Sunday, October 31, 2010

Parma CX

Opted out of racing in the blizzard and did a race across the river instead, it was also the state champs so I figure some good competition would be out. Kind of the same field as Cobb's Hill, but a few more good guys.

Headed out from De Cal's with his awesome parents in good time and arrived at Parma with plenty of time before outr 2:45 start so we shot the shit with watt and moote while watching McCarthur destroy the SS race and doing pretty good on a geared rig. Got changed into some some sweat pants and a lumberjack jacket for warm up, rode around some trails in the park with AD and did a few laps of the course before the start. Oh yeah, I also had two unfortunate incidents, I rolled a tubular and the other one I don't want to talk about.

The course could have been a little longer and maybe had a few more "cross" features, the stairs carved into the hill was pretty cool and so were the off-camber sections around a tree, both rideable but the second one was quicker to dismount and do a Tarzan swing around the tree. But other than those it was just a few turns, a couple straights, a couple barriers and some gravel. Our race ended up being 12 laps and the winner was most likely well under an hour, definitely the shortest cross course I've ever raced in my long career as a cross racer.

I got a call up so that was pretty sweet, lined up outside ride, I was feeling the hole shot today and actually got er. Motored through the little off camber turn before going up and had a tiny gap but shut down by the time I turned my head back. I got cut off by a few guys who really wanted to get out front for some reason and just kept moving backwards from there. Got dropped real quick by AD and Lance, then settled in train with Roden and Craig. We were working good at one point and closing in on Lance. I was getting a little tired and took the barriers for granted, hopped the first one and didn't even get the wheel up for the second one and over the bars I go, wasn't too bad though. Lost the 2 guys and couldn't get back to them by the end, oh well, it was fun. It was even snowing a little at one point.

Before the race I really wasn't feeling it, but after a massive coffee from McD's, riding some cool trails around the park and seeing a massive buck running through a corn field jumping about 6 feet in the air as he ran for the trees I was ready to go. I wasn't feeling too bad at the beginning at all, just couldn't seem to ride my bike. No matter how hard I was pushing I was just being too inefficient and steadily moving backwards, the train with Roden and Craig would have been awesome to stay on for the rest of the race, maybe we would have even reeled in Lance.

Huge thanks to Rob for the wheel after I rolled my tub, Moote was ready to pass one as well so that's just awesome. And of course to De Cals' parents for everything from the drive to an amazing post-race Italian feast. Our small group of Canadians did really well and had the best cheers by far. Maybe I'm going to put in more than 2 hours on my bike this week and hopefully have the form to battle it out for U23 Nationnal Champ, oh yeah, there might be a few other guys there that might be a little faster than me. Or alot faster and there's no chance in hell that I can beat them unless both their pit bike and race bike explode to pieces, whatever.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Kelso Cross

Woke up to a perfect day for some cross racing; warm(ish) and muddy. I wasn't too sure how mud factor would play out because I had never done a cross race in the mud before, I guess it went alright.
Same start to the day, only I arrived at De Cal's a little earlier and we got smaller coffees, loaded up the SUV and we were off. Got to Kelso with plenty of time to get ready and cruise around for a bit, we hopped on Saturday's course and followed the tracks, I was first to crash then De Cal went down. Cruised around some more and got lined up front row on the outside, I had joked before that I wanted the hole shot, but then you're front row and there's nothing in your way it seems very possible. GO, nailed the start and was even with Chown, he could have been agressive and been first out of the corner but he told me to go so I went for it and started hammering up the climb in the lead. It didn't take long for him and Hughes to come flying by.
From there it was just moving backwards until I found a comfortable pace, then I realised that it was a one hour race, there is no comfortable pace! That's the whole point. Oh yeah, and De Cal motivating me to grab his wheel after he had dropped me helped as well. So the second paved climb I attacked but only Kevin Black stuck with me, not what I wanted, but no big deal. We kept hammering and next thing I knew I was in a train with Kevin and Marco Li and we were catching Peter Morse, we made contact on the first paved climb but by the second one he was gone.
That brings us to about 3 to go, there's a soupy sweeping left hand bend at the top of the course around a pavillion, there was nothing too hard about it but I started taking a few more risks to hang with Li and Black so I can attack them on one of the climbs and hopefully get away. I was taking the turn relatively quick and down I went, head first to the ground, good thing it was soft mud or I might have knocked myself out. Instinct is to grab your bike and go and figure it all out when the dust settles, the only thing wrong was that I was a little dizzy and didn't realise that I was kicking about a foot away from where my pedal was to clip in.
The rest of the race was spent chassing but no matter how hard I went it seemed like they just kept pulling away. Crossed the line in 8th, not bad, 6th would have been better but I was trying to ride beyond my ability to hang with them and crashed, sometimes she doesn't go. Even though I was climbing better than them I was just too inefficient around the stakes and using up too much energy blasting out of every corner just to try and hang on.
Big thanks to De Cal's rents for the drive and professional number pinning. And to everyone who stayed and cheered us on through the greassy course, especially Rob Watt who had one hell of a sprint racing me up the first paved climb on the last lap, that's exactly what I needed.
Huge props to Chown for owning the race right from the start, should be a good time chassing him around Firemen's Park tonight.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Munchin out on some apple pie right now, gettin the glycogen stores back up for possibly another performance tomorow at the same place.

So a pretty solid race finally, I'm happy with it, it could have gone a little better when we got there though but whatever that's the way she goes. The morning was a little rushed as usual but I got to casa De Cal in good time and we hit up Starbucks for a massive coffee before heading to Kelso. Got there and noticed that the course had more than a bit of climbing but the turns looked nice and flowy. Watched Perry crush the Junior field, it was too easy for him so I tried to throw him off his game, might have worked a little.

The pre-ride was pretty good, 2 or 3 laps and some cruising around before going to the start line. Second row wasn't so great for the start but things got pretty sorted out by the end of the lap, I was sitting in around 16th through the first lap and moving up pretty good. I kept it pretty steady the entire time, gaps were closing slowly but surely and I just kept the pace high when I came by someone and rode away. I ended up closing in on Hughes and we were together for a half lap or so, he passed me going over the barriers and I watched him ride away. Stafford had a mechanical so there were only 3 espoirs left in front of me, I closed the gap on Preston and Marco Li and went by them. I couldn't shake Preston then he passed me and opened a small gap again. I had to close it when De Cal started calling me names for slowing down only because of some lower back pains, I had no choice but to suck it up.

I had a good boost with 3 to go and passed Preston and Kyle Douglas on one of the climbs shortly after the run-up and rode the rest of the race with Marco Li. I thought I had the podium spot locked but when I saw Stafford flying a few turns back I knew it would take one hell of an effort to hold him off. I picked up the pace but he still caught me no problem, I rode with him for a bit but couldn't hold the pace and he was gone. I put in a good dig at the end because I was feeling pretty good, too bad there was no one to sprint with.

I'm about 85% sure I'll be racing tomorow, I have yet to do a cross race in the mud so that should be a fun time. I was going to pass on it because of school work but I was convinced to get on that tonight to free up some time tomorow for some cyclocross fun.

Huge thanks to De Cal for the drive and even though the authorita did not let him participate he was still super pumped and motivating me when I was starting to fade, I'm going to hire someone to heckle me while I'm racing, but no pay because I'm pretty darn broke.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Toronto UCI

Well, another botched go at cyclocross, oh well, I learned how to remount a cross bike the right way so no more scooter pushing!

Day 1 went a little smoother than day 2, my start position was pretty good after a guy on the left couldn't clip in and held quite a few people up. At one point I was right behind Watson, so he was held up big time. Once the pack got sorted out I found myself pretty far back and lower back pain had already kicked in by the end of the first lap. I rode with De Cal for a while but him and John Roden eventually rode away from me, about a minute later we were pulled. Frattini was coming up on us quick, I knew from the start this was innevitable.

Had an awesome dinner at De Cal's Saturday night, the morning of day 2 was much calmer than the morning of day 1 when me and paps were driving around the wrong side of Centennial Park looking for the race. I got in a few warm up laps before the start, I liked this course alot more, it was longer but it was much easier to carry some speed through. Start was a little shaky but there were plenty of sections to pass up ahead, hopping the barriers I somehow managed to kick the cantilever undone, it was the back one so I had to pull over because it would be pretty sketch with only a front break. Chased from dead last for a while, start moving up then managed to pick up about 40 feet of tape, it got nice and ravelled in the cassette. Chased again for a while, started riding with Kiernan O. but ran out of time and Frantini came by me in the sandpit.

The weekend was a great experience racing in a stacked field, I'll give'r another go this weekend at Provincials.

Big thanks to the De Cal's for the drive and fooood. More than one o because it was alot of food.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Cobb's Hill

Another beautiful day in October for some cyclocross action, headed to Rochester with Aly and Neil Armstrong and their future-physicist son Zander. Neil was racing at 12:30 so that gave me enough time to scramble around trying to get my front brake problem sorted out before the start, good thing Moote was there to help me out big time. Thanks bud.

After a few laps I got lined up and was feeling alright, it was a course that suited me big time but during the pre-ride I really wasn't feeling it at all. I found some motivation and we were off, settled into 4th in the lead train and started to come around a bit, heading into the singletrack the pace was a little slow and I thought I would actually move up. Well, long story short, 4 laps later I had dropped down to 8th or so and was actually thinking my lower back wouldn't make it for the remainder of the race. I went from feeling confident enough for a spot on the podium to hoping the leader would come around soon so I could do one lap less, finally with 2 to go he came around so that became my last lap.

Not my day at all, hopefully this isn't the point in the season where it's all downhill from here, I've got to stop with the negative thinking. OK, so looking for a sweep next weekend, rack up some UCI points and have the form come around in time for the World Cups overseas where I should be able to land a spot on a pro team, no problem.

Thanks again to Neil for the drive and everything, and to Zander for the entertainment.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

ZM Oktoberfest Cross

This is what a race report sounds like when I didn't wear my argile socks... Or barely put any glue on my tubular, one of those two.

Headed out to Toronto in the pouring rain with a pretty bad cold and a big cup of coffee, I really wasn't looking forward to racing once we got around Hamilton and it was raining even harder and there was quite the wind, being new to cross I'm still a little soft for the rough weather. I figured that the streak of dry courses had to come to an end sooner or later since it's fall in Ontario, but when we got to Mississauga it was pretty much bone dry, still too cold for my liking. I grabbed a breakfast omelette from subway and crossed the street to top off the breakfast of champions with some carbs and another coffee from Tim's. I chilled around the St. Catharines CC tent while I watched the earlier races, Etzl totally destroyed the junior race, Visser is a sandbagger and Neil rode so hard he knocked himself out. All in all, great riding from members in the St. Catharines CC.

I threw on way too many layers for my course pre-ride and by the time I got lined up I was pretty much sitting in my own personnal sauna, 5 minutes later it was turning into a fridge; moisture on the body doesn't go good with cold. Start was pretty sketchy, pretty much a funnel, good way to spread guys out I guess. I was pretty far back, myself and De Cal were stuck in a train of guys taking the turns pretty slow and it was a pretty hard course to make some good passes so we were stuck until it opened up. I moved up before the start of the big steep climb and rolled the rear tubular before I even started climbing, ran to the pits from there instead of simply rolling it back on and riding easy to the pits, the whole thing was off so maybe it wouldn't have stayed on anyways. Good thing Neil was there to lend me a hand and his wheel so I can get going before Stafford came around.

Once I got going again I was just out there to have a good time and get a good workout in, it was a really fun course but most were saying it wasn't really a "cross course", I haven't done nearly enough races to have an idea of what that might be, but I can say it was pretty different from the other ones I've done. On the third or second last lap I started to ride harder and pick up time where I can; like running the log hop and the sand in the playground and actually stayed with the guys that were coming around for a bit. The last lap was a battle with the second placed M1, he took me right at the line.

So not as successful as Saturday but cross is fun so it was a good day anyways, big thanks to Neil for the drive and for being the pit-man for the local guys in the 1 oclock race. He was riding pretty strong before his incident, oh well, shit happens, at least the form is there. Chown had a pretty solid ride from what I saw when he blew by me, results show De Cal didn't do so bad for being in total off-season mode.

I just finished munching out after some solid cx training, hammering on a slick course is an awesome way to clear up the sinuses before bed. Steve DeBoer has set up an awesome cross course at a top secret location where no miserable people are giving us shit for riding on the grass that their dogs like to shit on. Neil and myself have a good system going now for Tuesday and Thursday cross nights, I get scooped from school as long as I provide the coffee, so big thanks to him for that as well.

First of many Unit Exams tomorow, should be awesome.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Romp in the Swamp

Crossed the river for a cross race put on by Handlebars at Buffalo U, pretty sweet campus, too bad starbuck's doesn't take monopoly money. I started the day with a pretty greasy breakfast from the gas station we met at in NF before hopping in the Canadian Cyclist magazine van with their big-time editor Dan Dakin. No delay at the border so we got to the course early enough for some awesome free pastries while watching the M2 and Women's race, good rides Neil, Aly and Leslie. It was great to be able to sit in one spot and see a huge chunk of the course, it was too cold to walk around anyways at that point.

Got in three or four pre-ride laps after them and lined up at the fron on the outside, this was the first time I can feel a really fast heart rate at the start. I took the hole shot but it didn't take long for Chown to come around, I got in front before the final set of turns before the start/finish to take the first lap prime, oh yeah, no first lap prime. So I started off a bit fast for no reason and started loosing some ground to Peter and Nathan for the next lap, I was towing Greg around the course for I didn't mind because the gap wasn't getting too big from the leaders. Peter rolled a tubular and Chown just sort of rode away effortlessly so it was now a race for second while trying to hold off the others.

Nothing too much exciting happened until the last lap, I had led the back stretch (one of the only parts of the course where drafting was a big advantage) for the last 2 or 3 laps so it was his turn. He took it really slow to conserve something for the sprint but for the first time in pretty much ever, I waited and waited until just before the pavement that brings you to the last set of turns. I took off and saw I had a good enough gap to take the sprint, I pushed really hard for the sprints anyways because it's fun.

Awesome food afterwards, amazing prizes, only 30 bucks race fee, how can you go wrong? I won some Avid Shorty Ultimates, and even some cash. Stopped by Handlebars afterwards with Chown and met the guys I've been racing for all year, sweet shop and good bunch of workers there. Big thanks to Dan for the drive up and Chown for the drive back and to everyone who helped put on this event.