Sunday, September 27, 2009

1st Real Cyclocross Weekend

Good weekend with friends and family. It all started with an old friend dropping into town instead of just flying home on his return trip (Penn State to Seattle). Nice to know that the Midwest is not always the "fly over" part of the nation. I showed Matt the city on Friday and then had him crew for me at my 1st cross race of the year. I raced cross one day last year at Spooky Cross and that was on my MTB. This year I was already and the hardest part was trying to figure out what race or "cat" to try. Cat4 is the beginners and juniors, but I know that the top guys would still be faster. On the other hand, Cat3 would be too fast, but maybe the field would be bigger and I could blend in. In the end, my decision was made on the basis that my racing age for cross is 45 (next year's age). Since they had a 45+ category, maybe I could have fun and actually race for a place.
My pre-race warm-up consists of using my fingers to open up the upper respiratory passages (thanks for the nice picture Matt). We had 10 old guys in this race and we started 1:30 behind the Cat3's. The 35+ started :45sec in front of us. The course was very hilly and I quickly found that my 39tooth gearing was terrible. I probably only used 3-4 gears the entire race. At the start, the top 2 guys took off and I only saw them towards the end as they lapped me. I was able to stay with #4 for awhile, but in the end couldn't reel him in. I thought I was 5th and the initial results had me as 5th, but the final results put me into 4th. I don't know if one of the 2-4 DNF'd, or if there was a problem, but I was happy with the result. The positives, were my dismounts, barriers jumps and the sand pit (I rode it each time). The negatives, were the bike gearing and some tactics.
Saturday had a steep run-up as shown above.

Saturday night was fun with more friends over for BBQ and the Penn State vs. Hawkeye game. I dropped Seattle Matt off at the airport on Sunday morning. I hope that the race action put the drive to get back on the bike into him (I'm sure it will). I then re-loaded and headed to the Sunday cross race. This course looked flat and fast. We picked up two new riders in the 45+ category and 11 of us took the line. I decided that I needed to push harder if I was going to see 3rd or 4th place. We went out hard off the line and 1st and 2nd place checked out. It was a race for 3rd and I was in 6th. I jumped on a wheel and it felt like he was towing me around, but 3rd was getting away, so I moved past into 4th and pushed harder. I held it for a lap before I made a mistake and was paying attention to my cleat problems and just drove off course. Damm!!! Lost two places before I could get back on course.

I was also gassed by this point, so I slowed it down and maintained for 10min. I saw Kim West drop out, so that put me in 5th (flat tire or crash?). With 20minutes to go, I was 100 yards back from 4th and put in a hard effort to bridge across. I was within 30yards and headed into the barriers. They were a tricky off-camber, downhill double barrier. It felt like you were approaching at 20mph. I unclipped my right leg and swung it over the bike, tried to unclip the left foot and I was locked in. After a big "Oh Shit", I locked the brakes and laid the bike down, sliding right up to the barrier. That was it....4th place was gone and I was tired. I ended up 5th. Tired, but smiling.

Saturday's sand pit.

Overall, it was a fun weekend. I learned a lot about racing cross and got a two really good hour workouts in. I need to get a smaller front ring and new pedals that shed mud better.

Next weekend is Take a Kid MTBing on Saturday and SugarBottom Scramble on Sunday.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tandem Taco Ride

Taco Ride with Hannah on the tandem tonight. Lite turnout by the normal group but had lots of fun with Courtney, Nick, Brian and Al. We even did a few drive-bys for the photographer that was out there for a future article on Iowa trails.
Didn't spend much time at the tavern as it is a school night and Hannah didn't seem to like the taco. Thus we hit Wendy's on the way home.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Catching up on posting

I had grand plans to post a real race report for the 24hr race, but work was busy the following week as well as real life. Then the following weekend of racing came and went, then more work and life. Now I'm two weeks out so I'll just say that it was fun. Really, really fun. Not as physically hard as I expected, but more mentally difficult (keeping track of other teams and teammates). Great camaraderie among teammates, other teams, solos, duos, 12hr guys and gals, 24hr guys and gals. Just a great time. I'll be back again.

As I said, last weekend was the Sycamore and Hillside time trials. Both were IORCA series races that I needed to do well in. I started Hillside early in the morning by helping tape the course. Upon finishing, I had 45min before the start so I did a faster lap and missed any racer meetings. I lined up to be the 4th off the line and hit it hard. Previous years has this race as a 1lap race and I gave it all I could and really felt good about myself for leaving it all on the last climb. I sprinted through the line and turned left to recover. Then I heard the spectators and officials yelling for me to start lap 2. Huh!!!!! Oh well, it was my fault. The 2nd lap wasn't as good but felt OK. I think I finished 10th overall and around 6th in Expert.

The Sycamore time trail was going to be a 9min, all out sprint. I rode the course once and on my 2nd lap I hit the ground and broke a front spoke. Nothing hurt but pride. I went back to the car and removed the spoke and straightened the wheel. Shortly after the repair I hit the trail as the 2nd one out. I let it all hang out and felt pretty good about the lap. I ended up 4th or 5th overall and with that result, I believe that I secured the 35+ Expert point series. A successful weekend.

The rest of the catch up is in pictures below:
Maddie played goalie in soccer this weekend against Bondurant. They played well for the 2nd half, but were beaten soundly in the 1st half.
Hannah is my tag-a-long and is always willing to help out daddy (still a daddy's girl). I took advantage of that this weekend and taught her some responsibility (I think that is how my father would have put it). I felt proud for how hard she worked in mowing the lawn, plus she did a great job with very few crooked lines. Keep in mind that my mower does not have powered wheels. All leg power at the Griz household.
I took advantage of my birthday for a ride on the new cyclocross bike (what is cross?). This has been my other project for the past 3 weeks. All built up now and ready for race season. I explored a new trail project near the house and then worked my way down to Denmans for the obligatory new bike photo. It rides great and is way more comfortable than the Lemond.
This is the structure for the bridge on the upcoming trail in Urbandale. It will run from the end of the trail behind the retirement home that is near 135th and Hickman up to Douglas. It also appears that a spur will be headed towards the new regional park northwest of 142nd and Douglas.
BTW - another great win by the Griz. 49-17 over Portland State in the conference opener. PSU coach Jerry Glanville was not a happy man.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Prep for Take a Kid MTBing

We have been hard at work on the plans for this years Take a Kid MTBing (TAKM) day. It will be on Saturday, October 3rd at Greenwood Park (Ashworth Pool). You might remember that our 1st TAKM ride was there two years ago, we were forced out last year due to weather, but this is a great central spot with fantastic trails for the kids to learn on. A good spot for picnicing as well.
As you might remember, we (CITA) won a MTB from IMBA during last years TAKM. We will be giving away this bike at this years event. The picture above is from when my trusty mechanics assembled it. All kids that show up for our event will be entered to win this bike. Parents that sign up to be a CITA member ($20 a year) will get an additional entry.
In addition, the good guys at Strider sent us a bike to demo and give away as well. We will also have a few other Striders at the event for your littlest ones to demo (max age is 5). Those that demo will be given an entry to win the Strider.
Look for more information on the event in the next week. I've been talking to the local shops on making sure that each kid gets a water bottle as a way to remember the day.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Team Rassy's 24hr 4-man team winners!

I've uploaded a bunch of photos to Flickr, I'll let that tell the tale for now. I'll recap the event tomorrow as I've finally hit the wall. Until then I'll leave you with the photo of the 24hr 4-man team winners collecting the check. Team Rassy's. 30 laps total for the group which is somewhere around 240miles. A great race and a great time.

24hr race 10am update

10am update. We are 10 min away from lapping 2nd place. I'm done with my laps, we have Jason Alread on course and Nate Cline in the hole.

24hr race update - 6:15am

I woke up from about 2.5 hours of sleep and then finished the last night lap. 50min or so. Legs are feeling tired but apparently still doing good to only lose 5min on a night lap. The guys bumped up our lead overnight to near 30min. The 2lap each overnight strategy was good and I think it will payoff with faster morning laps for us. Hopefully we can catch and lap 2nd place so we can rest a liitle at the end.
BTW - congrats to Jason Dal for a 3rd place finish in the 12hr solo class.

24hr race - 1:30am update

I just finished two night laps and then ravaged a bowl of pasta. We started our 2lap each strategy about 3hrs ago and now I get to lie down for about 4hrs. Hopefully catch at least two hrs of sleep. As of 1:30am we had a 13min lead. It was bigger but Nate had a light issue. He obviously did a great job in somehow finishing with next to nothing.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

24hr 9pm update

Coming up on 9pm. Still riding strong and still taking one lap pulls each. We are still in the lead and think it's by 12min. 2nd place still holding strong so the pressure continues. Squirrel is leading the 24 solo comp and still looking good.

24hrs 6pm update

Coming up om the 6hr mark and we are still clicking off steady 45min laps. Our team is in 1st place by approximately 10min, but the 2nd place team is good and will keep the pressure on. My next lap will be partially in the dark. Sounds like fun!

24hours of Seven Oaks

I'll try to post frequent updates. The race just started. A good turnout with probably 75 starters. 12hr and 24hr solos and teams. Jason was our starter and went out like a rabbit. Took the lead for us. Now we have to hold it, which is our strategy.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Look what I found

in my garage...perhaps one of the little gnomes dropped it off on his way over to gnomefest.
Swapping most of the parts from the road bike. Other parts from Rassy's. Still need to decide on what to do about a crankset. Mine is an Ultegra 39/53 with Octalink bottom bracket. I could just swap the big ring and run 39/46 or something similar. But for the cost of a ring and new bottom bracket I could be halfway to a cross specific crankset with a better bottom bracket.
I also need a 27.2 black seatpost (hopefully lightweight). Anyone have a post, crankset or front derailler?