Thursday, September 27, 2007

support your local cross race

people, places and things all exist for a reason imho. mostly good, sometimes bad, but always for a reason. no listing necessary, you get the point.

las vegas

ok... i get it. 60 years ago some guy kind of dared himself to turn a hopeless desert town into a resort destination and was largely successful in doing so. it's the fastest growing city in the us, and if you are into gambling, what better place to loose all your money.

it's grown well beyond gambling though. they have created a place where people can go to see a whole bunch of things at once rather than travelling the world to see those things where they belong. why go to see the eiffel tower in paris, the canals of venice, the wonders of ancient rome, the pyramids, a circus, first rate musical and performing artists... when you can go to one place and see it all?

las vegas is a cultural wal mart

yesterday they hosted a cyclocross race. they called it cross vegas... how cute. guess who was at the podium ceremony. (if you said "an elvis impersonator" you ah wicket smaat) it was a big production... under the lights... i'm sure the announcer at one point or another uttered the phrase "cross vegas style"

how very upsetting

the top north american guys and gals were all there of course, the cash being offered was too great to pass up. i don't blame them one bit, i'd have gone if i were an elite racer as well. but ask yourself this... why there were no amateur races?

i'll take my cross the old fashioned way thank you. give me the killer Bs in New England, the halloween antics in the Northwest, and the mid atlantic master's any day over a pro race in las vegas. some day, I'll take a trip and see a pro race in Europe, where it has meaning. maybe i'll even visit the eiffel tower while i'm there.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

ankle is at 40%

Hey there - The ankle is feeling much better, but I'm still a long way from being able to run. Walking hurts, but standing is fine. I'll try the trainer later this week. It is doubtful that I'll do any running confidently this season: but I think racing is very likely.

The bruising is setting in.

Monday, September 24, 2007

game over?

It doesn't hurt all the time, only when I stand on it. Not much bruising, but that will come. I'm praying for enough recovery to allow me to race Gloucester in three weeks. I promise to be good until then... promise. Here's the story...

Yesterday the whole family made the trip to Bedford for a new cross race at Middlesex Community College but upon arrival we discovered that the relatively small field (50) for the elite master's was full. I jumped on the 3/4 waitlist and 15 minutes prior to start, I got the call: I'm in.

Third row spot, but no big deal, this one doesn't really count. This race is training, time to try something new and/or stupid. It ain't Gloucester. At the gun I'm 9th or so into the first few turns and 6th by half way through lap 1. The speeds are low and I didn't want to be behind a crash on the loose peety run up with a quick transition to a bony peety downhill. I moved to the front and came through that section in the lead. Feeling less constrained by the pack, I set my own pace and was soon enough well off the front for the first 3-4 laps. A Cambridge Cycles rider came up and passed, I was tiring but noticed that only he, Rosenthal and Lynne Bessette were gaining. I couldl live with that. Rosey caught me next, and offered well wishes/condolences as he rode past. Bessette was on me with 2.5 to go and passed me at the S/F line, pulling me back up to Scott a bit. I was resting a little bit on her wheel and decided to get in front of her for the run up as she had bobbled it earlier and again I didn't want to get held up because someone else did something wrong... even though it was Lynne Bessette.

Off the bike to hurdle the barrier and start my run up when my right foot lands sideways on this rock trying to support all my weight. It rolls to the outside and I go down. Race over. Season over? Man that hurt. I crawl under the tape and the EMTs are there with ice, ace bandages and no ibuprofin. The rest of the day kind of sucked.

On a good note, Saturday the Zanconatos invited us to join them apple picking and we had a great time. Last time we all went apple picking it was late in the season and they just told us to gather some apples up off the ground. No thanks. These babies were perfect. It was a beautiful fall day but our bellies ached from eating too many apples.

Friday, September 21, 2007

new york

It is going to be a long fall, should I use up so many tokens just to watch Vervecken race in Long Island? I figure the wife will be worn out from cross well before Thanksgiving, and three days in NY won't help.

What the hell were they thinking with this photo?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Sucker Brook 2007

As race announcer Joel Brown said today "The New England Cross season is officially underway." Sucker Brook is simply the first real race of the year around here, and as good as it has been run in the past, they outdid them selves this year. New stairs and a bridge over the muddy dip, slightly longer laps due to more time spent riding the field, a better (ridable) path through the sand, stakes dressed with double tape and set into individual holes someone drilled into the asphalt, course crossing gates.... These guys invested some time into this event and it showed. Sucker Brook just joined Canton and the Verge races at the top of the schedule here in NE. Who drilled all those holes?! Incredible committment to improve this already great race!

Enough sucking up to the promoters...let's get to the racing and my first report of the year! I drove up early with Dr & Mr. Z for an early women's clinic to find the course similar to last year. The biggest difference for me was that they used much more of the field and set a straight shot through the sand. Also no barriers at 30 mph like last year. All good changes IMHO...

I lined up on the front row for the elite masters 35+ and had a great start, getting to the first turn 2nd or 3rd. There were some studs there and I felt pretty relaxed for a half lap hanging with the front group of 8 or so. I clipped a stake on the left hand 180 after the sand pit and lost contact with that group: I wasn't going to be able to stay with them for the full 45 minutes anyway. Those guys don't slow down... ever. I hovered around 9-10 going into lap 3, when the rear wheel goes soft right at the pit exit before the fields. I ran/rode to the other side and got a new wheel, then pulled back maybe 7-9 others to finish 21st. Not bad... the guy who told me I was going flat finished 12th, so in the end I really didn't loose that many places, but there were some guys ahead of me that are usually well back. (The winner of this race took 5th in the elite race later on.) But my day wasn't over...

Immediately afterward the master's race was the 3/4 and during the last lap of the elite master's I could see that those b@stards were already lined up three rows deep! I made my way down after crossing the line and settled in the back row. Another good but much more physical start: I passed a lot of guys and got to the first turns around 7th or so. The Huppers (MZ, SR, PVB, & JJ) were all right there and good friend KA was behind just a bit rocking the single speed. I was working just as hard as in the race before and my lap times were just a bit slower, but the front guys weren't riding away like they do in the master's race. It seemed like the group forming just ahead of me was composed of a different mix of the first 4-5 guys each time I looked up and they weren't going up the road very far. On lap 3 or 4 I noticed a Hup rider in the swamp and figured it was JJ right away. He had ridden the 4 race earlier and a series of mechanicals knocked him out of that race, so we had joked that he needed to find a way to finish a race. Well, there he was in the swamp surrounded by EMTs and getting strapped to a backboard. Great. I hoped that MZ and SR weren't thinking about their teammate too much because while they had gotten out ahead of me a bit earlier, I was bringing them back mid race. The next time around I was hoping to see 3 to go and when I saw it was 4 I took a bit of a mental hit. The legs were still turning but I was tiring from the day and they started to pull away. I was just a few seconds behind them and a few in front of Ziemba when I noticed my rear qr was unlocked. A quick stop to tie that down and wouldn't you know JZ and two others fly by. The Waterboy was coming up to, after winning the b master's earlier in the day. I ended up riding the rest of the race with JZ as the two others got away and stayed there and Waterboy seemed to drift back in the final two laps.

JZ & I worked together a bit... more to maintain our gap than make up ground I think. I tested him a bit on the s/f straight with a little sprint at two to go and he looked good. Crap. He flew by me easily in the woods on that lap but I brought him back and then passed him pretty easily in the sand pit when he bogged down a bit. I was thinking I shouldn't have shown him that speed just there, but he wasn't going anywhere so I knew we'd have a friendly but competetive battle on the last lap. At the bell I lead an easy pace up hill to see if he'd attack and when he didn't I felt relief because I was spent. I put in a little effort after turn one and he stayed with me. I kept the pace up through the field to keep him behind me before the stairs and over the barriers and then put in a defensive surge in the woods to prevent him from blowing by me like he had the lap before. One last sprint through the sand and he was still right there, getting through cleaner this time, but still just back maybe 4 bike lengths. Onto the pavement I gave it all I had and held him off for what turned out to be 10th. I congratulated him on a great battle and thanked him for a great race. Fantastic job Justin... Thanks again. SR & MZ ended up 6 & 7... excellent results. PVB was 4th, about what he should have done. He looked great. The first race was 8 laps and took 43 minutes which included a half of a lap running and time spent in the pit. The second race was also 8 laps and 43 minutes with the only mechanical a quick stop to set the quick release. That give you an idea of the difference in speed between the two.

Post ride I caught up with JJ who had been released from the board. He was fine but a bit woozy and sporting a nice shiner. That kid has a good disposition though and he'll be back. I pretty much spent the weekend with him, his friend Sara and the Zs... A great couple of days. Others spotted at SBC included Eyebob and his smokin' hot wife... I wish I had a few more minutes to talk to her! Wow... anyway... Waterboy as I said was riding well and RS rode a singlespeed for some reason. He must enjoy pain.

I'm so psyched the season has started and it was great to see you all.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Back to School

Can Europe be more Euro? They have track school for kids in Britain. We've got the NRA.

Sprint School is cool for kids | BikeRadar Gallery