Green Acres CX and early season CX

I somehow skipped blogging about a bunch of early season CX races.

The 2/3 race at trek cxc was super fun.  I had solid rides both days and finished around 10th despite going in with a pretty nasty head cold that had even required taking time off from work Thursday and Friday.  The course was one that suited me pretty well and the temperatures stayed down just enough for me to ride solidly.

The next few weeks after that, really all the way up to the Filthy 50 I battled the clock trying to squeeze in house work, unpacking, turning my garage into a shop, training etc. way too much vs. being ready to race.  This was ok as I was viewing it as the beginning of my training for the fall.  My season this year falls into 4 blocks of CX races with the rest period between blocks one and two being the Filthy 50 weekend.  I wanted to be as fast as possible early, but last year I feel I ran out of steam late and wasn't able to capitalize on my bike handling skills as much as I wanted to when it got muddy and snowy late.  A longer view for this year, then.

Metal Cross was a total disaster for me.  Crazy mechanicals the first day took me out of both the SS and the 1/2 race and then the temperature soared and I rode crappy on day 2.

Next was the Baker Orchard race.  I didn't go in with high expectations because my legs had been leaden all week but was bailed out by the weather.  The muddy conditions and relatively flat course put alot of emphasis on skills I do have and not on fitness that maybe wasn't there.  I was pleased to finish 7th with a strong field.

I headed to Green Acres on a bit of a high after winning on the road during my rest week.  Green Acres is a course I really enjoy and the conditions were looking excellent with cold temperatures and a bit of rain.  Saturday race started out solidly and I came back down the hill in the top 6 or 8 but then I had stupid problem with my chain and frustration with my new shoes and found myself out of it physically and mentally very early on.  I chose to ride on at a fun pace and get some practice riding the course but then to pull out prior to being lapped, already had an eye on Sunday.

Sunday's course was a bit of a change-up with some awesome singletrack downhill sections and an even steeper muddy climb that I could just barely ride.  The race started well but this time a rider right in front of me crashed at the top of the first hill and the lead pack of 6 was gone from the start.  I pressed a bit too much to get back into it and went head first into a tree too! By the time I got things sorted out I was 60+ seconds behind after just a lap and no where near where I wanted to be.  I caught and passed one rider each lap for a while.  Finally getting close to Fred...

Well, not close to him there yet at all.  He and Dominic both weren't caught up in that early crash.

There close to him and closing...

When I caught Fred he just took off!  but I caught him again and then we made like 5 laps like this...

Getting in a little duel with Fred was pretty fun.  Obviously we like to compete with each other, but we are also friendly enough that more things go than with most other riders.  What I mean, is that we were both really enjoying feeling each other out and sort of screwing with each other where if it had been someone else we might have played it a bit closer to the vest?  Anyways, I won this battle because of the lesson I learned last year at the same venue.  I may also have set Fred up a bit by dogging it up the hill with two and three laps to go because when I had the lungs to keep it pinned up top after riding the hill on the last lap I was able to open up almost 30 seconds between there and the finish.  I finished 7th against what was probably the strongest non-state chamionship field I think I've seen in MN.  Sort of interestingly Dominic was right in front of me for the second year in a row at Green Acres, maybe next year I will beat him there.  Trevor dominated the 35+ field both days!  They started 30 seconds behind the 1/2 field but he was easily top 10 overall despite the handicap both days and wasn't too far from catching me Sunday.  Always good to see him racing CX after the long WORS season. I thought these pictures of us were funny right after the race...


Filthy 50 2013 race recap

First, awesome to see so many people show up for this event.  It was very well run, organized, planned etc..  I'll be back next year if it fits my schedule at all!  Hope to see some more of these racers at next years Dickie Scramble.  Here is my overly detailed racey race report.

Twenty miles in and we were caught and I was tired.

My goal and plan had been to get off the front solo, which had failed despite 3 real efforts to do so and some great help from Rochester teammates.  I'd only succeeded in gaining two man moves-  first from mile 3 to 6 or so and then again from mile 13 to 20ish.  It was disappointing I hadn't gotten further clear.  I knew Franz had done what he could for me and it was appreciated.  The group that had caught up was very strong.  They were the reason I had planned and hoped to go solo.  I didn't like my odds against any of them late in the race heads up and they were all there yet but one (Nick).  My failed gamble had been that if I went before the group broke up I might gain more time than anyone was expecting.  There was little left to do but take my turns at the front and avoid being dropped.  The group was friendly and worked well together for the next 20 miles as we all anticipated getting back out of the valley.

On Nature rd Dominic  attacked and he and Pat gained a gap.  I sat back knowing the false flat would give time to pull things back together, which was true.  Wow, was I ever thankful we did not go up Oriole!  I noted that Pat's teammate Adam did take a couple turns with me to get us both back on term.  At that point we were over the only large bump and there were about 18 miles to the finish.  Surprisingly, with so far to go, the attacks, games, strategy started immediately.

Pat and Dominic appeared much stronger than Adam and I and Pat wanted clear.  I was dropped multiple times over the next couple of miles but always came back after the move was covered.  Simply unable to respond to either of their digs I was resigned to not even trying but instead staying steady and hoping.  Adam didn't appear to be doing much better either.  At one point Adam and I were 25 or 30 seconds back riding side by side both thinking that we were beat.  Once we were back on the other two were marking each other so hard that Adam and I both slipped clear, but I wasn't on terms with Adam and I needed to eat so I went back to the other two.  Adam opened up a 45-60 second gap as Dominic realized that for different reasons neither Pat nor I would really do any work. Over the next few miles Dominic put in a really strong effort and I did eventually take a couple of pulls.  I started to see that if we caught Adam he might be the only one of the three I could beat and as such I wanted to keep the gap reasonable.  Then again, when we caught him the whole thing would break open and I would probably be dropped, so no need to catch until the end.

At 3.5 miles to go nothing had changed for quite a while and Adam had 26 seconds.  I was hoping for a sprint.

At 3.2 miles to go we crossed hwy 30 and Dominic slowed and moved left marked by Pat.  They seemed to stop.  I was alone on the right side of the road and I must have had a hundred plus meters before they even reacted.  I was very very tired, constantly looking under my armpit for the next mile.  I wondered what had happened, how could they not be coming after me?  The gap was so big so fast, it felt like a gift.

Meanwhile Adam was 15-20 seconds ahead of me and I had no idea how he was feeling or if I could catch him solo but then he blew the last corner...

2 miles to go I was leading, riding 24+ mph down a gravel road I know well.  It was the solo ending I had hoped for.

It happened so fast I didn't even know what to think.  Again, like a gift.  Luck.  Wow!

Pat beat Dominic in a contested sprint.  Rochester teammates had solid rides in 5th and 6th.  Monika came in with a strong 11th on a flat tire.  Everyone seemed happy.  I won 12 pork chops...

The other thing of note...

Which was the right choice.  The frame and both wheels are cyclocarbon repairs.  I won't get into my thoughts on 'gravel bikes' any more than this...  expect to either see my on this setup or my tarmac with the same wheels and 27s.  I mostly went with this bike here because I was too lazy to change handlebars so I could run aero bars on the Tarmac at this time of the year.

And, Strava...


Just thought you should know: cat dumper


On Wednesday night you drove out of Rochester with two kittens.  You had probably been trying to give them away for a few weeks.  You knew that they were your responsibility since you had been irresponsible enough not to spay your pet.  

I know this because Thursday morning when I woke up they were high in my trees, scared out of their minds.  They came down to see me with some coaxing.  The two of them were inseparable.  They followed me as I went about my outdoor chores and work.  Here they are-

I gave them food and water, starting trying to find a home willing to take them.  They were so friendly to me, happy to follow all over through the woods.  They always stayed close.

Sometime late last night the the one on the left was caught on the ground, spooked, chased and killed.  Most likely it was one of the neighbors dogs.  Really, it was you.  These were indoor cats that obviously had not learned to hunt, protect or defend themselves.  Is that the ending you had envisioned when you drove down my gravel road?  When you were too much of a coward to take care of her or even to have her put down?  What did you expect?

Of course the blame doesn't end there.  Paws and Claws...  did they call you and ask if you had room for these cats?  I don't know, but you would have been condescending and scoffed at the notion.  You would have acted like whoever was calling was an ignorant jerk who had let their animals breed.  They should have known you were too busy and full to help them solve the problem they had created.  I know this because this was the attitude you gave me when I called you today.  You raised millions in Rochester recently for your new building and yet you cop an attitude when someone needs you?  What are your priorities?   Full or not, finding home for many animals or not...  you need to realize the consequences of having an attitude.  You are the largest and most known shelter.  You are who people call.  If you simply turn them away and with an attitude that makes them feel hopeless...  what do you expect them to do?