Tuesday, November 27, 2007


We put on the 2nd Fox Hollow 'cross race last Saturday, and I came close. In cyclo-cross, no less. There may only have been 9 guys, but I will take it.

Starting from the back of the pack, per usual, I found myself riding by everybody on the first climb of the course, which is good, because that means that when I laid out the hilly upper section the night before, I sure made it fit my strengths. Up, down, turn, up, down, turn, up,... .

Soon enough it was two of us on the front, with a couple more chasers just a few seconds back. I passed the Veloshop guy I was with, put a gap down, he closed it slowly through some corners, then I dialed it back. Stayed in front, we got caught by a Half Fast Velo who had been right there all along. A second Veloshop started to come up so I started punching it on the climbs, and could get a little gap, but not enough. Last lap, still on the front of the 3 man group, I kicked it on the bell and dropped the Veloshop at last. Half Fast glued to the wheel. Last two climbs, I could get a tiny gap and he threw it all down during the corners. Wheel to wheel. See the finish below and here. Over the barrier shoulder to shoulder, we knocked each other twice. Close.

The bike went up in the stand last night to fix the loose left crank which was discovered as I cleaned it after the race, which turned into hours of struggling and cursing, while discovering that the BB was indeed totally screwed, with the little inner bearing race on the left side firmly pressed over and onto the body of the crank spindle, impeding the removal of the crank from said bottom bracket, and thereby from the bike itself, while the BB was still threaded into the frame... I eventually managed to knock the crank just far enough out to get the bottom bracket tool over the mangled wreck and remove the whole shebang from the frame. The BB eventually came off the crank, as well. Now I have no bottom bracket.


Monday, November 12, 2007

So I'm beginning to think that my favorite 'cross strategy could use some revising. I pulled into the back of an 89 rider pack at Estacada - thinking that would be about the right place to be. But something is clicking with line choices, tire pressure, cornering skills, or something. So I rode by 68 in my field and some single speeders. I doubt I'll manage a good start place next weekend at the Crusade race in Hillsoboro, but I should probably at least give it a try.

Or not.

It's going to rain all week. Estacada was a little muddy, but mostly it was tacky, soft, and pretty clean. Not sloppy. Hillsoboro will be sloppy. Last year I fell over 3 times in 2 laps and whacked my hip and knee good enough to pull out. I biffed it on straight stretches, I biffed it trying to unclip for barriers, and I biffed it through a mudpile. Not a good time.

Now for something different. Here's a single picture to keep in mind any time you hear someone claim 'I/he/she/they are just naturally big boned'...

Yeah, that's some big belly bone right there, all right... next time, try and picture the skeleton inside the person, that really puts it in perspective. Your pelvis don't grow when you pack on the pounds, cleetus, so that ain't your hip you're feeling, that's your last 20 packs of cheetos.

Keep riding.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

the hurt

Saturday I finally bucked up and did another 'cross race. This one was a no brainer, since I was co-ordinating my team promoting it and I was a) there and b) racing for free. If you missed it (probably you did), the Fox Hollow Grand Prix course ruled. We threw in lots of off-camber grass, hard turns, short steep pitches, and one really, really long run-up.
Being well used to needing extra time to slow down and stumble over any remotely technical 'cross obstacles, I started at the back per usual but soon realized that most of the group was not really into going hard, so I kicked a little bit and went around a group then pegged it for about 2 laps... at which point I looked at my heart rate watch and saw 191, which explained why lunch seemed to making a re-appearance in my throat. The watch also delivered the interesting comment that I had, indeed, completed a full 7 minutes of the 50minute race.

This was bad news.

Worse, I had jumped up to 4th with Sami Fournier racing with us pretty much right on my wheel. Yes, she was wearing the stars and stripes. Yes, her bike was complete Dura-Ace. Yes, she was very smooth. Yes, I spent the whole race looking over my shoulder. I held on to the position - but it was pretty sketchy. By that, I mean I was sketchy. I may have way more power than a skinny little masters national champion, but I have way, way less skill. Still, I came out on top... 20 years, a Y chromozome, 40lbs, who knows how many watts... don't mean crap.

Chapeau, Sami, nice ride.