Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The PowerBar Booth: Volunteering at the CVS Caremark 5k

I volunteered at the PowerBar booth at the CVS Caremark 5k in Providene, RI.  It was a great day, and thousands of people came out for the event.  I was very busy at the booth, passing out PowerBar products to the participants.  It was fun to see and meet a wide variety of people, from small children in shorter races to the elite athletes who won the main 5k.  I must have passed out a few thousand products, congratulations to everyone who ran in the event!

Quad Cross and Blanford Beer Cross

The past two weekends I raced at Quad Cross and then at Competitive Edge's Blanford Beer Cross.  

I had never done the Quad Cross before, but I have always heard it was a fun race, so Caroline and I headed over to Eastern Massachusetts to give it a go.  As the race went off it was clear that I had put too many hard days in on the bike before the race, my legs were a little bit heavy and I did not have the power to push out of corners.  I kept pushing trying to catch people on the twisty sections and barriers, as seen below:

At the end of the day I crossed the line in 11th place, just out of the top 10.

The Blanford Cross Race was hosted by Competitive Edge and I would  like to thank Jen specifically for putting together an awesome event, way to go Jen!  It was a great day for a race, nice crisp fall air with the sun keeping everyone warm, perfect for cross.  I went with the PowerBar Strawberry Banana Energy Gel to fuel up before the race.  The gun went off and we charged up the hill to the first corner.  I was sitting in third place fighting for position through the first few turns, managed to get around the guys through the corners, and then we came to a fast straight away.  At this point I was in the lead but three guys came storming by, so I pushed hard to try to get back on their wheels.  

I chased for a while until the guy behind me passed me, then I turned my attention to him.  We rode together for the next few laps, but I was feeling good and was able to get around him on a steep uphill.  I then pushed hard the rest of the race and crossed the line in 4th.  

It was a great two weekends of racing, and with the weather turning a little cooler, it is finally beginning to feel like cross season!  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Blunt Park Cyclocross- The Double!

After racing the Monson Cross race on Saturday, I was very excited to head over to Blunt Park on Sunday to race some more.  This time I was going to race 2 races, back to back!  My plan was to race the Cat 1,2,3 race and then turn right around and then race the Cat. 3,4 race.  It was 90 degrees, dusty, and humid, tough conditions for back to back races, but time to push my limits. 

The 1,2,3 race went out with a bang and never looked back.  I didn't have a chance to pre-ride the course so the first lap was wild, and dust was everywhere.  

After a few laps I got a feel for the course and was able to start moving.  I ended up placing 15th out of 21 riders, not where I wanted to be it is still early on in the cross season. 

After I crossed the finish line of the first race, I immediately turned right around and headed back to the starting line of the next race.  My wife Caroline had a cool towel and a PowerBar Strawberry Banana Energy Gel waiting for me, and I had about 8 minutes to catch my breath before the next one stated.  And here we go!

I was able to get a great start and was the first rider to get into the single track.  I was feeling good and leading the race for the first few laps, however as it was the second race of the day and the third of the weekend, I started to fade.  My teammate Sean kept pushing me, and I was able to keep going for a while, but he passed me and I went as hard as I could for the rest of the race.

At the end I crossed the line 7 out of 65, a great result, and a good way to finish up my three race weekend. Till next time!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Monson Cyclocross Race

Today was the Monson Cross Race, the first of the year and I was very excited to kick off the fall season!  I have been riding the cross bike lately to get ready for racing, but I have not been able to get on any courses yet, so today was the day to begin racing, and also to begin to get a feel for the bike again.  It was a warm day with a decent amount of sun, so I brought along a bottle full of Powerbar Lemon Lime Drink Mix.

The race started off quickly, with a turn into a dusty off camber section.  I didn't have a great start so I got dust kicked up into my face, but I kept charging forward.  

The course was fun with a good mix of fast and twisty-turny sections.  At this point in the year I am still working on my engine and my handling, but I felt that my handling was coming around pretty well.  As the race went on I found that I was able to catch people on the twisty turny sections.
I kept my pace pretty constant throughout, and as I got towards the end I was in the middle of two groups, and as you can see below I had the whole run up to myself!

This was also the first time this year I had seen barriers, but I was able to get off and on the bike pretty well and hop over them without too many issues.
As I crossed the finish line I was happy to have finished my first cross race this year, and I came in 8th out of about 20 riders.  After the race I headed back to the team tent to chat and get out of the sun. 

Tomorrow is the Blunt Park Cyclocross race, and I will be racing back to back races there.  Three races in one weekend, wish me luck!

Wrath of the Boneyard

The Boneyard got the best of me last year, as can be seen in a previous post.  Long story short, I was in second place charging towards the front and then I got a flat... So this year I returned with a vengeance, and was hoping to get the best of the boneyard this time.

It was a hot day, so I fueled up with Powerbar Performance Sports Drink, and headed to the starting line.

The race went off into a cloud of dust, with wheels blazing and pedals churning.  I was feeling good, riding the rocky course smoothly, and keeping up well.  I then started climbing up a hill and felt my back tire getting soft, I hopped off my bike, and checked my tire.... it was going flat!  The boneyard had got the best of me again!  I then did a quick fix and then rode back tot he starting line to put in a tube.  I fixed the bike up, and got back on the course.  At this point it was just a matter of finishing and I am glad to say that I did.  

The boneyard got the best of me again, but there is always next year...

Massasoit Lung Opener

The Massasoit Lung Opener was my first MTB race of t he year in the Root 66 MTB Series.  I had not done this race before, so I was not sure what to expect.  I was excited to race, I had got some good training in and I was fueled up with Raspberry Energy Blasts, I was good to go.  The gun went off, and the race started!

After about 15 minutes of racing I was in the top third and moving my way up, however we started a rocky and rooty descent and when I got to the bottom I heard that sound every cyclist hates, psssssssss.  My rear wheel had hit a rock and now I had a puncture.  I quickly took my rear wheel off and started to change the tube.  I managed to get a new tube in but it was too late, the entire field had gone.  I got back on my bike and started the chase, however after I finished the first lap it seemed that I would have a hard time catching back up.

However, I pushed on and did finish the race.  It was not where I wanted to finish, but I was happy that I pushed through the flat and I still had it in me to finish the race. 

Berkshire Highlands Pentathalon

To describe this event I think that the official website description does it best:
The first annual Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon features many of the best outdoor adventures in our area. The five events - a 10k trail run, 23 miles of road biking, 5 miles of kayaking, a mile to the top of the mountain and a downhill ski to the finish - can only happen on the same day at the turn of the seasons. It may be a bit cold for road biking and kayaking and a bit warm for skiing, but where else can you do it all on the same day?

That's right, five events, too cold for biking too warm for skiing, just perfect for awesome! I was very excited for this event because a) it is very unique, b) the proceeds for the race go to preserving the beautiful woods of Western Massachusetts, and c) I was part of a two member team, the other member, my wife Caroline!

The race started with a 10k trail run, which Caroline took care off. She did an awesome job, running up and down the muddy hills and doing it all very quickly. Below you can see a picture of the start.


After Caroline finished the run she tagged off to me.  I then hammered around the 23 mile course, up the many hills and managed to stay pretty warm on the balmy 35 degree day.  Below you can see me coming into the bike finish.

After the bike I hopped into the kayak and made my why down the rapids.  The water was frigid and flowing fast, it was quite intimidating.  I managed to make it down the river without falling in, but just barely, this was a very cold and at times scary as I was fighting to stay upright down the rapids. 

I finally got out the the river (it seemed like it took forever!), and I tagged back to Caroline so she could start her run up the ski hill.  Below you can see her run right after the tag off!

Caroline made it up the ski hill, and it was time to ski down the tiny patch of snow that was left.  I managed to wind my way throught the gates and through the finish!  You can see the ski course below.

This was a great experience.  It was a truly unique event and althought it was cold, wet, and exhausting, Caroline and I both had a great time.  We both decided that we are going to do this event next year!!!  You can see our team at the finish line below!