Sunday, November 1, 2009

pitchy climb makes for tuff cx race.

Saturday's 3rd race in the Boss Cross series was located in the Northland of Kansas City. The venue was again the Platteville Ridge Park used for the 3rd year in a row. With the venue and the course designer, Jeremy Haynes, I knew what to expect. Hard if not brutal test of mental toughness was the theme for the day. I knew the course would not really suit my skill, because of the cousre being on the side of a pretty good hill. This race has always had a couple of tough grinding hills thrown into the race loop. This however, instead of the longer grinders thrown in, Jeremy decided to change it up and throw in 3 short but very steep ride/run ups. Actually 2 of the 3 were ridable thruout the 40+ minutes of racing. The 3rd little pitchy hill was ridable in warmup, but thru the course of the race and the pounding and grinding of the race, it was better and even faster for the legs to run it rather than ride it. It was just steep enough to be faster to run vs. ride it. I felt it also saved a what little power i had in my legs as well.
Regardless, I still felt less than 100%, hell not even 75% truthfully. Last 3 weeks i feel like i have been playing catch-up on recovery and going into each race feeling almost like a baseball pitcher with a 'dead arm'. I have got dead legs. which is confusing, cuz my midweek simulated race efforts have felt pretty good. So until a couple of conversations with some friends, I could not figure out the problem. In retrospect, i had been trying to do recovery rides on the rollers instead of getting outside. Until today, I didnt think that should be a prolem. With the cooler temps and not wanting to subject little girl to a cold trailer ride, the roller rides have been much harder efforts than my recovery rides outside because i was so focused on my heartrate. Big mistake. So with an adjustment in expectations and less focus on HR and more on perceived effort I think I can come into the next few weekends races a little fresher.

So round #3 saw some fast guys line up for the Master's A 35+ race, but not a real large field. Big hitter from the 1/2's race, Mark Studnicki lined up as well as teammate and fast guy David Hedjuk and Doug Plumer. I was gonna be hard pressed to hold onto their wheels but was willing to make the big effort early in the hopes of seperating myself from guys who might be marking me. I was Overall leader going into the 3rd race of the series and none of the before mentioned guys had even lined up in the previous masters races in this series. So regardless of how i finished as long as i finished, i would maintain my overall lead due to some missing faces for saturday's race from the overall points standings.

With rollcall completed, the race official blew her whistle and we were off. Mark Stunicki took the hole shot into the grass after a long asphalt start section, followed by David Hedjuk, me in 3rd whell with Doug plumer breathing down my neck. Teammate Matt Dutcher was on doug's wheel. The front 5 of us immediately gapped the rest of the 35+ field in the grass and began to extend our lead thru the first set of technical 180' s right after the beginning asphalt section. A technical downhill offcamber muddy grass section led us into a sloggy grass trench section about 30 meters long before we took a 90 degree left up the first steep ride/run-up. This little pitchy climb was ridden by all 5 of us. For me i realized it was steep and wet enough that the traction was questionable so i ran this section the last 7 laps of the race, which was the faster technique anyway. From the top of this little pitch the course took another 90 degree left into another 120 degree right hander leading into a technical bumpy rocky 30 meters that was gradualing climbing up a hill that the course was set on. The course then took a 90 degree left down a the hill 5 meters and then a right hand turn back up the slope and onto a false flat running along a bumpy section into a fast downhill that led into a high speed soft 90 degree left turn that you took as fast as you wanted. This high speed rail turn shot you back up and onto a paved road and up a hill about 50 meters and into the grass for a little 20 meter soft soiled uphill climb that just sapped all momentum. From here you took a left and picked up some speed along a section that ran along the side of the slope where the course was at the highest point on the hill. Racers proceeded to bomb into a looping high speed left hander which left you going back the opposite direction and another 75 meters to a right hand 90 back onto the pavement and past the wheel pit. You then would bomb down and back onto the grass for 30 meters and back onto to the pavement and down a hill until you took a fast hard left onto a off- camber grass entrance thru a big dip, down a hill into another slow slogging grass drainage ditch into the 3rd short but steep little pitch. Racers then took a slow 90 degree left which led you into another 180 and back up a small false flat and another left led you into a double barrier set up which had racera dismounting with hardly any momentum at all. Mounting back on your bike and grinding your way to a right hand turn and back on the asphalt for the last section of the racecourse was a downhill bomb into a fast paved 90 degree turn, heading downhill again picking up speed into a fast paved looping 180 and back up the hill towards the start/finish line thru the parking lot was the end of a short but extremely difficult 1.1 mile Cross' course.

I lost Plumers' wheel and began to try to settle into that mode when you are trying to decide how much pain you can take while getting your 2nd wind after a blistering start. Matt Dutcher and I rode the first 3 laps together with Matt mostly sitting on my wheel. Matt decided to take a turn on the front and set the pace, but his pace was just a little bit faster than i could maintain. Like i described before with my lack of snap or dead heavy legs, I was just in that deisel type grind mode. Matt was going good so he left me to struggle on my own. For the next 2 laps i kept a consistent gap behind matt of 6-10 seconds hoping he would gas out or make a mistake, but he never did. He even seemed to get stronger the last 2-3 laps and increased the gap between us to atleast 45 seconds to a minute by the time i hit the finish line after 8 laps. So the 360 racers took 2nd with David Hedjuk, Matt took 4th and i took 5th. The last 3 laps had me battling wtih a couple of fast 45+ racers who were duking it out for 3rd and 4th. I was aable to follow their wheels for a time and stay motivated and not allow any 35+ racers to sneek up on me. I had to mentally work hard not to shut it down both physically and mentally, knowing i want feeling and going like i wanted for that mornings' race. Plus, being the leader of the 35+ A's in the overall points was a motivator too.

I just raced and immediately took off after so i wasnt able to see who showed up and raced the 1/2's race or even the cat 3's race. So I dont have any other race results.

I hope to have some pics posted in a day or too and hopefully i can get my training tightened up so i am flying for the Kansas State Cx Champs in a couple of weekends.

Get out and ride......See Yah!

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