Monday, April 26, 2010
The le mans mass start at the beginning of the race was one of the most amazing bike race starts I've ever experienced. It was rediculously frantic and a little sketchy with 300-350 racers all storming across a beach on foot, and then simultaneously cyclocross hopping onto their bicycles after the run. I just remember thinking that it was the most fun I'd ever had starting a race.
I was in 13th out of 89 in my category going into the singletrack. I lost a few spots when I rubbed against a tree on the first lap, but I was holding onto 17-18th pretty well for hours. Then, bit by bit I had no more energy. After lap 4, about 4 hours in, I had to stop and sit down to rest and eat. It was no good, almost 10 people passed me during my 15 minute break. Previous to this, Gabi and I had been doing on the bike handoffs, with me hardly even slowing to get new food and drink. It was great and fast and had helped me stay up where the serious riders were. Resting for those minutes sealed the deal, and I ended up somewhere in the 20's out of the 89 riders doing 6 hour solo.
After the race I hung out with the High Gear team out of Emporia for a while, catching up with some friends that I hadn't seen since leaving ESU. Bobby handed me his own beer, I think knowing that I needed one pretty badly, and me and Gabi just sat around talking with him, Anne Marie, Garret, Donovan and Mike, as well as the other High Gear teammates.
Things I remember from my dreamlike 4th lap, where I was in a bonk induced haze: me and a bunch of other 6 hour guys in a long line one after another doing the step ups that seemed to go on forever, a woman on the side of the trail says, "Oh my God, It's like a pain train!"; A cigarette lighter packaged with a Gu energy packet in the middle of the trail, fallen out of a racer's pocket; riding no hands to stretch my cramped tricepts.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Well, I think it's a pretty well established fact at this point that I suck at keeping a blog updated. That's ok though, because I'm giving a try at this now, and because to be honest not much has really happened since my last post. Yes, cyclocross season happened and then ended, and yes, it was a blast. But, I didn't exactly race the whole season, instead just using some residual fitness from mountain season to get me through the beginning of it. It was awesome to be able to race with some teammates that I hadn't seen since laying off of road, and the atmosphere was great. My results seemed pretty ok to me, not having really invested much effort or equipment in the endeavor, and the experience was plenty to get me excited for next season. I plan on giving cross a much more serious effort next year, with some specific training, a break between xc ending and it beginning, and a decent racing bike.
After CX, I just rode my bike, took a nice break around Christmas, tried to get out on the frozen trails, and managed to only ride my indoor trainer a handful of times.
Now, on to the present and future!
My mountain race bike has undergone a few big changes since it was last raced, and has more on the way. The addition of gears was big, and a little hard to get used to, but it's only a 1x9 still, so not too complicated. Also added was front suspension, some nice stan's wheels, and soon to be a sweet new frame.
The first mountain bike race of the season for me was the River Trails XC race in Lawrence (UFD #1). I managed to get cat'ed up to Cat 1 (expert) right before the race, and even though it was only my 2nd ever Cross Country race I was super excited about being in the top category, racing against veterans and some pros. I had practiced some starting sprints for the hole shot on my own, and for some reason thought I'd do well at that part of the race. To my surprise, the sprint was so rediculously fast that I went into the singletrack 2nd to last. There were 11 cat 1's, so 10th. The whole first lap I was only able to find a spot to pass 1 other racer, we were going so fast. The trail is flat and fast, with lots of corners, and we were pinning it. When the trail finally widened out at the turnaround near the start/finish, I was able to attack and get past at least 3 other racers including my friend Garret. I went back into the singletrack right behind another, and managed to pass him at some point on the 2nd lap. I think that I am learning what kind of a mountain bike racer I am, and if I had to guess at this point I'd say 'come from behind.' Maybe I'm just not aggressive enough at the start line, and I'll be trying to work on that for sure, but it's a pretty good guess that I'll be passing people after the start, instead of holding or getting passed.
This point in the race is the only part that I was disapointed in. While trucking along in 4th or 5th or whatever I was in, I was passing riders in other categories pretty frequently. While trying to pass one of the women in Cat 2 I ended up running into a tree pretty hard, messing up my wheel just enough that I didn't think I could finish. I decided not to stress my now injured body and messed up bike any more so that I could be sure and get to next week's race. So, I only did 2 of the 5 laps, but felt like I was just coming into my own and could have kept gaining on the guys in front of me, if not catching them. So, I was happy, because I accomplished the goals I'd had going into it: get to cat1, prove I can keep up in a fast paced shorter (than endurance) xc race, and go race hard.
Just got my Colavita pasta, sauce, and olive oil from volker. Sweet to have a food sponsor considering I needed groceries anyway!
Also, I must thank my bud Lelan, this post is largely in existance because of him, telling me to "update your blog, dang it." And congrats to him on winning the first road race he's ever been in, in a 4/5 field too.
Me in the pack
So, I guess in summary, I'm just looking forward to my first endurance race of the season next weekend, the Bonebender 3/6 hour at smithville lake. Should be a great time, although I haven't decided what distance I'm doing yet, and have yet to preview the trail...hopefully tomorrow.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
Britton in the middle of it.
Joe in the 4's race.
Britton climbing a steep rise
Riding one of the tricky parts of the course.
Chasing a 360 guy through the sand volleyball court.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
I've raced a little bit lately, doing a nice quick xc race at a local trail called Camp Alexander, and a 5 hour endurance mountain bike race, which I did solo. The Endurance race was called Cruise the Blues. It was an excellent event, well put together, and on some amazing trails. I showed up the night before with my rigid ss, girlfriend Gabi, and a tent, ready for a good time. I was NOT disapointed. Being new to endurance off road racing, I figured the worst that could happen was that I would suck, and still get to enjoy some sweet trails for 5 hours while getting constantly lapped.
I won't bore you with ALL the details of a 5 hour race, but I will sum it up. The race got off to a slow start on the first lap, as everyone was getting sorted out. I was racing Men's Solo, which is kind of like open in cx. Other categories might have included teams, so that either member of the team might be out on course, allowing them to take turns over the 5 hour race. This made for a ton of riders on the 13 mile course, around 170 to be a little more precise. So anyways, there was a whole lot of sorting the first lap, but the pace wasn't so slow that I didn't get to witness some spectacular crashes. The second lap went great, except that my water bottle cage broke right at the beginning from getting jarred in a rocky section. I didn't notice right away though, and so the bottle was lost to me. 13 miles without fluid = pretty sucky.
I pulled in to the pit area at the end of my second lap and immediately downed as much water and gatorade as I could. The third lap kind of sucked, I had actually put in a really good time on that second one, and now the lack of fluids really hit hard. At the end of that lap, I had to lay down in our tent for 10 minutes. After the rest, I felt a whole lot better, and decided to start my 4th lap.
It was feeling fun and fast, and I thought maybe it would be another lap like #2, but then about 4 miles from the lap finish, disaster struck in the form of one more flat than I was equipped to handle. Earlier flats had left me out of tubes, so I started walking...and walking. At the time of my flat I was in 6th (I think). After a really nice guy loaned me a tube, and I switched it out, I rolled through the finish in 16th out of about 50. All in all, a great race, and I'm not disapointed at all.
A few pics from CTB 5 hour (Photo credit Gabi):
Gabi and I, before the race, our tent in the background.
My category at the start. I'm at the back, lol.
A little muddy, and a lot happy, coming in for a pit stop.And finally: an interesting link to an article about yoga for cyclists. I can't decode about half of the anatomical terms, but I might give a few of the positions a try, see if they can loosen me up some. http://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/196