Wednesday, October 28, 2009


This weekend was one day of cross racing in Webberville just east of Austin. The course was long and favored power over technical skills. It started out on a straight before making a hard right turn which led to 3 tall barriers. Then it went through wet, muddy grass to the only technical area of the course. It climbed up a hill that cut back down the hill partway before a cutback climb back up the hill. This led to a slight uphill run with a log barrier before looping back and running along the top of the hill. It finally went back down to the wet, muddy grass that made sure your bike was wet before you went through an up and back sand pit followed by a straight sand pit. After your bike and shoes were thoroughly caked in sand, it was a long, flat power run around the park to the finish.

The 4s was the first race of the day. I started off well but didn't sprint as hard as last weekend and ended up in a group of 4 with 3 up ahead after going through the sand pits for the first time. During the long power section I bridged up to the three ahead with a guy in a white jersey. Over the next lap and a half our group of 5 was whittled to 3; Major Bob, white jersey, and myself. We rode together till the next to last lap when Major Bob attacked, white jersey followed and I tried to follow but I didn't have the burst and my stomach threatened to empty itself on the course. I couldn't recover from the attempted effort and started fading. On the last lap two chasers caught me but I still finished 5th which is my best cross placing yet.

The fist race was so painful I decided to jump in a larger 3/4 field as well. It was fast and I started in the back so there was quickly a large gap. I felt good for the first three laps and reeled in riders but then my body quit on me and two riders came back and passed me. On the last lap the leader who had a minute and half lead over the first chase group caught and passed me. It was on the hill with the log and he neatly bunny-hopped the log. Exhausted and clearly not thinking, I decided to follow his lead and attempt a bunny-hop as well. I should preface this by stating I have never bunny-hopped anything in a race or practice. As I started the bunny hop I realized this was really stupid but I was committed. I put to much weight forward, almost went over the handlebars, but managed to save it and finish 19th.

The best part of the weekend was my parents came out and supported me through both races. I'm blessed with a great family. Thanks Mom and Dad!! The clean up is still ongoing and I glued up the new tubular tire so I hope to race them this coming weekend. Cross racing resumes in two days. This is definitely the way to spend the off season.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Week Catch-Up

I've been a little lazy about posting this week. I did get out with the guys on Tuesday at a local Lutheran school that is on an old par 3 golf course. They have cut a cross country course around the old course which makes a great cyclocross training ground. (note: I've decided to stop the nicknames for all the guys I ride with. It's to much to try to keep up with) It's a small crowd that goes out but all the guys are strong riders. Doug, Nate P, Jeff, and a current state jersey holder and mountain/cross extraordinaire Chad. It was great following these guys around and learning their lines and then chasing their accelerations. Each time I get out I feel a little less like a fish out of water and with the ride to and from work it was a nice 40+ mile day.

This weekend we went to ATX to see family, race on Sunday (full report to follow in the next couple of days), and check out the Texas Custom Bike Show that was there with the LiveStrong Challenge. Here is a few photos from the small show. (sorry for the photo quality, was using a loaner camera I didn't know because I left mine at home.)

Beautiful Classic Steel

Nice ride from a new local builder

Great townie

Fixie action (love the track bars)

More fixie (crazy wheels)

Awesome Crumpton CycloX build (my runner-up)

Beautiful Alchemy fixie with Paul crank (my Best in Show)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

San Antonio Cross Weekend

The first weekend of the Texas cyclocross season kicked off in San Antonio with absolutely beautiful weather. Perfectly clear Texas skys, temps in the 70s, and light winds. Both courses were fairly dry despite all the recent rain.

Saturday's race was held at the San Antonio Police Academy. The course was a little rough but had a good flow to it.

The red lines on the right side is the start point. We lined up and I managed a good position on the front row. The whistle blew and I opened a strong sprint and was second wheel once we entered the course. My riding skills weren't very good though. I cross like a roadie on a cross bike, not a true cross rider. There was a series of off camber sections up on the berm at the top side of the course. These were my undoing and I lost 3 spots our first time through them. I started to settle in but on the second lap as I went over the barriers my chain fell off due to poor placement of my chain guard. I got the chain back on but lost 2 more places. I hammered it to try to regain the spots I lost and going through the berm section I wiped out on the third off camber section and dropped my chain again. A group of 3 guys caught me here, a large guy in a black kit, a guy in a Bicycle Heaven kit, and Zack Gonzalez. As we rode I figured out I could open a gap when I wanted and I was faster over the barriers but any time I gained I gave back every time we went through the off camber sections on the berms. These attacks did manage to dislodge Bicycle Heavan but Zack and Black Kit were still there. The next to last lap Zack attacked on the berm section and I couldn't get around Black Kit to go with him. Going through the barriers entering the bell lap I attacked Black Kit and opened a good gap. The last time I went through the off camber berms I took it very conservative and managed to maintain a small gap on Black Kit. Knowing I was faster through the rest of the course I tried to power down to catch Zack but was unable to catch him. 9th place overall in a field of about 30. It was fun and I know it will get better as I find some cross skills.

Sunday's race was the same venue as last year's state championship and is a great course. It is at Padre Park on the river and flows beautifully.

I lined up in the front row again because after the start it is single track for a while and is very hard to pass. The whistle blew and I sprinted well and entered the course 2nd wheel for the 2nd straight day. I was flowing well and the field was stringing out. The course dropped down to the river twice with steep climbs back up. During the pre-race ride I decided it would be better to run up the steep climbs as opposed to trying to ride them and get stuck part way up. We went down the first drop and I was a little rough in my dismount and dropped the chain. Guess I still don't have it dialed in. I managed to get it back on, lost 3 places, but was still in good position as we dropped down to the river for the second part. As we approached the steep climb up I decided to change my plan on the fly and try to ride it in a gamble to make up some places. As I got near the top and tried to turn left with the course my front tire rolled off the rim tearing the valve stem from the tire. The tire instantly went flat and I went down. I was to far from the wheel pit to have a chance at making a change and getting back into the race so I called it a day.
It was very disappointing but I'll glue on a new tire and try again next week.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Back From Nowhere

It's been a while since I've posted. Work has been busy followed by a leak in the apartment and an unexpected move. Things have been hectic and the time on the bike has been limited.

Since my last post; congrats to the Kaptain and El Wonder Nino on collecting State RR jerseys in last weeks state championships. Also, cross season starts in less than 48 hours!!! I keep telling myself its for fun and not for results. It's for fun, it's for fun, it's for fun. I think I believe it....

Finally, there is a new toy in this house. I've loved Oakleys and have owned 4 pairs, two of which I still own but never a pair of truly race worthy shades. Cancellara wore a pair of orange Oakley Radars that were cycling bling in the Tour last year. They were obnoxiously bright and as my wife can attest, when it comes to shoes and shades I love obnoxiously bright. The orange would go perfectly with our kit but a teammate bought them before me and I prefer to roll unique. This year Oakley released the Jawbone in Atomic Orange. Matt at Bike Heaven had a pair and hooked me up. This is true cycling bling. Now if only Sidi would make some orange and white shoes.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

FF Week 3

My fortunes are finally starting to turn in fantasy football. I had my first winning week of the season going 3-1. Maurice Jones-Drew was fantastic winning my friends league for me. One of the experiment leagues I won because my opponent scored an amazingly low 24 points. I didn't know that was possible while starting players at every position. Finally my work league went down to the last minutes of Monday Night Football but I managed to squeak out a win by 6 points. Bye weeks start and injuries are in full force (Frank Gore, LT, and Marion Barber). I've thrown out a few trade offers this week so we'll see what happens.