OK. Now I’m two weeks behind in the “race reports”. I’ll update soon. Sorry.
Ok-I’ve been spending a fair amount of time trying to ride the Tour of Missouri. My only option would be on the US National Developement Team. I know I have no permanent place there. I thought that I’d paid my dues with USA Cycling and I could wiggle a spot for my “local” race. Anyway, that didn’t work out. So, up to Chequamegon for me. I’ve riden my MTB bike twice this week. And my crotch is rebelling seriously. Should be interesting.
Backing up to Sedalia and Otterville, MO races. Sedalia is a awesome night time criterium in downtown Sedalia. Held in conjunction with a motorcycle ralley down the street. The air is questionable by the time we start because of all the smoke from the “cyclists” peeling out and doing doughnuts in the intersections.
Anyway, the race is at 9 or 9:30 pm. An hour race. 4 corner rectangle. Up and down a slight hill. There were about 35-40 guys in the 1-2 race. Almost immediately from the gun, I got off the front after a prime. Within a lap, Brian (Jensen) bridged up and a couple laps later, Shad (Smith) came. Then we proceeded to do a three man TTT until we lapped the field. Brian was killing it on the downhill and it was all Shad and I could do to hold on.
After lapping the field, Brian took off again and took Bill (Stolte) with him, so it was a 1-2-3-4 finish for us, with Brian winning, me 2nd, and then Shad and Bill.
We were eating dinner at Perkins at 12:30pm, dreading the 9am start for the Otterville Road Race. It was 74 miles, 3 loops of 24.something miles. Hilly miles. And it was hot.
Same thing again. Almost instantly I found myself off the front with Adam (Mills). We were going just OK, but there was alot of hot riding to go. After about half a lap we saw that Brian was coming up. We waited, and he caught quick. After just a couple more miles, I hit a pothole on a descent and flatted my front tire. The follow van was behind the field which was a ways back. I got a pretty slow wheel change and chased/motor paced/chased so more until I got back on to the field. I caught right at the end of the first lap, which started the hilly section. There was a pretty good rotation going at the front with about 8 guys taking turns. I thought I’d attack a couple times to break up the chase, but next thing I know, I’m off the front with Bill and a Dent Wizard rider. Adam and Brian wait up, the Dent Wizard guy conceeds and we do a 5 man TTT for the next 48 miles. Long story short, we all kind of fall apart towards the end, but end up 1-2-3-4 with me winning, Brian 2nd, Adam 3rd and Bill 4th again for the second day in a row. There was a public pool at the finish line which the cyclists took over and it was sooo refreshing.
Labor Day. This is getting kind of long, but the Labor Day races in St. Louis are some on the funniest races I do. 4 criteriums. The first one is at 9:30pm, then the next three are pretty challenging with small hills.
Nothing seemed to go that great, but we rode pretty good as a team. We all seemed to have super bad allergies or maybe we just all got sick after a couple days. Whatever the reason, it was kind of a struggle all the days. I broke a spoke in the sprint the first night and went around the last corner in 2nd, on Brian’s wheel, and ended up 10th. Dan Smatz was smearing us whenever it came down to a sprint. I wasn’t even close. I finished 4th the next two days, and on the final day, Brian finally won. And he had to really work to win. He was riding pretty badly and spent the majority of the race off the front with 3 others. He attacked them with a lap and a half to go and finished alone. I won the field sprint after getting a half a lap leadout from Smatz. I think he wanted to stay out of trouble with the Tour of Missouri coming up.
So, Dan Smatz won overall. Brian was 3rd and I was 5th. Josh Carter and Jeff Hartman were 2nd and 4th. Pretty hard racing and fun venues.
I ran a couple times in the mean time and am trying to get ready for sinus surgery or cyclo-x. Which ever comes first. I’m planning on doing both races in Las Vegas during Interbike. A UCI cyclo-x on Wednesday night and then the Criterium “World Championships” on Thursday night. Should be a good time. OK. That’s it for now. Photo-One room for 5 hours of sleep between races. Podium from St. Louis.
Everything works out for a reason. I was pretty bummed about having to read the results from Tour of Missouri on the internet every day this past week. But, I was pleasantly surprised about how much I enjoyed the 10 hour drive up to Northern Wisconsin and riding my MTB bike. I need to quit being in such a “road” rut and mix it up more to keep fresh. Plus, mountain bike riding uses a bunch of different muscles that probably need to used more often during the season.
I’d ridden my MTB exactly 3 days this year. That was an issue. Bill and I drove up on Wednesday and prerode the whole course from Fish Hatchery to Telemark. That was 37.5 miles of the 40 mile course. Only missing the road section at the start. It took us 2:19, which was faster than my finishing time last year, but I had a flat and a really embarrassingly slow fix. So, it was going to be fast. I’m not in the position to complain about anything that goes on at this race, since it’s such a successful weekend and so fun, but if I were to complain, I love to see a little technical riding somewhere on the course. A lot of the times, the weather makes some of the terrain challenging, but now, the whole course could be driven by a VW Beetle. So, it’s hard to break up the big groups of guys riding around.
I stay up at Dennis Kruse’s compound when I’m up in the Cable area. I’ve been coming up here for over 15 years. It is a compound. A main house with three bedroom’s and bike room/ski wax room and two “garages” with sleeping situations above. I’ve built and worked on a bunch of it, so it’s pretty familiar. (I’ll take some photos and post them later.) Kent Eriksen(click on website to the right) and his wife Katie were here. I haven’t seen them for a year, which was way too long. Plus, the normal guys from Kansas, Catherine Walberg (3X winner) and Bill Stolte. This is the favorite place on the planet for my dog, Bromont, so of course he’s along, since Trudi is working the Tour of Missouri with the BMC Team.
Race Day was way cold. The morning low here was 22. By the time the race was starting, it had warmed up alot. I was riding my rigid Kent Eriksen 29r with 2.2 Bontrager Tubeless(28 psi).
I started out pretty good on the road. 2500 riders rolling out of Hayward’s mainstreet is a sight to behold. I guess there was a big crash involving the Eppen’s on a tandem, but I didn’t even hear it. I hit the field in 2nd behind Doug Swanson. Cole House attacked instantly and I stayed behind Doug. I could tell almost immediately that he didn’t have it. It was kind of weird. I felt bad for him because I’ve been in that situation a couple times and you know it so early and there is nothing that you can do about it. Towards the end of Rosie’s Field I jumped around Doug and went up to Cole. I put a couple efforts in on the first couple hills and was surprised when I looked back there were still 15 or so guys back there. Doug and Tristan weren’t, but Bill was.
Then the race got a little boring. Most of the rest of the way, everyone kind of played the cat and mouse game. It didn’t seem like anyone really wanted to ride hard, or maybe they already were. I’m not sure. Jeff Hall went pretty hard a couple times before the lake, but that didn’t really split things up. I jumped a few times after descents and Bill “counter attacked”, but nothing seem to split it up. I was looking for a small group that wanted to work together.
I waited until the Seeley Fire Tower climb to put another attack in, but that didn’t go so well. I screwed up a couple times and then miss shifted on the last pitch, so I only had 10 seconds or so going over the top. I keep going pretty hard for the descent and when we got to the logging road at the bottom, there were only 6 of us left. But, by the time we hit the Birkie Trail again everyone was back. Travis Brown attacked first on , then Brian Matter went hard. I came by Brian and we got a small gap, but Jesse Lalonde on his single speed came back to us. Through the last feed station I think there were 5 of us or so, but the others caught back on the road.
My new plan was to go fast through the Telemark Trails, the last two miles and not stop until the finish. I could tell Jesse wanted to lead into the Telemark area, so I let him. He set a pretty hard pace right as he entered. I was getting screwed up because I’d never ridden behind a guy on a single speed and kept coming up on him at the top of the hills when he was over geared. Anyway, I figured that out, kind of, after a couple oxygen depleting episodes, and started backing off of him before the bottom of the hills so I could keep my momentum over the tops.
On the last steep pitch in the trails, I made a huge mistake. OK, a couple of huge mistakes. First, I looked back. Second, I didn’t look forward quick enough. Third I shifted wrong. That combination on one hill was enough to ruin any chances I had to win.
I looked back and was so surprised that no one was there, I keep looking back to see who was where. So, in the mean time I was going up the hill a lot faster than Jesse and was going to hit him. I had to brake and shift. Be since I’m so familiar with my MTB bike since I’ve ridden it so much, I shifted down into a 14 instead of up into a 24. So, Jesse is doing 60 rpms up this hill and I’m stationary doing none in a big gear. Over the top, I was completely gassed and I couldn’t see Jesse. Brian Matter closed the gap completely on that one hill and I let him by and encouraged him to catch Jesse.
I coasted down to the final open climb up to the top of Telemark and Jeff Hall and Jesse’s brother caught me climbing up the hill. I thought, this is stupid, I’m not even going to finish on the podium, so I dug deep and sprinted over the top and kept it in a big gear to the finish.
It was a disappointment for me to finish 3rd only 10 seconds back. But, I deserved the place I got. And, Jesse Lalonde deserved to win. He had a plan, the race developed into something that allowed him to be competitive and he was super, super strong. Those are winning combinations.
It is strange that the same hill on the Telemark trails has been an all important 15 meters in 3 of the Chequamegons I’ve ridden. And 2 out of 3 times on that hill it was bad. 3 years back, I was with Brian Matter and Jeff Hall leading and a stick got caught up in my rear wheel and started pulling my rear derailleur back. I had to dismount, stop and spin my wheel backwards to remove the stick. I got going and passed Jeff, but was blown when I caught Brian and he beat me. The same hill was where Dewey Dickie caught Jed Sneider and myself when we hadn’t seen him in miles. He took us so much by surprise that he was by us before we knew it. I chased him the last mile and caught him on the downhill. That year I won the sprint. But, now again. Strange.
Now, a couple days later, I’m OK with it all. I should know which way to shift. And, it’s much better to get 3rd and be riding well, than 3rd and not riding well. And, I learned a lot. It’s weird, I can’t think of a race I’ve been in, road or MTB or Cross that I haven’t learned something. I learned a lot about Singlespeed riders and their pace. It might not be enough yet, but it’s a start. I’m thinking of putting one together to mess around with now.
Photos-Climbing Firetower and podium shot.
I finally realized today that the next week is going to be pretty intense to say the least. I drove down to Chicago and am on my way to Detroit for the first two UCI Cyclocrosses of the season Saturday and Sunday. Then I’m driving back to Kansas and flying out to Las Vegas on Tuesday for Interbike and the UCI Vegas Cross on Wednesday nite and the “World” Criterium Championships on Thursday nite at the Mandalay Bay. Flying back on Friday mid-day to arrive in KC in the evening. Then driving from the airport down to Ft. Smith, Arkansas for the two day Mercy Classic. So, that is 6 races in 9 days. 3 of the being cyclo-x races which might cripple me.(I have “wogged”, Ned’s word for walking/jogging, 3 times this month.) Should be interesting. I’ll keep you updated.
OK. Drove until 2am East Coast time to get to Detroit for the 2 UCI Cyclo-X races. Things seemed to be going good before the race. Mainly a grass course with a bunch of technical U-turns on hills. Anyway, I started where I left off last season. Pulling my foot out of my pedal at the start and dropping my chain. Catherine Walberg had finished 3rd in the women’s race and probably should of caught the girl in 2nd.
Anyway, I was called up to the line 5th, behind Jonathan Page, some Swiss National Champion that is travelling with him, Tristan, etc. Like I said, upon the 4th or 5th pedal stroke, I pulled my foot out of my pedal. I was buried, back in the late teens. I made a big effort and almost connected back to the front group of 9 at the end of the first lap, but they did a big acceleration and I was gone. I caught Adam Meyerson a lap later and we rode the rest of the race together going nowhere. We caught a couple guys that were fading and got caught by a couple guys that were riding faster. On the last lap, we were going for 7th, but Adam slid out on a corner towards the end and I ran into him and stepped on him pretty good. The other guy road away from us and we got caught from behind by a couple other guys. So, I ended up getting 9th, 2 UCI points. I’m not sure what to think about that. It wasn’t what I was hoping, but it is probably the place I deserved. Well, that might not be exactly right either, but that is how it ended up. OK. More results Monday, since I’m going to be driving 900 miles tomorrow night after the race at 3pm. Jonathan Page won. Swiss guy 2nd. Canadian National Champion third. Nerac guy 4th. Not sure of other results yet.
The race on Sunday went pretty much like the race did on Saturday, but I improved. Just alittle. I made way less mistakes and had a chance to ride myself up to a more respectable place, but kind of blew it. I ended up 8th, but had the ability to get 5th, but that didn’t happen. Jonathan Page won again, I think. He was with his Swiss friend and they went across the line together, so I’m not sure who actually won. I was riding around in a group going for 5th. We almost caught 3rd and 4th, but didn’t. On the last lap, I made a mistake that I couldn’t recover from and ended up last in the group. That is two days in a row. I ended up with a measley 6 UCI points for the whole weekend. That isn’t what I expected. But, I learned a bunch. Or, remembered a bunch is more accurate. Hopefully, Las Vegas will be easier now that I’ve raced a couple times. OK. 2 races down, 4 more to go this week.
Got to Las Vegas and rode up to the Cross Vegas course on my road bike early afternoon. When I got there, I quickly realized that the race was going to be super hard. 2 inches of bermuda grass that was thicker than thick carpet. Like riding in sticky mud, with virtually no bike handling involved. I was riding pretty well, so thought that it was fine.
The race was up at the soccer complex and started at 9:30pm under the lights. Super cool venue. About 9pm, the taxis started pulling up with industry spectators from interbike. It was a pretty unusual scene.
I got a OK call-up from the UCI points from last cross season. Somewhere in the 3rd row. I think there were about 100 starters, so I can’t complain. Anyway, I got a good start and rode most of the first lap in the tail end of the top 10. That is when everything started going downhill.
I felt/taste that blood, burning thing going on in my throat. I have a little history with exercise asthma, but this was different. The next lap, I was fading into the teens. And and was getting less air to my lungs. And it snowballed from there.
Halfway through the next lap I did a U-turn when I got to the paved section of the course and quit. My throat was burning like crazy. I was coughing like crazy. Plus, I was getting super dizzy.
I’ve only experienced anything close to that feeling. At the start of a World Cup MTB race in Hofalize, Belgium that went up a road climb covered with new powered cement.
Anyway, I went from thinking that I was going to have a stellar result to watching the last half of the race. But, it was super interesting/exciting/etc.
Ryan Trebon was throwing down attacks at the end that were almost unhuman. He is super fit right now and is unbeatable on a riding course like that.
I was hurt. Badly. I was coughing a bunch of badly colored lung stuff up. And sleep deprieved. The next night was the USA Criterium Finals at the Madalay Bay.