Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Fort Steilacoom revisited

It was a gorgeous fall day, one of those days where the light is perfect, the sun is shining, a slight nip in the air, we were all wearing short sleeves. Fort Steilacoom is just south of Tacoma, about a 45 min drive from my house. I arrived took the dogs for a walk in the park and then suited up and readied for battle. I had been coughing up lung butter all week, and was really hesitant to race, but really wanted to. I found myself wondering why I was pushing so hard to get points in the series, that a few months ago I could have carried less about. It looks like because I am choosing the CCSSWC in Portland over a weekend of racing here in the Seattle series I will be only participating in 6 of 9 in the Seattle series races and the Points race includes the best 7 results. I still hope to place in the top 5 overall, but I can not have a bad race. Enough about all that, competition takes hold of me sometimes and I feel the need for speed so to speak.

Now to the race on Sunday. Thanks to Twin Six I had a new jersey and socks just for the occasion. What better for fall than the Buck. Every Singlespeeder needs a pair to these, 6 inch wool beauties. Thanks so much Brent. The course included small climb some descending and the famous Knapp run up, think a very long, not so fun steep hill run in the middle of the race.
Lap one: The whistle blows and we are off. I find myself out front for a bit of the lap, through the barriers and up the small climb, then I get passed and struggle to hold his wheel. Down a steep, loose, mulch hillside and on to the run up we go. Running uphill is not my strong point, in fact it is my weakness. Up we go and I am now battling for second and third. At the top we are in a pack, once we hit the flats I have the power and the ability to stay out front, a firm second.

Laps 2,3,4
I get passed by one more single speeder Galin, last weeks winner and continue to battle for the next position with Mike. He is faster on the run up, but I can catch him on the rest of the course.

Lap 5
I am able to shed Mike and get a gap. Firmly in third. Now if I can just hold it.

Lap 6 the final lap
I have a gap until I drop my chain. How could this be. I fix it and am on my bike just ahead of Mike, last years series champion. He is faster on the run up, typically, we are close to the top and neck and neck, it is do or die time, I bury my head and dig deep, just edging him out at the top. I know that I will not be able to shake him, it is the last lap, I try but to no avail. We are going to be sprinting for third. I am patient and think I know where he will jump on me, I see him in my periphery and stomp on the pedals, just edging him out across the line. I am whipped, snot is everywhere, but I managed to get third, a very hard fought third at that. It was a great race.

Monday, October 29, 2007

thanks dave

If you make it to Denver and like the brown liquor, you need to go see Dave Nice at Stranahan's. He is distilling great American Whiskey there. Thanks again Dave it was good to meet you in person. Now if we can just get together and do some riding.

If you do make it to see Dave make sure to ask him his favorite question:

What is the difference between Bourbon and Whiskey? I' ll leave it right there.

As always keep pedaling.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

sniffle, cough,sniffle

We are having great weather here in the Pac Northwest am I am stuck inside, wheezing, coughing and wanting to be healthy. I have been doing so since Monday morning. This time of year always gets me and it drives me crazy every time. I don't do well staying still, but riding when all your joints hurt doesn't feel good either. Hopefully I will have some power on Sunday for the next Cross race.
It's the aches that kill me. I am sleeping as much as I can to get rid of this shit. Think good thoughts and as always keep pedaling.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Bridesmaid again...

Another cross race another 2nd place. This past weekend at Kelly Creek was bumpy, fast and quite a workout, it had been raining all week and the horse field was soaked. I found that the worn in line was not always the fastest line and found myself experimenting on more than one occasion with riding in the grass. Most of the time it was to my benefit. I often wonder if I would be faster if I could coast or not. It seems the answer would be easy, yes. I am not completely convinced. I am definitely more fit, more in tune and more healthy than last year, I feel more connected to my cross bike than ever before, and I am having fun. I just want to pull out one win, at least. I want to dispel the myth that fixed gears are not functional. I'll be honest I just want to win one. I had a great battle for 2nd with my friend Ben Smith, we went back and forth, and back and forth, until I was finally able to shed him. I shed him, but then Mike R. was on a tear and almost caught me, but I was able to hold him off and keep second place. I have already missed one series race.
The series is 9 races long your best 7 finishes count at the end of the series. Having missed one and planning on missing another 2, these two are on the same weekend as the sscxwc down in Portland and I must be there. It is more important to me. I fear because of this clash, I will finish out of the awards simply because others will show up when I don't. Even if I beat them all season. Does it really matter no. But it sure would be nice to stand on the podium at the end of the season knowing I wasn't coasting when all the others were. In the end I think the world championships will be more fun and I want to be part of that event, the first one of its kind. There I have talked enough shit and it is time to nurse my aching body, I feel as though I am coming down with some sort of cold, flu thing. Just when the weather is perfect for riding, sunny and warm I go down for the count. I will fight through it all. As always keep pedaling.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Crosstoberfest 2007

Ragnorok Racing and Second Ascent put on an annual Cross race in October. There is a relay race where cross dressing is encouraged. In the week leading up to the race I could find no one willing to commit to a costume, so I bagged the idea. I should have brought a costume as I found many people willing on race day. Oh well live and learn.

So the racing action. First I would just like to say it was an awesome course. Reverse of last year, so I constantly felt I was going the wrong way. I am sure I was not alone.
Here we are lined up and ready to go. There was a first lap prime, for a pair of sunglasses.
awaiting the start
I wanted to be the guy on the fixie who won the prime and would have been if I had just been a bit more patient. There was a turn from grass to wet pavement which I took a bit to sharp and ended up on the ground because of. Now I had to chase.
Here we are just after the start.
the start
Here I am about to pass Ben, he won the week before, two laps in and I am charging.
Ben, about to be passed
It wouldn't be cross without barriers. These were right next to the beer garden and lots of hand ups of beer and heckling went on here.
Craig runs the barriers
more barriers.
Up hill barrier
This was such a fun race and I felt good even with the 3:45 am bed time after working all night. Craig ended up with the win, the top 5 single speeders beat the 1st placed 3, not to bad for a bunch of one geared freaks. This year the single speed class here in Seattle has doubled averaging between 20 and 30 riders each week.
Here is the top 3 chatting after the race.
I look so happy with my grumpy man face on. Wonder what i was saying at that moment, probably something about how great my legs feel.
No race would be complete without a recovery drink.
recovery drink
New Belgium Brewing sponsors the event, and I always look forward to each year.

In other cross news. I mentioned it before and will mention it again. My friends down in Portland are hosting the Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships over the weekend of November 9th and 10th, looks to be a blast. For more info, go here. I look forward to seeing you there.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Radio silence has been broken...

I dropped off the face of the planet, and wish I had a picture that summed up what life has been like. Eat, ride, work, eat, work, work, work, race, work, drink, race, get a tattoo......you get the picture. Gotta get the liver ready for this. I now understand the old saying "life picks up speed..." What happened to this year. It's raining heavily again, what happened to the summer. Constant rain and drizzle can only mean one thing, Cross season is upon us. Its funny, I was never a big fan. While living in Reno I wouldn't race, hell wouldn't even go watch, just wasn't what I wanted to be doing. Who wants to ride in small circles hop over barriers on a road bike with knobbies. I'm a mountain biker, I like to get away. I now enjoy me some cross. It hurts like nothing else, and what else can I say about the racing action is intense, close and short. It's like a big family. I had always heard these things but by the time it all came around I was not in to the travel and putting on the chamois, I was thinking about sweet powder and giving the legs a rest. oh how things have changed. I have raced the last two weekends, both times on the official hangover that goes with a Sunday afternoon race.

Last year I raced a few races with little luck, and then lost interest, duty called and I had to work a bunch. My girlfriend and I also share a car and she took priority, travel and you get there is a long list of excuses. I must tell you that I am riding the fixed monster cross frame that Wade built me at all said events. Most people think that is crazy, never raced cross to racing it on a fixie, why not, like I have said before moderation has never been my strong point, or moderation but only in moderation. It is the bike I have, and I must stand by my one gear one mind motto for fear of being called a fake. haha, get the sarcasm. Well enough about the bike or was it my ego we were talking about. more sarcasm.

Race #1 Fort Stelllacoom Rad Racing uci
There were 13 or 15 or so of us on the line. It is dry and sunny, the course is almost dusty. Now for those of you who don't know this course has the longest run up in the country I am told, the Knapp run up after Dale Knapp. Running, oh how I love running. I have the hangover associated with celebrating someones engagement, I also have ever expectation of getting smoked. The gun goes off and I am near the front. I am feeling good, we hit traffic from the class in front of us and I lose a few feet on the front two. The long run up, followed by the downhill and I can barely see them. Think eggbeater. On the flats I have lots of power and reign them in a bit. Each of the five goes like this. I settle in to getting third, not bad, then someone flats and second is mine, first is really close, I miss it by about 10 feet. 2nd or first loser. I stay around for the awards and get a set of Racing Ralph tires. Not bad for 20 bucks. I smile have a beer and a coffee, yeah I was a bit confused and head home.

Race #2 Snohomish 1st race in the Seattle Series
Last year this race was the fourth in the series and my undoing. It was raining, super muddy, I was a bit sick and I feel apart. I think due to all the damage last year they moved it to earlier in the year to avoid a repeat. Well no luck there. The rain has returned to the Pacific Northwest, and on Sunday the rain was constant and heavy. The course was a soupy, sloppy mud fest, very crossy. There were 25 of us on the line, it was 50 degrees and I again had the hangover, I had worked a 10 hr day serving football fans beer before and after the local college game at my bar, then to relieve some stress indulged in a bit of elegant drinking, a couple Bulliet Burbons and some Belgian beer. Enough about that, the gun goes off and I charge to the front and take the lead about 1/2 way in to the lap and proceed to lay it down. I get a good gap and am feeling good, then I have no front brake, and then on the fourth lap my legs are not cooperating and I start going backwards. I go in to damage control mode and hold on for a 3rd place finish. I am happy but would have like to win it. I feel redeemed after last year, but again my legs did give out just not as bad, last year I ended up 8th or 9th out of 15 or so people.

This weekend is Crosstober out at St Edwards, and coming up in November our friends in Portland are putting together one hell of a weekend mark your calenders for the weekend of November 9th and 10th cause it is gonna be a time not to be missed, the Unofficial Official Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships. More info should be available here on Friday. I there will be a qualifying time trial on Saturday and then the race on Sunday, with a party in between I am told. I hope to see you all there. I will be talking about this more when I get more details.