Sunday, December 12, 2010

Holden's first Nationals (12/10)

  On Friday, Holden raced in his first ever Cyclo-cross National Championships.  He was pretty nervous before the race and really had his work cut out for him.  He races in the 10-12 age group and yet he is still only 9 years old!  Hard to explain to you if you don't know how the racing age splits work, but he has to race with the big kids nonetheless. 
  Holden had a very difficult race right off the bat as soon as they went through the giant standing pond that was probably 12-18" deep.  Once you ride through one of those, at speed.....your are soaked fromt he waist down.  Which is pretty tough, considering its only about maybe 40 degrees out!  Holden marched on and did his best in probably his most challenging course and race conditions he has ever seen.  He finished with a 20th place and was done!

  He ended up having the highest place result amoungst his team, and was our only junior rider that raced at Nationals.  We are really proud of him, and now that he has had the chance to warm up and look back on his accomplishment, he is pretty proud of himself as well.  It's been pretty cool over the last few days since his race.  Strangers have come up to him who recognize him from the race and congratulate him just for the sake of starting and finishing such a hard race.  He digs the recognition for sure!

U.S National Cyclo-Cross Championships

Here I am in Bend, Oregon at the Cyclo-Cross National Championships the morning after my race.  Yesterdays racing started off with cold temps at 32 degrees, lots of standing water and mud, and snow!  I watched the 9:30 race to cheer on my teammate Dominique and preview what the day would have in store for me.  After the race I went back to our rental house (5 minutes away) and relaxed for a couple hours.  With my race starting at 2:15, I started warming up about 1pm in our garage.  By the time we started loading up the bikes to head to the starting line, the weather had changed pretty dramatically with now at 53 degrees and sustained winds about 20mph, but no rain.  Still, alot of standing water and mud - Excellent!
  I got to the starting line with 10 minutes to spare and feeling about as good as I could for such a ruff season.  I was excited and feeling honored just to be here to race in the National Championships.  Due to poor seeding, I was positioned in 73rd out 100 plus riders on the line.  Kristi and Holden took my warm up clothes, and Micah took my spare bike to the pits.  The gun went off, and we were underway.  Within the first 50 meters of the opening tarmac stretch, there was a huge crash ahead of me, and since I was expecting the chaos, I had the chance to come to a quick stop before barreling into the mess myself, with only a few other racers slamming into me.  I picked up my bike and ran around the mayhem and remounted, and I was off.  Wow, 50 meters into the race, and already chaos.....I love cyclo-cross.  After the first lap, I had probably passed somewhere around 20 guys and managed to keep the bike upright in calf deep water, off camber mud, ruts, rockes, soggy grass, and a steep staircase.  I was happy to just have the first lap completed with no casualties on my part.  Now the race was opened up and I could ride my own lines. 
  The grass sections in the "bowl" section of the course was so energy sapping.  Just riding on flat sections with only a couple of inches of mud, we were forced to be in our lowest gears and really work the bike to keep forward momentum.  Really tough going.  Fortunately the crowds were big and voicetrous.  It was a little inspiring having so many friends out there cheering on.  It seemed like every run up, turn, climb, barrier, and mud bog brought some crazy Seattle 'cross fanatic that wanted me to do my  best and give me words of encouragement.  Thanks Seattle 'crossers, what a supportive 'cross culture.
  I didn't suffer any mechanicals, and somehow managed to stay upright the entire race which may have been a miracle in itself on such a technical course.  I finished the race in 65th place, though not a dream placing by any means, I did finish about mid-pack in my field and had a blast racing this super tough course.  Thank you to everyone for your support and good luck wishes, and hopefully next year can shine a little brighter on my goals. 

  I love this sport.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

SCX #7/Evergreen Fairgrounds-Monroe (FINALS)

  Wow, what a day.  Brutal yet tough/honest weather for the finals of the S.C.X. series in Monroe at the Evergreen Fairgrounds.  It was about 35 degrees and raining.........Hell yeah!
  Holden raced a great race and finished a respectable 17th.  Nice job kid, he nearly puked at the finish he worked so hard.  We are so proud of him this year again, since he really upped his game and learned sooo much racing with the older kids.  Watch out for the future.
  I raced next, as it started to poor down rain.  I started on the back row, but quickly moved up half way through the pack by the first half of the lap.  I worked hard in this group of riders for the remainder of the race and finished in 15th.  Not the best of results, but finally a race I was proud of, and felt good racing.  It was also pretty damn cool having my Lieutenant and Truckman from work show up to cheer me on.  Thanks a bunch Fisher and Jesse.  Pretty cool having you there brothers.
  Hats off to my teammate, Corrie for taking the Cat 3 Womens's championship in commanding fashion.  She led the race from the gun, and never looked back winning with a margin to claim the SCX series title.  Unbeleivable for a second year 'crosser.  You can literally watch her "learning curve" race to race.  Nice job Corrie.  See above podium photo.
  In the Pro 1/2 field, Kristi once again took the SCX title for the 9th time!  She had a battle as she rode with her brace on her fractured hand and had to ride defensively to save her postion.  She hung on just enough to win the overall series by a mere 4 points.  See above podium photo.
  Also, a big congrats to Kristen Kelsey (Buy Local) for her first big Pro 1/2 Womens Win today.  We look forward to having Kelsey on our team next year.  Kristi and Kristen are gonna put the hurt on the rest of the field quite possibly next season.  Incredible racing today girl, nice job.
  As the season is narrowing down, we have two weeks off to train for Nationals in Bend, Oregon.  I will keep you up on the progress, and let you know how things are progressing.
  You gotta love the pic of Corrie and Kristi celebrating with a little bit of the "bubbly".

Friday, November 26, 2010

Kristi's back out on the bike!

 Today Kristi, Sue, and I went out for a mellow ride as the snow was finally melting off of the roads.  This was the first ride for Kristi outside since her hand surgery following her hand fracture nearly two weeks ago.  She has been confined to the wind trainer indoors and it was good to see her back out in the elements toughing it out 'cross style.
  The wind was strong, we got rained on, we flung cow manure, and sand from melted snow all over eachother while cruising along the farm roads.  All in all, this is exactly what 'cross is about in late November.   I loved it. 
  There is even a chance that Kristi may race this Sunday at the SCX finals in Monroe to defend the chance to win a 9th SCX Series title.  Even though she is nowhere near 100%, she might be able to ride well enough to earn some points to limit the 2nd place series rider from winning the series. 
  This could be exciting.  I would not want to go up against a tough hard core cx'er like Kristi if I was riding against her. 

  Thanks for reading.

Snow Day!

 Wednesday brought a fun day to go out on a training ride.  With around 4 inches of dry snow in the Arlington area, the airport trail was begging to be ridden on.  I went out for a few fun laps working up a good heart rate, and sweat even though it was a mere 18 degrees.  I was able to ride for about and hour and a half, then the toes and fingers got to be just a bit too uncomfortably cold.  I packed it in and headed home for a good hot cup of tea with honey.
  You gotta ride the snow when you get the chance, especially with the probability of racing on it at Nationals in Bend, Oregon. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Washington State Championships

Today was the Washington State Championships in Steilacoom (Lakewood).  A classic Northwest cyclo-cross venue with great history. 
  The day was dry yet very cold.  The temperature was about 37F with winds coming from the North = damn cold.  Since I was 5th in the State last year, I got a front row call up and did my best to make the most of it.  When the whistle blew, I got in my pedal immediately and was off with the hole shot after the long pavement stretch.  Once we entered the grass chicanes and pit areas, the group started to string out with the real contenders moving up.  I settled into a rythm as best as I could but my legs felt terrible.  They felt like the Monday after a race....not good going into a "double weekend" but there was no sense in whining about it.  There was a job to do, and I had to do my best.  After the second lap, I pretty much stayed put in my position of 11th and was not able to move up and bridge up to the next rider.  Instead I worked to protect what I had and kept distance from the riders behind me.  I finished in 11th place which was far from my season goal, but hey, what do you do, this is bike racing.....push on and keep trying.
  Tomorrow is the race #7 of the Seattle Cyclo-Cross Series (SCX) at Sprinker Park in Spanaway.  Typically this is a good course for me, and I have a good time there.  Hell, maybe I tricked my legs to thinking that today was a good warm up for tomorrow's race.
  NOTE:  Holden had a fantastic ride today, and busted his butt for a 5th place at the State Championships.  He looked good, and really rode well, and worked hard.  Kristi and I were so proud, and amazed at how much he has progressed and learned this year.  Congrats Holdenator!
  Also, a great day for my teammates Corrie with a solid 2nd place in a great head to head battle, and D.P. with a spectacular 4th place and Marc "Pappi" right behind him in 5th in the Master 3's.  Our other junior, Ethan also did a great job netting a 6th place behind Holden in the 10-12 year old race.  Nice job guys and great race  Thank you Kristi for pitting for me in my race.  It was a cold day to stand in the wind with a broken hand.  I love you for it.
  I look forward to telling you how tomorrow goes.  For now.....thanks for reading!

Monday, November 15, 2010

M.F.G. #5/Woodland Park

 Woodland Park in Seattle has got to be one of the best locations, courses, and venues for a top level cyclo cross race.  This course in only 2 short years has become legendary.  It flows like an awesome carnival ride, and is just fun to pre-ride in itself.
  The day was a little crazy with Kristi fracturing her hand during her race as she clipped a corner stake while hugging the side of the course.  She went on to win by over a minute and won the M.F.G. Championship!  One tough chick.  She would spend the next 6 hours in the E.R. getting a cast.  She will receive surgery this week and more than likely be out the rest of the season.
  With having raced in Sedro Woolley the day before, I was unsure what I would have to give for this one.  The good thing was, is that neither I nor anyone of my teammates in the Masters class was up for the overall classification, so the pressure was off.  Teammate Steve Jensen and I lined up on the back row and off we went.  As always, the racing was furious, with great tight twisty turns on greasy mud, dirt, pavement, and grass as we chicaned throughout the gorgeous forests of maples and open meadows.  What a gorgeous course.  Being right in the city, seemed to draw out even more spectators than normal. and I even had a good buddy and his wife from work come to cheer on.  Thanks for coming Colby and Pam....that was cool!
  Other than a near miss with a tree after sliding it sideways with one foot out of the pedal, there wasn't much to draw on, other than I did my best, and left it all out on the course.  Unfortunatley in typical M.F.G. fashion, even 1 hour after my race, they didn't have any results posted for our class.  I'm guessing I was somewhere in the middle of the pack.  Regardless, I had a great day of racing.  Holden and I packed up and headed to U.W. hospital to pick up Kristi and get home and begin clean up.
  I'm looking forward to next Saturday....Washington State Championships in Steilacoom, and Sunday...SCX #7 in Sprinker Park.  Two great days that may go great together. 
Thanks for reading.