Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tall Oak 6hr...err 3hr race

Last week was a bit stressful. MU started classes again and I'm signed up to TA a cancer biology class (fitting right?) and am also taking 2 advanced immunology courses for my PhD. One is super hard, like reading 6-10 papers per week hard. The other is pretty easy and a lot of review.

I had really wanted to race the 6hr team category at Binder lake 6hr race, but various arrangements with 3 different partners all got messed up for various reasons. So, a few years ago I did this race and managed 2nd in the solo category on my SS, so I figured I was in better shape and wouldn't have a problem on gears.

First lap, I was riding with the top 5-6 guys, all of whom were riding on teams. I was still breathing out of my nose and RPE was probably around a 5 or 6, so I thought I'd be all good with a plan to slow down lap 2 and then keep it steady for the following 10 laps. I had looked at Winkler's times from a few years ago when he got 11 laps solo and I even had the necessary splits written down on a note card taped to my top tube.

Lap 2 was interesting. I was cruising at a nice endurance pace, knowing that there were no solo riders in front on me. I had my plan and I think it was a good one. I was eating, drinking, and having a great time. Not to imply that having a good time changed, but half-way through the lap I got passed by the local legend Sam Moore, who was both solo and flat-out hauling. Like XC pace hauling. I decided to follow him and soon realized that we weren't slowing down anytime soon. By lap 4, we were definitely on an 11lap pace. But man was I hurting, not even half-way into the race! My legs weren't the problem at all. Instead, the simple problem of riding my road and CX a ton more than my mountain bike this summer laid the foundation for seriously sore lower back, triceps, shoulders, and neck. Lap 5 I slowed way down, but the pain in those areas didn't feel any better. I ate and drank but no improvement. It started to really suck. I started thinking about the next few weeks and cross and simply decided to pull the plug at the end of lap 5.

I have no major regrets at all.

It was good to see my mountain bike friends again. I miss my buddies on team seagal and genuinely feel like I'm part of the best team around. Even though the Hub and Team Seagal are closely related, sibling teams and I love them both, my heart is always riding in a Seagal kit even when I line up wearing only the socks.

I think my plan for cross will be to ride for the Hub when I have teamates in the race and in my Seagal kit when I don't. My best buddy designed new kits for Seagal and I have to say the templates are the best looking kits around. We haven't ordered yet, but hopefully by the time CX season in in full swing!

Only 11 days til cross! The plan is for 3 hard days and the rest off or easy. I can't wait!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Goals for 2011/12 Cyclocross

1. Have fun. This isn't my job, and I absolutely love this sport.

2. Connect my cancer story and work experience to my hobby of racing bikes. Not sure how, but I am going to make this happen with the goals of:
a. Helping a larger cancer or health related cause
b. Helping people learn about living with a chronic disease, in my case thyroid cancer that is hanging-out (literally) in my lungs, vertebrae, and neck.
c. Inspiring and being inspired by those who live with the uncertainty of cancer..."fight"; win or loose, including patients, family members, friends, health professionals, or scientists. (I can write a book about how my day-to-day approach is not "fighting" per se, but rather a tender, accepting, loving, and often very painful experience....but in this case, "fight" will do just fine.

3. Keep racing healthy by balancing the stress physical preparation induces with excellent nutrition, meditation/stress management, and love of family and friends.

4. Training hard, learning from my cycling teachers, and giving everything I have on the cross courses of Gateway Cup and Madison USGP. We'll see what happens from there.

5. Defend St Louis (bubba) series first place overall finish from last year, enter the state championship and master's 30+ nationals mentally and physically prepared to stand on the top step of the podium.

6. If goal #5 ever interferes with goal #3, the goal will be letting go.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cross is almost here!

I tend too not get bummed out if for some reason or another I can't make a mountain bike race happen. This past weekend were 2 that I would have liked to do, Spoke Pony and the SS-MO Championships. Work called both days in the morning...I'm trying to get a bunch of stuff in the lab done before the University starts up again on Monday. There are tons of students moving in this week and the amount of traffic in Columbia seems to have tripled.

On Saturday, I had a nice 3hr ride with some seated accelerations in preparation fro cross. Then Sunday, spend the morning in the lab and in the afternoon down in Jeff City at the MO state criterium race, which was nice because it started at 4pm. I really wanted to help Devin get the jersey. That was the goal for the race and the plan was too ride near the front, chase down threatening attacks if other's wouldn't and hopefully stay clear of danger. The plan worked great, except when the winning break took off, I had been off the front and got gassed quick. Devin bridged, but then they attacked hard and he was back with the pack.

Ok, field sprint. Well, it turns out Devin didn't need my help. We came out of the last corner in front of the pack with him leading (I think it was supposed to be the other way around, oh well) and then he took off. I went hard and always forget to use the curly things that stick out below my hoods...drops? Lots of fast dudes came around me and I finished somewhere in the middle.

My buddy Derek took some great shots:

Next definite race is finally a mountain bike race, Binder! I don't think I can make it this weekend, 8hrs in the car is just too much. But who knows, maybe I'll change my mind. Or maybe Indiana Jones James will finally come out and we'll be in St Louis anyway.

I do love me some cyclocross. I sure hope I don't take that shit too seriously and get all competitive and bent out of shape with myself. It is just too much of a positive activity to do that. But, it seems like I'm moving in that direction...2 bikes for the year, being selective about when too race, etc! At least both bikes are Konas, it seems that provides an ora of laid-backness to it!