Friday, May 21, 2010

Gloceser Grind, fogged in, and Power Bar

This past weekend was the first EFTA race on the calendar for 2010, The Glocester Grind (RI, not MA). Sean and myself represented the Comp Edge MTB Team, and because we like to roll in style we brought a dedicated mechanic Nate. I was looking forward to the race as these EFTA races are pretty fun, and the weather was looking good, so I was expecting some dry weather. When we pulled off the highway to get to the race, the area looked familiar, and immediately I realized that I was about 5 minutes from Rogers Corporation where I interned for two summers! This gave me good feelings, and when we arrived at the race I was ready to get registered, dressed, warmup and then rip it up.

The whistle went off (no guns for bike racing) and the elite field was off, immediately we were shot around a tight corner and I got into a good position and ended up going into the woods in about third place. I was here for a little bit and was feeling good, and within in a few minutes we ended up getting into the muddy rock gardens and this is where I started to get a little thrown off. There were these extended mud pits, and for some the reason the past few years these have given me endless trouble. I always seem to pick bad lines the first few times through and people eat me alive, to make matters worse a lot of these mudpits had rocks in them, so I was losing time. The course was as flat as a pancake and in general had fairly rough ground, because of these reasons I was unable to really get into a groove, and hills are ushually a good thing for me, so I just kept on pedaling, ended up running through most mud pits, and I came across the line in 4th place. I am pretty happy about this as the field was strong, and this course was not well suited for my abilities. If I race enough of these mud pit courses I am bound to get a feel for them, so I am happy to be challenged in this way.

Check out this video from Cycling Dirt of the race:
Post race legs, covered in mud, and yep that is blood. The course was pretty crowded with people from other fields, so I was running by someone who got stuck in mud, and I fell right on my knees. Also, what you can't see is that something hit me in the back of my leg, and caused a huge knot in the back of my knee. This is gone now, but it hurt pretty bad and made my leg really stiff at the time.

Here is Nate, our dedicated mechanic, he keeps the machines running properly, and it was awesome to have him at the race, thanks Nate!

Sean came across the line first in the expert race, and now he is upgrading to elite in EFTA, should be great to have a teammate around.

Here is an awesome waterfall I came across last week, its hard to tell its scale, but the waterall is about 10 feet high.

After the race weekend I found all of these PowerBar wrappers on my passenger seat floor, I eat a lot of those!

Finally, this Wednesday it was raining, however I was scheduled to do hill repeats, and I am not going to let rain stop me, so I still rode to the top, and by the time I got there I was in a cloud, awesome!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Pictures of the area and some MTB Racig

Recently I upgraded cellular devices and now I will be able to take some more pictures while riding, which should make the blog a bit more multimedia rich. The first picture below is from a cool stream I can across, there are tons of these around and I always enjoy running across them.

This picture is a lake that is fairly nearby my place but I did not realize that it existed until I ran across it last week. As you can see it is a pretty nice lake, maybe I will be able to take a swim once it warms up a little bit.

Also this past weekend the UMASS bike racing team hosted their yearly mountain bike, the Orchard Hill Assault. This is a great race as it happens right on campus, and it is a great more laid back race. On Saturday a few of us went to mark the course and right in the middle of it, the clouds decided they were getting too heavy and dumped on us. Well, this was not going to stop us, so we had to finish taping in the rain, great.

On Sunday all of the racers showed up to a great day to ride a bike, the rain the previous day had put the trails in great condition, so you can't ask for much more condtions wise. This was the first race were Sean and I were both sporting the Competitve Edge kits, it was pretty cool, and we are looking forwared to Nate suiting up as well to get the whole team together.

So although this was a more "laid back" race that does not mean that is was a stroll in the woods. The Pro/Open field was strong, and this was going to make for a great race. When the whistle went off I pushed off and missed my pedal, and had some trouble cliping in (ushually I do this very well, so I was a litte confused by the whole thing, but I eventually I heard a 'click' and it was go time), I then put some good pedal strokes together and made it third into the woods. James Harmon got in first and burned down the first hill, and then killed it up the first hill, after that he was long gone. At this point I got passed by a few guys as is customary for me in a race, as I try not to go too nuts in the first few minutes. I kept clawing my way back up and got into fourth position, and tried to chase Josh Wilcox, however it seemed that he was not coming back or getting further ahead, just dangling at about the same spot. Well the rest of the race went this way and I came across the line in 4th.

Here I am, focus.... (Photo courtesy of Gary Kennedy, awesome shot!)

Overall I had a good race. I did this race last year, and I am in much better shape now than back then, and I am feeling stronger every day. We did 7 laps and my times were pretty consistent across the board, so I think that my endurance base is holding steady (I suppose those three 100 mile rides in 8 days are paying off). I think that my top end will be coming around and it should be a good summer of racing. Sean also had a good race, and crossed the line 5th in the Cat 1 field, way to go Comp Edge Team!

For now I have races the next two weekends (EFTA race in Glocester, RI this weekend followed by Winsted Woods the next), and then its back home for the 24 hours of boyne, should be a great three weeks.