Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Cross Dressing with Pat

Taking my turn on Pat.

Cyclocross weather came to Iowa early this year, forcing the ICORR folks to postpone IMBCS #11 to the weekend of October 11. So that opened last weekend up to two different options for Julie and I. Option 1 – drive 3 ½ hours to Platteville, WI for the Blockhouse mountain bike race. Option 2 – drive one hour to Pella for a cyclocross race. I was on the fence until the night before and the weather ultimately made the decision for us. We didn’t really feel like spending seven hours in the car, going to a race that was going to be cold, wet and muddy. So we opted for the hour long drive to Pella, for a race that would be cold, with the only real wetness coming from the sweat produced by an hour long, cross-eyed, tongue hangin’ outta yer mouth, LT effort that only cyclocross can produce.
Doing an hour long cross race is also probably better for me the weekend before my last ‘A’ race of the season. It’ll be a lot easier for my old body to fully recover from an hour long cross race than a 2+ hour long mountain bike race. I do try to stay away from cross racing prior to the end of the mountain bike racing season, mainly because I am very prone to injury when it comes to running, even if it is just a short stumble over a couple of barriers. However, it’s tough to beat the quality of the hour long workout that I end up getting from a cross race. So when I do a cross race, I err on the side of caution to mitigate any chance of having some kind of a blowout when crashing through the barriers.
When we arrived at the course, I had a lot of people telling me how I would have a huge advantage due to the technical nature of the course. I never expect to win a cross race on a mountain bike. I’ve not done enough cross racing to be able to quantify how much of a disadvantage one has on a mountain bike. I can however, tell you that a mountain bike is inferior to a cross bike as a cross bike is the overwhelming weapon of choice for anybody who races cross. So, my goal for the day was primarily to get a good, high intensity workout in. What better way to accomplish that then to chase tPod, JJ and whoever else around in a city park?
Julie raced first and lined up with all of the other women. She doesn’t handle the cold very well, so I was pretty surprised at her enthusiasm for toeing the line. The chica’s took off and after a few laps, Julie had managed to spread a nice coating of mud all over the ‘goose. She ended up having a good race and ended up 2nd in the Cat 4 class. After her race, she handed off the ‘goose which probably had about 10 extra pounds of mud all over it. I’m actually considering a name change for the ‘goose. When it comes to racing cross, Julie and I both race on the ‘goose, so maybe the name ‘Pat’ might be a more appropriate moniker?

Julie puttin' the power down.

Julie running Pat through the sand. Check out Kurt B in the background, kinda looks creepy sitting on a swing with a bottle of booze. He looks like he's thinking about asking Julie if she wants some candy.

Chia Chad thinks he's a mountain biker because he's riding through the sand.

I got in a pretty good warm up despite the cold temps and lined up for the start. The race started and tPod took off like a shot out of a cannon, followed by JJ and myself. At some point during the first lap, Gummy jumped in front of me and eventually allowed a gap to open up between myself and JJ while tPod rode off into the sunset. I eventually re-passed Gummy and closed the gap to JJ. As the race progressed, JJ was able to open a gap on both of the barrier sections, and I was able to gradually close it back up between the sets of barriers. My lack of competence in running the barriers eventually got the best of me. JJ was able to gradually open up enough of a gap that was too much for me to overcome. I felt like a total pud on the barrier sections, it felt like I was going in more of a vertical direction then horizontal. Towards the latter half of the race, the wheels of my bike were banging into the barrier. I was kinda surprised that it didn’t yank the bike out of my hands. I did run the barriers this year better than I did last year as documented on You Tube.

Sweet form.

Racing in small circles around a city park, thinking about singletrack.

About midway through the race, Nate Kullborn had managed to reel me in and sat on my wheel for a lap or two. As we made our way through the sand, I kinda backed off on the effort a little to force him ahead of me. I sat on his wheel for a lap and as we hit the blacktop, he motioned for me to take over. I passed him and as we were going through the sand at the end of the lap, I could here him having somewhat of a physical meltdown and that was the last the I saw of him.
In the end, tPod ran away with the W, JJ came in 2nd and I followed in 3rd place, very satisfied with another great workout and no injuries. My average HR for the race was 177, by far the highest average HR for a race this season. I finally feel like I am getting myself into a decent state of recovery, just in time for the last race of the season.

So with Sugarbottom being rescheduled for this weekend, I am once again faced with another tough decision. Sugarbottom or Sheboygan? I have the IMBCS points title wrapped up, so missing Sugarbottom would be of no consequence to me. So Sheboygan it is. The WORS race Sheboygan has been a key ‘A’ race for me all along, right up there with Chequamegon, so I doubt that I would have opted out of Sheboygan regardless. Last year I had one of my best races ever, finishing 5th overall in a field stacked with some of the best mountain bike racers in the Midwest. I’d be pretty happy if I could equal that, or maybe even top it. I am also really looking forward to drinking a few beers afterwards in lieu of my usual R4 smoothie….

Thanks for reading,



Iowagriz said...

No link to the YouTube video? We need to see any of these documented weaknesses.

Good luck in WI.

Anonymous said...

good luck in WI.

wonder if you could support a fellow rider. Charles is a mountain biker who overcame a ton of challenges through riding. his story became a finalist in the mutual of omaha, aha moment vote. any mountain bikers out there who want to support one of their own please take a look and vote: