Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Long overdue...

OK, OK... I'm way behind and writing feels like a job lately so I'll really keep it short this time.

UPDATE: Photo post related to this one is HERE.

Dry and fast Saturday - Slow and muddy Sunday... that pretty much sums up the second weekend of OVCX racing at Brookside and St Mary's. I finished 14th and 16th after fighting the mud attempting to drive the bike on Sunday. I was let down after winning these two races in Cat 3 last year, but not upset over top 50% results.

Flat and power on Saturday - Hilly and power on Sunday for Gearfest and John Bryan. Finished 14th and 18th with two crashes over the bars in the first half lap at John Bryan. Results were falling backward instead of moving forward and I wasn't happy about it that but even with crashes that lead to my lower back going "out" I managed to hang onto a payout spot.

The next weekend was Gun Club - one of my favorite courses (everyone else's too). Though, when I tweeted that I'd pre-reg'd I got a message asking why I wasn't heading to the USGP in Ft Collins and offering space for me and a bike. After almost saying, "No thanks", calling myself an idiot, and talking it over with a few people, I was about to sit in a car for 19 hours each way for two one hour races. In the end, I didn't even get in two full hours as I got pulled each day but it was a great experience that helped get that "shock and awe" out of the way with no expectations. The altitude, while only a bit over 5200' was enough to hurt. Riding in the group I found myself in was comfortable until we started uphill and my body had nothing to give. My heart rate averaged just over 160 both days of racing when at home I routinely see averages over 180 for full hour races. The short summary of the weekend is a huge THANK YOU to Dion Easthouse (most of you know him from VeloVivid Photography) for the ride and encouragement! I'm not sure who coined the phrase, but he is certainly "good people!"

Next up was Bloomingcross, a moderately flat but twisty, dry, fast course. I tried a new pre-race approach starting Friday before that included alcohol, wedding food (no pizza), and an overall relaxed/roll with it mentality (per Dion's advice in FtC). I didn't take a trainer to the venue and only rode a few laps for warm up. I went to the start line calm and relaxed, yet smiling and ready to make someone's legs hurt for at least a couple laps. The race started, I hit the front for my fifth holeshot in six races (I've got to get them to give a cash award for this!) and kept on rolling without looking back. After a lap I was alone with only my teammate, Rob Kendall staying close. A lap later I was still there with Rob and Mitchell and no one close. I eventually fell off their pace and settled for 8th out of 35 for my best OVCX Elite finish to date - more than happy!

Finally a "weekend off" that included a little over six hours saddle time between the CX and road bikes to keep some endurance in the body. And I also had to spend a bit of time searching for a sense of urgency to study for the PE exam that Friday. The urgency didn't arrive until mid week and it might have been too late - results aren't mailed until December. Mostly I'm just glad the test is over!

And to finally catch up on racing action - this past weekend was Storm the Greens. The name doesn't really apply anymore, as the race moved from the old venue, an old golf course to Eva Bandman, home of Louisville 2013. The new name is a toss up between Storm the Hobos, Storm the Banks, and Be Sure to Lock Your Car. Anyway, the team race plan in the past had been to utilize my one lap speed to stretch out the field and allow teammates with poor starting positions to move through the field more easily - this week the goal was not to blow myself up. It worked - sort of. I took the holeshot again, but didn't go all in. I did enough to stay on the front, but not much more for the first half lap, then Rob Kendall came through (he's fast - 40 isn't slowing him down any!) and I settled in. Two laps later, I was still there - we were set up with Bob's Red Mill 1-2-3-4! We kept it that way until I just lost contact and a couple guys got through - still I felt like I belonged in the front group for a full 20 minutes! I settled right into the second group at the time and was feeling solid until I botched the second sand pit on two consecutive laps losing two and then five or six places and the all too valuable draft going into two of the straightaways. Somehow I managed to regain composure and lay down my third fastest lap on the final lap while trading blows with John Francisco (one of the trio of phenomenal 17-18 year old talent we have locally - also including Drew Dillman and Luke Haley). I managed to hang on without blowing chunks until my attack point, the last set of steps and hang on for 13th out of 49. Although not the best result, I'd consider it one of my best races to date - without the two missed lines in the sand, I'm pretty sure I'd have been racing for 8th in a much larger field!

OK - I said it'd be short and well, it wasn't. That's about as brief as I can be and that's two whole months of racing! I'll do a follow-up post with mostly photos from this same time period soon and there'll be nothing/little more to read than captions!


  1. Good work Ray! You've made a big jump from last year and looks like you improved a ton! Keep it up still half a season left!

  2. Cool. Your gonna be ready in 2013!

  3. Thanks to both of ya! Yes lots of season left and 2013 will be fun to watch :)