Thursday, November 21, 2013


There are a few weeks between races here so it's time to reload and buckle down with some good blocks of training. Last weekend was 60 miles on the road with some fast guys then Sunday I did a cx race sim out at Owens for 50'.

Wednesday's I've been hanging out at Owens and racing whoever shows up.   This past week was pretty mello and just worked on passing and taking better lines thru turns.

Looking to start a big block tomorrow to build up for Dec. 8th at Salisbury then the UCI races in Hendersonville.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Derby City Cup 2013

One of the main things that pushed me into racing cross this year was going to the WC's up in Louisville and seeing #SVENNESS.  It was an incredible experience so when a race weekend on the same course popped up I knew I had to go do it (even before I actually owned a cross bike or even knew the first thing about cross).

The other thing that has helped this year is having some dudes in town who are always ready to go race. As soon as I mentioned Louisville to Justin he was instantly registered for it.  Sweet.  Plus me being from Louisville and having a place to stay really helped with the logistics.


The course was amazing and the venue world class.  Long sand, short sand, uphill and downhill sand, 2 great runups with one the famous "limestone stairs" and some muddy technical off camber. It was overall a very fast course. Weather was perfect.  My parents place was a 15' ride from the course at Eva Bandman park with great bars and coffee shops nearby so it all was stacking up to be a stellar weekend.  I have some rants about the races but I'll keep those till the end.


We drove up Friday and really wanted to get onto the course.  We did see a youtube video of it and we were like... "OH SHIT" this is gonna be hard. JB raced at 11:30 and me at 12:30 so we decided to ride down super early before any of the races and get a good preview and register.  It was about 40˚ or so at 7:30 when we headed out but it didn't really feel that cold riding down there.  We did the pre-ride, scoped out the course then headed back to the apt.

I only got a few glimpses of JB during his race and he killed it...he finished on the lead lap and had the zombie-cross look so a good ride.

My race was a huge combined field of 35/45/55 then the U19's (All Cat 1,2,3).  This was an extremely hard category. There were 109 registered plus who knows how many day of race an enormous field.  I was "called up" in 68th position so near the back.  The start was chaotic and crazy and the usual scrum to the first turn.  With so many riders there were huge bottlenecks at the dismounts and at the flyover I actually had to just stop and wait for people on the first lap so it was super slow.

After the first lap I settled in with a few other guys who I was "racing".  The cool thing about cross is that you are always racing someone, I don't care if you are in last place or first. It's alway's "GO" which is awesome.

Unfortunately because the field was so stacked the officials were very strict with the 80% rule and started pulling riders from the race very early.  I got pulled with 3 to go... I've never been this pissed/bummed out after a bike race but I got over it with enough beer.

We hung out and watched the other races then the Pro's drank beer and had a good time.  Very fun day despite the racing.  We got back and after dinner we both crashed just after 9:00pm.


It was a much calmer morning since we didn't have to pre-ride.  Lots of coffee and pastries.  I did have to warm up so I headed down River road for about 40' and snuck in a few laps on the course between races.  The legs felt good but I was mentally a bit muted and still smarting from getting pulled the day before. Just not that excited about the upcoming race and the possibility of getting pulled again.

I lined up in about the same spot on the far left next to the barriers.  I did notice that some of the riders looked incredibly young to be mixing it up with a field this big (turns out some were 11-12, wtf???).

At the start I had a little delay getting in my pedals, just a split second, then I was sprinting full gas. In situations like this I tend to keep looking ahead to try to stay out of trouble so when I started to see a huge pileup in front of me I was instantly HARD on the brakes, but we were flying. The crash was a wall of bodies and bikes and at first I thought I was going to avoid the worst of it (Discs saved my ass for sure) but that's when guys from behind started slamming into me.

I went flying off my bike and into the scrum and started getting pummeled by wheels, bikes and bodies. I did take a huge impact onto my helmet from something and my left thigh took a big hit.  It was pretty scary.  Then quickly it was all over and thats when people started to freak out.  Lots of injuries, broken bikes and very dazed people.  I was laying there and a big dude stumbled and stepped right on my chest. I just sortof moaned.

I finally got up and did the self assessment... Very painful left ass, right lower leg with some abrasions and pain. Generally dazed.  I tried to check out my bike and get the chain back on but I wasn't thinking too clearly, the bike was ok.  My helmet was cracked but I didn't realize that at the time.

The officials has neutralized the race stopping the riders who got thru in the pits. At that point I heard yells for a medic and someone yelling "He can't feel his legs..."

I then went over to check out what was going on with the badly injured guy.  He was laying on his back and not moving but conscious and breathing so that was good.  Noone was really with him so I went over and knelt down and just grabbed and held his head/helmet so he wouldn't move.  I've had patients who have had their spinal cords severed well after the accident by just moving the head. It was a very critical time.  A medic then showed up and took over.  They loaded him up in an ambulance then we all got lined up to restart the race.

I had no idea if I could actually ride much less race cross in my condition but mentally I was fine, so I spent some time stretching and then just rolling around the start area and I figured I would give it a try and just see what happens. The restart was still fast but a bit more subdued than the first.  I had some aches and pains but as the race when on I sortof forgot about all that and just was riding as hard as I could.  I was with 2-3 other guys who I was "racing" so it was really super fun.  And I finished! (helped out by a shortened 30' race).

Day one results: Day one

Day two results: Day two

In retrospect:

I delayed posting this for a while to let everything sink in.  My first response was pretty angry at the organizers for combining the fields so most guys got 80%'d (zero 55+ riders actually finished the race saturday) and then letting super young kids into the race which did not help with the crash. I was pretty adamant about not going up there next year due to these reasons but as I have digested things I just think I signed up for the wrong category.  I should have just done the Cat 3 or 35+ 3's which would have been fast but not insane like my race and I probably would have at least finished and not had to deal with the young kids.  So that's the plan for next year and really any other big races with huge combined fields this and learn.

This was a pretty incredible weekend of racing, viewing, heckling and beer drinking.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

My gear

What I'm running...

Frame: It's a chinese carbon generic disc frame. 52cm (51ish top tube) and internal cable routing.  I bought it direct and it was very cheap.  I also got the generic carbon stem and bars, both very overbuilt and beefy. Also a chinese seatpost which was light but the saddle mounting mechanism was suspect so I put on an old Ritchey carbon post I had in the parts drawer.

I had it custom painted to my specs which I mocked up in Photoshop and they painted. Matt black and Pantone 1655C Orange.  I've always loved my old HealthNet orange Aliante saddle so that was a starting point.

Grouppo:  Shimano Ultegra 11 speed.  Cranks are CX70 46/36 with an 11-28. I went with 170mm cranks (I use 172.5 on the road).  I can't really tell the difference, maybe I get a bit more clearance with turns etc.

Brakes: TRP HY/RD cable-hydrolic.  These brakes are amazing.  Great modulation and 2 finger full force braking.  I can scream into turns and bleed off speed instantly.  I've ridden canti's for many years on mtb's and these are so much better it's ridiculous.  No issues yet with wear or any sounds.  They have organic pads and I have metal pads ordered which is said to remedy the mud issue everyone was having last year.  Stock rotors.

Wheels: Stan's Iron Cross Pro wheel set.  Super light at 1400g but tough so far.  Running tubes right now till I have some time to figure the tubeless thing out.  I didn't want to be dealing with that along with all the other things I have to learn right now with cross.  When there is a break in racing I will set them up tubeless.

Tires: My goto tire now is the Grifo 33mm clincher.  I usually run 38f/44r unless it's muddy or wet and I go down from there.  Latex tubes. I've got some PDX's ordered for mud.  I've also got some Kenda Happy Mediums 40mm front/35mm rear (40's in the rear don't fit my frame) that I will run too at some point.

Pedals: Eggbeater 3's.  I've been running an old pair of eggbeaters on my MTB for a while and liked them.  Zero effort in/out and super easy dismounting. There is no better mud pedal out there. They just work.

Misc: Jagwire cables, Fizik Aliante saddle, Lizard skins 2.5 tape.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Wednesday Night Cyclocross World Championships

So 5 of us showed for the first annual (weekly) WNCWC...  I had some time tuesday so I went out to Owens field to mark out a course then Justin came and we tweaked it a bit.  It had grass, barriers, technical single track, sketchy turns, off camber, concrete stairs, sand, sidewalk and a 180˚ zig zag section.

5 of us showed and we smashed each other till dark around 40'... Most crashed, one was close to puking and we had a blast.

I learned a few things: run your cross saddle the same height as the road, go fast when you can go fast and never go easy.  I really wish I had a power meter for this.

We are gonna try to do this every Wednesday.  Try to be there and ready to roll at 6pm.  We will do one lap recon then line up and GO.

Here was this weeks course, it will change every week, click to see larger view.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What's cyclocross like?

If you really want to know what cyclocross is all about read this.  This article nails it:


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Post race

I slept like crap cuz whenever I would try to turn I would wake up because my legs were so painful and difficult to actually move.  I hobbled around this morning and just HURT.  I can't remember actually ever feeling this bad after training/racing. The amazing thing was that after getting warmed up with the day I ended up getting out for 2 hours on the road and at times was going pretty good.  Go figure.

Next race is probably gonna be Boone, NC on 11/3 then up to Lousiville for 11/9-10.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Charlotte NCCX #1

I put in a pretty big block of training last weekend until tuesday then wednesday a bunch of Cx'ers gathered for some drills/technique stuff at Owens field.  After my first race I needed to figure out how to get over the barriers at least at a slow jog.  That meant lots of reps over pvc barriers and I finally got to where I could do it consistently with a right foot only leap.  The downside of this was that I was super sore and stiff from all the training/running/jumping. My old body isn't used to this... at all. This would be a problem still on the weekend even with 2 days of total rest.

Due to having the time and possibly just stupidity I signed up for two races on Saturday.  First the 45+ Cat 1,2,3 at 11:30am and then later the 35+ Cat. 3 at 1:30pm.  Being old means I get lots of choices as to what races I want to do.  Also cross racers hate mornings so there are no 8am starts like in road racing so I was able to leave the house at a reasonable hour. That was very nice.

45+ Cat 1,2,3

After sortof just rolling around the Spartanburg race I wanted to really "race" this one so after the usual warmup I lined up ready to go hard (but my hamstrings and adductors were still pretty tweaked). As in road racing in NC there are old really, really fast guys in these races so I just wanted to just hang on as long as possible.  The course was more of a "cross" power course and very fast.  The trouble was that it was raining lightly and the ground was wet.

The start was uneventful, just fast and hard.  An immediate steep run up and I figured out how to shoulder my bike for the first time, that was fun.  A sand pit (my first time) that I mostly was able to ride every time. Fun.

I was running grifo's with latex tubes and went with a pressure that was for me on the edge.  F32/R35 and with wet grass it felt pretty good during the race.  On the first lap I did crash on a tight wet off camber turn, but lots of other people crashed there too.

The barriers I was able to do while running!  1000% improvement over last race. I had set my pvc practice barriers a little high by design so in the race they felt low and the spacing was perfect for a double right leg leap.  Hey, Fun!

The rest of the race was just trying to ride hard. Yeah, I suffered but I did pass some people along the way and then on the last lap but it was tough to tell who was in my race as they had 3 waves of groups all on the course at the same time.  People everywhere. I finished 21st out of 28.

35+ Cat 3

After the 1st race I was totally wiped, my legs were killing me and everything was tight and crampy.  I thought there would be no way I could do that again but I had already registered so I figured just line up and see what happens.  I stretched, drank a lot then put on a dry kit and instantly felt better.  I rode around for 15' then lined up for the 35+ race.

We were the last wave after the 35+ Cat 1,2 then the Cat 3's.  I was actually cramping a bit just standing there waiting for the start.  Not a good sign!  I lined up at the back and at the start was sort of jockeying with another guy to be dead last at the start. Haha.  I rode totally within myself and not following wheels and I started feeling better and better.  I started passing some guys and was really enjoying it.

After a few laps I was coming up a short fast climb on a turn and I felt my rear tire roll and then my latex tube blew which sounded like a gunshot.  I was able to roll to the pits where I picked up an extra bike I brought but the problem was this was an old mtb with flat pedals and about 4 workable gears. I actually use this bike to pull my kids trailer!  I rode for a while then pulled the plug as a lot of traffic was passing me and I didn't want to slow anyone down.  So DNF.

I think in retrospect that my latex tubes may have lost 1-2 psi since the morning filling so they were super low plus the grass had dried out and was very fast and grippy.  I should have put a little more air in before my 2nd race.  Lesson learned.

Handup report: took an oreo from a little girl and was offered a beer from Aaron Trent but he wanted to hand me a glass bottle, in the sand pit...Newbie.


Pre-Reg results

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Spartanburg, SC race report

I did the 45+ Cat 1,2,3 race in Spartanburg.  It was my first Cx race and I had just gotten my bike ready the day before so I had practically zero practice with it, mounting, dismounting, nada.  I watched a lot of Youtube videos... Yeah.

Luckily for me the field was small to non existent.  Maybe 12 people with 4 women in a combined 35/45/women field. My plan was to just start at the back and figure things out as I went.  I was able to ride the course a couple laps in warmup and it was a very technical mountain bike sort of course with lots of single track.

We took off and things went well till the barriers... I dismounted and quickly found out I cannot jump off of my left leg.  I ruptured my achilles 14 years ago and I guess I have been favoring it ever since. So it was incredibly awkward trying to jump off my right leg as that wasn't my natural motion. My barrier technique for the whole day was just awkward, lurching, stopping, it's best.  Most of the time I just stopped and stepped over the barriers at walking speed.  It was just bad, bad, bad.

After the barriers was a steep run/ride up.  Some people would run up, some would ride it but it resembled a short grunt mtb climb so I was able to ride it every time without trouble.  That was a surprise as I never could ride it in practice.

So this is how the race pretty much went for 45min.  For the last half of the race I followed around a Cat.1 woman on a mtb who was cruising it until I slid out on a tight corner on the last lap then I finished alone.  I did feel obligated to take a beer hand up on my first race.  Thanks Justin!

Damon and I was getting ready to take off when we thought we should just check the results and I found out I had beaten the only other 45+ guy there so I had officially won the race.  Haha.  Pretty funny.  I did get $30 and a beer.  Sweet, I love Cx!

Here's a video of the climb, first Damon then me.

Saturday, October 5, 2013


This blog is back from the dead.  Everything before this post deals with road racing and training mainly with a powermeter.  A lot of that info is still relevant but with some life changes over the last few years (twins!) I have not been doing much road racing or anything resembling consistent training.

After going to the Cyclocross World Championships last year and following cross for a few years I decided to jump headfirst into cx racing this year.  The main thrust of this is finally having the time to do some structured training again.  I started this summer and now my lungs and legs are pretty much where they need to be it's just the last 12lbs of beer is what I need to get rid of.  It's all w/kg still more than ever.