Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bubba #9

Everything seemed to be in slight excess this past week of thanksgiving: riding more than usual, drinking more than usual, hanging with friends and family more than usual, eating way more than usual, sleeping...well, almost everything.

Last year was my first season racing cross and a return to racing bikes after 10 years of doing other stuff. I had decided to do the cat 3 race for last year's cx state champs after having some success in the Bubba B races. It was a hard, rough race. I remember being totally exhausted after having raced every weekend on virtually no serious training, a new baby at home, and the life of medical school hanging over me during the weeks. I think I ended up in the bottom quarter of the race but still managed to be satisfied with just being out there. After, I told myself that as long as racing bikes stayed fun and within the yin-yang of life that I would return to the same race in 2009 with more experience and training behind me.

Today was the last bubba race of the season. Dark skies loomed in the distant and the threat of another course assembled by the dark, sick minds of CFR, Mason Storm, and others made it hard to get very excited. At least it looked and felt a lot more like a cx race, although at this point in the season sunday afternoons feel, well, I'll let Jack Handy summarize for me: “What is it about a beautiful sunny afternoon, with the birds singing and the wind rustling through the leaves, that makes you want to get drunk?”

Anyway, Butthead was gone today but just about everyone else was there, including Nate Rice, who's a beast to watch on the muddy stuff. After looking around I kind of wished that I could just sit back and watch the race unfold, because it seems like on any given day, the top 10 of the A race receives a pretty serious shuffle. However my predictions at the beginning of the race were 1. Nate 2. Shot 3. Dave or Grman

The whistle sounded and I found myself in the top 10 holding a wheel and barely hanging on to the blistering pace that Dr Mark was setting. That's the way things stayed for the first lap or two. I think I was probably somewhere 5th-8th until sometime during lap 2 I fell. That seemed to set off a chain reaction where 3 more times, I just fell over, for what seemed like no good reason. Oh well. I had a great time, despite the fact that my tires seem to hold mud like no other. Once again, my teamates provided some serious fucking motivation and kept me going strong despite all the bobbles. I think I ended up in 6th or 7th, right where I started!

Cousin Martin had an amazing race today until the mud took him out as well. Dave (STPAF) B. also rode well today along with Jay and Jeff Yielding. Otherwise, it was just about like I had thought with Nate, then Shot, then I think Dr Mark.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bubba #8

I woke up today after having slept 9 hours for the first time in forever (probably years?). We had already gotten a babysitter and Maggie decided late that she felt like she needed to study all day, so I loaded up my stuff and got ready for a trip to Augusta, MO all-by-myself.

The course was hillside. Literally. I like hills and wish there were more in cross, so it seemed to be the perfect course for me. Also, Josh mentioned to me that on this kind of course, there isn't much strategy involved, it is just a question of legs (which I wasn't sure was either good or bad before the race).

There were all kinds of things that came together today, I was really excited to come across the line in second although I still can't figure out how it happened:
(1) an exercise physiologist would note that I trained 2 hours tuesday and got 2x20minute hard intervals within that time, an hour easy wednesday, 2 hours with hard 30sec on, 30sec off x20 on thursday, easy 1 hour on friday, and a 2 hour mountain bike ride on saturday

(2) a doctor would note that I slept 9-10 hours, took a gu right before the race, drank some H20 during the race, and managed to not drink any beer on the day before the race

(3) a bike gear guru would note that I was riding with fancy latex tubes today and therefore reduced my rotational weight and got to ride at 28psi fron and rear. plus, apprarenly my wheels are pretty damn nice.

(4) a social anthropologist would note that I had my hommies cheering for me on the hill and providing some serious fucking motivation

(5) a superstitious person would note that I wore a good luck charm today:There are so many variables in sports, especially bike racing. Its funny that I didn't feel all that much different than other days, except for getting a bit more support from the amazing crowd and having a very nice feeling coming across the line!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bubba #7

This month, I'm doing a rotation on the autopsy service, which has been very interesting so far. The coolest thing has been working with the cops and learning about the ways in which bullets are designed to kill people. Since I'm a pacifist, that is all new shit too me, and really insane. Anyway, one of the things that I had the pleasure of doing this past week of 'cutting-in' a brain. Which means: every dead person that gets an autopsy has their skull opened, brain removed, then sectioned like a bread loaf to see if there's any bleeds, tumors, etc. When you actually cut a brain up into 1cm slices, it is quite difficult since the consistency of brain is pretty much the same as a fucking jello mold.

If I would have died right after the race today, and someone would have 'cut-in' my brain, they would have found a melted blob of gu, much more soft than jello.

Today's race was awesome. For a course description, go here

Since every word of coach Ryback's rhetoric is indeed true, I must give a big thanks to my teamates and everyone else who put that course together, cus it was awesome.

My race went well, I felt great today and only fell once (in that sandpit, on my face). I ended up top 10 again, which I'm super psyched about especially considering the following:
1. Despite all the talk about carbon wheels and tubulars being so much faster, one can still place top 10 with clinchers and used $350 wheels
2. I rode a hard pack tire in back today (Kenda Small block 8), so apparently tires don't matter all that much either.
3. I put my front wheel on backwards (because I'm a moron), so my michelin mud tire was actually set up for low resistance, not mud.

In no way do I mean the aforementioned statements to sound like I'm talking shit...all I'm saying is that the whole deal about cross specific, high-end equipment probably doesn't matter as much at a local race in missouri as some would like to think. Of course, I didn't win this race...maybe I would have been better with more fancy stuff and without so much haste in setting up my bike; but who knows.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Bubba #6-Recreating with the wifey

Another 80 degree weekend in...November? Shit that sucked. Anyway, besides Uh, the usual; bowl; drive around; the occasional acid flashback....the wifey and I like to go ride cyclocross. However, I prefer it much more cold. Maggie looked great out there (thanks do Dennis Fickinger and Eville Mike for the shots!!). She's loving her sweet new (used) kona and I have to say that it is was one of the hottest bikes out there.

A wiser man than me once said, "Sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes...well, the bar eats you". That about sums 'er up for my 4th attempt at the A race. I hung on for 9th and it hurt. My legs are good but my lungs aren't happy.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Bubba #4 and 5

The bicycle racing this weekend began with a decision about which bike to bring and which tires to use. Maggie decided that she wanted to do at least one of the races and with the recent torrential fucking down-pouring we figured we'd end up with some serious mud on our bikes. That made the decision pretty easy; I could only bring one bike (due to room on the rack) and I didn't want to race at 10:30pm on saturday night...single speed was my call.

Thankfully, I ended up taking my hard-pack tires off and putting on the mud-tires, cus the race on saturday night was pretty damn muddy. Nothing too ridiculous, but I was glad to have the muddies on. The Seagal crew and other single speed buddies came out with true-to-form, superior attitudes and superior states of mind and rocked the costumes on saturday night. It says a lot for the single speed category, that almost all of us were in some pretty serious costumes.

Saturday night's race was awesome. I felt great, rode har, and ended up winning with about an 80% effort. I figured that the course and the conditions were spot on for my single speed, so decided to try the A race the following day, still with only one gear. Its always nice to race with little or no expectations for yourself. I truly had no idea how I'd end up, especially considering our daughter woke us up at 2:30am and didn't go back to sleep saturday night. Luckily my teamates and buddies TTM were there to cheer me on...I could hear them yelling for me from half-way across the course!

The race experience sunday was a big blurr. All I know, is that instead of trying to get off the line first and ride in the first group as soon as possible, I held back for the first few laps and ended up having enough reserves to ride into the top 10, then slowly and methodically pick riders off. It felt totally natural for me on a single speed. The experience was totally different than a geared bike, since I'm usually unable to talk during an A race due to complete cardiovascular exertion. The single speed was different. My legs were grinding the entire time, but my heart and lungs were in a very nice and powerful comfort zone. I still think it is course dependent, but I'm pretty excited right now about keeping the major one as my weapon of choice for most A races. Shifting slows me down (I'm not saying it slows everyone down, just me. I suck at shifting), and when there's lots of turn on a course, it is nice just to be able to focus on cadence, grinding my legs, and that dude in front of me. I'm not sure what it says about my bicycle skills or physiology (slow-twitch vs fast-twitch blah blah) that single speeding is just as fast or faster, but I don't really care because I felt a ton better this week than I did the prior week after racing my geared bike.