All posts by Eric

2015 Arsenal Crit – Mens 3/4 & 1/2/3

Its been a while for me (Eric) but I’m back on the racing bandwagon and more importantly back to blogging!

Mens 3/4 race = 60min
Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/376393021/analysis
Avg Speed: 26.2mph
Avg Power = 278w
Avg HR = 190bpm

Mens 1/2/3 race = 70min of which I only did a few laps
Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/376393000/analysis
Avg Speed: 25.3mph
Avg Power = 286w
Avg HR = 188bpm

After a pizza filled evening at Taconelli’s celebrating I went home and purchased my 2015 license… I feel a bit ashamed to say it but I havnt raced a bike since the last post. Even worse I havnt blogged in that long either… ooof! So much to go back to and add to the blog. Anyways I decided with the help of Jack and Greg (arrow racings finest) that I should do some racing before crit season was over. I signed up for the Mens 3/4 and 1/2/3 races. My goal was to hang with the lead in the 3/4 and see how many laps I could do in the 1/2/3

I got down early to watch our Cadence kids do the Mens 5 race along with Stevie-Snax doing his first ever crit #roadie. Unfortunately they were a few crashes taking some of them out.

The 3/4 felt fast to me. I haven’t done speed work in a very long time so it makes sense. I did end up hanging out in the back more than I should but I also secretly wanted to work on some intervals for the upcoming cross season. I took a turn or two at the front but didn’t feel like I could make many moves with my current fitness so I sat back in towards the blunt end. I didn’t contenst the sprint but rolled though ~15-20 with the field starting with about 70-80people. Mission accomplished.

There was an hour between the 3/4 and the 1/2/3 and I slurped down a coke and walked around with my skin suit tied around my waist debating the next race. Jack #arrowiseverything talked me into racing and even gave me a bottle since I was all out. So I lined up and did what I knew not to do… started at the back and played that game. Obviously this isn’t a good move but I was tired and knew that I wasn’t hanging long and honestly didn’t ewant to me in anyones way. But as we all know once people start falling off the back you have to close down gap after gap. I only had a couple of these in me and I popped… oh well. I gave the tent the ‘im done sign’ and pulled off to slug a beer. It was fun jumping into my first 1/2/3 and Im looking forward to getting in the mix again.

1/2/3 solo break win

1/2/3 field spring

Next up is Nittany Cross :)

Raw Talent Ranch 2014

This was the 3rd year our team had ventured down to West Virginia to stay at Raw Talent Ranch in the mountains and ride bikes all weekend. I knew what these climbs presented and threw on my compact 50/34 and 11-28 cassette to not kill my knees grinding up everything. Thursday morning I packed up the BMW 2002 and cruised up to Pottstown to Jamie’s to carpool down in the Greenland diesel Polo. We picked up another teammate and hit the road.

We got down to the house around 2pm, got things together and took off on a quick ride around 4pm. Descend the front side, try not to eat shit on all the cinders laid over winter, cruise around the valley a bit, then crush it up the dirt ascent back up to camp. It’s a good way to get the legs back up and ready after a 5hr car ride.

Day 1 Loop – Strava Jawn: http://www.strava.com/activities/126722495

30.7 miles
1:51 moving time
3,035 ft of elevation
Avg speed = 16.6mph
Max speed = 40.7mph
Avg power = 204W
Max power = 1,036W
Max HR = 201bmp

The pie plate came out for the WV trip!!

Made some homemade date & cinnamon coconut milk rice bars. They were pretty solid@!!

Raw Talent Ranch Barn

Game time!

Still in happy mode (before the mountains crushed me)

I still have 0 idea what this means

Its not camp without a solid soak

Eric ‘The Breadman’ Saxman cam through on the homemade focaccia and loaves!

Day 2 – Apple Orchard – Strava Jawn: http://www.strava.com/activities/126949212

71.6 miles
4:33 moving time
7,513 ft of elevation
Avg speed = 15.7mph
Max speed = 50.1mph
Avg power = 190W
Max power = 1,051W
Max HR = 194bmp

The next day we woke up to weather in the low 50s with highs in the 70s and a chance for rain. It’s pretty hard to dress for rides around there as there are multiple ridges where weather changes frequently. On top of that rides usually take ~6hours with stops and such. I made the decision to roll with a light weight wind breaker and embro on the legs in order to minimize the clothing in my pockets as there was only 1 general store towards the very end of our ride and I wanted to bring a slew of food. The game plan was to ride the Apple Orchard route which ends up being the hardest day for me usually.

We started the route descending the backside where we quickly ran into very think fog where it became almost impossible to see. On top of that there was more gravel in the switch backs than I had ever seen on the road before. We took it very slow on the top and opened up once the visibility and road condition got better.

We cruised for a while in the valley before our dirt climb first climb up Walnut Bottom. After a quick gravel decent we ended up on a smoothly concreted 4 lane highway that started to climb a bit and led to a straight on 6% downhill. The potential to go fast here is high with the low traffic, nice decline, and proper road surface but being in the valley yields a good amount of wind. This year I was able to put my chin on my stem and pedal enough to get a tick of 50mph cruising down it compared to the mid-30s that we ramped up to the year before.

After a bunch of shit-eating-grins we got back to it and pace-lined to the start of the orchard climb. **Note to self for next year, the asphalt section of this climb hurts more than the dirt/gravel portion!!** The owner of the barn and all around great guy Jay, rode with us the entire day and like usual kept us all entertained with excellent stories. He also does a great job of helping sike you up for the wicked climbs but when he said the start was a gradual 10% and I look down to a constant 15+% my grim turned quickly to a grimace. Shit that is brutal. Around the time we hit the climb the sprinkling rain turned to more of a steady rain and I stopped to put my windbreaker on.

By the time the asphalt turned to dirt it was quite a bit muddy and it was some Rapha type shit… low 50s, slews of fog, and enough rain to make your front wheel scoot around while your shivering on the downhills. At the top of the climb we waited and regrouped for everyone. We climbed just a bit more to get the body warmed up and descended on a fast dirt/gravel/mud ridden double track full of cattle grates and large cliff faces. My fingerless gloves made braking in the drops almost unmanageable so the decent was very fast for the lack of sight I had. The surface was quite a bit smoother than last year with a lot less large rocks and gravel. After the dirt decent the road descends farther with more switch backs and leads into rolling steep hills and continues to dip down to the main road. At the bottom we re-grouped again at the general store.

After everyone warmed up we all sporadically left the store and headed through the valley to the worst climb of the day, the backside. I think it may be one of the hardest climb Ive ever done. The Strava segment tells me it’s a Cat2 climb, ~5miles long, over 2,000ft high with an average of 8%. Unfortunately my Garmin had other plans and transposed all my data a few hundred feet from the actual road surface.

A foggy start to the morning

A proper dirt climb

Highway hammer-fest

Mark checking his wounds after a little pothole incident

Ryan having more fun than I was…

A very wet orchard climb

Wet backside climb

Eric’s mud face

That night Eric helped get my bike dialed in after the harsh conditions

Solid dinners all week

A lil Lamas action

Drying soaked shoes by the fire

Day 3 – Crooked Loop – Strava Jawn: http://www.strava.com/activities/127295821

49.1 miles
3:35 moving time
6,962 ft of elevation
Avg speed = 13.7mph
Max speed = 45.4mph
Avg power = 207W
Max power = 925W
Max HR = 191bmp

The crooked was going to be a rough one since everyone already had a solid amount of miles and vertical feet in their legs. This rough has a slew of dirt/gravel climbs & descents. So much so that Jay (who runs the barn) always uses his cross bike with 34c knobbies. The dirt decent from the barn was in perfect shape so we bombed it hard. By the time I got to the bottom of the decent I realized my front bottle was MIA. Welp that’s gonna suck… luckily for me a teammate saw it bounce off a few rocks and snagged it for me. After being pretty entertained by the 40+mph dirt decent we got back into the groove of the paceline until the Breadman got a flat. A few of us went and checked out a damn that was right off the road where a few people fish and hangout.

We tackled a quick climb, hit the wicked winds in the valley and finally got close to the climb they call ‘wicked’. The profile on Strava makes it look pretty intense as it’s a very steep 2000ft peak which drops off quickly. The front side of the climb has slews of switchbacks tracking up the face of the mountain with a couple points of relief in the bottom section. The gravel wasn’t too deep this year so most sections you could down shift a couple and stand to pedal without the fear of spinning out.

Once at the top we all joined up for a couple pictures before the wicked MTB-esq decent. My confidence was high after a couple other dirt descents and it almost took its toll. I cam in hot… some would say too hot into a steep 180 switchback that made me have an ‘O Shit’ moment. It twasn’t that bad as I didn’t even take a foot out of the pedal but I definitely locked the rear up. After calming down a bit I ran into Jay and talked a bit before hitting the bottom.

We cruised back to camp with a short trip to the front side climb. A few of us stopped into a general store to grab a bit more liquid before the 8miles climb back to camp. During such time we spotted something that they call a barbeque loaf?! Never seen that one before.

During the ride up the winds howled and out group of 9 dwindled to a group of 4. Mark and myself were taking some deep pulls while Ryan and Rory sat in. I tried my best to stay on Marks wheel up the climb for as long as I could but just like every other climb during the week, I couldn’t hold his wicked pace. I knew today was the last climb so I would push sporadically as my legs regained their composure. Once at the first crest we descended a bit on the ridge where I was pushing the pace trying to make back time. I eventually reeled Mark back in and rode next to him talking for a bit. As the landscaped kicked again I sat on his wheel hoping NAY praying that I would see the barn soon. I stayed on his wheel for a bit longer until the hellish road kicked again, this time HARD! He rode away from me like I wasn’t even pedaling. I crushed as hard as I could on the next flat but had nothing left. Mark rolled in a solid 20seconds before me and I greeted him at the barn with a solid dare I say fist bump. Solid day, solid ride.

Morning sunrise

Dirt descent from the barn

Dam action

Climbing wicked

Top of wicked

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Team shot

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BBW sauce loaf?>!
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Simpler Times eh?

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Day 4 – Ridge Ride Solo – Strava Jawn: http://www.strava.com/activities/128075666

18.6 miles
1:15 moving time
2,493 ft of elevation
Avg speed = 14.9mph
Max speed = 38.9mph
Avg power = 208W
Max power = 830W
Max HR = 176bmp

Sunday morning is usually set aside for cleaning, packing, and watching whatever Classic is on TV that weekend. I woke up early and wanted to take in the sights and sounds. I did a solo #yawnpatrol ride on top of the ridge. It’s a fun little ride with some brutal punchy climbs and ~1/2 of the terrain dirt/rock farmer roads. It was chilly ~30F but felt warm with the amount of climbing and the pounding sun. I was loving life, bombing the descents until I finally got a rear pinch flat where the dirt became littered with exposed rock. I wont complain as it was in the low 40s by then and I was in the middle of nowhere riding my bike… ie the complete opposite of my normal daily bike commute though Philly. I changed the flat and backed off on the gnarly-ness degree as that was my only tube. I cruised back to camp and got to watching Tour of Flanders. The race this year was very entertaining and didn’t disappoint. Ben had gone over to Belgium a few days before and my goal was to spot him on the Koppenberg! Check and mate!

No work + riding all day with a solid crew = the life. 2014’s version of RTR did not disappoint at all.

1st flat/mechanical of the weekend for me.

We watched the race and got to see friend & teammate Ben on TV repping hard! #PHLCX

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Polo packed up and ready to head home

Limestone Cross at the Kiln 2012 – Mens B

Glenn,

“I arrived around 8:10 to watch most of the “C” race. It had rained the night before (and earlier in the morning) so the ground was a little soft; but not too bad yet. I walked around the course during the race – there was a super technical section in the woods (closed off until later races), turns in the trees along the creek, a log barrier that could be hopped (depending on conditions), a make-shift sand pit and a steep bank in the trees.

After the “C” race I took a practice lap and everything was easily ridden. I only had to get off the bike to run over the set of barriers. ¾ of the way through my lap it started to rain quite a bit harder. I met up with Eric, registered and watched the first masters race of the day. It rained more and more as the day went on. We rode a couple laps before the women’s race, it could still be ridden in full but getting dramatically worse. Before the masters 35+ race they opened up the steep section in the woods so we did a couple more laps. There was no riding this section. The whole course was now a mush-pit and would be worse in another hour!

I was in the 2/3/4 race, lined up in the 4th row around 32nd position out of 61 starters. I was not expecting much since the field was stacked with mostly 2’s & 3’s and was warned it would be really fast. Start was fine and I was sitting around 10th after a few straight-aways. All was going well, pace was high but manageable. Going up the large hill, everyone in front was riding it and the leaders were only about 20 yards ahead of me. There was only one you could pedal through and the rider in front of me fell so I veered to the right – lost traction and had to dismount. In dismounting I kicked the brake arm below the rim and locked the wheel. I had to stop and fix it but lost about 10 slots…not happy! The next two laps went fine and I gained some spots back on the field. In the 4th lap I could no longer clip in my left foot which made this race more difficult yet. I now see why people poo-poo SPD’s. I felt good but really struggled with only having one leg clipped in. Richard and I battled off and on every lap until the final long straightaway when he gapped me. After 6 laps of passing fallen and lapped riders I had no idea where I was in the field. I was happy as I finished in 24th – a “net gain” from my starting position. I did not fall at all which was unexpected. My legs did not hurt too bad which was bonus since I had ridden over 220 miles during the week prior.

It was a great last race for the 2012 cross season. I met a lot of cool riders from other teams and generally enjoy the whole vibe of CX. It is now time to clean up Eric’s bike and give it back to him. I broke nothing on his bike and had a blast giving CX a try – looks like I will have to buy another bike in the off-season.”

Town Hall Cross 2012 (PACX #1)

Saturday was Town Hall Cross 2012, the first race of the PACX series. This was my first time racing Town Hall Cross in Bethlehem, PA. The only thing I heard about the course was the ‘St. Luke’s Staircase,’ which I evetually found out wasn’t a staircase at all and rather a winding track with 2 barriers towards the bottom that switchbacked up the hill with the last climb short and steep (I think ~20%). This was the first race of the PACX series and unlike the nice afternoon race in the MAC series the Cat ¾ Mens B race went off at 10am, ie early. We got to the course around 8:30am and I was able to get a lap in before the Cat4 Mens C race went off at 9am.

The course was interesting, with rain the day before and dew from over night. The staircase was tough on the lungs/legs but not hard to ride in its current semi-slick state. As the riding went on the amount of torn up grass due to tire-slippage grew and so did the the area of slick mud, making it tougher and tougher to ride efficiently. I got off the course and rode to the car, got ready, then watched the Cat4 mens race. They looked like they were suffering, in a bad way. I was able to get a lap and a half in after the Cat4 race and realized that a lot of the turns had before rutted and some were pretty slick/oily.

Mens C race (cat 4)

Some teamates where racing this race.

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Ben

 

 

Cat 3 (Mens B race)

With a couple of no shows in the B race I was able to snag a front row spot. The start straight was a slightly uphill wet bog that sucked a lot of power with a ‘better’ inside line. From the whistle I was able to clip in and sprint to get the hole shot. Ive never been in front of the beginning of a race like this so it was a bit odd not fighting for position. After a few turns I was battling with another rider swapping postions I believe until I took him on St. Lukes staircase. I took the decent semi-gingerly with my main goal for the day not to fall, or atleast as many times as last week. I was out front with a few seconds gap but was really trying to stay up right in the slick tights corners which were making me feel like I was barley moving. After the first lap I was still leading but noticed a rider bridging the gap. I tried to keep my game plan and not push it in the corners. On the second lap in the back of the course I was passed in a mud bog after the first long gravel section and tried to stay on his wheel. After the bog there was a straight on the side of a hill with a 90 right handed turn. For some reason I took his line instead of what I was doing before and washed out dropping my chain in the process… bleh. 3 riders pass me. After fixing my chain I jump back on and try to catch. The next lap Im making up some time but not enough and stuck in no mans land in 5th place with no one very close behind. On the 4th lap I make it back up to 4th place and make the pass on the alpine climb. By this point I felt running St. Luke’s staircase was more efficient then trying to turn over my 39/25. I could see 2nd & 3rd together just a bit ahead but knew I couldn’t catch them. I kept the gap up between myself and 5th and played it safe. I rolled in hurting for my best place yet in 4th. It’s a weird feeling being out front and only having people pass you rather than starting back a bit and passing people. I found it hard to set the pace rather than having someone else set the pace. It was a fun time and I was excited to do well since my parents were in town watching/cheering for me.

 

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Results

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fully kitted podium

Then it was cheer time.

Womens race (cat 1/2/3 & 3/4)

 

Next up was the womens race so I stayed kitted up and did some pre-riding with the lady. Her goal for the day, don’t break anything/stay on her bike the entire time (ie no trips to the pit@!) She started in the very back and made some good moves early to pick off some spots. Bike racing isnt her number one priority since its marathon season but I think she could be swayed next season. This was also her first race in any mud but I think the couple wet days at the cross course in Fairmount really helped her skilset. Fast forward a bit and she had made it in the top fifteen. I was doing all the cheering I could and knew I should focus on the alpine climb. I made it to the last kicker of the climb and ran it with her. I was tyring to be positive and told her to run faster which she didn’t appreciate and gave me a stern, “Shut up!” I smiled and kept yelling/taking photos. She rolled in at a cool 12th place and no mechanicals. I think she was very excited to see exactly how well she could do without mechanicals vesus some really fast women.

No fun was had here.

Maria was having a bit too much fun!

Big thanks to everyone out there cheering for us, especially my parents who spent all day out watching people riding around in the muck, and the rest of my teammates who weren’t racing to come out. It always helps when your legs hurt, your hating life, and want to quit.

We watched a bit of the Mens A race. It looked fast.

And since we were in Bethlehem a trip to Vegan Treats was in order. Any more races up in these parts and im going to get fat from all the sweets im pounding down.

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WhirlyBird Cross 2012 (MAC) + Video

Last weekend was the third weekend in a row for racing but was the first non-doubleheader, ie good news. I was able to get out of work early-ish on Friday to get home and get the bikes ready for the next day. Sometime in the afternoon a buddy asked if someone could stay on our couch Friday from the race. I threw out a couple conditions about only having a couch and the 99% chance of getting harassed by our cats at night but my buddy said something along the lines of beggars can be choosers so I told him to stop by. We hung out at the bar for most of the night and met up with John from Pittsburgh around 11 or so. After talking for a while we got things together and got to bed. Unfortunately the next day was going to be an early one since the lady was doing a free clinic at the race that started at 8am…

WhirlyBird Cx this year was changing venues from last year but still staying in Bensalem, PA. I have a good deal of friends from that area/went to that high school but had never been before. The course was mostly flat and was 95% grass and a bit of asphalt. The course was really fun and was the first time this year where it felt like we were racing cyclocross, not road bikes in the dirt. I think the cool temperatures also had a hand in that feeling but it was good to have some off camber sections and a bit of water on the course.

1st up was the Mens cat4 ‘C’ race which is always a good time. Heres Glenn’s recap:

“2012 Whirlybird Cross

The practice laps revealed this would be a fast course, lots of places for crashing & pile-ups and not many spots to make up position. The trickiest spot was along a 45-degree ridge by the football stadium that had (1) barrier and (3) 180-degree switchbacks. There were riders standing along the top, beside their bikes, that could not decipher a way down. My first crash of the day occurred during warm-ups when a rider went down in a series of chicanes and a pile-up followed. Some pre-race tips by Eric were very helpful yet I should have listened to him and used his wheels – he was less-than-impressed with the tread I was sporting for the conditions.

Poor registration tactics put me in 102nd position in the field. Beside me in the corral were two friends speaking all things ‘cross and reminiscing of their past races. One was more plump than the other, this is only relevant due to his, self-proclaimed, shining moment in a race – wearing a cow suit and passing someone while jumping over barriers. It was really hard to be optimistic about being able to pass all of the riders in front of me.

Whistle blows and the front row is almost to the first corner before I started rolling. I passed about (25) people in the prologue and maybe another (10) on the first hill. When I arrived at the ridge there were people piled up all over the place – I got tripped up a couple times but was able to make up a few spots. I did not expect to find that most of my gained positions came in the corners as opposed to the straight-aways. The flat spots were so spread out that there was no one to pass. The first trip through the double barriers was a disaster due to dropping a chain and losing about (10) spots in a blink. I gained back a few spots before lap (2) but was still sitting around mid-field. Ascending the hill on the 2nd lap I passed about (10) riders , rounded the top, descended through some corners when I was passing a rider remounting his bike. He was perpendicular in the trail and next thing I knew his bar end went up my shorts and literally ripped me off the bike. I lost another (5) spots. This trend just continued. The 2nd time through the double barriers I hit the rear brake caliper on my leg and threw the shoe below the rim, seizing the rear wheel – another disaster and (5) spots lost. Into lap (3) I had moved up to 25th position (thanks to updating by teammate Eric) but then I overcooked an off cantor, right hander; went down; threw the chain and lost another few spots (this corner would later lead to the snapping of Laurens’ right controller in half and denting Eric’s frame). Each lap was only taking about 8 ½ minutes so I was running out of time and I was 45 seconds behind the leaders already. The final lap was more spread out and much more uneventful. I finished my first CX race in 35th position and 1 ½ minutes behind the winner.

I had a blast! I had no images of grandeur starting that far back in the field – everything would have had to go just about perfect for me to finish in the top 20. Unexpectedly it was very rare that I felt redlined at all. Not that I am a specimen of cycling fitness at all but due to the terrain, conditions, equipment and other riders I could just not go much faster. Things just happen outside of your control and you just have to roll with them. I think this is what makes ‘cross fun & exciting.

Things learned: register early to get a good starting position, hold bike farther away from body when running, be more aggressive.

Things TO learn: fix chain while running, remount gracefully, points to conserve versus really hammering hard/redlining based on course, avoiding crashes/pile-ups better.”

Results:

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After getting a couple laps in I got ready to watch the lady race the womens 3/4 race at 11am. She started very last row right in front of the juniors but the course was open with plenty of areas to pass. After demolishing her RD and hanger at her first race at Nittany Cross, she wanted to ride smart and finish on her bike. Before the prologue was finished a woman made a wild move and went into the trees/shrubbery at the front of the group going down and taking a few others with her. The only advantage to being at the back is being able to slide through as you see things like this happening. She was making moves and making passes throughout the first lap and really enjoyed the ‘ups & downs.’ She was coming in a bit hot after the long asphalt false flat and went down on the tricky right hand sweeper (I somehow was there and got a blurry photo). After yelling at her to get back up I glanced at her bike and noticed her rear SRAM shifter was sticking straight up and broken. Aghhh! I had my SS bike in the pit and told her to get on it. After half a lap she cam back in the pits and jumped on Ryans SS pit bike with a ‘super narrow manly saddle.’ She finished out the race spinning like a maniac while riding only 3 bikes this week… but she ended up mid-pack and with only a couple bruises. Next week the goal at Townhall Cross is no breaking parts.

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After scrambling around helping her I tried to get focused and get a couple more laps in before going to the start line. I had another good position starting 2nd row. In the last few races Ive gotten to know the guys up there. Most of the racing is done with the same people. You find your niche and those dudes become your race. After talking a bit we got ready to roll and I settled in behind the rider from Wooden Wheels who ive ridden with a lot the last few races. Him and I made some moves and we were sitting towards the front in the mid teens.

My legs felt good and I was able to make a few moves and catch up to people Im rarely near. I started pushing a bit harder in the corners and eventually it caught up to me and I slid out letting a couple people pass me back. We then made it to a bigger group and I was able to eventually make it around them. I was still feeling really good and made it up to a wheel on the long asphalt section and sat in to conserve. I came into the tricky right hand turn a bit hot and ended up off line for the left 90 degree turn right after. For some reason the promoters put a pvc ‘door’ right where you track out for the left turn and as I was finishing my turn I must have caught a pedal and went over the bars hard. I got back going semi-quickly but not before a couple more passed me again.

After sitting in I eventually made it around them again but with a bit of pain in my knee/foot from the crash. After the barrier run up section I was sitting top 10 excited. I came into the back section of small off camber up/downs and went down with my chain coming off the outside. I didn’t notice at first and unfortunately that section was too tight to be able to shift and start riding again so I had to dismount and try to crank it back around with my hand. That didn’t work so I ran to the end of the section and pedaled around going slightly downhill. Finally, chain back on but not before loosing way too many spots. I was far back and in no mans land.

The next lap I was all by myself. Right before the finish with one to go a rider from Shipensburg who I saw behind me a bit makes the pass. I stick on his wheel and wheel suck as much as I can. He pulls away from me and sections and I reel him back in others. By the time we get to the 2 barriers there are the Wooden Wheels rider and another from Bicycle Therapy who I was with earlier just out of reach. I wanted to make a go for them but I thought it was too late. Instead I sat on the rider from Shipensburg’s wheel and got ready fro the sprint. I made a bobble right before the long straight and thought that was it for me but was able to latch back on. I made a quick jump and was able to get around him before the tricky chicane that was the finish. I ended up 13th out of 100 some and for how many times I went down felt pretty good.

Results:

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After the race I met back up with John who stayed over and found out he was in the lead pack of three all day and ended up winning. Congrats! It was good to see such a nice dude get the win and Im sure that helped make the 5 hour drive back to Pittsburgh a bit more manageable. Also at this time someone pointed out to me that there was a huge dent in my downtube from when I hit that stupid PVC door. Bleh

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Strava/Garmin Data

Enjoy the GoPro video since it actually stayed on the entire time.

Sunnybrook Racing Cycling Caps

A couple weeks back while ordering new kits we decided to get some cycling caps to boot. We decided to keep it local and went with local cyclocross racer & hat maker Gary over at Rothera Cycling

He gave us a couple of teasers via the all popular Instagram to peak our apatite. And last weekend at Charm City he gave me the first one he completed to try out. The rest of the team will have to wait but as for me, Ive been testing it out on the commute the last week. I think he plans on tweaking a couple of subtle things but its pretty on the money.

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Charm City Cross (MAC) – Saturday & Sunday

Day 1 – Saturday

After maybe having a couple too many large mugs at an Oktoberfest celebration/friends birthday party (im a sucker for fest & smoked beers…) Friday night we woke up early, packed the car, and drove down to the ‘not so charming’ city of Baltimore. Game plan was to drive down to Druid Hill park, get some laps in before the 1:15pm 2/3/4 ‘B’ race, then watch the elites later that day. I had never raced the course at Charm City but heard wild things. The first thing I noticed was how spread out the course was. There were also many interesting obstacles like huge barrier type blocks that you had to hop, make a quick U-turn around a tree then hope another set, 2 sand pits, really tall stairs up a run-up, and the tallest regular barriers ive ever seen. Minus that it wasn’t all that technical other than a couple of turns that were a bit wet. The course was lots of power and NO recovery.

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Staris run-up

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Luckily I managed to squeeze out a couple points last weekend at Nittany Cross so I got a call up to the 3rd line. This was going to make life a lot easier even though the start/most of the course lended it self very nicely for passing in the long/wide straights. The start is a long wide pavement section before jumping into the grass. It doesn’t bottle neck until the first sweeping corner which makes it fast and interesting. After the first turn im sitting ~20th or so and sit in trying to get a feel for everything. Once we got to the back section I realized that these front dudes keep a wild pace that the legs couldn’t handle right then. I had to back off a bit as the heart rate was higher in the 200s than I would have liked. I think everyone was in the same boat but it was really hot out for the end of September and the back section was completely open and painful. I felt like crap. Strong riders from behind would pass a few of them I semi knew and realized there was no way I could beat them, and I would pass some of the front few as they were fading. By the end of the first couple races you know the people who youll be contending with for the most part. With about 2 to go I was battling with a guy from Wooden Wheels for a while going back and forth which kept me motivated until he eventually dropped me.

Ive found that in some races you get in the zone and you do your thing, but this race wasn’t like that. It was pain from the start, pain in the middle, and towards the end I wanted to quit/thought why am I doing this again?? Thje good thing is when that bell/last lap gets underway most pain vanishes and you get back to hammering and making moves. I had 2 riders in front of me not too far away, a rider from Wooden Wheels and from November. I eventually made my way behind them both right after the barriers. There were a couple technical wet turns that led into a fast downhill right sweeper, then a slight uphill on the pavement sprint. I made my move on the inside of the right sweeper trying to pass the rider from November but as he saw me coming he moved in and it got a bit sketchy but I got past. The rider from Wooden Wheels was already powering and I couldn’t quite grab his wheel to outsprint him at the line. I ended up 18th out of a full field of 125 and was most than excited after I caught my breath. We ended up doing 7 laps and it took us right under 49 minutes, a lot longer than I expected.

Oh and during the first lap on a downhill with a quick whoop to a sweeping left the GoPro broke off the mount for what the 3rd time now… I slowed down as I saw it fly off my bars but decided not to stop for it/ I should have about 3/4 of a lap later this week though :)

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We stuck around to watch some of the Elites crush the course then headed to our hotel for the night. We ran some priceline and got ourselves on a baller 4 star hotel room right by Camden Yards. Alright the rooms wernt amazing but there was a pool/hottub and a sauna! I couldn’t wait. We hit up a pizza place a couple miles away before we got our soak on at Johnny Rad’s Good pizza + good beer = a good time.

Photos of the elite mens cross race: #1 UK cross racer and #43rd in the world made moves Saturday and won it.
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Stevie ‘Snax’ doing what he does best

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Day 2 – Sunday

After the hot tub/sauna action the night before the legs felt a lot better than Nittany Cross Day 2, or maybe it was just mental. We got up early to cheer everyone we knew in the Cat4 ‘C’ mens race. I tried to pick up some pointers and get a couple more laps in on the course than the day before. Today the course was slower and a bit more technical with a down hill with a quick right U-turn at the bottom for the stairs run-up, then a left U-turn at the top right back down the hill with a fast 90 degree turn at the bottom. The snad was also a lot deeper/harder to ride especially because they would rake the lines in the sand after each race and even saw them taking out the lines during races as well… My goal was to run it unless there was absolutely no one in front of me to bog me down. I saw how many people would get stuck behind someone then have to hobble to try to get off and get passed.

I had a great starting position and was able to get the last spot in the 2nd row. Oooooohie! Whistle blows and were off fast! A guy in front drops a chain or something and isnt moving so I have to make a quick left around him but get on a good wheel. The goal for today is not to burn as many matches so early. Minus one guy trying to make stupid moves everyone in the front works well together and is fluid. A couple people I let pass as im trying to stay in my rhythm but im able to pick a couple off later in the lap as they start to fade. By the end of the first lap Im sitting at the back of the front pack with no one behind me in 14th. The legs were feeling good and things were going well. I made up some time after the first barriers and was trying to move my way up. As we got to the barriers around the U-tree turn I went to the inside to pass a guy before the downhill. The inside had large roots from the giant tree and I must have hit one of those or something but then next thing I noticed was my foot went completely numb along with my entire leg from the shin down. After that it got really hot. Idf never experienced anything like that other than when Ive broken bones. After a second of thinking I jumped back on the bike and tried to get going but wasn’t able to clip in as my right foot was still dumb. I made it to the bottom of the hill, turned left slowly and pulled off the course… a few seconds later I saw the rest of the field fly by while I was standing there trying to figure out what happened. After about 5 minutes I could feel my leg/foot and half cranked back to the pit. My day was done and my first DNF.

Looking back I wish I would have kept pedaling but was too unsure of what happened. I think I did something to my shin muscle as its really tight today and hurts of it left my foot towards my knee but luckily isnt bad at all and probably just needs to be worked out. After a bit of being pissed off I got back in the spirit of things and started cheering for the rest of my friends/competitors in the B race. The weekend was a great time of hanging out, racing, cheering, and I ended up with my first top 20 in the B race. Next weekends Whirlybird Cross and after not finish Sunday I think Im going to sign up.

Showing off that new fresh skinsuit for the ladies.

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Gary!

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Thom!

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Mitch!

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Jeff crushing it this weekend.

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This kid was amazing! Smallest person out there in the real race with clipless shoes and everything. Some of the barriers were easily half his body height but he was doing damage.

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Nittany Cross 2012 – Day 2 – Video

My search for a better video editing program that is cheap to free is still underway. For some reason the iMovie on the ladies computer doesn’t have a speed up/slow down option which sucks when trying to show a course but not make a video too long/boring. Oh well, enjoy

Nittany Cross 2012 – Sunday – Mens B 2/3/4 Race

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4wUukwBtzw&w=640&h=360]

Nittany Cross 2012 – Day 2

Sunday was about the same as Saturday At Nittany Cross in the Men’s B race: dry, fast, and not very technical. Started this time in 63rd and after a couple of fast turns there was a massive line of riders as far as I could see. The legs were feeling the effort put in the day before so the stand up and sprint out of corners didn’t work so well. I tried to make a few passes in the very beginning but didn’t have the gusto I did the day before. Something I need to work on I guess. We got to the run up/log hop and like expected it was pretty bottle necked and we had to run the climb and the log. The rest of the course was about the same just backwards. The root section seemed to get pretty slow the first few laps but it was a nice period to recover a bit. I didn’t get into the zone until the 3rd or 4th lap but was able to put in a couple moves and ended up in 33rd. I didn’t take many risks with the game plan to stay upright and out of danger. Hoping to have a video up tomorrow if all goes as planned and I can stay out of the bar tonight…

Nittany cross pictures:

Quick picture of Maria about to crush the masters womens race

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Stole some stitch pics from lauren

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Men’s B Sunday results

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Local beets

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We had to hurry up and leave before the UCI Men’s race was over to make it to Vegan Treats in time. unfortunatly they were out of most of the good stuff.

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