Sunday, May 23, 2010

1st Place Never Felt So Good!!!! - Tymor Recap

Today was the Tymor Park Challenge in Lagrangeville NY. It's always a race that is a little crazy since they have a great choice of hills to throw in and the rain there always makes the course a disaster. So with this one coming up I wasn't sure how to prepare but I was just hoping for the best and heading up ready for anything. And to sum it up in one word - AMAZING!!!

For those of you that bagged the race because it was going to rain....TOO BAD!!! It was amazing!!! The course was bone dry and even dusty in sections. The hill was still painful and flowed much better in the course. It was just great in general.

The CAT1 30-39 race went off with probably 20+ guys and went out fast. My teammate Keith got the hole shot and I jumped on his wheel. He peeled over so I could get around him and Roger Foco beat me to the punch and had the better gear and momentum. I hit the first hill with too big of a gear and panicked to downshift and finally recovered to jump onto Roger's wheel. From here we started the pain train motoring through the fast swoopy singetrack. On one left hand corner Roger slid out and hit the ground blocking the trail so I had to jam on the brakes. Steve Mancuso got through but Marco Mora squirted through on the left as Roger got up. We hit it hard and got to the fire road where I was getting antsy and jumped to the front. I knew the course well and I just wanted to get to the hill to put a solid effort in. As I put it down I had Steve with me and others falling behind. Steve and I were opening up a nice gap passing the previous classes as we cruised. Into the hill we went - I put it down and Steve stuck right with me. Awesome! It was great to have a teammate with me. We hit the top of the hill and drilled the down and were all alone together into lap two.

This duo of Steve and myself stuck into the hill once more. I asked him if he wanted to pass and take a pull but he said he liked his spot and we kept on drilling it. We picked off more people here and there and just kept it super steady. As we hit the hill for round two I was feeling more confident about the effort needed to get to the top fast and wanted to push it up a notch as I had it dialed. I pushed harder and harder and got to the top and saw that I had opened up a gap on Steve. I knew it wouldn't be long before he joined me again. So out of the end of lap 2 I was solo in the lead.

I kept on it passing some here and there and passed Brian Kelley on the SS(later I found out he was the SS leader) which he immediately jumped on my wheel. We rode together for the majority of the 3rd lap with the sounds of brakes and hard shifting not too far off. I knew I had to keep on it as to hold off the charging mob. As we hit the hill for round 3 the pain started setting in and I was right on the verge of cramping. We were going so hard that if I pushed just a bit more I would have cramped solid. Either way I wasn't giving in and I refused to ride the hill easily as I was worried about what was close behind. So I put everything into finishing that last lap as hard as I could. I said hi to Wendi as I was about to hit the field and started hooting and hollering a bit and hit big ring and crushed it across the field. I looked back to see only Brian and Wendi in the field so I knew I had the win. I cruised in for a finish time of 1:36:37 in first place. It felt sooooo good!

I rolled across the line and of course was curious about what unfolded behind me so I turned around to see the finish order and just under a minute later RFJ came rolling in with Mancuso shortly behind and John Arias a little behind him. The 4 of us were all within 3 minutes of each other. It was an amazing race. What a bunch of fit doods and just great racers in general.

I just looked over my garmin data:
Lap1 31:38
Lap2 32:19
Lap3 32:50

Holy consistency. What a day!!!!!!!!!

I'm tired now... :-)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Giro de Cielo 2010

Two more days of cycling are officially in the books. Yesterday and today my teammate BL and I went up to the land of cheese to compete in the Giro de Cielo. It was originally designated a women's event in its inception but has grown to include a CAT3 and CAT4/5 race. Me being the road racing NOOB, I entered the CAT4/5 as this weekend would be what's needed to officially get my 10 mass starts and FINALLY get to the CAT4 status. The weekend consisted of a 4.5 mile hill climb up Sunrise Mountain and then later that afternoon was a 15 mile 22 lap crit.

The TT was my event. I knew that my road racing skills aren't the best since I sprint like an elephant stuck in the mud. So I wanted to do the most damage I could then and hopefully get some nice points for the General Classification competition. I went off at 8:35:30 and I went out HARD. It was good but I was feeling kinda bleh. Not really snappy like I was hoping. Each time the road pitched up I tried to keep the pedals spinning quickly and tried to reach that man just in front of me. My 30 sec man I caught probably half way up the climb. He was good on the flatter sections, but as it pitched up, he fell back and I passed him with a nice burst and set out to catch my 1:00 man. I didn't see him for a bit but as it pitched up again he came into view and he was falling back. The problem was that I was running out of road to get him. So as I made the final steeper ascent to the top of the mountain I was reeling him in hard but the line came up. I was probably 10 seconds off of my 1:00 man at the top. I was satisfied with how I did but definitely felt I had more. It turns out I didn't do so badly. I was 3rd in the HC and pretty satisfied with that as #1 and #2 ahead were pretty far ahead 30+ seconds so that was a relief. Next up was the crit.

Later that afternoon after some food and some chill time I lined up for the crit. 60 or so of us toed the line and with a boring(non-hilly) course and a tight course as it was still open for traffic would make things interesting. Oh and throw in a nice 20 mph headwind on top of the one little hill it had. So we set off after a sweet call up :-) which I was happy to oblige since I was 3rd in the previous event. The first lap was a nice casual chat lap since it was neutral but once the whistle sounded it was on. It was hot and sketchy. I had the guy in front of me which I thought was a decent wheel, hit a cone since he was not riding with his head up and almost throw it right into my wheel. F-that racer I found a new wheel really quickly. I worked my plan and stayed at the front. I wanted to go for one of the GC bonus sprints since they were giving out GC bonus points. I knew the sprint would hurt at the end but I might be able to sneak out some more points. Nope. I put in a big effort to go with a break and get out front but we got gobbled up and spit right to the back. So now I had to work my way back to the front. With 4 to go I figured I'd try an attack and get off the front to avoid the final sprint. They all had me marked as I attacked hard but they were ready and just jumped on my wheel. CRAP! Fail #2. Ok so it was just to stay at the front and salvage what I could. Around the 2nd corner to the finish it heated up and I stayed with whatever wheel I could. I rode the gutter to get around those that faded early and finished strong but not as far up as I'd liked. 17th and out of the GC points. Maybe tomorrow would be better...

So this morning we showed up early and got all warmed up, and then cooled down as the ladies race had a crash which pushed us back. So I used the time to work on strategy. My two efforts were again #1 to go for GC points prime, and find a spot to attack for the finish since I didn't want to wait for the sprint. All was good and into the prime sprint I got out ahead with a small break but got gobbled up. DAMN! No good. So now my move was to find a spot for the final attack. I waited, and waited, and waited for the last lap. There was a team on the front controlling the pace and I was right with them leading into the final mile of the course. It consisted of two hills, a hard right hand turn, and two more hills with the finish on the top of the last hill. As we hit the first hill the team in front of me said to the pace guy to hold back and just set a tempo. To me this said attack fool! So I went - around the right I stood up and charged. As I rolled off the front I heard don't attack - let him go. WTF??? REALLY! I hit it twice as hard then. I looked back to see the pack fading. SWEET!!! I hit the 2nd hill and looked back and saw the pack 150 yds back. Sweet they were holding back. I hit the right turn - same margin. This might stick!!! Up the next hill - looking back uh oh they are getting closer. The final hill - I was ducking for cover as this massive freight train that is the peleton gobbled me up. I was 100 yards from the finish line as I was giving it all I could and this train of testosterone flew by like I was on a tricycle. I did what I could to get to the line but I was absolutely gassed trying to get to the line. I went from 2nd to 44th in a heartbeat.

I'm really happy with myself for attempting that move. The more I think about it, the happier I am with that then sitting in and settling for 20 something in the sprint. I know now what it takes to get away and stay away and it's all in the experience bank. To suffer that much and get hammered at the line just makes it that much more interesting the next time that situation arises. I think 2 things should have happened. I should have gone sooner as it would have let me roll into the first hill and get an even bigger gap. The other thing was to stay out of the wind more. I got caught on the front a few times and had to use more energy than I wanted to. Maybe if I actually did this road thing more than 4 times a year I could figure it all out :-)

Any way I finished 12th in the GC out of 50. I'll take it since my heart is really in the dirt. As much fun as these races were, I really want to throw down in the dirt next weekend. Tymor is coming up and I can't wait for this race. It should be a blast!!!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Wawayanda Spring Cleaning Recap

I went into the first race of the H2H race series today with a few questions to be answered. How was my recovery going from the Cohutta 100 last weekend? How well would I deal with the rocks and techy nature of Waway as it's one of the roughest courses that will be seen? And finally how well would my body deal with the 90+ degree heat? It would all be played out soon enough. On my preride I knew it was going to be tough as I rode for almost 40 minutes and blew through a bottle easily. I ran back to the car to grab any fluids I could and got it setup for the race.

I wanted today to be a nice hard training day. I'm placing more of my emphasis on being disciplined and really putting my efforts at the 100's. So this would be a nice opportunity to get a good workout in. If I happen to place well - then that would be nice. Upon looking at the preregistration I knew it would be a tough race as there were a lot of familiar names - and mostly familiar since they always finish ahead of me. So in the heat of the day we got called to line up and here's how it played out.

I started in row 3 - not worried too much since it would be a long race. Off of the first climb I got through a few and settled into the first singletrack in 7th spot. I just wanted to ride it clean. For the most part I did just that. As the lap went on I got a few here or there as the lines opened up on the fireroads and the power just wanted to be put down. I moved up well and just rode solid. At the end of the first lap I was sitting in 2nd or 3rd position. I lost count.

After that the rest was a blur. On lap 2 I pretty much held my spot and rode alone until I saw a random 19-29 rider or some of the pro's falling back. I felt good and was happy to be riding solidly and was hoping to keep the gaps that I opened up during lap 1. I ate, drank, and popped some more endurolytes in preparation for the pain that was to come on the 3rd lap.

On lap 3 I knew I was starting to fade a bit but I needed to keep on it. The one sure thing that I have learned is that you can NEVER let up in CAT1. There will always be someone there to steal your lunch if you do. So I kept it up and rode one more solid lap and put it down where I could. I came across the line happy with it to be over. It was a long hard race.

I think I finished in 2:36 in 2nd place, and couldn't believe it. I knew I was doing well but I really can't believe I did that well. There were a lot of strong riders out there but I think the heat just got the better of a bunch. Either way I'll take it. What a great day and a great dry race. It could have been a little cooler though :-)