Everything is a bit off today, my bodytemp is up, the furnace is on full blast. The hunger only leaves for about 5 minutes before it comes back like an avalanche. I think I may have really emptied myself yesterday, it was hard and the weather was a bit hot for cross, I didn't take the waterline along the beach, I stayed up on the more dry sand. Rougher but more consistent, no time to pick a line through it that was faster than the one I was on already. My whole system except the energy levle is in overdrive. I thought I was going to throw-up at around noon and it turns out I was just hungry. A bit of soup and sandwich and I feel normal again, well, relatively normal, I mean more even-keeled, well less out there, you know, more aware of what might be going on around me. Hey at least I can ride a bike today. This is from last Sunday not yesterday, good courses for different reasons.
The proper cross weather we have had left for a few days. The indian summer was back for a near 70 degree day of dry beach cross. A bit like the famous world cup Koksijde course in Belgium where if your man eonugh you can ride it, I'm not, I run. This week they had call ups, Which helped a ton becuase of the enormous field, I got the pole spot and timed the start just right. I jumped out ot hte hole-shot and was comfortable to let the race happen until the splits came. 6 of us were away after the first lap and then the real games began, two Mootry guys started to play attack and sit, to isolate and try to split it up, it only tired them out, they ended up third and fifth. Once there was even a bobble where one of the Mootry guys cut a corner forcing me stop and put a foot down, allowing his teammate a good gap with another guy, after chasing back on the group dynamic was done for the day. That was the last time I let two guys on the same team in front of me. Riding thru lap after lap the leader would change but no splits until the last two laps, I pushed it a bit to make the attacks less likely and then got in front for the final run up the beach and gave all I had to gain a little gap that grew to about 30 seconds on the line. Only one real mistake when I put the foot down, next weekend is it, the USGP. Maybe a rest after that. I could use a break. For pics check out Peloton Photo he should have them up split out for categories.
Yesterday was a rest day, of sorts. We had to go to Denver for a number of things so the whole family went to escape winter for a while. The weather there would maybe have been good for a ride but it just didn't work out for time. We went to the Butterfly Pavillion North of Denver, I got to hold a spider with B. It was one of these. The butterfly pavillion is an entomologists dream, I was never that into bugs but this place made me want to go back and learn all about them. Tomorrow is the last test before the USGP I feel good, no ghosts last night and no real aches. Good races for sure are on the way. Check out this stop action movie, Manquer if you like bikes, if you've seen it, watch it again it's worth it.
Another random picture from Sunday's slowfest. The cool thing about the course was how slow and turny it was, I felt like I was barely moving, riding across the field was the slowest part, every lap expecting 6 guys to blow past me. The other guys had to ride same course, it was slow for them too. Little visit from the ghosts last night, later than usual, better to be up early than up late. Not too bad the 5 a.m. up is better than the 1 a.m. no sleep. Antsy and upright when I should be horizontal and asleep. All the way though me, false alarm at 4, then up for good at 5. I'm tired now and I can't help it.
16 inches of snow in Breck. Not even a second thought on riding, I was out the door at 7.10 and should have known what I was about to do. That much of the white stuff mid season sets up like a powder day, not today. Heavy and stiff, the bike wouldn't roll thru it. Clogging the gears and making the path impassable. The road was less attractive, I didn't have a choice as the gears were skipping and the bike wasn't happy. Single is the way to go in this stuff, straight up with either sliders or EBB. Running in calf deep snow with the pack and a bike on my shoulder or next to me made me tired. Third day of training this week. USGP will be good, next week maintenance, then open up for saturday, 9 days until my biggest test in years. It all will pay off, one way or the other. Insert snowy shot from any image gallery here. Deep snow.
Wow, good work today, one or two of these a week and I'll have no excuses not to be first 10 at USGP. Motor pace with Jeff, not with a scooter or motorcycle just riding behind a really fast guy on a road bike while I'm on the cross machine with knobbies makes it feel like motor pacing. Great work. Shut the brain off and hold on. I feel tired now, two days of training and then Swan Mtn at the end today for good measure. Certainly a good measure of what it takes to not be slow, will it work for me? Photo dump tonight, nothing to show right now, lots for later. The path isn't getting less sketchy, the snow won't leave the shaded areas and the ground is freezing quickly, more and more time to get to work and home without too much more light to give. Sunday it all gets worse, darkness for the commute home, get the lights warmed up for Monday evening's trip. One line through the snow and ice puts you on it, pick one and hope it works out but the less options you have the more likely you are to touch the ground. Little dabs are expected, full on yardsales end the season early. Collarbones? not very well designed and a liability. Maybe that's an argument against intelligent design? How intelligent is the design of the collarbone? a very fragile poorly supported bone that routinely breaks. Hmmmmmmm, 6000 years of life can only be true. Right? Fossils 3 million years old? Myth!
Hiding in plain sight I used to think was the idea that made the most of the different sides of a cube. Now, I see I was wrong, always wrong to the point of a fault. I like to look back and see just how off I was, all the time. When it all came together I was the one who was most shocked, part of growing and maturing. Now, I see the path for what it is, not what I wanted it to be. Getting out on the bike in the snow blowing out whatever shit lingers in my lungs, sharpening my urge to keep at it makes me happy, to know that all is well with the world as I see it. I'll be home early, enough to get the night going with a Saison I earned it, right? Sleep has been coming easy lately, more work, less ghosts seems to be the equation that gets the rest in and the open eyes out. No real secret, i just need to balance the see-saw and cross will continue to go well, I guess cross is going well, no complaints. The bike has never felt better. The roll is there and plenty of drive to get out on it. I always feel very lucky to have such a solid rig to ply my favorite effort on. I get to ride my cross bike, that is good.
Mid race photo from yesterday, I didn't have any spikes on my shoes which made me extra slow on this section. It all worked out anyway. Bad timing on my part, bumming a ride to the race and then only getting a partial warmup lap, getting to the start line late made my second row position less of an issue b/c I got there at 11.15 for an 11.30 start. That's to the venue 15 minutes before the start, not just to the line. Pee, get changed and then try to find my number and get to the start. No call ups? WTF??? Why have series overall if you don't do call ups? What's the point? Great soggy course, more wet and grassy than muddy, So far this year only one course has been bone dry hardpack. I feel very lucky to have a season of great cross weather. The start wasn't too bad, the field sprint for the first corner was ok, I moved up a few spots and then hit the second turn already nearing the first 5. By the first stretch of road I had third wheel, OK, this isn't too bad. I then sat back after a few of us blew a corner I hadn't seen yet and we cut about 10 meters off the course, realizing the whine factor I sat up and let a guy or two pass me so I couldn't be accused of gaining as advantage due to the cut. Then I slowed after finding the front again b/c I didn't know the course, I let a guy pass me and then we started to motor a bit. By the first run up I had the lead and pushed the pace to cause an early split, the loop was too turny to allow for a bigger group, I wanted it as small as possible without any passengers, only drivers. A solid group of three with two guys yo-yo-ing off the back of us that made me pretty comfy in that it wasn't going to be too steady, more jumpy, harder on the fast guys that way. Jump out of every corner, hurt the road legs, favor the cross legs. By the midpoint the other guys had made their plays on the front and tried to attack and separate, I was able to work through the attacks and keep the pace high enough. Going into the last lap I was second wheel, he tried to chop me a few times, open the door and slam it shut on me, he made a mistake, I jumped hard around the outside to a slick little ride up and gassed it to the big run with a few seconds in hand. After I got on the run I knew I was safe, the lack of spikes didn't hurt too much (see photo) I rolled across the top and pushed as much I needed to the last minute of racing. Clean race, no real big mistakes other than the late arrival and lack of good starting position. Thanks to Peggy and Jared for the picture.
I'm looking forward to going out to visit this guy in his world in a few months, maybe for the singlespeed gathering in February or just a routine desert trip to Fruita to thaw out and lay on a red rock and get warm. The ride home tonight will be sweet the snow has picked up it's pace all day and the commute is going to be pretty stout. Mmmmmmmmmmm stout.
This is gone for a while, maybe I can rally in January and February to get out to to where the rocks aren't snow covered and the better thing to do is ride instead of ski. After today I wondered how many more I can get, today was just snow, not much ice, not much you can do with that. It's been a great week for commuting only missed one day in and two days out. I'll take three out of five in a snow filled week, 7 out of 10 trips is good in my book. Keeps the motivation high for the rest of cross. Look for good cross weather in Front Range this weekend, better days are here, the field is getting evened out, crossers are coming up in the bunch and the ill-prepared are fading. Get out your skates.
I think the ground got really cold last night, I felt a bit like an ice cube gliding across the tundra. I enjoy the longer commute, the body repsonds well to the intervals at that hour and the legs heat up quickly thanks to the Wah's gift of warmth. So far the front wheel has barely slid once and the idea is still appealing to do the work outside. If not I'll not do much of it inside, I'm lazy. The ice wasn't bad, I think the ground froze before the snow could hit it too hard. Winter outside and still fall in my head. What else to do but get outside, easier than trying to stomach the time inside. The ghosts didn't have time for me last night, they must have had others to haunt. I relaized as I was laying down to sleep that I was tired and that all I work towards all work-week is the comfort inside my head and for the family to eat, sleep and be warm. I like thinking that this has been the most basic thing humans have done for eons. Simple existence broken up by visits to less basic things, like bike races. Pure gravy, mmmmmmmm gravy. I don't need to race, it just completes me in a way not much else does. Right now I really like this to complete my day, but other times it means other things. I feel the cold coming in like that Frost poem from last week, Not quite Jack London To Build a Fire winter, more like the Frost poem. The bike will get me in for the rest of cross season and then it's break until new years when it all starts so maybe next year I can ride with Harlan in one of his races on the single. Life and goals complete the puzzle, still I prefer simple. Clean out your stuff and you clean out your mind. That whole Zen thing, I strive for but fall miserbly short...I am a rank amateur.
I get so excited mid-week for the coming races that I feel like a coiled spring. Antsy and eager and nervous. Like the kid with ADD and the kid who eat too many Pop Rocks at lunch. The snow on the ground around here isn't softening the urge to get out there and train. Intervals on foot and then maybe rollers but I may just pack it in after the intervals outside in the snow.
If I take any more of a rest week than I already am I might implode. The ghosts haunt me if I do too little. Last night I wasn't tired until almost midnight, the trip across the black ice with intervals wasn't enough yesterday morning. Too much bouncing around my head to get around the idea of proper rest this week, I prefer an empty mind, zen-like rest. I may not be too smart, but there are always thoughts running through my sleep, or what should be my sleep.
Pics later, it was a great little storm last night, made the not-yet-frozen ground into be black ice or snow, I was thrilled to get to do skills and intervals over ice. The legs were happy to have the pace back in them, lungs less happy but it's all what it takes to get faster as the others are slowing. They are slowing too, I can see it in the bunch, I feel good and feel like I'm getting better. I think I got it right this summer, not too much, and I guess not too little. Heavy branches stretching to reach the ground while I glide across in my own little frozen world. The pics will tell the story better than my words can. Nearly no front brake the whole way, too slick to grab any of it for a drifting front end certainly means touching the ground. A few spots i could take the dirt path and get into the fun stuff where the bike really flew. Tarmac isn't the best way to get there on the shoulders of winter. The ground isn't sure if it wants to be winter yet and the bike isn't sure if it always wants to be upright.
I guess rolling thru a redlight is grounds for a dumptruck driver to try and hit a guy on a bike. I thought I had the green and I started crossing and the asshole in the dumptruck guns it to get close to me. What a dick - F him I hope he gets cancer. That happened on the way to the race on Saturday morning. Today for the commute my right thumb got so cold I burst a blood vessel in the tip. Ouch. Karma? I thought the guy in the truck was more wrong than me. Not that there are degrees of wrongness, I believe wrong is wrong, certainly there are more grave injustices than others but let's not open that Pandora's box right now.
Good cross weather for the weekend of two races above 9000 feet. Not that the altitude or the weather bothered most people, the courses were hard because the racing was hard. Saturday was cool and rainy on a very narrow course that even on the road stretch you didn't have a ton of room to get past others. Two guys on the same team on opposite sides of me at the start pinched me off and gave the team leader a clear window to take the holeshot that made for an absolutely horrible start that took me the whole first lap to make the front of the chase after one had already checked out (the team leader who pinched me) and had 15 seconds on us. Not wanting to be behind anyone I drove the chase solo to get him back. That broke down the chase enough to have it be one (me) trying to drag him back, certain parts of the course favored me and I took my time on him there only to lose a second or two where it didn't favor. Two laps to go I nailed the hard run-up and got the feet in the pedals perfectly, and just drilled it for as long as I could, Taking back a big chunk of time, I went around him at the bell and got lucky to drive thru the first corners of the lap cleanly and get a good gap that was just a matter of staying on the gas and not going down. Lucky days, 15 seconds at the line. Good course, pretty techy and a big field on a narrow track. I saw video of the race and saw that I had guys behind me who offered nothing in the chase but were content to watch me do the work, oh well, I got to the line when I wanted to, just closer to the others than I hoped. Sunday we woke to a few inches of fresh snow at the house butthe 15 minute drive to the race had the snow line midway there. 2 inches at my house and nothing but a bit of moisture in Frisco. The course here really suited me, great track that had a proper tarmac section to start on that funneled well into the first dirt stretch. Not like Saturday's mess that started on dirt and had a 90 degree rooty turn 50 meters from the start line also on dirt. A nice long 60 meter run up that was steep enough to cause separation but not too steep to cause slowing mid way up. I deal for an attack later on in the race. Good stuff to be in the first few off the road into the dirt and onto the run. 5 of us checked out pretty quick, leaving the race to thinned slowly. A few laps later on the bumpy and techy bits I turned the screw a touch whittle it down to 3 of us. Finally, a group to race with, not the marching off alone like the last few races with just one guy. Three of us kept the pace and the others were left to fight for 4th. Seeing my spots I tried not to show my hand too soon, Iwanted a god effort and to try to get the others to show their cards first. I gave it all I had on the second to last run up and got a good that second place held at 10 seconds or so until it ended. I got lucky to have the legs to go on the run and see that I had a clear shot at the last lap and a half, a few lappers and a woman warming up pissed me off a bit as I had to yell to her to move out of the way, odd this girl wasn't paying attention to the race coming around and she got a bit surprised to see me go by with only a word, "move." Two races at home in the County and two more good results, bigger fields than last wekeend and great courses too. That makes five cross races on the season, five of the same results. I like that. Racing at mid day suits me. That's it.
I took a walk in the woods before work with number 1, we played stick and enjoyed the midfall leaves on the ground while I got to think about how many bears and/or mountain lions have seen me in the woods over the years. I planned escape routes and how fast we could get away if the carnivore/omnivore decided we should be his next meal. The two of us walking in the woods made the day better to start and the sunrise made it better than that. Good coffee for a walk in the woods only sweetened an already great morning. The leaves are sunny side up and the trees are ready for the blanket to come. In this poem by Frost I see my fall training and the "silent sports"
Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow. My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farmhouse near Between the woods and frozen lake The darkest evening of the year. He gives his harness bells a shake To ask if there is some mistake. The only other sound's the sweep Of easy wind and downy flake. The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.Take it for what it is, nothing or something but think about it when you are in the woods next and if you see eyes in the trees and next time you'll wonder if you are being watched, subtle paranoia, or just a general reality of mortality. No rhyme intended, It just came out that way. Keep at it when it gets cold, avoid the gym until you really need it, outside is the best place for the work, even rollers are parallel to the gym for me, I'd rather have to wash the bike and get thru the laundary cycle than spend time inside better spent out. Getting on the bike made the morning complete I got to listen to a fresh show and think about the weekend's tests. I don't have to drive to either race, close enough that I can be like the Boulder Millionaires and ride my bike to the races. The weather will be properly chilly and maybe wet too. Perspective is faded at this point as I know what I need to do but lack the balls to go there, I hope it all pans out, I want more.
No hyperbole about riding in the cold, it's cold I could take the bus to work and not be concerned about training outside. I like it, getting the right gear together in the morning for the day, doing the work with the cold air in the lungs, it becomes my own "quiet sport" nothing but earphones and the wind. The silent sports are more winter but I guess they could be cycling, no? Solitary approach to my own favorite side of cycling, I cherish it all, solo or riding with friends. Better bones now than any other point in the year. The work will pay off in the end of the race, enjoy the cold air you know it's here, the warmth is gone. The ghosts are quiet since the noise died down, the peace rolls across the cold ground and lands right above my head. The silence adds more than the lack of sleep subtracts. I hope the ghosts let me sleep tonight. It's been nice to get the rest lately. Maybe it is the colder weather, better for the resting and then the sleep creeps in and it all melts away like so much soft cheese on my tortilla.
The weather on Sunday has made the weather this week more like January in Belgium than October at 2900 meters, rough to train if you aren't into getting wet or cold. Sweat on the inside, weakness on the outside. The season is here and if it means new parts for the bikes in December then that's the way it will be. Cross is all that matters, it is the one season I care what happens all the way thru, no more interest in one race over another, they all count. Still, A and B races exist, Boulder Series is the big one for the overall and then the USGP when it comes to town will be important for that weekend. The trick is the calories, more is better, never enough. I hope Brian takes a little siesta until mid-December. I can't have him eating more than I can take in. so far I feel good and the body seems happy about the training load, fewer hours but more high end, shorter and harder, faster, faster, faster, kill, kill, kill. It's here.
Two races on two of the best courses I have ridden, super fun turny grass saturday, never a straight line for more than 10 seconds. Bermed grass is pretty fun on a cross bike. Lots of skills-knowing how not to brake made the selection. Perfect start, sat second wheel until I jumped to get the first lap prime, I can always use another box of clif bars from there it was Karl and I, he didn't really want to be second, I would pull around to help and he'd surge, oh well, I'll just follow and watch to see where I can go later. With three to go I went around him and started to turn the screws a bit, small gaps would form and he would close them untill I got a few seconds and I pushed it thru to the finish. good race, I never mind having such a great rider off the front with me. It made the chase from an ex-pro (Brian Miller) unimportant, he didn't close to within more than 15 seconds. He was third, Karl and I were fighting it out for first. The course had constant accelerations that hurt everytime but never too much that I didn't recover. Good work on the skills made Sunday's mud that much better. It started to rain just after dinner on Saturday, and didn't stop all night, mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm mud. Sunday's course was one we have done a few times, the reason we came in the first place, Saturday's rollercoaster was a bonus. Long road climb to start to a muddy road and then the sharpest run up in the state. Beautiful. The legs cleared thanks to the gallon of water I drank on the overnight and at dinner with my beer of choice The trick to the course was not blow yourself out on the steep run because the smooth field after it was a great place to go fast, if you had the gas. I didn't. I slogged up the run and then slogged across the field and then slogged the up-down horseshoes that were where I got time on the chasers. I was told. I heard we all fell once, mine was early, I got it out of the way and dialed it, luckily. Miller hung for the first four laps nad was trying to make it a one horse race, He didn't want to be out of first wheel, Karl and I let him for a while until it was clear he wasn't up to up down horse shoe at speed, he fell and we got a gap, hoe didn't come back, I guess when he chopped my wheel on the second lap to lead into to the descent he was trying to set up an attack that never came. he was probably 90 seconds back at the finish. Karl was having trouble on the up-downs, I got enough time there that I could roll thru at a good clip for the rest of the course. The legs were fine and the lungs got a great workout, no lingering crap from Saturday ot slow me down on Sunday. The bike was perfect, unreal to have it so dialed after only the second weekend of racing. Three done, three results.
Warmer days and real rain made cross practice an actual cross practice, no dripping sweat and no shedding of the warmers. Working on the drift was fun, the bike responded and I didn't overcook any turns. High speed work and better to put the ghosts to sleep. Less haunting and more rest. Maybe I'm just not doing enough. I thought lowering the hours on the bike would help cross performance, maybe not if I stop sleeping.
Another night of no sleep, I'd consider 24 hour races if I could guarantee that night I'd be unable to sleep. Lazybones and the eyes won't let it go. Too much of one thing and not enough, maybe I'll get Lunesta, mmmmm sleep help. Not enough work, bad legs weren't enough to rest today, now I can't sleep because I did too little high end work. The bike feels great I need less time and more quality time.
Saturday and Sunday will be hot ones, I'm motivated by the prospect of riding the bikes on grass, that doesn't happen much out here. worth the trip to ride in that stuff. Floating across grassy stadiums is ample justification for a 200k drive. 2 races too!
Wet yesterday and not so cold and then dry and cold today, guesses have it at low to mid 20s...don't care it was cold. Cross bike was good to roll across in the rain yesterday, it fit the weather, today the road machine was gliding thru icy patches on the path with aplomb. Both rides were enjoyable in their own way, the rain yesterday would have been good regardless, it just felt right to ride in that. Today the cold put a chilled smile on my face. Two big ones this weekend, to get ready for the Crankbrothers in a few weeks. It's here, pack your bags. Bikes are ready, tire choices...
Saturday morning I was getting coffee on the way to the race (I was bummed I didn't have my Peet's house blend) and I was stirring my coffe and looking at the stir sticks and thinking this piece of wood, may or may not have been recycled and may or may not be from a rain forest and may or may not be a good thing for the world, I felt guilty for using it, and this not being a new thought I was hoping that in the future I would not stir my coffee and not waste one of these maybe or maybe not enviromentally conscious pieces. I like to not stir that way the coffee is different all the way thru. The race was OK, legs aren't so good right now, I need to run more and the body just wasn't 100%, I hurt myself only late in the race b/c that was all I had to give. One of those days; able to follow but not able to pull away. We had a group of 4, pretty clean riding, but I'm always skeptical that the others are plotting against me, paranoia? Probably. I attacked on the elast half lap up the last longer run up, and gassed it to the finish only realize that the lapper in front of me wouldn't move out of the way, taking a crappy line thru an off-camber and sketchy fast turn pissed me off, he didn't give much just a shitty line that was rough with more rocks and more messy bits to deal with. Maybe he didn't realize the front had come back around to meet him but he should have payed attention. I know I'm an asshole. So, first cross race of the year in the books. Second win of the season. Not bad. I'll take it considering I had race with my head for how bad I felt in the meat of the race. Feels good to win more with the head, not legs. The running bits were my saviour, kept the other guys in the red and gave me recovery. The group was solid, with clean riders not chopping wheels or doing stupid stuff, I was sure they were plotting against me. I got lucky, pulled it out. The bike was great, pressure was fine for the variety of the conditions, hard turns on the asphalt were worth firming pu the tires a touch, I couldn't afford to go out there, a lot of the dirt stretches were bermed so that made tire choice and pressure easier to deal with. Hot too, the mix I had kind of tasted like throw up which matched really well with how I felt in the race. After sitting on the grass I was pretty sure I was going to crap my pants, first time for after a cross race for that one, 9 years of cross and I finally turned my own stomach doing it. I thought for sure green apple splatters...