Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gold Cowbell - Seattle Cyclocross

Monroe, WA was the last race of the year for the Seattle Cyclocross series and this race would determine the podium winners for the year. After the Sprinker race I was sitting in 5th place for the series. When I got up in the morning it was raining....hard. As I arrived at the race course it was still raining hard. On my one and only ride around the course I noted running water, mud puddles, deep mud, and grassy sections of goo.  The race started and the roosters of flying mud began. This picture was taken during the first lap of the race in one of the sandy corrals. Note the narrow line of hard packed sand.

 I figured that my glasses would be covered in flying mud thereby limiting my vision but the real problem was the slimy hillside where I fell. Later in the race I would have to run the slimy sections.

 This was a power course.....powering through all the mud. This picture was taken later in the race evidenced by the accumulation of mud on the jersey.

During the run-up.

 Finally I crossed the finish line and then headed for the car and some dry clothes. I wanted to get to the awards ceremony and did not have much time. After piling all the muddy things in the car, I headed for the ceremony. They called Don forward for third place and my heart sank to the floor. I figured that I missed the podium for this year. Then Tom was called for second, again not me. I was standing there under the side of the barn watching the rain fall when, much to my surprise, they called my name for the top podium position. The final numbers must have been very close, but at age 64 I'm very grateful to have won this series.

Podium finishers for the Cat 4 Men 55+ group

Many thanks to Seattle Cyclocross for putting on these races for the past 20 years.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sprinker CX

As you can see from the following photo, the Sprinker course was frosty with a hint of mud. The lead in this photo is Jodi who is in the process of winning the women's SS race.

I got a good start and latched onto the wheel of the leaders.

There were a lot of grassy turns, three sets of barriers and then my trouble spot, the sand pit. I don't normally have trouble with sand but this sand pit cost me way too many seconds. In the end I got 4th place (26 seconds off the leader) in the Men Cat 4 55+ group. I'm now ranked 6th in Washington by USAC for Cat 4 men 55+.

It does not look that cold in the photos but when I finished the race, my feet were stinging from cold for over thirty minutes.

My Challenge Grifo tires did well in the grassy corners and slipped only once on the icy rocks during the turn into the first barriers. In all, it was a good day and I'm looking forward the the final race in Monroe.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Seattle Cyclocross - Steilacoom

This is the second time this season that we have raced at Steilacoom. Several days prior to the race, we all received an email from Seattle Cyclocross predicting wet weather and lots of mud. They wanted to duplicate the conditions at Enumclaw. It was not to be.

The course was dry and fast with plenty of climbing to thin out the field. I got a faster start than usual, worked my way around the barns and started passing 45+ aged back markers on the first climb on the tarmac. After a narrow section of single track, the course designers placed three barriers further apart than normal on an up hill section that forced everyone to run the entire length of the barriers. I lost a lot of time in this run-up stretch because of all the traffic. A right turn sent you down a short down hill followed by tight turns around trees and then another longer climb up a gravel road and around a large water tank. By this time in the race, I was totally out of breath but had to negotiate a narrow loose gravel down hill path with my eyes watering from the cold. I love doing sketchy down hill sections, at speed, and blind.

Following the descent you were greeted with a wood chip path and then the remainder of the course on grass and tarmac. 

I sprinted for the finish but did not catch Rick, who was 2 seconds in front of me. 

In the end I got 6th place out of 26 in the Cat 4 55+ age group on a course that required a lot of power and endurance. 

A little math fun: As we lined up for the start the officials told us that the course had changed since the pre-ride and would be a little longer. Then, during the race, they added another lap to the race. So, as you crossed the start/finish line on lap one you heard "two laps to go". Then at the end of lap two, you again heard "two laps to go" at the finish line. Some of us were questioning the officials math abilities, but what the heck, this is cyclocross, you just go until you drop.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Only in Ballard

I saw the following in an email written by Fabien.

"I was driving to my classes in baaaahlard and was driving up the lake city way road when I saw a cycling, climbing in the biggest gear he could handle and making the same face as Bjarne Riis climbing up in the Pyrenees. He was looking straight ahead and was clearly aiming to catch up a rider about 200 meters ahead of him who was spinning casually.

I got closer to the said cycling who was pedaling smoothly, perfect technique, when I realized that it was....RAINER!

I laughed so hard thinking about the other guy trying to catch Rainer up....

Anyway, I thought that I would sharer that with you :D"


Alleen in geval u niet wist, is Rainer een van de sterkste cyclocross en weg racers in het noordwesten.