November 7, 2011

Iceman Experience... And Some

Mountain bike season officially ended Saturday at the Iceman. If you would have asked me going into the race what I thought would have been a good result I would have said top 3 despite the entrance of some really big names and a long list of the normal top contenders. I was feeling confident with my fitness and racing after Boulder last weekend and training went well during the week. If you would have asked 10 minutes into the race how I thought I was going to finish though I would have said outside the top 20 I felt so bad. I don't know what it is lately but sometimes I am just hit or miss and Saturday I was miss. I was miss so bad early on I couldn't even move up inside the top 20 and was sure I would miss the move that seperates the top 5-6 from the rest of the race. I think partly it was due to my mtn bike not fitting like my cross bike. That is strange because I have been riding that bike quite a bit but I haven't done efforts on it and I think that really hurt me. As soon as we were going hard I felt wrong in my position - to high and forward on the bike and my legs were just hating it and I just didn't notice that subtle change while going easy pulling the burley in the weeks prior.

Anyway, I suffered probably the most I have suffered in a race all year to eventually drag myself across a couple open gaps and finally establish myself on the back of the lead train maybe 30 minutes into the race and I thought I was going to die. Anytime the race slowed or or we were climbing I was fine, but anytime we were going fast my legs felt like they had rubber bands holding them back and were just screaming at me. I have been doing motorpacing and fast cross races and so I guess the only explanation is my fit was just a little off. Maybe I was having a little off day too, or a little dehydrated from driving, but even an off day shouldn't have been that bad.

So, in the end I managed to drag myself onto the back of the race and instead of having the confidence to ride at the front I was just happy to be near the front. When the race went balastic in the last mile I managed to stay on until the last climb where the race seperated going into the finish area. My perspective changed a lot in that hour and a half race and suddenly 5th didn't seem so bad considering I wasn't sure I could do 20th early on.

I was already packed and ready to head to Cincinnati after the race finished and since I was somewhat disappointed that I hadn't ridden better I hopped in the car around 6:30 and started driving south towards Ohio. Sunday was the C1 category race there so I wanted to give a shot at some points and maybe have better legs there. I drove almost all the way there and stopped about 1:30am south of Dayton. Luckily the daylight savings ended so I got some extra sleep.

I have been doing the Cincinnati races since they starting 5-6 years ago. Mitch Graham, the promoter, has been great to me over the years. Most memorable trip was when he put me up at his moms for a few nights and she made chili and cookies for me so it has always been fun to get there for the races. I did actually have decent legs despite 900 miles of driving in the two days prior but the course was very soggy with some mud bogs and was just a pure power course with no drafting and no resting. Unfortunately that was probably the worst the conditions I could have hoped for after suffering the day before and the long drive but I still managed to hang onto a 6th there since most of the other racers were tired from racing the two prior days themselves. To be competitive at the front I would have needed great legs here and only having OK legs was not enough against the guys that generally ride in those conditions better than I do to begin with.

The hard part was being back in the car by 6pm and headed back north on I65 but I rolled through Chicago about 10:30, turned my clock back another hour and made it home by 12pm. Yeah, pretty awesome I gained 2 hours on the weekend. Now it's time to rest and recover for Louisville USGP this coming weekend. Another trip with lots of driving but anything less than 8 hours in the car is still easier than flying in my opinion.

8 lanes wide in downtown

Also, it's that time of the year to put up the hardtail mtn bike for sale - if you're interested in an awesome bike check my garage. I'd love to get rid of it locally again so shoot me an email if your interested or know someone who is.


~ Tandis ~ said...

5th & 6th sounds good to us! Nice work. You amaze us! Ski keeps track of your standings online if he can find them - he gets a thrill from your crazy riding and road trips. Thank the Lord for preserving you on all those roads for so long and keeping your car running well. sui

Anonymous said...

We always enjoy your honest evaluation of yourself. It makes your victories greater and your struggles understandable. No excuses or whining, just frank assessment. Admirable qualities under any circumstances, but particularly in a pro athlete.