Archive for December, 2008

Azencross GVA

Posted: 30 December 2008 in Uncategorized
So I checked the temperature for the race today and it said that it was going to be a minimum of -7 and a high of Plus Nothing, so I knew it was going to be a cold race.  We got there with plenty of time, and after some food and dropping off a Christmas present, I was getting ready to ride.  I pre-rode the seriously frozen track a couple laps and that was enought o get the idea of it.  It was pretty technical though with more than a few BMX style bumps in it, was generally pretty narrow course, and lots and lots of turns.  For the most part it was flat, but lots of changing terrain though and quite a few flyovers!
So I don’t know if I just missed my call up or not, but I was basically the last guy to go to the line.  There were quite a few people racing, and all the top guns were there!  The start was pretty fast although because I was so far back, not many people were really gunning it.  About half way through the start straight Jempy Drecker Collided with another racer and the went down hard like it was a crit.  I managed to move by them and was off to start moving my way through everyone!  It wasn’t hard to move up though as there were loads of turns off the bat and the course really seemed to suit me well.  I’d be able to hold gaps on the straights and then I’d really start to close time with everyone on the technical turns and the bumps and stuff.  I was in no-mans land there for a couple laps when I really started to get into the groove of the course from riding on my own.  I almost made it up to Derrick St.John and Matt Shriver’s group and then I managed to get a little tooooo much air time over one of the rather large BMX bumps.  I landed hard on my saddle and because the ground was frozen, then bike slid out from under me and I went sliding into the fence.  I got up and was seriously hurting and I felt like someone had kicked me in the NUTS… Like repetitively!  So I jumped on the bike right away and rode around on my pedals only for about half a lap before I started to feel a little better.  I then got back into the groove and was able to start hammering again, but after all the rush of crashing you just never get to go as fast on a track as you could before it.  I eventually just got lapped right before they finished, but was pretty choked from having crashed.  Oh well, next race it going to be a good one!!!  Luxemburg on the 1st!!!

World Cup Zolder

Posted: 27 December 2008 in Uncategorized
So we got all rested up after the trip to Nommay and I was looking forward quite a bit to the race in Zolder.  I heard that it was usually pretty technical and fast and dry, which is more like a North American race I would say.  Basically the course looked like a MTB course with a run up, and a couple long road sections in it.  I loved it!!!!  We went to pre-ride the day before (Christmas Day) and the course was still a little bit wet with a couple soupy sections and most of the sand (as there was lots of it) was pretty stickey.
Zolder World Cup
This time (because I have no World Cup Points, which are diffrent from UCI points) my call up was basically 5th from the last guy I would say.  With about 50 some guys in front of me, I was doomed to have a good race!  The start straight was basically about 700m or road into the head wind and then immediately went into a sweeping right hand corner and then a sharp left into the pits.  On the first corner some guys were messing around and crashing eachother on the left side, so I hugged the corner tight and missed out on all the carnage!  It was a CRAZY fast race right off the start and I was trying to keep with the guys in front of me, but they were VERY fast.  I was just behind a big groupd of guys on the one sandy section when I got off balance a bit and went off the track and into the deep sand section.  So I was pretty much off in my own for a while and after a few laps I rode with Molly Cameron for a few laps and then we hit the sketchy sandy decent and I was on the left and he was on the right when he got half the way down and endoed and basically landed in the crowd.  After another few laps a Danish dude caught up to me and we rode the rest of the race battling it out.  It’s much more fun when you have someone to duke it out with!! WIth about 3 laps to go I could tell that the leaders were starting to come up on us from behind a bit, so I decided to treat it as my last lap and I absolutely drilled it on every section that I could dig deep on.  The dude I was riding with just sat on my wheel and I didn’t mind it.  I wanted to work hard to not get lapped, so I tried to put the hammer down hard!!!!  On the end of my second last lap (and the leaders last lap) I came onto the road straight and the UCI guy was motioning to me to GO GO GO hard so we didn’t get lapped (as if he were the 3rd base coach motioning for the batter to run it all the way home!).  We sprinted it out in front of the leaders, and managed to be the last 2 guys to sneak through the start/finish.  The whole last lap was massive carnage.  As we were almost a minute behind the next guys everyone thought that the race was over so we had to deal with major amounts of spectators walking all over the course!  We were yelling at them and tryingt o get them to move, but most of them just didn’t care.  Oh well, we made our way through.  That’s probably one reason why we ended up being 2 minutes down on the last lap instead of what we were the lap before.  Although after digging so hard to keep away from being lapped, I was almost blown after we got through, and the other guy went in front of me and I almost just gave up, but then I couldn’t just let him go, so we battled it out. I managed to get in front of him before the last technical 180 deg turn that was in sand with a drop in it, and he screwed up and I finally rode it good.  After that, I sprinted my way through the crowd at the finish line before calling it a day!
It was fun, I liked it!
Next race:  Azencross (Dec. 30th)

World Cup, Nommay

Posted: 26 December 2008 in Uncategorized
So we got down to France after a 6 something hour drive (which isn’t that bad, but it’s loads when your the one doing most of the driving).  We were able to swap out drivers though, so I was able to get some shut eye!  (or bobble head time as some people might call it for me).  We got to pre-ride the course as soon as we got down there and it was pretty cool, but was going to be VERY hard the next day as it was loads of wet on the course and most of the course winded through a pretty deep grassy field!
Nommay World Cup
I managed to weezle a 2nd last row call up (some how) and there were a crap load of racers there too.  They had 85 at least sign up for the race and were on the start list.  It was incredible.   On the day there weren’t that many, but still.  The start was pretty fast and the typical bottle neck came about when everyone got to the first set of Mamouth stairs.  It was pretty surreal running in between 50 other dudes running up stairs with their bikes around their shoulders!  I was able to steer around a large pile up on the decent after the stairs by going on the inside and then after that it was straight into the mud pit of a field!  We weren’t able to have as many mechanics as we might have liked as there were only 2 people for 4 girls and 3 dudes.  I have to hand it to Stef for being the man on the spot and having to deal with cleaning 3 different bikes all within one lap!  I tried to hold off with the bike changing for as long as I could so I only changed every full lap, but almost wish I would have changed more!
After one of the off-cambre ascents in the mud some dude ended up slipping up in front of me and somehow managed to jam his foot right into my front wheel.  Now I have to get it trued, but still, I’m pretty choked about it!  I was able to ride a pretty strong race though after just racing 2 days before and after having to drive 6 hrs to get there.  So I was happy at the end of the day.  About half way through Derrick St. John managed to mangle both of his bikes and had to run a bit of the course to hit up the pits, but was strong enough to be able to catch me with about 3 laps to go.  I tried hard to hold off the charging Sven and Lars, but it just wasn’t in the books.  Lapped with 1 and a half to go!
Maybe next race, I’ll hold them off?

Scheldecross, Antwerp

Posted: 26 December 2008 in Uncategorized
So I really should jump on these race reports a little earlier than this, but right now i’m replaying the last 2 weeks of racing in Europe.  It’s currently Boxing Day in Belgium and it’s cold (compared to normal), but unfortunately, this is the first year that I haven’t had a White Christmas.
So I lined up at the C2 (I think) race basically on the last row.  There weren’t too many guys racing, but all the strongs ones showed up (with the exception of Sven Nys and Bart Wellens I think).  But off the gun it was a very fast a long start straight.  by the end of the start straight, I was basically in my 46/13.  It was fast.  Straight into a 180 degree turn.  During the first lap I did pretty good to hold my line and stay out of trouble (until I got to the sand of course).  This course (little did I know before hand) has about 600m of sand pit. 2 major ones per lap.  It’s incredible.  Pretty fast because it wasn’t all that wet (for the most part) so I didn’t need to change the bike at all.  It seemed that I was getting really good at taking crappy lines through the sand pits and the "paths" that were ridden into the sand from the previous guys, I just wasn’t really able to stay in them so I ended up doing LOTS of running.  I even ended up running into a couple of guys.  One guy even fell right in front of me and I didn’t have time to put on the brakes so I just rode right into his back!  If he didn’t want to get hit, he wouldn’t have crashed!!  That’s how I think of it.  Anyways, there is a pretty good picture that someone took of me coming out of the sand pit on one lap and I was looking at my heart rate monitor to see what it kept going to because it kept getting higher every lap I did that section!  I’ll try and post that one on here soon!
Anyways, I finished up getting lapped with one and a half laps to go.  I really need to work on my sand riding, as the sand riding over here is a whole different ball of wax compared to what were used to at home.  (although the sand here doesn’t freeze under ground (or turn to clay either), so we get off lucky! 
Next Race:  Nommay World Cup (southern France)
A bit of an update from accross the Atlantic:
I got in to London Heathrow After an 8 Hr flight.  It was 11:15 in the morning local time.  I got into the house in Lincoln (known in a place called "THE NORTH") I went to bed at around 10 at night and didn’t wake up until 4:30 PM Saturday evening.  That’s about 16 and a half hours of sleep.. It was Awesome!!!  I then jumped on the trainer at 11:30 and did an hour on the bike.  I felt pretty good so I finished the ride and hit the sack at about 1:30.  Ready to wake up at 9:00
National Trophy Race # 5?
Got a fair bit of a warm up in after pre-riding the course a couple times.  The track was pretty good in the morning, knowing that it would only get Worse later in the day after the early morning riders went on.  I rode around only half the course and I swear to you that my bike gained 10 lbs at least.
I ended up getting about 6th call up which was pretty cool.  I was on the front row and got a pretty good start.  The first half of the race I did well, moving up all the time and eventually sitting 3rd for a while.  Only to suffer from a couple of crashes due to the change in the course from the pre-ride time.  I really should have prepared for it, but knowing fearless me, thinking I can do everything superman can, I went down just a few times.  I knew by the end of the first lap I was sitting around 15th or so, so I needed to kick it into high gear.  After spoending the first lap and a half on my first bike, I decided to start changing every half lap as it was refreshing to get a new 10 lb less bike every once and a while.  It wasn’t necessarily the loss of weight, but the best part was the loss of friction due to the major clog from all the crap that was on the course.
I began to get into the groove and only started passing people from that point on.  I picked one guy out of the guys I was chasing, and managed to catch him with about 4 laps to go when we rode together with another dude before I tried a few time to drop them.  He ended up dropping me on a muddy section on the last lap, but I was able to put a load of time into the other guy.  I knew I was racing for top 10 by that time, and figured the dude in front of me would most likely get 10th as that’s usually the way it goes when I am just outside the UCI points.  I ended up 11th from all the top class English racers.  It’s not too bad, but I suspect that It’ll take me a few weeks to sort out my race and training schedule before i’m back to normal.  Oh well though it was a pretty fun race!  and first one in Great Britain!
Anyways, I’m getting up early to hit the english channel  (underground that is!)  SO off to bed for me!
Schooler signing off!

New Jersey USGP Weekend

Posted: 2 December 2008 in Uncategorized
So my last couple races in North America in 2008 were going to prove to be a great test of mid-cross season fitness and a chance to tear it up with all the big guns in the States.  The USGP Round #3 and #4 were to be held in Trenton New Jersey.  I was able to drive down with a few local Toronto guys, Rick Meloff, Alex Sanna (provided some top notch pit services), and the junior who drilled it in Toronto the weekend before.
So after an 8 or so hour drive on Friday, we got to the course and went out for a bit of a pre-ride.  It was wet out and VERY foggy, I tried to do one lap hard, and couldn’t see through my glasses.  the majority of the course was ridable at the time, but was pretty tough and I knew i’d be in for some hard racing on the weekend.  Then it got dark almost instantaneously.
Round #3 USGP:
So I got almost a 3rd or 4th row call up which isn’t too bad considering the fact that I haven’t done all that many UCI races compared to the rest of the guys there, and I didn’t have the greatest Nationals, but still.  Right off the gun I started pretty good and into the first corner it turned into a gong show.  The gong show continued until probably half way around the lap with everyone running basically 50% of the first bit.  It got so muddy and soft with the races from the morning that everything that was semi-ridable before was a MUST run this time around.  It was still pretty muddy on Saturday although it was fairly nice weather out.  It rained once in the morning and I got locked out of the truck once, but oh well.  I was running pretty good in the first 1/4 of the race and about 1 and a half laps into the race, I looked at my watch and it was almost at 20 minutes already!  Now those are long laps.  A couple times I went into the pit to change a bike, but my pit guy wasn’t there so I had to run back out.  The race was very hard, with loads of running, but I managed to finish up pretty strong with a 25th place.  Still best result at a USGP so far!!!!
Round #4 USGP:
So Sunday provided for a little bit better of a day and race prep for me, as I had the keys to the truch this time and was able to hang out in the truck before my ride and chill.  I watched Van Wilder on the laptop (great movie) then managed to sqeeze in a 2 hr nap before I had to eat and get ready to warm up.
Race report:
I got a similar call up this time, but off the gun I felt WAY better than the day before.  The course was exactly the same as the day before, only it had dried up quite a bit after the gale force wind and rain we got the night before.  Some sections of the course had been "revised" thanks to Rick and a few other spectators, which provided for a much faster race this time!  It was still a muddy gong show though, only this time it was just a few sections that were long and usually up hill (I even started running some of the downhills, as it was WAY faster I think)  For a while there, I was sitting in the top 15 I think.  Then about half way through the race I ran up the stairs, jumped on my bike, went down the ramp and my foot slipped off the pedal.  My body landed straight on the back of the seat and all I heard was a SNAP!!!!!  SO crappy as it was I just broke my seat post.  I managed to hang on to it for the rest of the lap (I had to still finish 2/3 of the lap on no saddle as I just finished going through the pit) before I headed to the pit to get my spare.  I grabbed my spare bike and off I went.  Nothing crazy, I just lost a couple spots, and the legs got pretty tired from BMXing it the whole rest of the lap.  I came in the next lap or so, and they said they had a new bike for me.  So I went to change and ended up on an Orbea Neutral bike with a pretty scookum setup and full Sram Red.  It took a few laps to get cumfortable on the bike as it was like going froma Ferrari race car to an upright minivan.  It was pretty interesting.  Even harder to get used to was the sram shifting.  I knew right away it would be tough, but I managed to sort it out!  After I got the new bike Adam Mcgrath caught up to me and we battled it out for the last 3 or 4 laps.  It was pretty cool, and he had everyone cheering for him!  It ended up coming down to a 3 way sprint in the end between us and another guy who just caught us at the last road section, and I ended up loosing the sprint to both of them (it’s an excuse, but I was on my cadillac Orbea so it’s okay). 
Next race:  National Trophy Series in Great Britain!!!!
Off for now.