Sunday, November 1, 2009

Chagrin River Sunday edition

I'd like to start by saying it was good to line up to race. Its been a few weeks, but its seems like forever. In that time Ive been busy with school, work and life in general. It all has to fit together and right now the lowest priority is racing.  But I am still in good shape and I am staying fairly light and usually eating well. But as us racers know, there is fit and then there is race fit.

Rewind to this am and trying to get my very sore, tired body out of bed.  I hurt all over from taking the roof off of a dilapidated garage in the hood yesterday.  My back and neck hurts and my ribs Still hurt, but I chose to ignore them and hope I dont hit the deck today. But this day starts with Audrey time as it should. Like those late Cross start times for that.

Finally I get coffee and head downstairs and i cannot get the geared bike quite right so I prep both bikes and load up. When I finally head to the race I am feeling those slight jitters. I keep thinking about how I havent been doing my technical practice since my geared bike bit the dust at Forest Hills park. And how much power will I have at this race that I did  very well at last year on my SS? And will I finally get a good start or should I just start in the back and bag it?

Well the race starts and I get an OK start again. Were lined up then all heck breaks loose by the river and I get smart and hop off and run past some guys then get  slowed as someone falls and losee the spots just as fast. From there I am with Ehrlinger, Steiner, Zak and a bunch of others. We go back and forth in a fun battle. Whats funny on lap one is when I hit the only hard dip to negotiate for the first time and I hit it going way, way, way too fast and it was like a brick wall when my front wheel hit the face.  Next lap I braked a lot harder and it went a lot smoother. I learned to slow, roll in and then sit back when I hit the face and pedal out. When I did that it all worked out. I was 90% successful.

I pass my group eventually and get ahead of Zak, but he gets rolling and gets me back. I chase Zak as he chases down Derek. We finally get by, but he and Ehrlinger hook up behind me and  are not more than 50' behind. And then one lap and i dont know if Zak sped up or I had a slow lap, but I am no longer sea sawing from a few seconds behind to almost on his wheel.  And then I seal my fate by botching the ditch again by trying to go too slow and have to dismount and hes gone and John and Derek get real close. But in the distance hes going after Jeff Craft and I am gong after Zak and John and Derek are coming  after me. Its one heck of a fun battle.

As for me? Well the SS is geared 42x17 and coming out of all of the slow sections and 180's my back is screaming in pain. I try and ignore it, ride standing up straight (not very powerful or aero) to stretch it but it really makes it hard. The worst was out of the 2nd singletrack  and up the slippery slope.  Sprinting there really hurt. And all the dips and corners in the singletrack made my arms get tired. That was an odd feeling.  Though that could have been as much from the work I did Saturday am.

Back to the race. The effort to catch Jeff plays in my favor as it allows me to gap John and Derek. I am sprinting like mad out of every single corner, through the singletrack and the gaps coming down the last two laps. I get real close to Jeff and have a little bobble and the gap opens. I close it again and can see from his body english hes going harder than ever. I come super clean through the off camber, through the river and close the last gap by sprinting pretty much from the river to the singletrack entrance and try and dive under Jeff right before the entrance to the singletrack or its race over for me. But he knows I am coming and takes a fair line to block me and I enter behind him. I bobble somewhere that I didnt have any problems before and hit my knee (nice red rash on it now), but keep chasing.

I have to put the brakes and put a foot down for a split second in the pine trees for a chicken too. And yes I did just say a chicken!! But hey, were visitors on their land so the chicken gets right of way. But no matter, Jeff has the gap and rode the last section fast so he deserved that spot we were racing for.

So I guess its good to know though I wasnt as fast as usual I fought to the very end and really hammered out the last 5 laps. Trying to catch Zak and Zak and I are trying to catch everyone we can see took some effort.  And being chased the whole race by John and Derek (and they got real close a few times too).  Great racing you guys!!  I have no idea when I can race again, but I do hope to able to line up a couple more times at least.

In the meantime I am going to try and take it a bit easier when I can ride for a few weeks and then start ramping up the watts as I get ready for 2010's racing season. And now I desperately need to take my tired self off to bed as soon as I can. I am exhausted and tomorrow we go back to get more trash and finish demolishing the garage in that flea infested house. Its a charmed life I lead these days!! But family and racing today certainly helps me to stay positive. And nice chatting it up with you guys and gals after the race.  Nothing like bench racing, drinking a Pabst Blue Ribbon in your skinsuit, legs covered in mud.

No comments: