Sunday, November 2, 2008


Awesome race. Robert Kelley and Matt Stewart from my team (Bicycle Heaven) set up the course and all I have to say is....OMG!!! Actually more like OMFG!!

MJH2 and I ended up getting out there early to pre-ride. I have pre-ridden every course and only put in 1 lap or 2. This time I put in at least 4 and maybe 5. On top of that we rode one section with some off-camber cut-backs at least 8 or 9 times trying to find a line.
After that we hung around to watch the start of the 30+, 40+ and 50+ groups. I hope to post a video later of the carnage that ensued in the off-camber pits of despair.
Around 12 I came in and volunteered at registration. That was pretty cool. For the first time I had an idea of how many were in my field before we started. I also got to meet a lot of riders and connect names with faces in some instances.

"Where is your license? No license? NO SOUP FOR YOU! NEXT!"

When we got to about 2pm I made a bee line to the car to get ready for my race at 3. The weather had steadily warmed up throughout the day so I ended up ditching the arm warmers, etc.

I'm too sexy for these arm warmers....well...too hot at least.
Before the race we got a few minutes to have an impromtu team meeting near the "off-cambers of death" section on the course.

Imagine that...I'm telling a story...
" is the part I alwasy mess up..." Justin is all, "Ooooo...look.........racers..." MJH2 is all " suck"

Practicing my "you're not getting around me" move.

Lined up at the start: MJH2, myself, and our targets...Jorge and Bob from Beverly Bike Veepak.

Right after that they did call-ups....which is where they call up the top 10 riders in the series. because the whole thing comes down to your start and your starting position this is where they give these guys a reward for showing to the start late. Sometimes it's annoying, but I understand why they do it. If it were me I would be all over it myself.

I got a great line right out of the start. I was, hooked up, and putting power down before the first turn. I got some good looks at lines and took what I could. MJH2 and I were top 7 or 8 heading into the woods.

In the woods there were landscape timbers/railroad ties that were used to both help prevent errosion and to create steps along the hill. So...we rode around, over, across them up to a barrier where we dismounted, jumped, and ran about 4-5 more steps before being abel to remount. At this point the pack was already starting to settle down, but the guys near me were still thumping.

MJH2 was in front of me I believe, and Jorge and Bob from Beverly were just behind me (at least that's what it looks like in some of the pictures). I was still getting the engine going. I know myself well enough to know that I have to go hard early and get that feeling that I am going to pop....and then realize that it is only a temporary feeling....hold on and push and next thing you know I am through it and feeling......stable.

The pain in cross is horrendous. It is as intense as a time trial with the combined effort of having to think. For you runners I would liken it to trying to do differential equations in your head at mile 18 on a marathon while upping your pace to a 5k pace....I think. Of course that could have been like saying, "No yo soy puede, pero no hay de que"....which, if I am correct, makes no sense at all.
Anyway...CyLowe97 showed up and got some killer shots of the action in the "off-cambers of death".

All in all a good race. Jay from Tati grabbed my wheel and pulled me back while climbing the stairs after the barrier in the get by...which was funny, but I couldn't laugh at the time. He disentigrated a lap later and became trail fodder though.
Jorge from Beverly got around me early on. Bob was well seated behind me though. Each lap was painful and we ended up doing 5 of them I think. I saw 3 to go at the end fo the second lap I did so that would make like have to do simple math and stuff when you're on the fair. That's more laps than we have done since I have been in the series. I was not ready for that. It hurt bad.
I have discovered that when I hit my threshold I breath very loudly - which everyone around me takes as a signal that I am about to pop. Funny thing is I am not. It's weird. It makes for some people taking chances passing me and then me just passing them up shortly thereafter.
Had one guy go around me at the same place Jay from tati did only to then eat it on the loose sand by the ballpark. He blocked the whole course, but I wiggled between him and the fence to get around. At least I didn't run right over him...
During prerides I kept thinking that I needed to drop the pressure in the tires. So I did....then when racing it dawned on me that all I did was make it worse. Boo. Lesson learned. As a result I kept sliding out in places. I recovered, but I need to get that stuff under control.
I was following MJH2 on the steep downhill with the soft gravel down the we were staying tight to the inside. I got it a little too tight and the pole at the corner caught the inside of my handlebars. That bike did stuff I never knew a bike could do. .....and I stayed upright. A spectator at the bottom of the hill gave me a look like "OMG I can't believe that just happened AND you stayed upright". I gave him the "OMG I KNOW RIGHT??!!" look.
This race was competitive. More so than the others so far. I was really riding off some contenders and feeling pressure all the time. There was no where on the course to really rest. Some of the stuff that normally you would coast on to recover was where the pressure was coming. You just couldn't let off.
At some point (lap 4 I think) MJH2 was in front of me going into the last barrier on the back side. This was the one that was followed by the drainage ditch you had to jump before remounting. Well...he hit that barrier....literally. I didn't see it happen, but when I looked up he was on the ground at it's base. I think I yelled for him to get up. He got over it at the same time as me and said "I dropped my chain." I think I told him one of the pieces of advice I figured out in Carpentersville when I did it. I think I said, "Just relax and take your time and fix it right." I was hopping on and pedaling away.
Last lap I had at least one guy on me all the way through the technical stuff. I think he thought he was going to get by me either on the uphill or in the off cambers of death, but I kep edging him out (getting in his way). I laid on the power on the flat section and just kept him off going into the last barrier. I could hear him breathing down my neck into that barrier and knew it was all going to come down to how well I did.
I cleared it and got back on and started pedaling before him. I could hear him groan in disgust. From there I hit the big ring and floored it. I had more speed and gas then I thought I did for that last section. When I crossed the line I was beyond my limits. I was in total sugar shock with shaking, I was disoriented, etc. I left it out there at least at the end.

Results came in late, but they have me down at 14th out of 55. Mrs. P was pretty sure I was closer to in the top 10, and so was I when I was getting word I was in 11th while I was out on the course, but things happen and it's hard to keep track. To be honest I didn't even know if MJH2 had finished in front or behind me. When I saw him I asked. He reminded me that I passed him when he hit the barrier. I had already forgotten. That's how violent this stuff is...

Bottom line is I keep getting better....

They say that up to 90% of all "mechanicals" (guys dropping out of the event because of a mechanical failure of the bike) during Time Trials (TTs) really aren't mechanicals, but guys throwing in the towell because they aren't ready to physically handle the pain.... I know I am at my limit when I find myself actually hoping for a flat tire. I did that yesterday.

Again...thanks to everyone who helped put on the race. Thanks to Mrs P and Little P and Nana for enduring. Thanks to Mr and Mrs CyLowe and the inquisitors for joining in the fun and cheering me on. Thanks to Half Acre for the intense aroma of digesting beer coming off their breath as they screamed at us through the corner. Thanks to the dude with the lit cigarette who filled the course with smoke on the last lap...ugh....

Thanks to all the cow bell ringing physchos and families. It felt like a real race. you guys are awesome.

Next week......Northbrook....or the "Save Ferris" cross event!


Anonymous said...

Great race report! I think you covered the pain aspect quite well. :)

BBVP said...

This might sound geeky, but start a log of tire pressures. Figure out what works on different surfaces and conditions. If you run different tires note that as well. After a while you will be able to go to the book, check the log and dial in a pressure that works. Learned that one from an old mechanic who knew more than God.