Sunday, August 24, 2008

Krugers - 8/24/08

Wow, my first bike race VICTORY !!!!

I entered the Masters 35+ C category since that was the category I raced last year and never had a top 10 finish. Well, what a difference a year makes.

I got to the start early, so I was able to line up in the front of the line. I knew that the start and the first lap was critical. I found myself in the top three around the 1st corner, so I knew it was time to "bury myself". I knew that if I could create a gap on the first lap or so then I could recover and then get into "git'er done" mode. Well, that's what I did. I was leading the pack the first couple laps.

One fellow caught me on the third lap as I got into recovery mode. I found that being first is a real tough spot mentally. You can look back occasionally, but it's tough to know what pace to hold. So, I let him pass me and followed him for a few laps.

He started to slow down on the 6th/7th lap, so I decided to pass him. In retrospect, probably a poor strategic move. Once again I wasn't positive what pace to hold. So, I just rode my own race. Ride hard enough at a pace you know you can maintain and try to recover alittle.

Well, on the bell lap (last lap), I looked back and didn't see him. It gets confusing on these races about position since I was passing the riders from the other category that started before us. I knew I had to finish strong, so I rode at that point where that blood taste as I coughed was bearable. I hammered hard on the straight stretch prior to the last corner - didn't look back, tried to listen for him - didn't hear anything, so I just hammered with what I had left. Well, turns out he was catching me on that straight stretch, as the crowd got all excited as we went through the final corner. I slowed down enough - since going to fast in a corner can mean big trouble.

Well, I held him off !!!! We had some good laughs after we both got up after collapsing in the field area after the finish.

I was very happy with my new wheels. I ran about 32psi which was much lower than most people I spoke to. They did awesome in the corners and my rear wasn't in total pain.

I was very happy with my mental toughness to continue on. Wow, that is the worst part to keep going when you get that "pukey feeling" or when you cough you taste alittle blood.

The post race victory beer tasted AWESOME.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Cyclocross is Coming

I haven't made a post since springtime, but with cyclocross around the corner it's time to blog again. First, a few updates on the spring and summer riding.

This year, I joined the race team of Portland Velo. I've raced mountain bike and cyclocross for a quite a few years, but I figured some road racing would get me in shape for the 2008 cross season. I've done a mixture of road races just to get some experience, figure out what I'm good at, and improve my fitness.

I've learned that I'm too big to be a "climber" and too small to be a "sprinter". That leaves the middle ground of "guy that works for the team". This turns out to be a "strong man" position - spending time at the front means alot of work. My best chance of winning anything is to get in a breakaway with a few guys or if it's short - just by myself. Well, I think that will be good training for cross.

I've done quite a few races at PIR (the car race track in PDX). They have a couple races a week in the evening during the summer. This is a great place to get race experience and get some training.

I find that I enjoy the shorter races such as PIR or criteriums. These are typically 30 to 60 minutes races. The crits are alot of fun since the are fast and lots of corners - you have to be on "your game" the entire time to keep the rubber side down.

I got some new wheels for my cross bike - Stan's NoTubes. They are tubeless so you can run much lower pressures without pinch flating since there is no tube. I'm pumped to try them out.

Well, the first taste of dirt is this weekend at Krugers. This is a basically a strong man crit on gravel. Race is for 45 minutes on the farm roads. Should be lots of fun.