Monday, September 28, 2009

2009 Cat 2 Series Winner

So I won the 2009 Root 66 Race Series for Cat 2 (age 40 to 49). Yeah…pretty sweet…I guess. I thought I would be more excited about winning it than I am. Maybe it was the fact that I knew a month ago I had it pretty much locked down. So maybe it was the lack of surprise or the absence of possibly not getting it. Maybe it’s the knowledge that winning Cat 2 means next season I will race Cat 1. That right there comes w/ a lot mixed feelings. Perhaps it is the fact that officially winning it means the season is officially over. Which means no more racing (I am not in that CX craze everyone seems to have been bitten by – though I have never really tried it), cold is coming, it gets dark freaking early, and that only means long rides in a dark basement staring at wall for the next four/five months?! Shit, I think I am whining… Root 66 will supposedly send me a jersey stating I did win the series, and if it's a nice jersey, I might wear it proudly when on training rides and that might bring some excitement.
That whole Cat 1 idea is going to have to be a topic on its own as the moment it came up, so did a lot of pretty strong conflicting feelings..

Also of note was that I was ranked 8th in the WHOLE USA for Cat 2 (out of 1190 cyclist). Being top 10 in the country (of cat 2) has a pretty nice sweet sound. I have to admit that at times I toy w/ the idea of dropping the Cat 2 context completely out. That would actually mean I would be on level w/ an Armstrong, Zabriskie, Hincapie, Leipheimer, or more "realistically" with the likes of JHK, Craig, and Bishop etc... That has a really nice ring to it and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy in my pink fuzzy fantasy world but...I'd better step up my training before I really do that! First I have to beat the local cat 1 guys, and that is most likely not going to happen, especially guys like Johny B.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Root 66 Race Series, Mt Snow, Trail of Two Lakes

Race Report for Mt Snow, Trail of Two Lakes, 9/20/2009

This was the most exiting race of the year!!!

Weather: Could not be better!

Course description: Third time this season for racing Mt Snow, w/ the first two resulting in a lot of bitching from racers (incl me). None too happy to be back at Snow for the season finally, but got there on Sat to pre ride, as they supposedly had redesigned the course somewhat. Lo and behold, course was awesome! Dry…I have to say that one again…dry. I feel like Homer Simpson, saying donuts... Climbing was done on the access roads all the way up (+- 2K feet I believe). Steep and loose but all rideable. At the top, the course shot into some really twisty gnarly singletrack, the likes I have not seen yet this season. Some sections were long sections of just roots. The tires would not touch dirt for yards. Then there were rocks, lots of them, big and sharp ones, with the course actually being in a dried up stream bed. Somehow though, it all had some great flow to it. The downhill being so dry allowed for a superfast and fun descending. The speed did add some good adrenaline, for if you screwed up, you were going to be in a world of hurt.

We had to do two laps. Turnout was low, but the usual faces were there, including the guy who beat me at the first Mt Snow. He took off pretty fast and I had to give it all to stay w/ him. Half way up the first lap I was really struggling to keep to his wheel but I really did not want to let him go. I was hoping he was riding faster than he could sustain w/ me on his wheel and that he would blow up on the second lap. Though at that pace, I was pretty sure I was going to blow up on the second one too. He had created a little gap by the top, but I caught back to him pretty quickly on the downhill. It seemed I was faster on the down, so my goal became to stick to him going back up, and pass him just before entering the downhill section and try to drop him. As we started going up the second time around, he seemed to be struggling just a bit so I passed him but could not drop him. Soon he had me passed again, but was not dropping me. As we neared the top, I screwed up over some rocks and had to dismount which gave him quite a big gap. He entered the downhill section way before me. So much for my very clever plan! I was able to catch back up and half way down found a section to pass him. I flew down, completely out of control to try to gap him. He stuck to me though and to my great frustration, slowly passed me again on an uphill section 20 yards before the finish. As he crested the top and turned to go down toward the finish, he took it wide, and I was able to cut to the inside and gave it everything I had left! I came in first by a bike length.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Root 66 Race Series, Landmine Classic

Landmind Classic, Higham, MA, 9/13/09

Boy was I looking forwards to this race.  After the US Cup, this is the biggest race.  Not only because of the huge annual turnout, the epic 26 miles technical race, or the GT Golden bike award, but also because cat 2 and cat 1 race the same course and distance.  This is the time where I would get to see where I would place if raced cat 1.  This is the humbling moment.

Well the start went well, and unlike last year, I got there w/ plenty of time (kinda of) and was able to get some warm up before the start.   W/in the first three miles I was able to claw my way into first position and was feeling pretty good.  Sadly, after I caught some air coming off a bridge, I landed right on a sharp rock w/ my front wheel.  The moment I heard the metal sound I knew this was not good and was expecting to flat.  Somehow my tire held air for about a mile.  It was just a tease though as it then suddenly went flat.  I had a spare tube and though got caught by everyone as I was changing it, I knew the race was long, perhaps affording me a chance to catch back up w/ some.  As I got the spare tube in, inflated it, it went flat right away.  At that time I also noticed the serious wobble in my front wheel and the fact the rim edges were bend in.

It was a long freaking walk back to the start.  A nice rider handed me a tube which held and I was able to ride the last mile to the car.  One DNF for me.  People say better DNF than DFL, but at least when you DFL you get to ride the whole course, so I"ll take a DFL any day over a DNF!