Wednesday, March 27, 2013

XC Snow Biking

Those who braved the elements last Saturday and Sunday were treated to a little off road fun over at the Lawrence River Trails compliments of Cow Town Cycling.  I didn't make the Duo, but heard it was a good time.  Sunday came with a winter wonderland full of giant baseball snowflakes, and plenty of inches to insure pure fun.  I knew that the early riders would take the brunt of packing in the trail, but once done, it would lead to blissfully packed single track through a canopy of white splattered trees.  I love riding my bike in the snow... It's likely the funnest riding one can have on a bike, given the right conditions and all.

Our race was right.  Well, at least 3 of the 5 laps.  Laps 4 and 5 started to turn a bit slick and more wet than pack.  Either way the trails handled just fine, and the racing action was full of full on moto style corning.  I'm sure a game of foot down would last 20 seconds all out that day.  The start consisted of a drag race down the levee before dropping into the woods for a fast and furious drift wonderscape.

I jokingly said it would be just a fun ride through the snow.  Then I lined up.

That whole lining up thing and seeing everyone getting ready to punch it turns that fun ride agenda upside down into a lets see how fast I can be the carrot.  Then as the carrot I push myself, and I see how fast snow can be ridden.  Turns out this snow was fast, and minus a few corners you could really open it up and if you positioned yourself rightly, you could rip through the corners with just a minor chance of sketchiness.

My go hard early plan worked out and I was able to keep it on cruise for the last few laps just staying conistant knowing I had a fairly good gap.  I would catch a glimpse of Travis or JP every once in awhile, and on the last lap return leg back to the finish I saw them together and they were quick to be heard.  They made their typical racket and parade me on to what was almost a clean race.  That was until I saw Griff and decided to wad it up.  No worries, one little wreck in conditions that were a bit more trying was ok by me.

Winner Winner.... I'll take it however it comes.

Chris and his crew of family and friends did a fantastic job, and I commend them on pulling it off.  No doubt that just took the cake for best race conditions of the year.  There will be no way to top it.  Although I'd be more than willing for some 65 degree, hero dirt conditions to make comparision.

Results and pic here.

A lackluster report here.  Sorry, but for what looks like and almost legit websit they didn't even bother mentioning the Mens Open race.  Ethos went 1,2,3 though, just so they got that right.

Next up, some good ol' Pirate action.  I can't wait to tie on my wooden leg...

Then Swanson.  Time to play with our other group of racing buddies...


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Welcome Back

My old familiar friend.  I'm a happy camper now that the XC scene is back at it and getting ready to take off like a rocket ship.  It's all finally kicked off last weekend with the first test of the season, Mellow Johnny's Classic down in Dripping Springs, Texas.  To say I was happy to escape this snow laddend hell hole for a few days was an understatement.  I couldn't wait to hit sunny skys, warmer temps, and most of all dry trail.

Well I got to hit dry trail, and hit it I did quickly.  Within 10 minutes of starting the pre-ride on Friday the day before the race, I had hit the ground.  Hard.  It was loosey goosey down there, and it always seems to eat my lunch at first.  I continued to ride like a newb, totally 4 hard wrecks in the first 6 mile lap.  It was pretty ridiculous, and I was pretty beat up.  A few more pounds in the fork, a few less in the tires, and a couple of clicks on the rebound and I finally had it dialed in.  Not after some damage though, but luckily it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

Saturday morning rolls around and I'm getting that familiar jitter.  It's the first race of the season, the first test, and I was doing it against 62 pro riders.  I knew my form was good, just didn't know how good or how it would stack against the other boys, most of who are smart enough to train the winters in warmer climates.  Some even had a full winter of XC racing down south, and even more with a full season of CX in their legs.  Me, I had base and one block of intensity to work off.

Guns goes off, and there's a wreck.  I miss it.  I'm good I thought, perfect start.  Then BAM! The dust was so heavy that seeing was difficult and in the mist of trying to catch the inside fast line I hit it a bit to the left which tossed me into the only washout on the road, and over the bars.  Saddles was popped sideways, so I cranked on it only to have it go too far the other way.  Back and forth, back and forth.  Finally I get it straight, but not before the damage was done.

Dead last.

There's alot that goes through one's mind when you find yourself in that position.  Mainly you wonder how you fucked it up so badly.  Then you freak out, and then you slap yourself in the face and tell yourself to man up and do what you've got to do.  Unfortunately doing what needs to be done isn't a meager task.  It involves passing mass groups of dudes who don't like to get passed.

Lap 1 was good, I made up a ton of ground.  I didn't count but it was 20+ guys I passed or so. Lap 2 I ended up gaining another 7 spots, and found myself racing some fairly legit dudes.  Lap 3 I barely survived and ended up flat, no passing, no being passed.  Lap 4 and 5 were hell.

I started cramping towards the end of lap 2.  Lots of reason's I reckon played into why it happend.  The wrecks from the prior day, slamming my knee into the stem at the start, 70 degree dry weather, the high intensity.  No need for excuses, but it was what it was and it was bad.  I straight legged two climbs, the last one being close to 5 minutes of pure stopped time.  I couldn't stand up, and I couldn't get on my bike.  It took alot to get going again, but they finally unlocked and I limped my way to the finish.

I was officially the second to last to finish on the last lap.  So in one token I finished the full race, in another I did it slowly.  I'm not worried a bit though, I had the speed, now it's just extending it.

I have to give a big thanks to JP and Doug for the company going down, Doug and Dara for housing us while we were down there, Ethos for stepping up and helping me do some serious racing this year, and of course everyone else who continues to give me the encouragement to keep it going strong.  It's happening this year, the year of getting fast and breaking that elusive top 20.  

There's a ton of racing come up... Here just the next two months.

March 16 - Spa City (still in question)
March 24 - Gods Country
March 30 - Pirate XC
April 7 - Swanson River
April 15 - Bone Bender
April 21 - Sea Otter
April 28 - MO SS Champs

Guess that means the Stumpy SS will be hanging around a bit longer....

See you out there.