I just keep falling further and further behind with the blogging. Our laptop is broken and things have been terribly hectic.
I've been commuting to work every day on the SS Jake the Snake. It's notable (that I've noticed) how beautiful the sunrise is over the city.
PIcked up a BMX bike that I may be commuting on some in the near future... $30 on craigslist for a Bontrager B1 in pretty excellent condition! Expect pictures if I ever get organized to post any of anything. I'm sort of excited about it, haven't had one since mine got stolen in college and in reality have never spent much time on them at all (as an aside, I sure wish I had! probably would have made this whole mountain bike thing a little easier to pick up).
Wound up not racing in Red Wing, but I did hit up a couple road group rides, the Eastwood TT, the WTR (River Falls) Thursday race and the Eau Claire WORS race this week.
Road group rides were challenging on the SS (52x19) but doable. Seems like a good way to avoid spending the big bucks on another bike while also getting a bit of an extra workout. I have been able to really ride well between about 14 and 26 mph with that gearing and can push it up hills that require slowing to even 8 or 9 while also hitting speeds around 30-32 when necessary. It gets pretty choppy pedaling wise over 28 though. Doing these rides SS seems like excellent training for XC races to me and I hope to continue to do them (at least while working days).
Eastwood TT turned into a battle between me and Mr. Kurke... Rather, I should probably say it turned into a parade lap for Mr. Kurke. I got a good workout in though, the 34 minute TT lap plus about another 90 minutes of riding, and it is always fun to see how you stack up against strong riders. I was a bit disappointed in the 34:xx time that I put down, but was less than 90 seconds behind. I'm chalking the slow time up to the very hot and humid weather. Hopefully we will have a better turnout this week, although the 5 or 6 racers we had last week would be pretty good by last years standards.
WTR Thursday- Finally something that felt like my first XC race of the year (it was unless you count Elk River on snow...)! Pre-rode the first 12 minutes of the course. Got off to a great start behind only Josh and where I was able to pedal efficiently while still keeping up etc.. Hit the first climb and felt like I had to "go". Got to the top in first, but then burned way too much energy trying to stay there. Would have been better served to just follow him or someone else for a while. Fell back to 5th or 6th and spent last half of lap 1 and much of lap 2 regrouping. Lap 3 was by far the fastest of my 3 and I managed to claw my way back to 3rd about 45 seconds behind Josh and 90 seconds behind 1st. Felt good about the result and felt even better about racing! It was so much fun just riding the course "all-out" and challenging myself. Also, can't say enough about what a fun venue WTR is for a race. Great mix of singletrack, places to pass, obstacles, some climbing and awesome people. For what it's worth, I joined the KORC club for good measure.
WORS- 1st Elite class race (and obviously my first "real" XC race of the year). Going into it I was hoping/expecting to finish within 20 minutes of the lead and to average over 12 mph. Started too fast or messed up my pre-race meals and got a bit sick to my stomache plus a head ache at the beginning of lap 2. Lost my "edge" for a while and rode like an idiot. Also flatted. Roughly 15 people passed me during lap 2, and I would later find out that I was sitting in dead last of the people who would finish (there were a few DNFs as well who were behind me). Lap 3 things improved some, fought with losing my focus though... It became a struggle to ride hard and push the pace while riding alone. Tried to keep my head up. Near the end of lap 3 I was getting the "I want to quits" pretty bad, didn't do it. Lap 4 started with a fresh water bottle hand-up and a a bit of resolve. I knew I was at or near the back (I was 4th from last apparently) and didn't like it! Was able to make my fastest lap of the day on lap 4 by about :30 over lap one. Caught and passed 3 riders. Finished in about 2:34 with a 13 mph average!
In the end I finished 3rd from last overall (the others behind me dropped), but really couldn't be unhappy with my performance. We rode more double track than I had anticipated, but I had to be happy with the average speed AND I finished 25 minutes behind overall despite really having a rough time on that second lap. Without the flat/crappy feeling combo I probably would have been right on my goal of 20 minutes behind, and honestly that's about where I'm at right now. Hopefully, with some more adaptation/training for XC I can find another 12-15 minutes by the end of the year.
Probably most importantly it was an awesome time! Enjoyed the trails and the atmosphere (crowds!) most certainly. A part of me is also really glad I didn't do any better than I did... I'd love to be faster now, but I'm doing this because I wanted a challenge.
Still planning on Levis-trow 100 this weekend (although I've considered dropping down to the 50).
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