Monday, November 2, 2009

Beer Drinking Dads - day in the mud

Blue Sky Velo Cup

Saturday was the Blue Sky Velo Cup at the Xilinx Campus in Longmont.  One of my favorite courses (it does NOT hurt that it's like a half-mile from home...) of the year,  and usually a race I can do OK in.  Once again,  we took advantage of the close proximity and went to the full-blown BBQ based compound for the day.  set up on the grass right where the start went off the pavement.  Food,  beer,  chairs and Heckling was on tap after getting the race done.

Quick course inspection in the AM saw lots of frozen ruts left over from people pre-riding the evening before.  The ACA women's groups had it rough,  as the course was really just pin-ball for them.  Once the sun and the Cat 4s got to the course,  it softened up and looked to be getting pretty gooey for the 35+ 4 start.   Lined up in the second row again,  my few (and not growing) BCR points keeping me in the list for now.   All got off well,  surprisingly little carnage in the first twisty mud descent.  I had an OK start,  back about 25 or so.   Couple of people and a small group shot away,  and there were just stragglers chasing right from the start.   Was having a BLAST for the first few laps.  The slick mud flying all over was almost a dream come true.  Been a while since I got to play in that muddy of conditions.  Time was FLYING by,  and I was holding pretty well up in the low 20s for a few laps,  sliding around,  with a few bobbles,  but doing OK.  Particularly remember the ditch just past the pit,  and the sweeping off-camber descent into the stair run up as being sketchy enough to keep you on your toes.  Here Armin tip-toes down to the stairs.  love the goo in this shot.

After a couple of laps,  I began to notice that climbing back up the west side in the several inches of peanut butter mud was starting to not feel so good.   Then I started my now normal "fade" routine that seems to be happening so much,  except this time 2 things conspired to take it from a little fade and a couple of spots lost,  up to something between a complete breakdown & total collapse.  The power needed to keep moving at the pace I was going was so high,  that a small "fade" became going severely backwards VERY fast.  People started coming around me at a frightening rate.  Fighting to stay with these folks caused the second part of my issues to kick in.  The tire-sucking mud and me pushing so hard led me to a place where I suddenly lost almost all my ability to drive.   Was soon into a mode of falling off,   sliding the wrong way,  dabbing,  or being unable to dismount my bike.  Sometimes all these issues (and more) would seem to happen at the same time.   So I started to wander about the last lap in a haze, wondering who it was that was now driving my bike,  and what he had done with that guy who can actually ride a bike.  Fumbled by way up the last stair run,  loosing yet more spots,  and came out with a 50 M gap to one of the "Blue Horde".  I decided that since I was displaying such awesome bike handling skill at the time,  I should bomb that last descent,  so as to get back at least one of the guys who had just passed me.   Managed to somehow actually do that,  ripping down that hill with no real control,  again watching that stranger who took over driving the bus try to kill me going down that last hill.  Managed to get on the wheel right onto the pavement,  setting up for one of those killer sprints for 32nd place.  After carefully sitting on and launching a massive jump near the top of the hill,  my tactical magic was foiled by my Blue Sky friend accelerating a just little bit and keeping me 1/2 bike length back all the way to the line.  Pretty much the normal end for this skinny boy's cross sprints.  Ended up in 33rd,  after being up as high as 21st early on.  This fade thing is getting annoying.

My bike ran well,  even being able to shift OK looking like this afterwards.

So,  in spite of the ongoing melt-downs,  came out of this one grinning like a madman.  Just SO much fun on that course in those conditions,  can't help but grin.

Boulder Cup

Picked this week to do my first "double" of the year.  Had decided to race both days,  as I enjoy both Xilinx and the Harlow Platts course so much.  Well,  of course the snow kicked Sunday back out to the Boulder Rez for a second week in a row.    After the drubbing I took on Saturday,  and a sprightly 8:00 AM start,  I was less than thrilled with the idea of racing again so early in the morning.  This of course led to dallying about,  both at home and at the race.   I felt horrible warming up,  and managed to finish off a great prep morning by showing up to staging just AFTER the last call up was done,  and the tail end of the field let thru the livestock pen into the start grid.     After getting that 2nd row callup all year,  the 2nd to LAST row looks pretty far back.  Decided I needed the traffic practice,  and thought I'd try a little more conservative approach,  to see if I could get past my last lap death mode.

Got going with the whistle,  and was having some fun moving up thru the first section over to the dock.  Actually moved up quite a bit,  able to just squeeze by right against the tape.   This day,  rather than just going flat out the whole time,  tried to jump on  a group or few people and "sit in" a bit before trying to go past and move to the next group.  Was working out pretty well,  and managed to get away from a couple of groups.  Managed to do a sweet semi-crash/swerve/block move in the volleyball court,  ending up with me trying to block the guy passing me by throwing my left thigh in front of his wheel,  while jamming my shoulder into the fence.  Worked pretty well,  completely stopping both of us cold.  After apologizing for my lack of skill,  we quickly got going again.  Worked my way up to the point where I really couldn't get by and away from the last guy.  after trading back & forth a bit,  he rode the sand,  while I had to get off,  and I was alone for the finish this time.  24th on the day.  Not bad for me and for starting out in the back.

Another FUN course I thought.  Just enough sand,  and a great flow to it.  It IS possible to have a course out there with good flow,  just seems to need to avoid the beach.  John Hailey topped off his BCR point lead with his first win.  Here he is running for his life (or the win) thru the sand on the last lap.  Great ride,  John.

Still deciding on the plan for this weekend.  Needing a break soon,  as this year's big plans include going to Bend for beer drinking,  er,  I mean Cross Nationals.  Don't want to get too burned out before then.

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