Time to sum up:
Sunday May 1: 5th Place in Cat 1 at the Rabbit Valley Rally in Fruita, part of the Mountain States Cup race series. To quote Larry, “that’s pretty epic for an XC course.” Yeah, 1 big lap, 32 mile course of rocky, sandy, double & singletrack on the CO/UT border. I advanced a few places in the rocky sections on top of westwater mesa, and held it to the finish. My time was almost exactly the same as last year– which I’ll accept, given I had 8 days (23 hours) of CO/UT mountain biking in the legs. The next day I flew to Delaware for a few days. Not back in routine yet. No more riding until…
Saturday May 7: Platte River Battle Royal– great race hosted by our friends at Cycleworks in Lincoln. Record turnout made it a blast! I started well, faded a bit and let a few guys by me. Caught ‘em in laps 2 & 3, and saw Savery up ahead on lap 4. Now, with his handling skills he can fly through twisty singletrack effortlessly. So my only chance to catch him was on the climbs. I dug pretty deep up the Platte opening climb to try to get him in sight, and pushed hard on the climbs up to the middle pasture, but no dice. Turns out he was over-geared anyhow. I was happy with my finish but definitely felt I wasn’t in the form I had seen in late March/early April. No more riding until…
Sunday May 15: That’s right, I took a week to really focus on finishing off the deck. Bulk of it was built last fall, but I needed to add a pergola roof, lattice on the sides, and some landscaping. I’ve been eager to get this done so we can enjoy it and I can get back into a training routine. Big thanks to Todd who helped with the roof on Saturday. It’s all done now, and looking pretty sweet. Rox is happy. Sunday May 15 Mike Miles & Jeremy Cook took Rox & I out on my first road bike ride since, well, Twin Bing. Yes, that was on April 10. So more than a month off the road bike? Awesome. Not so much. Maybe. Time to get back into a structured training routine….
Tuesday May 17, intervals. Wednesday May 18: perhaps my least impressive Wednesday Night Worlds performance in over a year. Partial bad luck, partial bad timing/tactics, partial drop in fitness. So I was pretty nervous going into the Capitol City Criterium, but I was excited to work with a large number of teammates for the first time.
May 21: Capitol City Criterium: I’m not a break away kind of guy, but I was excited to try and create or protect a break for a teammate. We worked pretty hard to launch Lucas early, and he did get away for awhile, but totally alone. Probably tough to solo off the front for 45 minutes– he came back. Eventually Brady Murphy made a great break of four. Matt, Redemske, Lucas, EOB, and myself did what we could to control the peloton’s tempo and help the break stick. I think we each chased down a potential chaser or two (or seven). It was probably the most aggressive I’ve ever seen Redemske race– it’s exciting to see him back on form after a rough couple years, with more progress still to come. With about 20 minutes left, I realized I had been in my drops the whole time. Bryan told me to go for the field sprint. So I tried to relax a bit, and be smooth. I’ll admit, that’s not as fun as diving into every corner. I’m still amazed at what a road bike can do with a tire contact patch the size of a dime, even on that course’s rough pavement. With two laps to go, I’m strategically biding my time in mid-pack, and Bryan comes by and says “get up there!” One hard fast corner and I’m sitting fourth wheel, just as the pace really heats up. Lucas, Matt, and a guy from Rasmussen are pushing hard at the front, and I’m staying with ‘em no problem. Now I’m fired up. Full-on adrenalin. Around the last corner, over the bump on a tight line, and its speeding up, I’m about 3rd wheel, keeping an open line in front of me… but it doesn’t seem like we’re in a full on sprint yet….
If there’s one thing I hate, its getting boxed in during a sprint behind someone slower (no offense). When that happens, it just feels like 60 minutes (or whatever race duration) is just… wasted. With the finish in sight, I had a line, and it didn’t feel like anyone else was in full on sprint mode yet… so I gunned it. I’d much rather go to early and flame out then wait too long and get boxed in. I think the Zipp 404′s are working… I quickly had a bike length on everyone and kept going, and stuck it to the finish line to win the field sprint for fifth.
Shortly thereafter I learned Brady had emerged to win from the break– a great day for Midwest Cycling Community! I’m stoked to report that MWCC made it a full on successful weekend with Lucas Marshall and Matt Tillinghast taking first & second in Sunday’s Pioneers Park Grand Prix! Those guys worked hard all weekend and deserved it. Why wasn’t I there to help?
Sunday May 22: Dirt is calling. Noah and Rox had found a race outside Manhattan, KS– the Dirty Little Secret (on FB too!) at Fancy Creek State Park. Eyberg was in as well– a full car for cheap gas expenses! Rox wanted to race, and I love to find a new trail. It was rocky– big rocks that caused you to pick lines and thread the needle. Tight twisty moves and big steps up were required. I got boxed in at the start, and was a few places back from where I wanted to be upon entering the singletrack climb. One guy got out of the way pretty quick. Another wasn’t quite handling the rocks the way I wanted to, he let me around about 6 minutes in, and I got on the lead train, sitting in fourth behind a few guys that I know have massive power– Garret Steinmetz, Aaron Elwell, Travis Donn. The rocks were a nice equalizer, I stayed with ‘em for awhile. Elwell bobbled a big tricky rock step up, and I rode by. Adrenalin charged, and I tried to remain calm. We just entered wide open grassy singletrack, and I needed to stay consistent and moderate to save energy for the long race and the techy sections. Travis set a good pace, and I was gauging my legs. I had already spent a lot of time above threshold, and we were about halfway through lap 1 of 3. Sure enough, diesel engine pro Elwell came by and powered it. I fell off the leader pace but settled into my own rhythm with 5th right behind me. During lap 2, I shook off fifth place in the rocky climbs and stayed on my own pace to finish 4th overall and 3rd in my age group 30-39. I lost my balance once during lap 2 and crashed, and had a few close calls. With a crit the day before, I needed to ride within my limits and be consistent. It worked for fourth. Another couple months of structure, and I’d like to think I could hang with the leaders on a rocky course like that. Photos are on FB here, and should be on general interwebs soon, I’ll add the link. Rox finished 1st in Cat 1 Women, and Noah & Todd got 1st & 2nd in Cat 2, respectively– nice to go home with a car full of hardware!
Onward! I’m one week into a six week block of training leading up to July 4 Firecracker 50. Racing is on tap nearly ever weekend for the next 6 weeks. This is going to be fun.
A promise to you, dear reader…. minimum two blog posts a week. Public goals create accountability. Thats right. Routine, structure, goals…. back in action. On the road bike, and on the blog.