Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Sorry about the lack of updates. I'm in a funk. Mix of end of season blues, winter.

Ah, f' it.

My form of therapy for this is to go ride my ass off. I am usually so flooded with endorphins afterwards that you could shoot me in the foot and I'd be like, "Oooo...look at that hole. It goes clear through. Nice shot!" Thank you, mother nature, for making that an impossibility.


Cyclocross is over. Montrose. It was cold. I was wearing 2 layers of tights....seriously. My heavy winter ones to boot. Single digits out there. Hands were so numb I was certain I was going to end up with frostbite damage. They were so cold/numb I couldn't even feel that they were there anymore. No pain or anything.

I got a great start - 3rd in by the end of the starting straight. From there I just started to make mistakes. I let a few guys go by as we got to the hill the first time because I was thinking, "these guys are still going for points, I don't want to take them out from some stupid move, I'm going to pop if I push too hard right now."

From there began the comedy of errors. The conditions changed drastically - getting more icy as the race went on. I had too much pressure in my tires after changing it 3 times...and I was running like 32-34 in clinchers.

This race sealed for me the opinion that you do need tubulars for cross racing. At least when conditions get like what we saw on Sunday.

So....some missed remounts on ice, dropping my chain and having a hell of a time putting it back on with gloves on. For the second venue in a row I kicked my brake caliper into my wheel (under the rim and into the spokes). I had to stop and pull that out. I had to put a foot down and stop so many times it was pathetic.

At one point something happened on the second downhill into the bridge. I had to dismount and run down the rest of the hill, through the tunnel and up the hill over the next barrier. It sucked.

I was a defeated man. I didn't even want to be riding anymore at that point. For the first time I thought about quitting - not because I was physically beat - but because I had lost all my motivation and just didn't want to keep getting beat so bad.

Then Bob passed me. It was similar to the feeling I get those times when Little P doesn't want to give me a hug. No love.

At that point my race was done. I had no desire to do anything other than get the race over with. Someone else passed me somewhere. Then on the home stretch I heard someone moving up on me.

There was a section of pavement near the start/finish that I had wipped out on during a practice lap. I then watched tons of guys go down in the same spot in every race after that. it had a poor transition between the pavement and the grass and the pavement was slick and 100% ice.

I had taken it slow everytime through there just to stay upright and it had cost me about 1 position every lap. This time again I was coasting over that section as this guy was nailing it. I wasn't going to give this one up. He had about half a wheel on me and the momentum when I decided to sprint. I clicked up about 3 or 4 gears and just layed into it.

I realized I hadn't even dug deep at all that entire race. Sad. I had a lot in reserves and took him at the line. He gave me a "Nice finish. How many laps did we do?"

All I could muster was a, "I don't know....3 or 4."

Turns out it was 5. Who knew.

I finished 23/52. Blech. I gave it away. MJH2 got a 7th. Congrats man. Way to go into the offseason with a top 10. Way to stay vertical.

Cross is over. Winter is here. Trainer season has started at Bicycle Heaven. Between Tuesday night and Thursday night sessions there and spending time with my family I hope to remain sane.

The TT build is about 90% there in terms of parts. I tend to hold things off because I like to prolong it. I don't like the thought of having a build complete in December and not getting to ride it outside for months.

I may complete it earlier than normal though so that I can ride the trainer with it and do the indoor TT series on it this winter as practice for the next season's TT's.


Double Meh.

Bah humbug.

Pic of Montrose from velogrrl...


J/tati said...

I've been racing cross on and off since 1983, and back then of course we always used tubulars. I have to say, that after moving to Chicago, I'm a little stunned at how many AG racers are running tubulars, and carbon clinchers at that. My team spent the week testing tires in the snowy/icy conditions. We practiced cornering techniques at different pressures on Wednesday. Especially after watching a dozen guys pinch flat (on both clinchers and tubulars) Sunday in the early races, we decided to run 40-44. And for the most part, it worked out great!

I'm so old school that my cross bike runs friction shifters, but I'll happily race on either clinchers or tubulars -- you just have to be aware of the conditions and adapt your riding style accordingly. The way I figured it, the high pressure would be a huge advantage in the straightaways, and the slippery sections were so bad that low pressure wouldn't be a big help. And pinch flatting would end your race, so...

Psimet said...

I rode it at higher and lower pressures in the pre-ride laps I did. The lower worked out great for me, but I felt myself bottoming out way too much. Also felt the tire trying to roll.

Didn't like the speed loss in the straights so I went a little higher to prvent flats and to gain speed. Big mistake....

....no one passed in the straights.

Joe said...

Yeah, I ran higher pressure than normal to ward of pinch flats on the big transition bumps, and it took me half my race to realize that I had to slow to a crawl to get around corners without washing out. By then it didn't really make much difference anyway -- I too was just ready to be done. I run both clinchers and tubs, and I think neither would have been substantially better. I think the key to doing well this weekend was skill in this particular type of sloppiness.

By the way, I also went down in that same pavement section for my first lingering cross injury this season. Ouch.

aham23 said...

some of us are already in our 3rd or 4th funk-dunk. consider yourself luck. later.