Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Webster Crit: Mix of emotion

Sorrow: Big crash in the cat 5 race. Randy. ICP or intracranial pressure due to trauma is scary stuff. I'm virtually certain that if I would have seen it or been on the scene after, I would not have raced. Not because of anything dangerous about the course, but because of the inherent ambiguity and the potential for shit to happen. I really hope he pulls through and has no deficits because of something relatively random that happened doing something he loved.

Confidence in physical state: Pulling Devin up to break, ~2min: 544w
Avg for the race: 255w
Best 5min power: 330w
Avg Speed: 26mph
Max Speed: 35mph (and I didn't sprint at all, basically I rode as a support rider)

Stoked: I had a ton of fun. Probably the most fun I've had at a crit. The hub is a really fantastic group of people and it was/is cool to be a part of it. Also, it looks like very exciting things are on the horizon for cyclocross. And of course, I was elated that Devin won...I felt like we worked well as a team.

Bummed: Quite simply, I'd rather be mountain bike racing. But, I'm glad I hadn't planned on the scheduled UFD mountain bike race on sunday. I'm sorry for those who had too cancel, I know it isn't easy. But I also wish things were different for growing the series and sport in the state. After so many cancellations I know I'm essentially out for the rest of the season. My friend from Wisconsin didn't even understand what I was talking about when I said so many of our races get cancelled due to pre-race day rain. Obviously the WORS races are pretty entrenched and they have a huge budget compared to ours...but they had to get there somehow. I understand the ethic regarding the trail and riding. And in fact truly support it in general. But for mountain bike races, it seems to me that the situation is different. I don't know what the solution is, but I know a lot of people have been bummed and turned off from racing because so many of the races are cancelled. As I said a few posts ago, I don't see any reason why we can't have a series that competes with DINO in terms of the number of racers. I hope I'm not offending anyone and like I said, I completely support the ethic of not riding on wet trail, but it seems like we need to compare ourselves with some Midwest series that have been super successful and at least consider what they do.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Is it cross season yet?

Took a nice break from riding after the state road race. The weather was super nice last week so it was nice to get out for some walks but that's about all I did. I ate just about everything in sight and after reading all kinds of stuff on nutrition and cancer in the last year, I'm finally at a point where I can relax and not restrict myself. For awhile I wasn't eating any dairy because of some geeky IGF potentiation issues, but man whole milk yogurt and chocolate milk taste good this summer...and don't make me feel bad.

Maggie spent 2 nights at the hospital (working) last week. That part of this next year is going to be ruff, but sunday we got to spend most of the day together, went out for some awesome dinner...I love me some salmon, and then had icecream.

Last week and this, I'm starting to think a ton about cyclocross. I don't know if I'll have as much time as I do now and next fall anytime in the next few years so this season I'm going to give it all I got. Base building for cross officially began today with some sub-LT intervals. Up next is the Webster crit, Tour of Lawrence, and some dirt crits.

It is pretty crazy how long the season is going to be this year. I'm hoping to come into September with some good roadie form and a solid base. Then take it easy and just enjoy the process being with friends and racing in October. And then in November start building back-up for Jingle-cross and nationals.

If you haven't seen this yet, this is pretty awesome. I wish we had these in the states:

Another view:

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My lab

6am- WakeUp
6:30- Black coffee and emails
7- Breakfast and get Cassidy to school
7:45-8- stain tissue OR if hot outside 8:30-11 Ride trainer
11- ride if not hot
1-5: look at stuff under microscope, read papers, write, plan next day

Then pick up C, cook dinner, have some wine, get to bed.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Big race June

It's interesting how we arbitrarily assign importance to relatively trivial events and activities. "Sometimes that weight allows us access to deeper meaning. Sometimes it's just bullshit to make us feel better about how we spend our time and energy." (mark twight)

My only goal this year prior to cross season with respect to bike racing was to race well at the state championship mtn bike race. Well, I guess that was a loose goal because when that race had the slightest cast of doubt associated with rain and subsequent cancellation, I began thinking about alternatives. Fitness has been building over the prior months...practicing what works and what doesn't so as to be ready to do the same next fall/winter. I suppose in my mind, the process of building and training is/was more my goal than the actual race. I love training and riding my bike but it is even more fun with something in mind. Unfortunately the execution phase of this particular goal didn't happen...which is certainly the most important part.

The alternate race ended up being the Tour of Ste Genevieve, a race I had wanted to do last year. I was nervous about the almost 90 mile distance....so my goals for that race were real simple: help my buddy and teamate Devin get into a break, try and get into a break myself, and hopefully finish. Thanks to Ron, Alex, Devin, and the sponsors of The Hub I was able to ride on an awesome new Giant TCR advanced road bike.

Goals 1 and 3 were accomplished. And before goal 3, I unfortunately dropped a chain at a very inopportune time, lost contact with the group, and finished by myself...pedaling alone with my thoughts and reflections. Satisfaction came from the process not the end. But a few days later, I'm committing to myself to not let a lack of execution become habit.

A long summer is beginning. Maggie is on the most time intensive rotation of medical school (surgery), I'll be doing a lot of elbow grease work in the lab, trying to publish 2 papers, we both must maintain contact with eachother and our daughter...and strangely, not despite-of, but in concert with all of that, riding will continue.


Monday, June 6, 2011

DINO: Brown County

The 2 girls and I were driving around a beautiful portion of Indianapolis on Saturday and encountered 2 cyclists on the road and Cassidy exclaimed, "Bikes belong in a race, NOT on the ROAD!". I guess she's been to a lot of mountain bike and cyclocross races!

A wedding for Maggie's cousin this past weekend just happened to coincide with a DINO series race in the fabled Mid-western mountain biking mecca of Brown County, IN. With the exception of CX nationals and a SSXCWC 2009, I hadn't raced a bike outside of Missouri or Illinois since 1999, so I was really excited to be a nondescript nobody and test myself in a field that is 3-4x bigger than the expert field at local races.

It turned out that some other Missouri riders thought that the 4.5 hr drive was well worth the effort for the quality of the riding and the race, as there were 5 other St Louis riders getting ready for the 10am start on Sunday including Loraine, Christine, Tom A, John M, and Craig W. I had originally signed up for the cat 1 30-39 race, but last minute decided to see if they'd let me race with the pro/elite men.

It was really amazing to see how many people are attracted to mountain bike racing in Indiana. Even though Brown County is such a treasure and attraction, it seems to me that with 3 metropolitan areas and a few college towns and smaller cities, and certainly overall more mountain bike areas, Missouri should be able to draw larger fields. I thought a bunch about this and don't want to get into it too much here, but racing DINO made me want to invest more in our local trails and racing as opposed to traveling more to other mid-western states even though there are deeper fields and the possibility of significant payouts. I've always tried to be a 'bloom-where-I'm-planted' type of person, so I don't think I'll start traveling more anytime soon.

The race and the competition were off-the-hook. We had a fast start on a mile-long section of road with one super steep hill and another big-ring grinder. I was top-10 into the singletrack but found myself gassed from a hard week of training and at some disadvantage without any pre-ride, so began dropping places in the first lap. The hard-tail 29er Big Unit was the perfect bike and the only mistake I made was locking my fork out a few times when right after climbs there were some technical descents and I'd loose a few seconds if I didn't have time to unlock the fork. With the 20mm thru-axle up front and an all-mountain front wheel, I think locking out the fork is a thing of the past and not worth the effort unless I'm riding on pavement or gravel.

Laps 2 and 3 of the 24mile race I was pretty much in no-man's land but able to keep a pretty stable pace and was neither passing or being passed by expert riders. At the end, I was 17th out of 43 riders and about 10 minutes off pace from the leaders...satisfied with that placing. And I felt very psyched to have raced with so many fast riders on incredible trails.

Next up is the State race, then a few weeks of chilling during the week and racing on the weekends (perhaps a trip to Wisconsin for the Subaru Cup), and then the preparation for cyclocross begins!

I'm hoping to do as much as I can in the next few months for Pedal the Cause ride on Oct 1st and 2nd. Currently the plan is to do some writing for their newsletter from the perspective of a cancer survivor, medical student, PhD cancer researcher, yoga teacher, cyclist, and friend/family member of those who fought-like-hell but still lost their lives to cancer.

I used to have a huge problem in talking about a 'cure to cancer'. But am slowly regaining a less cynical view. Especially after reading reports such as this...the impossible is not always as such.