Friday, November 28, 2008

West Woods Trail Run

8.3 miles in a winter wonderland at the West Woods Geauga Lake Park. Flocking on the trees, the morning sun rising and lighting the icicles on the tiny leaf less branches. Covered bridges, steep hills,a waterfall and caves made for a perfect Thanksgiving morning.

My first trail run and I loved it. If you havent run at West Woods, its worth the drive from the east side. I was sore almost immediately after wards, but it was so worth it.

1300 calories burned and now its Friday. Time to burn off some more of that great food I enjoyed yesterday.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Go for the burn girls!!! So check out this wicked one hour workout I did the other day. I estimated I did 64 all out sprints, 24 over-gears (out of saddle big gear stomps), 8 all out uphill running sprints of about 8 to 10 seconds and practiced my dismount and remount 16 times. Again all in one hour. I am thinking about a workout video. Hot pink spandex and crop Tri top with matching pink terry sweat bands on my wrists and a cheesy porno soundtrack. Would you buy it?

Oh but wait, this wasnt a workout, this was just Sunday's cross race!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

State CX Championships

Hey, I got a Call Up at States in the Cat. 123 race!! Wahoo!! Dont think for a second I think I deserved it, but damn that was cool anyways!!

What a course. I think it deserving of the states what with the DJ, great course layout and such. A nice long course that I was honestly still trying to figure out on the last lap. I heard we did only 8 laps in an hour. I havent seen results yet so just a guess.

I raced my SS bike again and let me tell you-that was a BIG mistake and I am not afraid to admit it. The Sled hill area and the off camber up and down hill corners were not kind to my body or my bike. But the grassy sections going back and forth definitely were. My gearing was perfect for them. I made uber time in those sections, not that it really mattered as you'll see.

The race starts with some pretty good guys. Thom and Dave and I discussed how it would be fun to race with new faces. In the Elite race were Jon Card, Gerry Pflug, Phil Noble, Matt Weeks, Chris Mahew, Ernesto and a lot more studly cross riders I have never seen before.

I get a good start, I fight for positions and get a good head of steam for the uphill, but I am a bit tentative in the corners, but maintaining my mid-pack spot. When we start the first uphill tight corner adrenaline or something is running high and as I get to the top I pull so hard on the handlebars because i am pedaling so hard to stay in position I lift the front wheel off the ground and fall right over.

I could say I am so powerful I just overpowered my bike, but lets just say I am a dork and leave it at that.

So its my usual race. At the back and try and move up. I drill it through the grassy power sections and just suffer in the hilly section. OK-not hills per se, more like a large embankment separating the park from the road with a really steep peak. They really made it fun and interesting winding us all around it too. Down to the sidewalk, up at an angle, across it doing 180's and down into off cambers with pine needles to make you check-up. Some corners had great grip and some were slippery and some your bike moved around a bit, but didnt really slide. I think Craft called those corners as having a nice float.

To add insult to injury (or injury to insult) I also go too hot in the baseball diamond turn and whack the fence with my right hand and turn my knuckles into ground meat.

I put in some big attacks to catch the group of Wingler, Thom Domonic, Dave Steiner and others. I catch and pass, get a small gap at first then maybe I overcooked it because they pass me back and drop me. I go soft for a lap or so then start to attack again. Then Dave catches the course tape and has a bad crash right in front of us. There was Dave all over the course and I almost ran over his arms. I swerved, he tucked in his arms. Thom kept driving the pace and pulled out a lead on me I could not close.

After that I slowly caught another, I dont know 5 or 6 guys and went after the last guy in my sights, but he saw me coming and opened up the gap despite my best effort. As usual I got tired, back screaming so I couldnt go very fast up the hills, almost at a standstill in sections but for some reason I still had some good speed in the flats.

Race done!! Great job to Thom, Dave was banged up in the leg, but ok. I am now trying to resolve that some days its really not a single speed day and today was one of them. And not because it was States, but because the course just had to many slow corners into uphills. But with only one Lake Effect race remaining I bet I run the SS again, no matter what. Next year though I work on my starts and maybe run the geared bike on the sunny days!! And it was fun to race some new faces. Thank you Cap City Cross!!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Worth the Wait

My little Audrey waited years to grow tall enough to climb the rock wall at Legacy Village's Dicks Sporting Goods. An ominously tall wall that goes from the floor of the first floor to the ceiling of the building.

Last week she got measured and lo and behold she was finally above the line. We paid our $2 and up she went on the easiest section (#4,far right)) with plenty of hand holds and a pretty flat wall. She makes it to the top with some help with the rope, but more or less was on her own. This pic is not Legacy Village's rock wall, but its close enough.

We went back today to return some socks and of course we knew shed want to do it again. Whats cool for me to see is how she knows her limits while still being brave and tenacious. When she gets tired she lets go and hangs, dries her hands on her pants and then starts climbing again. She was smooth and really used her legs to keep moving up the wall. Spring with the upper leg and grab the next hold. Shes always trying to style it!!

Winded and tired after doing the #4 wall she decided she wanted to do it again. So we paid our $2 and she lined up again. 30 minutes or so later she's strapped in and decides on #3 (2nd from right). A lot fewer things to hold, a bumpier surface and some pretty big gaps. She is tired now, but still tenacious. I dont think she'll make it and I told her she didn't have to make it at all. We'd come back again. She rests, she goes like heck then rests. She listens to Chris the instructor, waves at us on occasion, makes funny "uggs" when it gets really tough and fakes the rubber legs to get a laugh and hits the red button at the top!! Just awesome to see her fight through the burn and I did not push her-not one word.
Way to go Audrey!! Cleveland Rock Gym next!! Wanna go?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ohhh Copley what a battle is coming for you.

I cannot be more honest when I say again I went into cross season 2008 just to improve for years to come. Finishing positions were not supposed to be important, just improving the skill set. The single speed and the mountain biking are all a part of that. But I have not been doing any cross specific training. Like race starts and the short hard intervals that are required for that glorious pain fest we call cross. As Thom and I discuss were basically detraining right now. Probably getting a little slower with each event.

But I find myself in 4th in points going into the last race and what a great yet precarious position I am in. I can easily topple to 10th, but I only have the slightest chance of moving up to 3rd. Amazing how a points race really makes you focus. But I cannot do anything training wise now that would help me in the last two races. Its just too late. Oh and I just caught a cold last night. Bummer dude.

Here is how this crazy points game could unfold. I have been very consistent this year and this has yielded 4 good finishes of 9,9,7,6. Thats great, but its also bad that my ave finish position is about 8th. The three guys just a few points behind me (Tony Marut, Thom Domonic and Zak Dieringer)all have a much lower drop than I do. IOW-I drop a 9th, but they drop a 16th, 15th an 12th. The lower the drop, the easier it is to climb up the points at the end of the year. My drop is about where I always finish-drat!!

And then if you dig deeper you see that there are fast guys with only 3 races, but a lot of points. Of those who have a shot at overtaking are Cameron Jackson, Brent Evans and Shawn Adams. Shawn and Brent only need to finish (no mechanical)to move back into the top 5 (where they belong). If Shawn wins he can take the title!! I am sure he knows this. I am cool with that.

So what does this mean? It means that Boughton Farms on Dec. 7th is going to be extra fun. I love a good battle anyways, but now there are points and positions on the line going into the race. I know who I need to beat and I know I need to have my best race of the year. I cannot wait!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The very cold The Fields CX race of 08

What did I do wrong? I got a front row start for the combined A and A masters and at the gun I got a little pinched so I backed off and the field of 31 started to come around. But I held position about mid field as we turned left. Lots of wet muddy grass and open fields so for the second I wasnt too annoyed.

But pre-race I decided to run the first corner to avoid the jam-up that was sure to come. The corner is tight (180) and was already muddy and really soft. But I stayed on my bike (bad decision) and in so doing loads of riders came by my inside as I struggled to get my one gear up to speed. I mean I was going no where and everyone was flying by.

It was awfully quiet all of a sudden so I looked back and low and behold I am in last place. Come-on!!! We go across the gravel lot to the soccer field and I see I think Gerry Pflug (orange kit) is already gapping the field, but hes on his way back across the field and I havent even made it inot the grass yet. I cannot believe how far back I am without a crash or mishap in a 1/3 or so of the first lap.

I work hard for laps and I start to work my way through the field bit by bit. I catch a group of 3 that includes Thom Dominic and then Dave Steiner and eventually Bill Marut. [side note-my eyes keep getting blurry tonight as I took a lot of mud in the eyes]. I have no idea where I am at overall, but I see Garth, Dan Quinlan and Matt Weeks ahead and I am closing fast!! All I know is if I catch them and pass them that's 3 much needed points in the overall points race.

takes a dig in deep mud
But as I get close I slip and fall in the off camber tennis court section and again later that lap I slip and fall a couple of times after dismounting in the old start finish area from 2007. Didnt get hurt at all this time. My feet slipped on the wood rail road ties as I jumped off and at every attempt ot stand up I fell again. LIke a ballet of an octopus on skates. The gap opens again and my right hand and bars are so slippery with mud I can barely hold the bar. Wuipe, wipe, wipe as hard as I can on my muddy shorts. Why not, I am covered in mud.

My pants also cake up and what was at first a slippery muddy mess has turned into a sticky paste and one lap after remounting after that damned tennis court my shorts catch the back of the saddle and I am stuck for a few seconds trying to get free so I can pedal again.

SOOOoooo I chase again and get really close to Garth and Quinlan again then I screw up the tennis court AGAIN, go left of the plastic sticks and get caught in the plastic. I chase again, but the muddy course starts to take its toll. The gap goes the other way and now they are out of sight.

I have an almost crap my pants moment on the big muddy descent when I almost cross up the front, I start to put the bike down, but somehow snag the bike upright and continue.

Like I said my legs are starting to get tired and as I get a lot better in some areas, others like the top of the gravel climb I slow down and in the old start finish area and the puddle before start finish its like quick sand. I am going so slow. I am sure this combined with the mistakes I made put Matt, Dan, Garth and at the end Rudy out of reach. Bummer. The last two times up the gravel climb I was spinning my rear tire at the top because I had lost so much momentum. I couldbt sprint hard enough off the bridge to be going fast enough at the top to just pop over.

I know I am over geared now by the level of pain in my lower back at the races second half. If Todd Field (Spin race) was a 9/10 in the pain-o-meter then today was a good 7.5. But I hammer out the last lap, catch some lapped guys and roll in for a 12th overall and 10th in the A. With Gerry and Rudy ahead and 1-2 in A Masters.
SO not a bad day and I honestly was looking forward to this one.

Call me nuts but I figure a cross season isnt a cross season without one mud fest. Last year we had three or four so we were overdue. But weve still got two more races left, but now I dont care if there sunny and 70 degrees. Thanks to the guys I battled with today for a fun race, to the guys who were the rabbits I chased so hard and especially to young Tony Marut for an awesome race today. Whatever he did Saturday night, I want in on that action.

And oh my yes-I am SO KIDDING about that Lynne and Bill!!! ha ha!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fun loves Company

Been training pretty consistently, but not all that hard. Basically I am keeping my weight down and starting to work on weaknesses without getting too serious or too intense. Run a few times, trainer on the TT bike two times and then a bit of mountain, cross or road biking. As often as possible with others, but sometimes by myself.

Last week I did run almost 18 miles and this week I am already at 12. If you had asked me last year if I would be running 10k's at 5 to 6am like they were nothing I would have said something like "are you flippin' out of your gourd?". My weight is consistently down even with an enormous bowl of Halloween Candy that we (Stacie, Audrey, myself and others (Thom)) devoured. I dont dare add up the calories and grams of HFCS and Hydrogenated oils I ingested.

I am treating the running like the cross or time trialing and mountain biking if you can believe that. As I run I work on cadence, landing on my heel as softly as I can and lifting my foot as quickly as I can. I keep my arms in tight and moving forward not out to the sides. Keep that momentum going forward where it helps. Basically if I am going to run I want to run right and I want to be able to do it fast if need be (like a 5k or part of a Du or Biathlon). I have also learned that just like bike racing I cannot sprint worth a darn.

And me being basically a pack type animal I like to do these things with others. One of my dogs makes a great running partner now that shes old enough and its cold outside. Oh to be able to run like a dog (a Spaniel/Collie mix no less). I think those POS pro athletes hitting the CERA and HGH and EPO should just do a little Spaniel/Collie DNA splicing!! Endless energy and a sprint to beat all. The only odd side effect I suppose would be a craving for squirrel and doggy biscuits at the end of every bike race. But i could use that. Picture a squirrel standing just past the finish line taunting me with a piece of bacon in its mouth. Want it? Come and get it boy..... AROOOOOO!!!!

But as usual I digress. And who would think that I would be running at 6am with not the "boys" but two moms from the elementary school my daughter goes to? Not me. Its actually fun to get to talk school and life outside of bike racing (though one of the mom's I helped to buy a new Triathlon bike this summer). So we still talk bikes, but mostly school and what our kids do. I really enjoy it and am thinking about taking up knitting next.

Ive had to run alone too and that hasnt been too miserable. But it hasnt been fun either. But I have a lot on my mind these days and its good to zone out a bit and try and sort out all my ideas and thoughts and dreams and goals for the upcoming racing season and in life too. There are never shortages of voices in my I should put that another way?

Heres one thats presented a bit of a dilemma for me. Its sort of a question right now. Would you do something that would require a lot of effort and sacrifice because you thought you might be good at it, not necessarily because you wanted to do it or loved to do it? Does the end justify the means? Is that how that saying goes? I always screw up the sayings. Here is what has been eating at me a little bit. You know between worrying about FTP, my dsimount and remount, weight or something silly like making and saving enough money to send Audrey to college? YOu know it will cost nearly a Trillion dollars per year by the time shes 18. OH, I digress again (or does this post have any purpose at all?).

Should I start training to do a Triathlon? Simple question, but anything but a simple answer. I think in the end I will do one someday as a challenge to myself, but I really LOVE to race my bike against others. And by that I dont just mean pedaling the bike fast. I mean the strategy, the team work and the dynamics of road racing is something that I really, truly love. Yes I time trial too, but I dont just time trial. This is the complete opposite of my thoughts about racing mountain bikes where I would expect to be awful and just do it for fun. I feel like doing Triathlons is only because I might be decent at it. I am not sure at any point (except maybe the bike) that I would think i was having fun. Weird huh?

And finally last night WE went mountain biking. The trails are almost undetectable under the leaves. But with Chris there leading the way and unlocking some mysteries to me about where certain turns are I finally found some of the paths that I kept missing the last two weeks.

And like running, mountain biking is another sport that is more enjoyable with others. Sure you can have fun and go at your own pace and redo sections or obstacles till your satisfied with yourself, but when you fall and land on a small tree, hear it crack and it breaks and you fall again, pell mell down the side of a hill, isnt it better to know your buddy got to see it and laugh about it later? I think so.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

She rocks!!

Audrey had her 2nd Dry Land Camp with her Cross Country ski racing team the Hilltoppers today. Shes a 2nd year, but still beginner skier and 6 years old.

They did a relay running race from Stanford House/hostel into the trails and back. Uphill 1/8 mile to a cone half way up a hill and back. They did a warm-up lap then she did two full laps by herself as part of a relay team!! The coaches said she could run halfway to the bridge and she said "I am going all the way to the cone".

I wasnt there for that, but as I stood at the halfway point cheering the kids on I got to see her running all out for the cone and then walk a bit then sprint back out of sight. Then later I saw her coming for a 2nd lap. What a trooper.

This filled me with a feeling of joy and amazement at what a little athlete she is, but also a bit of anger or something.

Not anger, but that, "hey, she never wants to run with me" sort of jealousy. But that's the way with kids or at least my kid. She listens to a complete stranger like a coach or instructor and picks up things quickly, but if I try and teach her (with patience, etc.) or am too close when shes learning, oh boy!!

So I decided this year to help the coach who is helping the youngest skiers as Audrey has moved up one level. Its gonna be tough to miss her doing her thing, but I know she'll do things better without me there. That is not easy to take or deal with, but I guess I'll just have to spy on her!! You parents know what I am talking about.

She also inline skated for the first time today. She picked it up well for never having tried it before but at first wanted to stay on my and mom's arm. But as soon as the instructor got down to business she paid attention and picked it right up. You could see the change in her as she went form Mommy and Daddy dont let go to, ok, how do I do this? Of course when she got tired she spent a lot of time on her butt.

Well I better stop glowing about my daughter as no one likes people who brag so I'll sign off now. But I got to say, that little munchkin may be a short little thing, but shes big and tall on gusto.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I was rockin the single track today. Hopping logs uphill with ease, more momentum everywhere and clearing more of the short steep climbs and hitting all the descents with confidence. Had two little falls when my rear slid out on hidden rocks and roots. Hidden under a massive amount of leaves.

I think the leaves covering up the trails has made me faster. I dont see as much stuff that would normally make me tentative and slow down. The bikes made to clear most of the stuff I worry about, DUH, full suspension!! But when it covers a root or a flat slippery rock I guess thats bad.

One fall was at about 1mph and what is under my left arm as I teeter over? a big flat rock. Ouch-right on the elbow and the other fall dinged my fingers as I almost hit a tree. I put my arm out to deflect myself and jammed my finger. A root was to blame this time as I went around a sharp curve. So two ouches. Whats new?

Then as I was almost finished with the singletrack and about to call it a day and ride home I catch another twig and pop-off comes my rear derailleur....again!! Is this why people ride single speeds?

And for some reason the bike was shifting terrible before that (after shifting so well the past few rides) so this is a good excuse to maybe replace that rear derailleur cable.

Legs felt good too though I really tried ot take it easy. Ran 5 miles Monday, 6.2 miles Wednesday morning (at 6am) and two TT bike workouts. I started a new exercise routine that also has made some muscles I didnt know I had hurt!! But its a fun routine and I can see how it will help me in daily life (strength) and cycling. Tomorrow I have to decide if I want to do another 6mile run at 5:20am!! Yes-you read that right, 5:20!!

So two hangers in a handful of rides!! Annoying.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

New Sponsor for Team Columbus

What well be drinking in 2009. FULL energy add-not to be listened to at work or with small impressionable kids around.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What a snob!!

Forget it!! I'll never be able to build the "perfect" commuter bike. I think I am just too much of a snooty booty to ride anything less than a racing bike.

I keep having that vision of a slightly rusted old Rockhopper or old touring bike, big fat cushy tires with 6 layers of aramid fibers for the ultimate in flat protection. The bike that is left outside at night or locked to the fence outside of the Lizard at night in the rain or at Whole Foods for a quick shopping trip. Faded thread bare panniers with reflective piping, rack and dare I say it a big fat saddle bag under the seat and a chain guard. A bike with that weathered patina, like an old 35mm camera with the black rubbed off the corners and the brass or aluminum showing through.

I think the problem is a lot deeper than I am willing to admit. This whole "buy a cheap bike, put permanent fenders and lights on it and ride it every day to work" is one big fat cop-out for the real reason I dont commute.

Wanna know what it really is?? Its really amazingly simple. I own a perfectly good car (ok, 5000lb gas guzzling, 260hp V6 minivan). There I said it. But boy oh boy does it make a great rig to go to races in!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Kirtland Park A Race

For the first time all year I could warm-up on my SS bike instead of my geared bike. I knew I was probably undergeared, but decided to race the SS anyways. I only own one freewheel so the bike was geared the same as usual. Warm-up went fine till I fell on the off-camber by the service garage. I had already made it a few times before the B race so I went and rerode it a couple times. The line had changed and I found one that allowed me to get up it, if not almost at a standstill!!

This time I got a front row start and the field of 29 was pretty stacked with Gary Pflug returning (winner of Spin's race) and some other fast young guys. I didnt have a bad start actually, but by the time we got to the 180 at the end, I was really far back. I was spun out on my gear so I couldnt have gone any quicker. Cameron took the banzai line to the inside, which I should have done too given my poor position again. It really worked for him.

This is the course with the stadium section and a series of 3 off camber, pretty steep 180's. Number one goal was not to stack it up in the 180's. I was so so in there, but clean every lap, but once.

First couple laps I am in a nose to tail battle with Spin's Jason Halloran and Jeff Craft and hes stuck to me like glue, even showing his nose here and there. And I am stuck to Craft! We hit the off camber on the west end of the course and Jeff baubles and Jason and I get a gap. The next lap before i figure out my best line I bobble and need to take a step and this works out worse for Jason and Ive now gapped him. I felt bad about my mistake dropping Jason.

What I learned after that lap was when I came up to the turn I needed to run my pedals like in a corner with one pedal up, one down (outside) and as soon as I got to the point where I was past the chewed up grass I had to stand up and put that top pedal down hard in one movement to jump me back up to speed as I ran wide and made the corner as shallow as possible. This would never have worked in the wet!!

Again I was undergeared so I went super hard out of the corners and even harder up the run-ups. I gave those everything I had. I also figured that I didnt have the top end, but the sooner I hit my top end I was making the best of my situation. So I sprinted hard out of the corners anytime I knew I was going to spin out my gear. This helped later as I'll explain shortly.

I was in a battle the whole race. Looking back and looking ahead I had the fast young guy who flatted in a top spot at Spin and Tony, then ahead of them was Rudy and Cameron having a great race. The gap to Tony and the other guy (sorry-I dont know his name) wavered a lot, but the gap to Rudy and Cameron never changed more than 1 or 2 seconds I bet the entire race!! So although we never battled it out closely I would say I raced Rudy, Cameron, Tony, etc. the whole race.

Like at Chagrin the previous day I worked on being more perfect every lap. Faster and faster through the corners, quicker in the stadium, baseball field, off camber. And really worked on getting in my pedals at the top of the all the sets of stairs. I could really feel my speed increase in all areas too. All except the really steep 180!! That thing has my number! I know in my mind I can let go of the brakes once I am pointed in the right direction at the top, but I wont do it.

Near the end Tony got tired from the ballistic pace and as I started to catch him I got to see his lines (that kids got style and speed) and my speed in the "playground" with all of the turns went up dramatically for the last 2 laps, which also ended up helping me.

And who do you think is coming late in the race? Thom and Jason have hooked up and they are eating into me as I too get faster. Again its race on!! But unlike Chagrin where I was both physically and mentally exhausted I felt fast and had a clear head at the end of the race so it was going to be good.

Thom's pace finally dropped Jason, but Jason really rode strong again today. Thom closed down big gaps three times late. This was serious fun, but what a hectic last lap!! I actually told myself with 3 to go that I needed to be perfect everywhere doing everything so that's what I aspired to. I really concentrated. Doing things like nto taking turn in points for granted or making sure my speed entring corners wasnt to fast or slow and geting off the brakes as soon as possible in the 180's.

On the bell lap I go past start finish already spun out, but trying to spin even higher. Thom told me he put in a big effort and almost caught me at the tree, but I rounded the tree pretty well and put in a huge acceleration going back the other way which took Thom by surprise and the gap opened up again. I go like heck to the west steps just bombing the little drop off up in the trees. All of this is killing me, but I have to do it.

I am still trying my best in the run-ups, but Thom catches me again, but I remount quicker and accelerate well off the top of the west steps by getting right into both Eggbeaters to the baseball field. I am catching some lapped guys and they stumble in the off camber and I lose some time. But not much. So now I have to dig really deep around the outfield. I sprint three times to get through the field and another short burst by registration and cleanly hit the first 180 in the stadium.

In the stadium I screw up on the steepest 180 for the first time and almost go down the hill, but I save it with a toe tap and continue down the last 180 fine then around the trees into the amphitheater and I can hear Thom's catching me again by the crowd yelling. Up the east run up with a gap, but I can hear him breathing at the top and see him alsmot next to me!! Gap gone again to Thom on a run-up!! But I gap him on the remount and down the hill.

I know hitting the finish straight in a two up race is Thom's so I again try to max out the playground turns. But I need to take chances of the front slipping out, but do them clean, no bobbles!! I have my best lap through there and come out with a gap and sprint it for the line for 11th overall and 9th in the A's!!! Gary and Rudy were ahead in Masters.

So maybe not my best race of the year in terms of position, but who's complaining!?!?! Not me-I love being in the thick of the battles in the Lake Effect races this year. And this was one of the best battles Ive had in a race period. Maybe even better than the one with Jeff and Rudy at Spin where again we hammered each other into a pulp or last year against Zak at Orrville.

But I loved today's race from many standpoints. I made some little decisions due to my gearing that I think paid off. I had to ride clean and unlike at Spin where I crashed myself out of an 8th out of 48 trying too hard I kept it together today. Crash free in fact!!

Wow, what a weekend and what a pair of races. I had no idea how my legs and back would be after Saturday's abuse, but dinner of made from scratch oatmeal, buttermilk pancakes and smores sitting by a fire late into the evening at a friend's house Saturday night must have been the perfect recovery regimen.

Chagrin River Cyclocross

Saturday was day one of a two race weekend. It was the race. I was again aboard my SS Dieringer and was a bit worried about the gearing. As usual I felt like it was over geared so it was going to be a hard race for me with all of the corners and singletrack.

Warming up I almost dropped my bike going around the right hander after the start finish line. It was getting soft and muddy so that was on my mind. Miraculously as the front wheel washed out I yanked the bike back up to vertical and kept going. You can only do that when your not tired-that I am sure of.

I got a 2nd row start and hoped for some of the magic from the Spin race. But alas as we took off (20 or 30 sec ahead of the A Masters) I just didnt get going and was about mid pack as we headed for the first dismount at the log. I had a plan in mind for the muddy little climb up to the road and it worked and I picked up a position. As we headed through he first lap I was behind Greg Jackson, Steiner, Tony Marut, Brent Evans among others and they were behind the lead group of Paul Martin, Ernesto, Shawn Adams and Twining. I tried to get Brent with an acceleration by the road, but he beat me to the corner and I tucked in behind for the gravel road till we cleared the RV turn and jumped again.

I caught Tony I think on the 2nd lap and again had to put myself seriously in the hurt locker to accelerate by. I was correct that I was over geared as well. I never once got on top of the gear. But technically I seemed to be riding better and better with each lap so that was helping. The less mistakes I can make the less I have to dig super deep to make up time.

On the 3rd lap going into the open turning section through the grass I realized I was barely 20 or 30 sec behind Ernesto and a further 20 behind Paul. THis was awesome to see and I tried to dig deeper in the open sections to close it down, but in the next three laps I had a quick fall (when I didnt come out of the pedal at the log) and the over gearing was taking its toll. The gap went the other way of good after briefly going my way.

But the race was far from over because watching the gap behind sometimes it seemed that Brent and Tony were coming back to me. As well as the A Masters, but they were too far back still to worry about. But what it meant was I was getting really tired.

I work on my speed in the corners, all of them!! Bit by bit I brake less and shorter and I try and use body english to keep corner speed up and grip on the sidewalls. IN the grass, in the mud, the off camber. Things Ive read from Ned Overand and other racers advice. But one lap rounding a tree (before entering the muddy singletrack) I go banzai and almost do a Witch on a broomstick and go face first into a tree pushing wide on the exit!! OK, so faster yes, but smack a tree head one??? Maybe brake a bit more next lap. I missed that tree with a jerk to the right by centimeters.

Then in typical fashion I see Thom Domonic starting to do his late race charge. Hes passed Tony and Brent and dropped them and is now catching me. I see him dangerously close as I head through the open turny section. We say Hi to each other as we pass and the race is on. And as he gets closer the signs at start finish read 3 to go and at 2 to go hes within 20 to 30 seconds or so at that same spot. The gap is pretty constant. Enough to get me to the line, but I go as hard as I can when I can. Then the turn before the mud bog I fall.

One of those silly little exhaustion falls. I dont know what happened and I can barely even remember it. But I get up, finish the single track, sprint for the line and no bell lap, race is done!! Not more than 20 seconds later is Thom!! Its quite possible had we done one more lap he would have caught me. I was really running on empty by the end with a screaming lower back and legs that felt like they had ridden a 100 miles of hills into a headwind!!

But he said after he passed everyone and had me next he said he knew I'd really dig deep to keep him behind and I did. He to noticed out gap stabilized a bit once I saw him coming. This was by far my strongest cyclocross race and I got 6th. The keg of beer was a welcome sight post race and I must admit to thinking longingly about a beer with a few laps to go!! Luckily Thom kept me honest and running hard. IT was just about suffering that afternoon. Pure and simple trying my best to ignore the pain.

A great event and very well run indeed. I had a blast and loved the course. I wish I had dialed in that start though because I burned a lot of energy trying to jump ALL of those guys and close gaps one at a time the first two laps. But I'll say looking up 2 or 3 laps into a race and seeing Paul and Ernesto as my next two riders was quite a....I dont know what word is best? It was cool!! Let me just put it that way.

Kirtland Park C Race Photos

Pictures are up on my Flickr of the C race. Thats all I took today. I had great races Saturday and Sunday and cannot wait to blog. Hopefully get s start on them tonight. Enjoy the pics.