Monday, September 27, 2010

Race #56: Battle of the Minds

And I lost. But I'll get to that later.

Bridget and I were sad to miss the second race of the OVCX season, so we headed to Louisville a week early to keep our form sharp and race in the Shawnee Cross. This was an interesting course with some long slightly uphill grinders (into a headwind) and real ginourmous downed trees for barriers, 3 of them! I really dig it cause it's like old school Cross, back to the roots.

My pre-ride was disastrous. I found every hole on the course and bobbled every remount. I was on the starting line feeling like I was wasting my money racing that day. The gun went off and I stunk it up and fell immediately backwards. The ladies started with us and I ended up jumping on Nikki's wheel just to keep myself from pulling over and crying for stinking so bad. I told myself to chill out, sit in and see what I can do.

About lap two we connected with a group of 3 or 4 riders. I sat there and bided my time for that sweet uphill into the headwind. We came around the corner and I ATTACKED! It felt wonderful to get some momentum. By the end of the section I looked back and no one was able to respond and I opened up about a 8 second gap. So I continued to push. I got one guy here, another there, another there until I caught up with a guy named John on the Papa Johns Team.

I was behind him on this off-camber section just before the finish line. I just stomped it! I caught up and went past into the pavement. Only this guy was different that the others — he was stuck to my wheel like glue. So I pulled for a lap, let him past and I decided to suck his wheel like a total jerk until that last off-camber on the last lap.

He knew what I was thinking too. So he began to slow. I kept looking back seeing another guy closing the gap to us. Sit in and hope to win in a sprint or take up the lead and hope I don't get too tired? I took up the lead. But I pushed it really hard trying to drop him to no avail. He ended up passing me on the final log barriers. I was gassed enough that I let a 8 second gap open after the barriers when I bobbled just a bit under the pressure. On the line I was able to bring it back to just a few seconds but I blew the opportunity to attempt to grind it out with a really long sprint.

I kept my lap times with my Timex and they were approximately 5:33, 5:15, 5:18, 5:13, 5:21, 5:19, 5:16, 5:17, 5:15, 5:22, 5:12! My last lap was the fastest, feeling a bit better about my fitness for the hour. I love races like this that test your will and your mind, hopefully my season will have a bit more of this!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

New sexy skinsuit and white bar tape helps Jimmy cyclocross over logs all day long! Mmmmmmmm.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Kicking off Cross Season

Race #49: Misery Loves Company
I kind of felt like the first race might be a bit of a let down. Everyone is nervous, maybe some mechanical things would occur to some, the fields are massive. I was right. It was a tough race and a lot of my friends had a rough day — with crashes or catastrophic mechanical failures.

It started just after the gun went off. The rider in front of me slowed to a halt as his rear wheel cam out of the dropouts! I lost a decent starting position. So I sped off trying to regain spots. Probably on the second lap I went flying into a turn. It was a bad idea — the grass evaporated into dust in the draught-like conditions and I ended up skidding across the ground. I smashed my head and ripped a ton of skin off my elbow. To make matters worse a Masters rider crashed into me doing a somersault. I felt really bad about making someone wreck, I hate to be THAT guy.

At the end of the race I tried to be a good teammate and help Brian bridge up to a the next rider, but we didn't really match skills very well. I was too strong in the power sections but I cornered like crap and got in Brian's way in the technical sections.

My full lap times were 7:55.6 (crash?), 7:37.8, 7:29.0, 7:28.5, 7:35.9, 7:42.8. I wish I were more consistent. You can see where riding the sandpit probably wore me down in later laps.

Race #50: Battling for Water
I decided to race a second race and give the Kings' Elite race a try. I love the notion of racing for an hour and I wanted to see how I would fair. Unfortunately I drank too much coffee that morning, making me somewhat "diuretic" and dehydrated. I was already parched at the starting line of the Cat 3 race, now I was seeing double. I did okay. I stayed attached at the start and attacked some tough parts of the course and got ahead. In the past my second race usually meant I got dropped and ended up suffering for the next hour.

Everything was going well. I was battling with Katsu for 22nd place (out of 30 starters) and trying to close the gap on 21st when my legs began to cramp and I started riding backwards. I clipped the barriers going over and ended up feeling a huge cramp in my leg so I pulled in the pit and ended up downing 2 full bottles of water! I resisted the urge to DNF and headed back out just to make sure I kept some points for later in the series. I ended up 27th, I'll take it...

My full lap times were 7:31.0, 7:36.0, 7:35.4, 7:47.0, 7:46.7, 11:23.7 (cramps and water break), 9:29.8 (trying not to cramp). Not too bad for a second race.

But I hope I can get some better results this season.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Bjet and I rode down to Oktoberfest to open our legs the night before the first big cross race. There is only one thing that makes lederhosen look cool to the average American, and that is a guy wandering through the crowd in spandex. People openly laughed at me. Geez.

Before our epic ride we fuelled ourselves on macaroons from Frieda's. The dark chocolate, hazelnut and mocha flavors are magnifique!

Between the macaroons, pretzel and weißbier I feel pretty much ready for tomorrow! I think this is how Jan Ulrich used to train!

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Dirt Double

This was quite a tough weekend. I was hoping my mountain biking season would have been over weeks ago but a rain-delay and Bjet and Marty were doing the longer race gave me the idea to crush myself one last weekend. I also was inspired by Jacques Anquetil's incredible feat known as "Le Double." The main difference between Anquetil and I is that he actually won both events.

I was only off the mountain bike for a week or two but it was a tough reminder that maybe I really need to work on my handling skills. I feel I work so hard and waste my energy by handling inefficiently. At the end of the weekend I felt like a losing boxer on the ropes — every little knock, fall, bobble and peddle strike took their toll on my body.

Race #48: 6 Hours of D.I.N.O. at Versailles
At the last minute I kind of realized I really didn't want to do this race. I was cranky and the lame Le Mans start (where we had to take off a wheel or seat post) really p.o'ed me. But it took off the pressure.

Lap 1: 1:06:50
Actually my first lap was magical, for the first time this year I felt no pressure and kind of had that surfer's high. I was having a wonderful lap until the end, where I dropped my chain going into one of the rocky creek crossings. These dudes started yelling at me and killed my buzz. Bobbled again going over the water fall. Bridget caught me at the end and I was in a bad mood! Poor loser Jimmy!

Lap 2: 1:05:14
Rocking with Bjet, we took turns on the front. This was a tough race for our team TT because I was stronger on the hills and Bridge was better on the descents. Nate caught us at the end of this lap and I ended up bobbling every descent and lost a bunch of time to Bridget. She actually crashed looking back trying to figure out how I disappeared...

Lap 3: 1:07:41
I ended up catching and leaving Bridget to kill the climbs. I actually hammered this lap and took a few minute pit stop at the end of it.

Lap 4: 1:06:34
Eberything started to hurt a little. Actually started reconsider Caesar's the next day.

Lap 5: 1:12:30
This lap stunk! I actually stopped to refuel at one point (thinking I was going to have to do another lap). On top of it my lame saddle bag un-velcro'ed three times on technical sections! Why didn't I just jam it in my pocket? Really could feel the lack of calories on this lap...

I was totally surprised to be finished, I thought I was going out again. I stopped at the end and Charlie and Nate yelled at me to finish. I was glad I didn't have to do another. I was pooped and totally in awe of all the 12 and 24 hour racers. I was lucky that even though I came in way after Nate I was still in fourth, and Charlie was in second! Sweet!

Jimmy Vs. Versailles Trails
12.33 mph, 30 miles, 02:26:00 (07.25.2010 DINO/CORA Race)
11.16 mph, 63 miles, 05:38:49 (09.11.2010 6 Hour Race)
10.67 mph, 40 miles, 03:45:00 (07.31.2010 Training ride with Bjet and Charlie)

Race # 49: Caesar Creek
I didn't have a ton of speed, and maybe my style was a bit off but I actually had a bit of fun in the race. There were some tough parts and I kind of treated it like a cyclocross skills test. I tried to go fast but threw out the anchor!

It's embarrassing to cross the finish line as they start the podiums! Ouch.

Jimmy Vs. Caesar Creek Trails
8.70 mph, 19.5 miles,02:14:30 (08.23.2009 Caesar Creek Race)
8.22 mph, 28.5 miles, 03:28:00 (09.12.2010 Caesar Creek Race)
6.95 mph, 34.5 miles, 04:58:00 (04.11.2010 5 Hour Training Ride)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bad Case of Zabel-itis

This year I am always the bridesmaid and never the bride! Or in this case, I'm rollin' Zabel-style. Towards the end of his career Zabel would be wearing the green jersey without winning a stage. I guess it could be frustrating but I have to just laugh and feel pretty lucky that I end up near the sharp-end of the race/pack. I never expected any of this, I just love to ride a bike and sometimes I love to punish myself by riding hard. But mainly it's just a blast to go out and make friends and wail on each other.

Tonight's Kingswood CX TT was one of those nights where I could have got a win but I mucked it up and got the consolation prize. My fitness is pretty good, but my first lap was a total stinker and I actually flew through tape a couple times and derailled myself! I got to the end of the race and all the other racers I thought were my main competition had worse luck than me. I sat there thinking, "wow, my first first place of the year!" But a younger rider Sam rode like a madman and claimed the top spot by 20 seconds. I feel good losing to someone starting their career and I hope things only get better for him! I ended up getting second place a second time in the series and third overall.

I like Cory's props from his write up that I posted above.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Race #50: FrankenBike50, A Race for Men

When I saw this race posted on the CapCity website my mouth started watering. A 50 mile cyclocross adventure! It sounded treacherous and visions of classic Tour de France danced in my head. I saw men wearing goggles and leather helmets donning extra tires wrapped around their torsos. This will be my Roubaix, my Strade Bianchi, my Ronde.

I think everyone was nervous and eager to see how their fitness is heading into cyclocross season. The start was fast, the racers wanted to get the hole shot. There was about a mile or two of a gradual asphalt climb, and a group was hammering on the front. I was really happy to be up there and I tried to chill and stay out of the wind. But a small group attacked and the guys on the front of the group were being left out in the wind a bit too long so I hopped up there and bridged the group to the leaders.

I was still on the front as we headed onto a loose gravel road and I made a stupid mistake of making my turn too late and too fast and slid out, right at the base of a climb! So I grabbed the bike and started running up the hill losing a ton of spaces. Chewning from Team Hungry was with me and we attacked the first long climb with much bravado! We clawed and clawed our way up, and a few times my legs nearly gave up but Michael wouldn't let me give up. We eventually closed the gap and were with the two leaders!

I ended up getting the hole shot on the first trail descent. Man it was hairy and loose! Rock and sticks everywhere on a crazy ATV path. I was holding the breaks the entire time, because if you let off you might go too fast for the cross brakes to save you. At the bottom another rider and I hit the first road section. We looked back and we were alone, we lost Michael and another rider to that crazy downhill!

My new companion, Jeff, and I would end up spending most of the race together. We would share pulls on the road, wait for each other at aid stations and were all together chivalrous and true sportsmen, Why make an enemy with 35 miles to go? In some ways I knew I was in trouble and the win would most likely not be mine. I was rocking a 1x9, a 39 on front with a 12-25. Not enough meat for a sprint, and not easy enough for the long climbs. At one point we were having a Sunday ride on some single track and I think we dallied and lost a little time. Only at this point were we joined by another rider going into Aid Station 2, but another crazy downhill and Jeff and I were alone again.

The day, the scenery and the fire roads and trails were really beautiful! So much fun. We were getting close to the end, we finished a long hike-a-bike and we were going down a truly fun and fast trail. It was here the day went pear-shaped. We were going so fast we missed a turn. We lost a lot of time on the bottom of the hill because we were very confused, and we ended up riding and walking through this gnarly creek bed of loose shale. We finally found Aid Station 3, only to discover that we lost about 8 places and ten minutes... Going into this race I had a small hope that I could pull out a win, and now my hope was lost. I just said "c'est la vie." Jeff took off, and my gears and my broken heart prevented me from attacking this next climb.

There were 2 riders about 30 seconds ahead, Jeff bridged and dropped them in no time. But it took me most of the climb to reel them in. All in all, losing spots actually forced me to push even harder late in the race and I am thankful for this late effort. I was really killing myself up these last hills and on the flats. My HR was easily 160s -170s and my legs were cramping. I saw my friend Layne going into the final single track descent, and despite stopping to help another cyclist, he closed the gap to me rocking his sweet 29er. We rode into the finish together and I was so out of gas I couldn't accept his invitations to sprint around him! It's so fun to see all my CapCity friends again!

Once again Andy from CapCity put on a great event and the trails and roads were so scenic and epic, they made me fall in love with Ohio again. I can't wait to go out there and train this winter and spring!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

There is no love in war and cyclocross

UCI3 2009: A Cyclocross War In Cincinnati from CinéCinnati on Vimeo.

Finally finished editing video from last year's UCI3. I really wanted it to have a mood that felt like the event. That mud race was insane! I was inspired a bit by Raging Bull, by the footage of Pele from Once in a Lifetime and of course by all those old Jorgen Løth movies like Stars and Watercarriers.