Monday, May 20, 2013

Glocester Grind 2013 Race Report

Singlespeed Open 32x18

My first time doing the Glocester Grind.  Heard it was technical and muddy.  Surely it couldn't be muddy this year! Wrong.  Muddy.  And yeah, technical.  But I felt confident because I spent a good portion of Friday getting race ready:

Julian with a slight lead on me and Layni in her iBert seat.

Gabe and I were the sole Team Sea Sports representatives for the day. I gotta say, our Champion Systems kit is pretty darn sharp.  And comfy. I feel like I'm riding in pajamas.

SS Open class had 6 or 7 guys.  We go.  Shawn Mottram gets the holeshot and yardsales the first root.  That was pretty funny - especially since we knew he was going to kill us all.  He got back on and pushed his big gear over the roots and through the rocks and to grandmother's house and to a galaxy far far away from us.

I ended up on 3rd wheel behind an NBX rider. He was going at a decent pace so I sat in and got my bearings. Taylor Clark passed on a short uphill and as he threaded between two rocks, his bike lurched sideways and SNAP! went his chain.  He would DNF. That sucked for him as I have a feeling he was going to do really well.

I pushed on behind NBX guy, but wanted to pass so I could get a better view of the lines through the tech.  Just when I was deciding to pass, he went down in a rooty corner.  I went by and put a push in.  I then rode by myself for a long time.

On the 2nd lap I passed elite rider Alby King as he was finishing a trailside repair.  He went by me soon after and I kept him in sight for a while. That was cool as he was riding muddy technical sections that I chose to run the first lap.  So I rode them too.  He eventually put elite watts down and dropped me.

Also caught up to Mo Bruno Roy in a muddy rock garden.  We both had to run it. She remounts like a CX pro.  I remount like a drunk elephant. Gotta work on that.

So after all the mud and roots and rocks, I crossed in 2nd place (my fifth 2nd place finish in a row!?), about 8 earth minutes down on Shawn. Results here. Shawn was top expert. Sick. I wish we could give him a better run for it, but he's just waaay stronger.

Here's the podium pic:

(that's a joke some will get)

Overall I was happy with the day - I'm not the best technical rider, so I'm not used to that kind of riding.  But it really did get more fun as the race went on, so I found myself wishing there were trails like that on Cape.

While I was racing Glocester, my wife was racing a sub-27 minute 5K in the extremely popular and awesome YPD (Yarmouth Police Dept) 5K (the video looks like it was taken on the Zapruders' camera). Her time was a personal record for her, accomplished no less on World IBD day (she has Crohn's disease).  She is clearly kicking Crohn's ass.

Next race...hmmm.  I really want to do Domnarski, but it's not lining up well for me right now.  Gotta try to figure something out. I really want to do Pinnacle too, but it's well outside my 2 hour(ish) travel limit.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Weeping Willow 2013 Race Report

Single Speed Open, geared 32x18 as it seems most of us were.

(There are some awesome pics of this race on sponsor Riverside Racing's Facebook page, as well as pro pics from Laura Kozlowski, including this great one of me and Matt Aumiller saying hi before the race.)

So, my goal going in was top 5.  Arnold Roest was nice enough to introduce himself before the race, which was good because that’s who I wanted to try to mark as I suspect he’s a bit faster than me.  Last year’s winner Ryan Littlefield was also in the field, but I wouldn’t know who he was until a bit later in the race…(cue the suspenseful music).  Some other fast guys there too -- talked to Matt Aumiller at the start line, I recognized NEMBA racer Mark Tucker too, as well as some guys quite a bit younger than me in our open field.

Off we went,
I couldn’t get clipped in,
too many people passed me,
put too much effort into trying to get to the front group,
but got there eventually and settled in for a bit to catch my breath.

So in other words, it was my usual start. Better than last week's almost reverse holeshot start, but still not good.

So a few minutes in I was in 5th behind Arnold when he lost traction and went down in a rooty turn.  I heard his rear tire let out a burp.  With a roaring pace going, I figured he might have trouble airing up and then catching back on.  I guess a later wrong turn really did him in, though he still finished top half. 

So in 4th and a few minutes later I started feeling like I could go a bit faster than the pace so I went by Matt and Curtis Lavoie, but then Curtis stuck like a fruit strip wrapper (parent simile).  And it didn’t seem like the pace was taxing him much.  AHH!  Then we hit the traffic of two pro women and I got lucky with a wide uphill pass, but then it turned twisty again and Curtis couldn't easily get by.  So he ended up a few seconds back and I pushed for a bit to try to unstick him and it worked.

So firmly in 2nd, I started hunting and eventually saw leader Ryan through the woods.  As we went on, I would slowly gain on him in the singletrack, but he had an acceleration on the fire roads that would instantly put me a few more seconds down.  

On both laps I got my closest to him on the one hard climb at mile 6.  First lap I got on his rear wheel by the top, but then he dropped me on the flats leading to the start/finish.  I saw him in front of me for most of lap 2, and pushed really hard to reel him in. 

I figured if I had any hope of beating him, it would be to pass him before or at the mile 6 hill and then bury myself through the finish to try to hold on.  And I did close the gap going into the hill (thanks partly to drafting pro winner Crystal Anthony), but then I muffed the hill.  I had to get off and push, he didn’t, game over.

I raced the best I could I think, just lost to a stronger guy.  Ryan is super nice and I think he enjoyed getting pushed as much as I enjoyed his being the carrot.
Always a bridesmaid (my fourth 2nd place finish in a row).
So, in conclusion, Weeping Willow was awesome.  My time was 1:21.25, which isn’t a very long time for a mt bike race, BUT, if you spend the whole time redlined it is really hard.  My Sea Sports teammate Tim did awesome too with a 7th (of 16) in his first Expert field finish. 

I’m not that great with big crowds and was kind of dreading what I knew would be a sell-out event.  But it certainly didn’t seem like there was a ton of people there.  Parking was easy, vendors spread out, enough porta-potties.  Even though there were a lot of racers on the course at the same time, besides the guys in my field, I think I only passed the pro women and one guy.  So it seems like the way they staggered us was pretty perfect. 

Onto the Glocester Grind!  Thanks for reading. 

(Ok, I can't go a blog post without sharing a pic of my kids)

Children of the children of the 70's. At Ice Cream Smuggler, Dennis MA.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

EFTA Battle at Burlingame Race Report 2013

Yo.  Congrats if you’re reading this as you clearly have LOTS of free time.

Us frickin Cape Codders live in paradise, and as a result, we have little reason to ever want to go over yonder bridges.  And when we do venture into the real world, the navigational results can be laughable. 

What's over themthar bridges?  (photo Mike Whalen: whale24 on flickr)

So when Sea Sports teammates Tim “not that one” Johnson and Gabe “the illustrated man” Agaman piled into my wife's milfwagon, we relied on Siri to get us to Burlingame. Bad idea. We ended up going the long way AND getting lost, leaving us little time for a warmup. 

Gabe and I were in the open single speed class and we thought our class would be starting behind the expert classes.  Wrong again -- pros, then us. So he and I ended up where I often did in elementary school - the back of the class. 

Off we went and I called “reverse holeshot!” but someone beat me to it, darnit!  So having blown that distinction, I decided to actually race.  I pushed hard for a bit to try to get near the front and when I passed a couple guys in the race sponsor kits of NBX, one of the guys reminded me that it was a long race (5 laps at 5.5 miles per). Oh yeah, 27.5 frickin miles long! What are we, pro? Not only that, but it's the first race (for me) of the season.

So, ya, I started pacing myself a bit better at that point. And in retrospect, the race distance was probably proper -- 4 laps would have put many of us well under 2 hours.  Better too long than not long enough (TWSS).

I eventually made my way up to 3rd and the guy in 2nd seemed to be having some bike issues.  So into 2nd I went.  I then pushed for a while to see if I could catch 1st (Shawn Mottram), but then decided he must be long gone (and boy was I right as he beat me by 7 – that’s SEVEN American – minutes).

I settled in and started racing backwards - basically looking over my shoulder to try to hold off anyone in my class but noone came...luckily, as I was fading as the race went on.  I did get to ride with teammate/Sea Sports owner Jeff Craddock for a while, which was cool.  And I rode with pro winner Justine Lindine for a while too, gave him some pointers, some training advice, stuff like that.  (Ok, what really happened is he came up behind me so quickly I crapped humble pie into my chamois and fell over in his passing wind wake).

Me and Taylor Clark...winner Shawn Mottram was chasing his kid around somewhere.
(Matt from NBX on left) 

Thanks to NBX and TRIMOM for putting together a great race.  Great organization = less rider stress = more fun for everyone.  This race was a very fun time all around.  
Thanks to my team and LBS Sea Sports for their always awesome support.
And thanks to Kristy for letting me indulge my ego, keeping the kiddies entertained for the day, and letting the team use the milfwagon.

Onto Willowdale! (I didn't set out to do all EFTA races this year, it's just that these first few are closer to me.  I'm looking forward to mixing it up with my fellow Root 66 singlespeed screwballs at some point).

Thanks for reading.