Sunday, October 17, 2010

Cross Crusade - Rainier

In the past, the course at Rainier has treated me well. The course isn't super technical, lots of room to pass, and there's a good climb at the end of each lap. A good fitness course. It's also been dry the past few years, so that makes it less technical.

Well, this year was quite different. It rained considerably the few days before the race and it was a mud pit in sections. It stopped raining in the morning and the sun came out. By my race at 1140am the mud in the woods section dried out enough to become a very thick mess which was nearly impossible to pedal through. That meant: running. Yuck!

There was mud (photo courtesy of Victor Duong)

My start position wasn't too bad - half point in the field. We started straight up the big hill. I passed a bunch of people on that hill and had the leaders in my sight. Got to the back woods section and I was still looking good, but had to get off the bike and run like everyone else. That winded me a bunch so I eased off a bit, but didn't seem to recover very well at all. I was going full tilt to keep my position. Got to the hill the at the beginning of the 2nd lap and that's when disaster stuck. Wasn't a mechanical - it was my body.

All cross races hurt, but this was something different. I was definitely charging up the hill hard like everyone else, so definitely in the VO2 max region. However, my lungs and legs weren't doing well at all. I backed off for some recovery, but I just couldn't recover. I was losing a bunch of spots and I could tell my day was about over already. It took most of the next lap to settle down and by then I was on a joy ride.

I was not feeling good (photo courtesy of Victor Duong)

Earlier in the work week I did something I always do. When I got the call from the nice old lady at the Red Cross, I said sure I'll donate blood like I always do. Not a good idea 2 days before a cross race. I sure missed all my oxygen giving red blood cells.

So, I rode the rest of the race for fun and enjoyed the ride. Didn't really enjoy the run in the mud, but that's OK. There's always next week - Sherwood. It's got a big hill also I hear. It's was a new course last year and I haven't done it yet. Should be interesting.

Even enjoyed the bill hill (photo courtesy of Victor Duong)

Here's another awesome video by team-mate Burk Webb.....

Cross Crusade Race #2 Rainier High School from Burk Webb on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Cross Crusade - Alpenrose

It has begun..... the Cross Crusade series. What a turnout on Sunday. Over 1500 racers participated. Most likely the biggest cyclocross race in the world. There were ~250 kids in the kiddie race. How crazy is that.

I was pumped up for my race. Took a rest week last week since I've been training pretty hard the last 7-8 weeks in preparation. My legs felt fresh. Unfortunately, I started behind a 100 or so guys in my field since my random number draw wasn't great.

The course was new and awesome. It was quite different from the last few years since they moved a bunch of earth around the velodrome. Everyone seemed to enjoy the course. Alpenrose is definitely one of the more technical courses in the series, in my opinion. That makes it tough to pass folks. Here's a photo of me in the "pain cave" on a run-up.

I put together a Kill Stat spreadsheet that estimates how many people you passed. It's a fun way to look at results when there's a huge field. There were 135 folks in my field and about 250 on the course including the other categories racing at the same time. What a circus! But it's all good fun. Here's a photo of my butt at the finish.....

Photo courtesy of PDX Cross

Here's a way sweet video that one of my PV team-mates created - he's a professional.

Cross Crusade Race #1 Alpenrose from Burk Webb on Vimeo.

Next week is Rainer School. It's a good course for me..... lots of room to pass and a good hill to power up. My goal this year is to get call up points by getting in the top 18. This should be the course for me to do it, even if I start in 123rd place. Keep the rubber side down!