Sunday, September 14, 2008


Last night I got an email about the series standings. I was sitting in 2nd place. 11 points behind 1st place and 1 point ahead of a team-mate. I knew my team-mate wasn't racing, so I knew it was me and Mr Guinness (that's his team). I also knew he raced yesterday at a race my team put on - I was in charge of registration so I signed him in. He took 7th place in the Master B group (category up from what we were racing today).

I made one critical change today - went back to 30psi in the tires (1st race the same - 2nd race ran 37psi - too bumpy). Got there early and I did a couple practice laps in between races. Hit the corners hard and bike felt great. I can't believe ~5psi makes such a difference. Lesson learned.

Weather was alittle cooler than last week - mid 80s. Got in some warm up on the road and pulled up to the start line next to Mr Guinness. Had a good chat with him. He got back into racing this year and he's moving up through the categories. These were the first dirt races of the year, so he sign up for C - makes sense.

Horn blows - I'm in the top five through the bumpy, grassy turns that lead into the gravel road. Mr Guinness is at the front - he's got legs the size of my torso, so good sprint guy (decent results at PIR). I hit the juice to get up on his wheel. I lose him half way on the lap in the corners. He was going like strong bull and I realize I'm pulling about 5 guys and starting to blow my legs.

I decide to ride my own race and within my limits - critical thing was to stay in the top 10 and top 5 would be awesome. About 4 of us are kinda working together but not very well. I pull ahead with a couple guys and we get a gap and we have Guinness man in our sight. I started trying to motivate the others because that would be the only way to catch him now (had about 30 seconds I'd guess). The working together wasn't happening and I didn't want to pull these guys around and have them blow by me.

We started catching quite a few B riders (they started ~40 seconds ahead of us). I knew there were only 2 others C guys with me. On the last lap, one guy pulled alittle ahead of me after I buried myself and he did some wheel-sucking. I hammered as hard as possible and no one passed me after that.

Finished 3 place. Probably around 30 to 40 seconds behind Mr Guinness. He finished 1st in the series and he's upgrading to B now. I finished 2nd in the series for my category and got some cool hardware to take home.

BTW, the definition of a Kermesse is defined here .

Based on the series, I believe my fitness level is ready to compete decently in Master C cross this year. I was finishing in the 30-40 place range last year. That was my top reasons for starting to road race this year. Looks like it should be a good season. Looking forward to it.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Krugers Kermesse #2

My mom and Luke came out to enjoy the race day. It was a beautiful sunny day, but alittle on the warm side. We started the day with Luke completing a lap on the kiddy race. He said, "wow that sure was bumpy and I'm really hot". I think that was a sign of things to come.

Heard an announcement that they stopped the race before me. I guess a fellow went down pretty hard in the C race. I ran into the promoter at the registration tent after the dust settled. Sounds like someone was pushing things and possibly people alittle hard in the beginning of the race.

Our race started about 15 minutes late and was going to be shorter - only 6 laps. The master Bs pushed off and we started about a minute later. The course was in the opposite direction this week, so the "hole shot" was completely different. The "hole shot" is the sprint in the beginning to get in the lead group. This is absolutely critical in a cross or mountain bike race in order to avoid the others in the bottleneck sections. I found myself in the top 5 but I decided to hold back alittle this week. Not sure if that was the correct decision. I found myself behind a couple guys and watched the guy that was 3rd last week get up in the front.

Well, I didn't feel as confident on the corners. Especially in the first lap. I prerode the course and there was one left corner that was really nasty. It was nasty for everyone, but it just threw me off. I was riding with my tire pressure about 5 psi higher this week. Decided to do that after talking to everyone that was running higher pressure. I think that was a mistake.

Another teammate (he got 6th last week) pulled up with me on the second lap and he said "let's go". Well, that's when I discovered that the legs didn't really have the same mojo as last week (he finished in second place -he's on the right in the photo - I should have held his wheel !!!).

Seemed like about 7 or 8 folks were ahead of me. By the third lap, you're in you're own little race. By this time you're racing the guys around you.

On the 4th or 5th lap I caught up with a master B rider that seemed pretty strong - I held onto his wheel on the straight gravel section since I needed a break. We exchanged pulls and were making some headway. It was a good 2 man effort. You know this when the conversation at the pull exchanges are "good work" - "same" - the talk is short since you're suffering. We caught the C rider in front of us and he started "sucking our wheel" and wouldn't do any pulling. I pulled away from the B rider on the last lap and that wheel sucker was still on me. He dropped me since he had been enjoying the break for the last lap or so.

I went as hard as I could that last lap. Mostly to hold off anyone behind me. No one passed me and I think I made some progress on the guys ahead of me. I crossed the line and went straight for the chair. I was spinning like a top when I stood up. Probably overheated the radiator and got a touch of heat exhaustion (did I mention it was about 90F).

Results weren't available until the next day. 8th place - a top ten finish - I'll take it.

Can't believe I'm going to say this, but....... I can't wait until cooler weather and alittle rain.