually when I wreck I sit of the ground and do a quick assessment of all the organs and such before I jump back up but, the only thing going through my head was: "Gotta get back up to the front, gotta get back up there." The way you can tell if your doing good in these races is when your able to make the front group for a least half the race and still be around in the finale. So far I've been getting closer and closer to staying at the front.

So, after a supa fast body check I hopped back on the bike and took off. The nice thing was that my leg and rib actually stopped hurting about 5 minuets later, good. It took me two laps to do it but I was able to catch up to Mike on the start of the third lap. By this time Andy and Woodall had taken off. Mike and I rode together for the rest of the race until he dropped me on the last lap. But I had my coke and gels so I was happy riding by my self for a bit. Then I noticed Luke sneaking up on me again-full gas till the finish.

Ended up 4th over all, which isn't bad but this doesnt compare to a SERC race. The GSC races are nice because you can catch up with all the people who don't drive 8 hours to FL for a SERC. Most of these people I knew while I was growing up so it's good to hang out again.

So, Tash left for Tuscon today and I think she's in Little Rock right now so I hope she's having fun. This week end I'm hitting the SERC at Columbia Tennessee and after that it's a week until the opening NORBA in AZ.

Friday, March 16, 2007

SERC Reddick

OK, I'm back. Sorry it took a while, been sick and the dsl has been down. Before I get started I need to give some background. Last year I was riding my old Kona Nunu for the race because the team machines hadn't come in yet. Half way around the course I clipped a rock and ripped my whole derailleur off the frame. Luckily Andy had his old bike too so I could race that.

This year was no better, I was almost all the way around the course and my freaking crank fell off. I had to hoof it back to the car and get the tool to fix it-bad news I stripped the bolt that hold the whole thing on. Once again Andy came to the rescue, I nabbed the crank off Dustin's bike (more on that later). The legs felt good, Tasha was a little worried about this hill at the start. It was a steep 100 meter long, off camber, slippery drit climb about a half mile away from the start. I told her to run it to save time. No such luck for me, I was racing pro the next day and if you can't make it up the hill then you're going to be fed to the ravenous spectators ( in other words you'd be dropped). So FSA and all that.

Had a good meal that night at Panera and did some shopping at Publix. I was going to try the Coke trick which is taking a bottle of flat coke at the end of the race-you get enough caffeine and sugar to turbo it to the finish.

Race day started with Andy waking me up so he can have somebody to talk to-thanks Andy. Got registered, watched some of the Beginners and made fun of this kid who had his dad write his number on his calf-backwards. It was a little cool at the start so I warmed up with some arm warmers and an undershirt. The legs felt good, not great so I was a little hesitant about how my tactics would play out. It was nice being the first group to start, you just roll up and your off, no waiting around.

Got a good start, third into the woods made it up the hill the first time and I was on Andy's wheel-everything going good. Travis Livermon made it up to the very front and set the pace for the first lap. It wasn't very fast though, so I felt really good. Earl then went up the front on lap 2 and started to push the pace. He attacked Andy and got about a 10 second gap Andy was about 5 seconds ahead of us-the lead group of four: Me, Tinker, Robert, and Woodall.

Now I was in good position because Andy was ahead of me and I was blocking for him in my group. But just before the climb I hear this really soft, almost girlish voice: "On your left".
BAMM!! There goes the, what: 5 time 24 Hour National Champion, multiple World Cup winner, and has probably been RACING twice as long as I've been alive. What am I gonna do? I have to protect my team leader but I'm racing Tinker dude! Anyway, I had to get on his wheel and I tell you what, man, he was bookin. We were hauling up that climb. I stayed on his wheel for the next couple of miles until I got caught on a tree, letting Robert and Woodall go by. Just as I was trying to get caught on to those two I flatted. It was a slow fix too, probably about 2.5 minuets. Anyway I shot me back to 11th place. The worst thing about the flat was that it dropped me off in the middle of no where-there was no body coming past that I could hook up with and get a ride up the front. There was no way I could get motivated either. Bummer.

So to make a long story short, I cruised in 10th out of 16. An OK result. I was a little disappointed about flatting, but it happened just as the legs were starting to hurt. On to Dustin's bike. Dustin Broadaway is a new guy on the team. He is a Beignner racer out of Macon. We had ordered his bike with SRAM components but it came with full 2007 XTR. He only paid for SRAM so we had to swap out all the XTR stuff. In the end I got some brand new XTR brakes and a rear derailleur. Bad A dude.

So I've got to run down to the bike shop to fix both bikes up for the coming weeks (Tasha will take my FS out to AZ while I race the hardtail at Columbia). Sunday I think I'll hit the GSC race in Macon and depending on who comes out I'll be favored to win the whole shebang.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Greenville Training Races

Finally I got the first race of the year out of the way. It was sweet, I was cruising the net last week end while I was sick and noticed a Training Race in Greenville, SC. Why not? The first race is hard not only because it's the first real effort of the year, but you have to make sure you have everything ready before hand, in order to prevent mishaps from occurring. I got everything ready on Tuesday before the race, but I still found out that I had printed off the wrong directions. Luckily my sister saved me by printing off all the directions.

Anyway on to the races, that's the good part. They were about 5 miles off the I-85 just after the Greenville exit. The course was at this huge air force base. Tash went off at 9:00 and I raced at 11:00 so I helped her get ready and all that good stuff. Actually I helped this other dude too because he got there late and I pinned his number on. The rest of time I just sat around trying not to expend too much energy. I was thinking, this is a road race, so they're going to start slow and just cruse for the first couple laps right? So I didn't really warm up, it was about 55 degrees so I wasn't too cold. Roll up to the start and get the whole spiel about: "be nice, stay inside the course, show your number, etc." Oh yeah, this was supposed to be slow right? Wrong, it was freaking balls to the wall for the whole race.

I hadn't pre-rode the course so I had no idea what was coming up, nothing too bad though, just a long but gradual climb a little down hill of about 1.5 miles and then a climb of about a half mile, flat and then gradual down hill almost for a about a k and then another k to the end. Not my type of course, but it wasn't bad. When I get to a race course I don't think how bad it is or whatever but how I can use my strengths to win. Nothing much happened expect it was attacking the whole time, I got in a break mid-way through the race but we were caught about a lap later. In the end I kind of ran out of water and needed some more sugar and energy for the finish sprint.

The next day went better, we got there a little earlier and it was freezing, probably like 40 or so. Cold enough for me anyway. Tasha went off at the same time and her race went really good, she got like 10th or 11th in a field sprint. Next came mine, I figured I spent a little too much energy in the break yesterday so I decided to sit at the back and conserve. Everything went like it was supposed to, lap three I started to move up to the front. At the top of the climb on lap four I decided to put in a little dig to see if anyone would go with me. When I moved off the front nobody went with me. I stayed out for a half mile and still nobody came a cross, but I was opening a gap. So I was like, "Let's commit." Just put my head down and opened a 30 second gap. The whole time I was just looking at my power meter trying to keep it above 300 watts. The crappy thing was that I got caught about a mile from the finish and then everybody blew by in the sprint so I rode in after that. Got like 35th, I think. I don't really care anyway, it was more important to get the training miles in.

Anyway, next week is the SERC race in Reddick, FL. I felt really good during the time I was out in front so I think I'll be in pretty good shape. It's a really, really fast course in Reddick but really fun at the same time. I'll be racing the Pro/Semi-Pro class too, so that will probably work me over a bit. We also have to drive back that night too, because I have to go to school the next day. I'm soo tired of school and it's just going to get worse.

Thanks for reading and keep the rubber side down,