Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Thanks for hanging in there.......

So obviously I am not the best at updating this blog. No excuses, no I'm lazy and promise to do a better job in the future. At this point I am pretty sure I don't have many people checking to see if I have gotten off my rear and actually written something.

Well here it goes. Really I guess I could just hit the rewind button and then hit play and you would have a pretty good idea of what I have been up to. I managed to travel to a few race, big surprise right?

The latest one this past weekend was the Cowbell Challenge. Mellie and I raced a 12 hour race there last year so I was finally getting to go someplace where I actually knew what to expect. This year they had a marathon on Saturday and then on Sunday was the cross country which was part of the Kenda Cup East series. That would ensure that all the fast South East Pro's would be in attendance.

We did 3 laps of an 8 mile or so course. The first 20-25 min. was nice and twisty but fairly flat then the last 15 min. or so was in the open and had all the climbing.
The good news for me was the start was fairly short before we hit the single track so I would be able to more or less hold my position before we hit the woods. I hit the woods in about 8th or 9th and was happy to see that we stayed in a big train the entire time through the single track on the first lap so I was in a good spot.

Once we left the woods I tucked in and alternated between super high rpms' and drafting. Somehow you can manage to stay on the wheels at a pretty high speed by using this technique. You spin until your legs are just about to fall off and then coast while in the draft and let the legs recover, rinse-wash-repeat. It also helped that just as I was about to pop we would hit a climb and the pace would drop off and I would actually get recovered. I thought about attacking a few times or even just moving up but I was worried about getting shelled in the next open flat section so I didn't. That was mistake number 1, if you can move up you should.

Never the less we hit the line to start the second lap and I was with a group of eight,I was the caboose. As we hit the woods to start the second lap the two guys in front of me started to get detached from the train but there wasn't much I could do about it. We were going fast enough that I couldn't get by in the tight stuff but just enough off the pace that the front five guys were starting to get out of sight.

We left the woods and the guy just in front of me sat up and I am sure wanted me to pull. Problem was I knew that we wouldn't make any ground up on the front guys at the pace I was going to be able to go. Then I thought that he was done and maybe i should go around. Before I had a chance to do anything he punched it and sprinted to try and get back across to the leaders. Unfortunately this is the worst thing for a guy with one gear to deal with. My only option to speed up was to attempt to spin faster and that wasn't going to happen. I didn't have the draft so I couldn't utilize my spin and tuck and that left me in no mans land.

I hopped that I could real him back in but with all the open stuff it wasn't likely going to happen until we got back in the woods on the last lap. I came across the line at the end of lap 2 just over a min. down on the leaders and about 20 seconds down on the next guy in front of me.

As I tried to push a bit I realized that I was taking bad lines and not riding very smoothly so instead of gaining time I was loosing it. I scolded myself and tried to give myself a pep talk to snap out of it. It worked and I smoothed out a bit but I also started to feel the effort and the gear that I was turning over pretty easy the first couple of laps was getting harder. I knew it would catch up to me but the solo efforts during the 2nd lap trying to catch the leaders didn't help. When I left the single track for the last time I could see the rider in front of me but he was far enough that it wasn't likely I was going to pull him back.

So I settled into a good pace to ensure I wouldn't get caught and buoyed by the thought that I was going to only have to go up the climbs one last time I kept the gap about the same and stayed away from whoever was chasing me. So I crossed the line in 7th place but I lost about 3 min. to the front 3 guys on the last lap.

I was happy with my race though I made a couple of mistakes,from not moving up on the first lap when I had the chance and I should have been aggressive when I saw the gaps opening on the 2nd lap. Maybe it would have made a difference maybe not but I should have tried.

After the race on the way home Mellie asked me if I was ready to get gears on my bike yet? Can't say the thought hasn't crossed my mind. Seems like I should be trying to make things easier not harder on myself. I mean I have plenty of excuses, I am almost always one of the oldest pro's, I only manage to ride about 6-8 hours a week, I only have one gear and a rigid fork, and probably a few others that I can't think of right now. But what is the point in that? Trotting out any of those seems kinda silly since other than my age I am choosing to put myself in this position. I raced for years chasing the dream and I kinda like the extra challenge. I have been fortunate enough to win a bunch of races over the years so just giving myself the best chance of doing well doesn't seem fun enough. Besides I expect more out of myself and I am just dumb enough to think that if I figure out how to make it work I can win one of these races on my single speed and that is what motivates me.