Monday, November 30, 2009

The best laid plans....

Had it all planned out....   A weekend off from racing,  then back on it for this last weekend in Centennial & Golden.  A good rest then remind my body how to suffer.  All heading into States this coming Saturday.  A brilliant plan to insure my mid-pack finishing self was as good as I could be for the last race that I care about "results" in.  

Well,  short story,  I spent Saturday & Sunday on the couch,  full of Sudafed,  trying to breath thru the oozing holes in my face.   NOT what I had in mind as a States warm up.  On the road to recovery,  and looking forward to shocking my body Saturday,  after the now TWO weeks off.   Oh well,  better than going down with a cold before Bend.

Not sure what video we might have from this last weekend.  Holiday is messing up the video supply chain right now.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bend Nationals Course Preview

For any of you heading up to Bend For Cross nationals,  here is a course preview video.  Looks pretty good,  very "Colorado-ish".  Nice mix of dirt, pavement & grass.   Also looks pretty WIDE,  which with many fields already pre-registered at over 200,  may be pretty important to those of us who get to line up in the back.



Why in Gods name would a mid-pack,  barely top 20 once in a very seldom while,  snot-slow cat 4 want to travel so far to get schooled by the fastest guys in your age group?  Well,  it really doesn't make much sense,  but want to go for the experience of even lining up for a "major" race.  Besides,  once my races are done,  the beer should flow at the race,  since it IS on the grounds of the Deschutes Brewery.  and they make some FINE beer there.   The brewery folks are promising to bring "Woody" to the beer garden.  How could you NOT drop by?

Hope to see a bunch of the Colorado crossers up there.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Tandem Cross

An "off" weekend.  Feels funny to have NOT raced at all this weekend.  Easy "rest" days were the "plan".  Course,  trying to catch up on all the home chores I've been blowing off for weeks to race all the time is not all that restful it turns out. A chance to find some more weekend time for my sweet,  understanding,  cross-suffering wife.    At least a chance to catch up on LAST weeks "for fun" race report.

When I saw that the ICCC guys were putting a tandem category on for the Bear Creek Lake Park race, I immediately cleared the decks to make sure we could be there (after convincing my sweet Stoker that it would be fun,  that is...).    The tandem is quite the toy,  tons of fun to ride,  and the only way that I can really ride much with my "favorite stoker".    Since my wife is not that much of a bike person,  riding much off-road is not a lot of fun for her.  Once we figured out that she actually liked NOT having to drive,  and became "OK" with the lack of control from the back seat,  we have had a LOT of fun riding that thing on everything from dirt roads to Fruita Tech singletrack.     Any kind of cross race was never really on the map,  untill this race.  Convinced Matt & Lisa (Crossin-Colorado's Chief Videographer..) to come down,  put the word out on the tandem page of the MTBR forum,  and hoped for more than the 2 teams to show.

Of course,  the chief stoker was NOT liking the cold,  damp weather the day of the race.  As we drive down,  and start hitting some spitting snow & mist,  her desire to actually go out & ride in the snotty weather was showing thru.  We get to the Bear Creek Lake park course,    It's not THAT bad,  so we get clearance from the back seater to go ahead and sign up.   Kit up and check out the course.  Not much of a cross course,  but nicely suited for a dual suspension tandem.   Much like bolting spoilers on crappy cars does not make a race car,  bolting a couple of barriers onto a short track mountain bike course does NOT a cyclocross course make.   Still,  the twisty single track would be fun,  even while we were sure to get clogged up in all the singletrack,  as we were starting 1 minute behind the newbie class (and in front of the unicycles !).  Come start time and there are FIVE teams on the line,  Yee Haw!  After a "LeMans" start,  the 5 teams were off.

One of the teams was a pair of Junior riders, who's comment of "so,  how are we going to do the barriers?" at 30 seconds to go was the best comment of the day,  and shows the joy of youth.  All the rest of the teams had been practicing the "double" mounts & dismounts just for this race.  Off down the long dirt road,  pretty much together.  Start passing some singles within about a half-mile.  Manage to catch a little clump of the newbie singles right at the first double barrier.  All that practice paid off,  as pretty much ALL the big bike teams passed some singles thru the double,  going into the singletrack.   As expected,  we clogged up right away,  but was cool in that we had the first 4 tandem teams all in a line on that first lap,  conga-line-ing thru the twisty singletrack.  WAY fun.   Dan & Bev slid out on one of the turns, leaving Matt & Me to chase the remaining team,  who disappeared up the road,  never to be seen again.  We were able to ride the last steep little rocky climb back to the start area,  and that allowed up to get by Matt & Lisa,  quickly to be passed with authority by Dan & Bev.   And that is the way it stayed.

Racing the big bike was a hoot down there.  Gotta give the ICCC team credit,  while maybe not the "best" cross courses,  they DO know how to put on fun and entertaining races.  Even the "reluctant" stokers came out of this on with huge grins on.  Hope that we get the chance here & there to bring out the long bikes again for cross.

Horse-ing that pig of a bike around the 180 degree sand pit corner was quite amusing,  as can be seen in this short clip from the finish sand pit run.  Also shows that we could actually get off the thing while moving,  and not look like a circus act while doing it.

ICCC Tandem Cyclocross - Sand Pit from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

Went for the "Stoker Cam" for this race.  Needed to get this race recorded,  and did it from the "Stoker" viewpoint.  Here is the edited down,  music video,  back seat view of the first 1.5 laps,  even all the "thrilling" passing & "battling" going on among the long bikes

ICCC Tandem Cyclocross - Stoker Cam from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

Since neither Myself or our Chief Videographer made to to either of the races this weekend,  we won't have any race video this week.

Next week I will be back on that race horse,  probably both days.  Gotta get that final tune up for states in.   I have top 30% aspirations to dream of,  you know.

Thanks to Al Naudin for the tandem action shots

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Boulder CX #4 - Xilinx - More Video

Here is the rest of the video from the "Mudpits of Xilinx". 
Hmmm.  sounds like a sci-fi movie set.

SM35+ Open (L. Robinson)
Lap 1

Boulder CX #4 - SM 35+ Open Lap 1 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.
Lap 2

Boulder CX #4 SM 35+ open Lap 2 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.
Lap 3

Boulder CX Series #4 SM 35+ Open Lap 3 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.
Lap 4

Boulder CX series #4 SM 35+ Open Lap 4 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.
Lap 5

Boulder CX # 4 SM 35 Open Lap 5 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

SM45+ Open (C. Riley)
Lap 1

Boulder CX Series #4 - SM 45+ Open Lap 1 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.
Lap 2

Boulder CX series #4 - SM45+ Open Lap 2 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

SM55+ Open (D. Riley)
Lap 1

Boulder CX #4 SM 55+ Lap 1 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.
SW 35+ Open (D. Riley)
Lap 1

Boulder CX Series #4 SW 35+ Lap 1 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ah, The Joy

Only in the sick & twisted mind of a cyclocross racer would a day spent in the snow & mud at 30 degrees bring such a beaming smile to anyone.


Sunday's Boulder Cyclocross Series race # 4 at my "home" course at the Xilinx campus was once again the kind of day you love to see for a cross race,  but we really get so little of here in sunny & dry Colorado.   Cold temps,  7 inches of melting snow and the sweet courses that can be run at Xilinx combined for a stellar day of play in the goop.

Had gone down to Bear Creek Lake park for the ICCC race on Saturday morning,  but ended up only doing the tandem race down there.  Video and the rest of the story for that day will be coming soon.  That was just the prelude to the main event for me,  the return of the mudbogs.  This was in my "plan" to come into the day at the end of a pretty hard week,  and was planning on trying to get in at least 3 races over the weekend to help address my end of race fade issues leading up to my big mid to back of pack finishes planned for states and "nationals".  Given that and after getting over to the race early for Kirk's 35+ Open race,  I signed up for the back to back fun of the 35+4s and the 45+ Open races.   Warming up and course inspection showed that it was going to be a GREASY day,  staying smooth and keeping rubber & carbon UNDER you the whole day was going to be both hard to do,  and very important to doing well.

After lining up and getting the (poor) call up that my 48th place in BCR deserves,  and thanks to the Cat 4 effect of all the fast people moving on & up,  I still found myself sitting in the second row,  ready to slide about the course.   The start was pretty sketchy,  even with just less than 60 guys (The weather & road conditions had it's effect on the field sizes...) lined up.   The sweeping Right turn 100 Meters after the start seemed a bit too much for the handling skills of some,  and after most of the first 20 or so guys all seemed to try and funnel into the same 5 feet on the very right side of the road in a multi pitched howl of squealing brakes and rubbing shoulders,  everyone managed to emerge on the straight run up the paved hill in one piece & still upright.   The Chaos on the inside had opened a reasonable hole up the left,  and pushing into the pavement exit into the first glop let me get up into the top 15 for the first trip thru the "woods" much nearer to the front that I have been used to.

The "woods" section was a slick off camber traverse into a sweeping right hand drop to a rideable log,  thru a muddy left hander,  twist thru the trees and then to 10 feet of sidewalk.  Thru a dip and up a VERY slick,  off-camber traverse up to a bigger log (most ran this one..) and then thru that trademark "ditch" at the top,  before slithering out to the pavement.  Quick jaunt across the upper parking lot,  then across the muddy field to the fast and slimy descent down to the lower field,  including the nice off-camber rise over the drainage structure before dumping you out in the increasingly soggy lower field.  Lots of twisty, soggy,  draggy mud in the filed,  and a couple more good off-camber sections brought you back to the pavement and the joy of climbing back up to the woods again.

With all the snow out of the "singletrack" mud path,  after the first lap,  most of the passing seemed to be going on on the paved climb,  and the draggy mud was stringing things out pretty quick.  After a few guys came by in the second lap,  I seemed to be hanging out behind the front "group" and in front of a group of 4-5 a bit behind me.  I was trying to NOT go flat out the whole time,  and had "sat in" a bit early in lap 2,  before actually passing a couple going up the hill and getting out into no-mans land.  With about 2 to go,  most of the pesky group behind me had bridged up and went by on the hill.  One shot off,  never to be seen again,  but I was able to actually pass back the other 3 going back into the mud.    While I was busy patting myself on the back for pulling that move off,  the rest seemed to just sit on and let me suffer at the front,  as they all seemed to still be right there in the lower field.   By this point,  I was not being nearly as smooth as the first few laps,  and shed no one in the twists & off-camber stuff.    This strategy seemed to set all three of them up PERFECTLY,  as they all came bolting by me in the last straight grass/snow section,  leaving me flailing around trying to stay with them to the pavement.   Of course,  my non-sprinter legs had no answer to such end of race sillyness,  and I watched them all contest a sprint up the road without me.   Knew it was close to that "coveted" 20th place and the last of the Points,  so I was a bit bummed to let three guys get by me in the last 500 Meters.   Turns out I was barely there,  snagging my second 20th of the year,  and that single point (apparently,  pointS is not really in my vocabulary...).

So after basking in the glory of that finish for literally seconds,  gasping for a few breaths,  and not even getting to trash talk any of the guys I knew in the race,  I grabbed a fresh jersey,  number,  took a swig of pre-race drink and rolled back for another race.   About this time,  I realized that doing 2 races was a pretty stupid thing to do.  Sitting on the back row of the 45+ with 30 seconds to go,  I was getting twinges of a cramp in my quad.  That did not seem like a good way to start a race.  Soon enough,  there was a whistle,  and we were off (again).  Either I was a lot slower for the second start,  of the 45+ open guys are a lot faster,  as I was pretty much dead last up the hill into the woods.  Thankfully some of the guys in the back were not handling the mud that well, and after a couple of laps,  I had insured that I was NOT going to be DFL by picking off a couple of stragglers.  After that,  everything was a haze of sore arms,  gasping,  and rapidly deteriorating bike handling skill.  Thankfully,  my driving held out long enough to get pulled just before getting lapped by the leaders on their run in to the finish.  I was pretty much praying that the officials were not going to want to wait around another 10 minutes just for the last few of us to waddle about the course again.  Thankfully they put me out of my misery a lap early.  29th out of 31 finishers,  and did not get truly lapped.  Pretty happy with that for 2 back to back races.  And yes,  doing 2 races back to back is one of the dumber things I have dreamed up in quite a while.

Some tasty race burritos and a few beers waiting for Kirk to get his second race in with the 3's ended the day off well.   Is it a rule that anyone pitting for someone HAS to bring beers to the pit?  If not it should be.

Now for an "easy" week,  and am planning to skip the upcoming weekend races as rest for the "final tune up" going into the States and the trip to Bend.  Where did the season go?

Video is here for the 35+ Cat 4 races (Pictures & video courtesy of Lisa Robinson,  as usual).    Have some 35+ Open,  55+,  SW 35+ open from sunday coming in a day or so,  as well as some fun "Stoker Cam" footage from the tandem race on Saturday.  My thanks to the people at Xilinx for letting us rip up their beautiful campus.    Enjoy!

Boulder CX #4 - Xilinx  -  SM 35+ cat 4
Lap 1

Boulder CX # 4 Xilinx - SM35+ Cat 4 - Lap 1 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.
Lap 2

Boulder CX #4 - SM35+ cat 4 - Lap 2 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.
Lap 3

Boulder CX series #4 - SM35+ Cat 4 Lap 3 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.
Lap 4

Boulder CX#4 - SM35+ Cat 4 Lap4 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

slime

Looks like it might just be slimy again this weekend....  For sure a cold couple of days.



Maybe at least a bit of a repeat of the Blue Sky Velo Cup Race at Xilinx.  Might be that that venue is just a magnet for moisture.   Was just over at Xilinx today,  and it looks pretty much EXACTLY like it did after the UCI race.   All the ruts are still there,  exactly as they were,  just solidified.    The tracks are now a bunch of adobe 3-4" deep ruts.  It is going to be very interesting to see what Brian & Matt at Boulder Racing come up with for a curse over there,  as most all of the BSV Cup course is pretty much unrideable in it's "solid" state,  forcing a new course off the old ruts.  Maybe a good dose of snow/rain will loosen it up.

Plan for the weekend is to travel down to the ICCC race at Bear Creek Lake Park,  at the least to support the tandem race they are running,  and show our support for their team's loss.   For sure going to "race" the big bike......

Have Matt & Lisa coming down with their big one,  and have heard at least one other Leadville 100 TANDEM buckle winning team is coming out to play.  Hope to see a few teams out there too.  Should make for quite a sight,  if there is a "pack" headed out or "jumping" a barrier.  The weather forecast is NOT making my stoker happy,  but she's hanging tough to do it.  Might put on the "Stoker Cam" for that race.    Maybe another race on the single down there,  but really going to focus on another 2 race day Sunday at the "home" course at Xilinx.  Number 1 is the Beer-Drinking Dads League,  hoping to get a FEW more points there.  Plan to hit the 45+ open too.  Peak a big,  hard week,  then taper for states and the trip to Bend for Nationals.

My foray into the land of the 35+ open on Sunday reminded me of just how hard racing in the "real" world in Bend will be.  A poor,  slow cat 4 at the hands of the old,  fast cat 1/2 guys who are all over the open races in Bend should prove rather comical.  But still,  it will be fun to be part of,  and with a goal of only being ONE lap down at the finish,  and the Deschutes Brewery RIGHT next to the course,  all should be well in Bend.  

We'll see what the soil moisture level gets up to this weekend.  Could be another fun one.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Alpha Cross #1 - SM55+ & SW35+ Video

First bit of the SM 55+ and SW 35+ race from Sunday.
Video by Lisa Robinson

SM55+/SW35+ start

AlphaCross # 1 - SM55 & SW35 - Start from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

SM55+/SW35+ Lap 1 runup

Alpha Cyclocross # 1 SM55 & SW35 Lap 1 runup from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

Alpha Cross # 1 - SM35+ Open Video

Video from Sunday's Fast Dads race.  35+ Open.

Video: Lisa Robinson

35+ Open Start - first hairpin

Alpha Cyclocross #1 - SM35+ Open - Start from Dale Riley on Vimeo.
35+ open Lap 1 runup

Alpha CX #1 - SM35+ Open Lap 1 runup from Dale Riley on Vimeo.
35+ open Lap 2 - top-o-dirt pile

AlphaCross #1 - SM35 Open - Lap 2 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.
35+ open Lap 3 - Top of the pile

Alpha Cross #1 - SM35+ Open - Lap 3 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.
SM35+ Open - Lap 4 runup

Alpha Cross #1 - SM35+ Open Lap 4 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

Monday, November 9, 2009

AlphaCross #1 - Beer Drinking Dads League Video

Video from the first Lap of Sunday's race out in Brighton.

My sympathy goes out to Rick.   While I am not sure (and neither is he...) how his foot ended up in between the spokes of his front wheel,  it is entertaining.  Like watching NASCAR for the wrecks,  or slowing down to gawk at the traffic accident,  you can't help but back up and watch the struggling while people seemingly stream by.    Good recovery,  and good ride,  in spite of the somewhat less than smooth start, Rick.

Again,  Video Credit:  Lisa Robinson

Enjoy!

SM35+ cat 4 - Start - first hairpin

Alpha Cross #1 - SM35+ cat 4 - Start from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

SM35+ cat 4 - Lap 1 - Runup

Alpha Cross #1 - SM35+ cat 4 - Lap 1 runup from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Busted

Not a great day at Alpha Cross #1 for this guy.   Felt great in warm ups,  the course was a good one for me,  lots of twisty bits,  lots of accelerations.  Was thinking I had a good shot at finally getting back in the points....    

Well,  500 Meters into the Beer Drinking Dad's League race,  after a good start and moving up past a bunch of people in the first couple of "technical" sections,  I jumped underneath 2 more folks on a gravelly hairpin,     came out of the saddle,  hit the gas,  only to hear a very loud "POP" and feel my chain break.   THAT will slow you down.  With a couple of K around to the pit,  and a wait to get a chain fixed,  there was really nothing to do but turn around & hang it up.   Had JUST put the new SRAM Force drivetrain on,  and must have not seated a pin well on the new high-zoot KMC chain my bike pimp had talked me into.  

Todd (who will be providing my bike transport and PRO level support for Nationals at Bend.....) put me back together.  Since I had planned to race the 35+ Open as a second race anyway,  I just got an extra warm up,  and reported to the back of the 35+ open call-ups.  

Wow,  what a difference racing with the "Big Kids" is.  Been Quite a while since I had the pleasure of having the "Fast Dads" show me JUST how slow I am.    Bu the first run-up,  I was pretty locked into a 4-day death match for DFL.   The 4 of us held down the back for a couple of laps,  when I decided I needed to "bridge up" to the next guys I could barely see up the road.  My feeble attempt merely broke our back group into 2 parts,  leaving me to go back & forth with one other old guy for 3rd to last.  After what seemed like about a hundred laps of the 2 of us going at each other,  wile a blazing 50 meters in front of the other 2,  I sat in a lap,  "rested up" and launched my big move to try and secure 4th to last.  Of course I was not able to shake my friend,  and he just countered my big move and gapped me for good with about 2 laps to go.   Luckily for me,  John Cariveau came to save me from another lap of suffering,  lapping me with about half a lap left on their last lap.  Man those guys are FAST.  Humbling. Kirk rode well for 10th in the big boys today.   Armin hit his top 10 in the 35+ 4s too.  At least some of the homies did well today.

Anyway,  nothing for the 35+ 4s today,  only one race (At least I did not fade out so bad this week...) and a lot of disappointment.   Leaves me with only the "I coulda been a Contendah" thing for this week. Next week.......

Should have video form the 35+ 4 and 35+ open from Lisa tomorrow.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sunday

Tough call on the race selection this weekend.  Trying to "peak" a bit for States and the trip to Bend.  Decided to hit up Sunday for several reasons.    Tactical race selection criteria would indicate a "less-attended" event Sunday,  being outside the bubble.  I like to support races outside that bubble when I can,  AND most of the local lunch crowd is racing Sunday,  so Brighton bound we are.  

Having to think about the end of the season coming up,  and I do not want a repeat of my slide backwards thru the fields of last year.  Since signing up for 'Cross Nationals in Bend,  I am trying to better pace my "training" and race efforts this year.  Figured out the weekend off for that plan,  and hope to be finishing the season strong at States (Wherever it is...) and meet my big goals at nationals.   Big goals being to only get lapped ONCE in the 50-54 race.  For the Nationals B race,  who knows.    Starting to get excited about the trip up there,  probably more for the party & beer on Saturday after finishing up than anything else.  Good group going up,  so we should have fun.

Trying to address my habit of fading in the races here lately with a VERY few weeks left in the season.  Going to try the "2 race in a day" approach this Sunday. So it'll be the Beer Drinking Dads League first,  then get humiliated in the FAST dads immediately after.   We'll see how THAT works out later Sunday.  Hoping to add at least one more point to the BCR tally as well.  sliding so far down the list that a call up at states is starting to look like it's in danger.  Don't want all that early season strategy to go to waste.  

Been Practicing our mounts & dismounts for the Tandem division at the ICCC race on the 14th.  Even the chief stoker is psyched for that one.  Right now I know of THREE teams planning on racing.  Hope there are more big bikes lurking about out there.

Good luck for ALL the weekend races,  and remember to have fun!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Boulder Cup Lap by Lap

The 8:00 AM start precluded our chief videographer from getting all the Beer Drinking Dads league,  but here you go.  Video from Sunday's race at the Rez,  35+ 4's and 35+ open.

Video By Lisa Robinson
35+ 4s
Lap 4 or 5 - the damn dock

Boulder Cup - SM 35+ Cat 4 - Lap 4 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.
Last Lap - Sand pit 1

Boulder Cup CX - SM35+ Cat 4 - Lap 5 sand from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

35+ open
Lap 1 - Sandpit 1

Boulder Cup CX - SM 35+ Open - Lap 1 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.
Lap 2 - double

Boulder Cup CX - SM35+ open - Lap 2 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.
Lap 3 - dock

Boulder Cup CX - 35+ Open - Lap 3 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Blue Sky Velo - Lap by Lap Video

Video From Saturday at Xilinx.  Didn't have time to replace the audio,  so you'll have to listen to the cowbells & yelling.  (or just put in your own CD.....).  Again,  thanks to Lisa Robinson for the video.


Beer Drinking Dads League
Start:

Blue Sky Velo Cup - SM35+ cat 4 - Lap 1 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.
Lap 2 - Lower Ditch

Blue Sky Velo Cup - SM 35+ cat 4 - Lap 2 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.
Lap 3 - Stairs

Blue Sky Velo Cup - SM35+ Cat 4 - stairs from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

35+ Open

Start

Blue Sky Velo Cup - SM 35+ Open - Start from Dale Riley on Vimeo.
Lap 1 - Lower Ditch

Blue Sky Velo Cup - 35+ Open - Lap 1 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.
Lap 2

Blue Sky Velo Cup - 35+ open - Lap 2 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.
Lap 3 - stairs

Blue Sky Velo Cup - SM 35+ open Lap 3 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.
Lap 4 - Stairs again

Blue Sky Velo Cup - SM 35+ open - lap 4 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

Video From Sunday soon....

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.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Big Weekend

What a show.   2 big events,  2 great days,  mud,  mud, and some more mud.  Leaving the weekend with a grin,  even if my results were not that hot.  That is the true joy,  the true appeal of Cross for me,  the ability to have a BLAST racing,  no matter where you end up on the results sheet.

The Blue Sky Velo guys showed everyone how to put on a bike race,  and not just a race,  but an also an event.  These guys went as far as to shovel off more than half the course to insure it was in condition for a national caliber event.  Check out the pictures from Friday at noon,  and compare that to what was there on Saturday morning.  Marching bands,  food,  vendors,  right down to multiple port-o-johns right at staging.  The course rode like a dream.  I'm still buzzing.  The crowds for the afternoon race were amazing.  Enough people waded thru a bunch of mud to pretty much line the tape completely in the "woods" section.

The Cross Partners guys did it for Sunday too.  I couldn't stay around for the afternoon pro races,  so am not sure what the turnout was,  but the course was one of the best Boulder Rez courses I've been on,   the organization was smooth,  and the spectacle almost as big.

The Saturday morning races were sloppy as you could ask for.  sketchy and hard to stay on top of,  especally the off camber descents.

 Most was just plain old peanut-butter goodness


Got to work the Pit for Matt & Kirk in the 35+ open race,  and you NEEDED to change bikes by their race.  The power washers were getting a workout.  Matt waited till the 4th lap to come in & grab my bike,  and by then you could not roll his to the washers.  Incredible.

Race reports from the middle of the pack later,  and should start getting the Lap by Lap video in from our chief videographer tomorrow.  Till then,  here is some action at the "dipsey-doodle-ditch" from Blue Sky for the Beer-Drinking-Dads and the Fast Dads.  Credit my wonderful wife for these 2.

35+ Cat 4

Blue Sky Velo CX - 35+ cat4 - The ditch from Dale Riley on Vimeo.
35+ Open

Blue Sky Velo CX - 35+ open - Ditch Digging from Dale Riley on Vimeo.