Sunday, December 4, 2011

Powder Day

The saying in the ski world is:

"There are no friends in a powder day..."

In bike racing, I think a few friends are good. (At the least, to help ride in the course...). It was a bit "blustery" upon arrival.

The Cyclo-X Louisville race at the semi-infamous "Bowl of Death" was far different than the last few editions, and even more so for the early morning races. The kids out there trying to break open the course with powder well above the hubs on their 24" Redlines was both a bit comical, and also seemed to lean towards child abuse or at the least a violation of several child labor laws.

10+ inches of snow, and it piling up fast was the theme in the morning. Later races saw the course changing with staggering speed, from frozen powder plowing to rutted. muddy slime. It was a day that will stick in your memory for sure.

The Kids did a VERY abbreviated course, so the Beer-Drinking-dads were left to pound out a path across several big chunks of course in our race. It all started as we lined up, and realized we were facing a virgin start chute, with that 10 inches of fluff unbroken and piled up deep. As Tim sent us off, 2 pedal strokes into it, it was clear that running was going to be easier than riding for that first lap. with about half the field grinding away on the pedals, and half trudging along on foot all the way around the bottom of the bowl, it was clear that the running/riding decision was a draw that lap. As things started to unclog a bit after the off-camber section following the long run up, it was finally worthwhile to mount up and ride. Well, just to the second run up, where once again, the entire hillside needed running, all the way thru the chicanes past the pits. Me & my bad knees have not run that far in many a year. was pretty demoralizing, but I kept hoping that it would pack out quick & become rideable.

By the second lap, it DID get where you could ride a LOT more of the course, so my fears of exploding kneecaps was mitigated, and it started looking less like a snowy Boulder-Boulder and more like a cyclocross race. Lots of bobbles & dabs. If you came off the packed singletrack by even a TINY bit, it would lead to "tip dive" off the trail and a foot dab, at least. First cross race in a long time where visibility was an issue. It was snowing enough, a bit of glasses fogging, and you had hard time seeing where the packed sections were at times.

Was not the smoothest that day, had my issues keeping things pointed the right direction, and was not as dialed as I could have been. One of those days that you had to CAREFULLY modulate the power going to the ground, or you could spin right out. Had been battling up to a little group, then lost a bunch of ground with THIS gem at about 2 to go:

Managed to get back up to them, and even pick off a few, when I pulled THIS stunt going into the bell:

Yes, an astute observer would notice that both boo-boos were at the exact same spot, and exact same line. Yep, I managed to crash on the SAME spot 2 laps running. AFTER telling myself to avoid that line after the first crash. Seems like oxygen deprivation & hypothermia is not the best for short term memory. The second fall was not as graceful as the first, and rattled my cage pretty good. Having a rattled cage and the nasty descent after the Finish did not mix well, and I managed to REALLY loose contact with my little group, and never got back to them in that last lap. 30th place in the end. Not great, but I did not feel as flat as last week, so that felt good.

Here is all of lap1, running & all

This was one race that will stick in your memory. We get few enough races in such conditions, and with it actively snowing & blowing, it was one for the books. Next week is a New race in Loveland, and the Boulder CX Series final in Lyons. Thinking I'll double up this coming weekend, what with states the following weekend, and on a schedule that precludes racing 2 days for most people, next week will be my big finish weekend to the season.

I don't understand the thinking for the splits across the 2 days for the States this year. Last year, the split lined up so many masters could race both days, but this year Sunday is mostly a junior & Open only day. I am afraid the crowds on Sunday will be non-existent, and it just feels "dull" as a season ender. A lot of people enjoyed racing both days and in groups they don't usually get to race with last year, but not as much chance for that this year.

Season end is coming up quick. A bit bittersweet for me, have a little bit of burnout, but know I will miss the scramble every week. Such is the schizophrenic feel to the end of each Cross season.


  1. Thanks for the video. One of my multiple crashes was at that same spot as well.

  2. NERD! Great lap time analysis. You took it a lot further than I did. Now we should work on automating a script to punch that out in about 30 seconds every time the lap times are published.
    John D

  3. Hmmm. Lots of "trimming" and interpretation in the raw data, but a script could be done. Biggest thing was finding a race where the course was not changed, or the conditions changes a lot. So, when will you have the script ready?

  4. Different analysis: points list would put you in 2nd for Saturday. DO NOT MAKE POINTS LIST SAD.