Monday, November 29, 2010

Seattle CX Season Finale

It was just above freezing and lightly raining when we arrived at the Evergreen Fairgrounds to contest the Seattle Cyclocross season finale. I got checked in and then pre-rode the course. The finish line, steep hill side area, and pit zone were changed from last year. The ditch crossing that gave everyone a problem last year was easy but the steep descent plus single barrier on the hill side caused many a crash this Sunday.

Here is Eva washing out the front end and going down.

And here is Chris taking a tumble.

When the whistle blew for our start, I was in the wrong gear and lost some time. After I got things going I looked up and saw Steve B. out in front and killing it. Greg H. and the crew were in hot pursuit. I put my diesel engine into gear and started to pull the field back to me.

As the race continued I passed Steve B. and then George.

 I came up behind Richard D. but then blundered my way through the steep hill side and lost contact.

Check out that top hat that Cosmic is wearing! Awesome!

Here are Steve B. and Amos G. going through the barrier. 

Note Don's flat tire. He made a great effort to run to the pits for his "B" bike.

Every time I went through this puddle I filled my right shoe full of cold water. 

I pulled some time back when racing on the gravel road and before the finish area but the race ended before I could make any more gains.

Finishers for Sunday's race (Cat 4 men 55+):

1st - Greg H.
2nd - Richard D.
3rd - BikeSea

Finishers for the overall Seattle CX series (Cat 4 men 55+):

1st - George S.
2nd - BikeSea
3rd - Steve B.

I'm the proud recipient of a silver cow bell for the Seattle Cyclocross Championship Series. Last year I was just off the podium in 4th place.

A huge thank you goes to the entire crew of Seattle Cyclocross for putting on the 2010 Championship Series.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Special Day

It was 33 degrees and lightly snowing when I did my pre-ride around the course at Sprinker Park. This was a long course with muddy corners, short uphill sand pit, short steep run-ups, tricky off camber corner near the back of the course and a long run to the finish with a 90 degree bend just before the line. At the start, I was shaking with cold and was glad to get going. My plan was to try and stay with the leaders but that did not work out because I was cold and stiff. As I warmed up on the course, I started passing people.....then more......then people I had never passed before. The course was rather flat so I got in the big ring and hammered my way around the back side of the course. On the last lap, the only person in front of me from my group fell on the tricky off camber corner near the back fence. I just missed running into him and then kept on trucking. On the stretch to the finish, I did not look back but I knew that someone was very close behind me. I just put my head down and hammered. I came into the last turn very hot, just made the turn and then sprinted for the line. At the finish I was able to hold Richard off for the win. 

My first ever bicycle WIN.

I'm riding on the grass and the fellow to starboard, fell on the tricky corner.

Sand pit.

Here comes Richard.

After returning home, I started cleaning the bike and discovered that I had a dragging brake. Oh fine! 

Monday, November 15, 2010

MFG Woodland Park Cross

Here comes the cat 4 45+ group over the hill about 20 seconds after the start. Chris L. is in the center and he got 3rd place. 

The final MFG race of the year was all about hills, forest, wet grass, leaf litter and muddy corners. The MFG promoters combined the 55+ cat 3 and cat 4 men into the same race so the competition was fast. I got 5th place out of 24 with three cat 3 racers and one cat 4 racer higher in the standings.  I felt stronger and faster than last year and my bike handling skills have gotten better. There were numerous times where I was sliding both the front and rear wheels through the slimy corners and did not fall.

Here is a short clip of Dan finishing his race.

I certainly hope that MFG can continue to use this venue every year.

Now if I can only continue this good performance through the next several weeks. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Maris Farms Cross

Last year the Maris Farms course had a pumpkin patch mud bog so deep that I could not steer the bike, so on the first lap I drove into the bog at speed and promptly fell over into the mud. This year, because of all the rain, the organizers changed the course, deleting the old bog but included two smaller ones that forced you off the bike and into running mode. The remaining course was slippery grass and steep unrideable hills.

Peanut butter mud with pumpkin patch behind.

Notice that I'm going around the outside of the turn to find better traction.

A run-up after the barriers.

The devil was making me do this....

To make the course even more fun, it started to rain.

The following pictures show Emily going through the mud pit on the other side of the course.

Other riders commented:

Brendan - "I loved that part compared to the sharp rocks 10 feet later that sliced my tubulars open! Nice suspense not knowing if your shoes would come up with your feet."

Sharon - "That last step on the last lap, I was beginning to feel like a mastodon in the tar pits!"

After all of this was over, I went to the board and found that I got third place. I was shocked! (third place is a very good result for me) I was working so hard that during the race, I did not have presents of mind to know how I was doing. A cross race can push you until all you see is your own tunnel of effort.

Muddy bike.

I did, however slip back to third place in the overall Seattle Cyclocross standings in the cat 4 55+ category because Steve B got second place in this race. He now has a 3 point advantage on me. We have two more races left in the season to determine the final standings.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Great weather

For the past three days the weather in Seattle has been cool but very sunny. It has been a delight for bike riding.

The fall season brings a burst of orange, yellow and brown colors throughout the neighborhood.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

November sunshine

It is fantastic to have such a great day of riding in November. I took the rain bike down to Renton, out the Cedar River trail to the Hobart cut off, into Issaquah and then back to the house via Newport.

After the ride I went down the hill to see Tom Peterson's new bike shop. I did have a chance to talk to Tom and he said he initially got 27th at the Vuelta but two racers with faster times have been disqualified due to drugs so he is now sitting 25th. He also said that another 5 above him were probably on drugs as they were having crazy super human results during some of the stages. Sad to see that the world's elite peloton is still having drug problems.

On the good side, it is great to have such a good racer in our community.