Cranky's Corner

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Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017!

2016 was a difficult year for me on and off the bike. My cycling didn’t go exactly as planned and much of that was due to my fiancee’s auto accident and resulting (slow) recovery which is still a work in progress. I would have like to spend more time in the saddle but family comes first and there were a quite a few days where I was just too mentally exhausted to even get on the bike even thought I had the time. The most disappointing thing to me was missing my mileage goal, but there are more important things in life than a number. I’m hoping 2017 brings us some good things, on and off the bike, the biggest of which is our wedding in April that we are both excited for. With that I leave you with my 2016 stats and you won’t see a post again from me until next year.

’twas the night before Christmas…

…and all through the house, not a crankset was turning, not even a 1x.

Hrmm… ok so it needs a little work.

It has been a little while since I last posted, but as the rest of the house is asleep on this Christmas eve, I’m a bit high on energy after a terrific day with my dad on the links and a great family dinner out. I didn’t do all that bad either considering I hadn’t swung a golf club in at least 15 years. I started to get some form back by the time we finished so I may try to get out there a bit more often now.

Anyway, since my last post there is what has been going on in my cycling life:

  1. I started racing on Zwift. Riding CX really made me want to race some more and what better way than on Zwift over the winter. I’m only in Cat D right now due to a somewhat low FTP w/kg since I didn’t have the summer training as planned, but I’ve been doing pretty well and have even caught a few podiums. My w/kg is improving weekly so I’ll likely be up to Cat C by the new year.
  2. I’m not sure how I managed it, but Vision racing recruited me after a few races on Zwift and I have been riding for them for a couple of months now. It’s a great group of guys and gals and nothing like having other teammates or a DS in your ear as you are racing. Lots of strong riders on the team so hopefully some of their racing knowledge will rub off on me.
  3. I put my application in for a multi day ride called the “Police Unity Tour.” It starts from the 9/11 memorial in NYC and goes to the Law Enforcement Officers memorial in Washington D.C. Due to the amount of applications received from returning riders, I’m currently on the wait list with 75 other people. I’m not sure where I am in line so I may or may not get in but if I do this will be my “A” ride I am targeting. It’s not competitive in nature but is 4 days long and has back to back centuries which would be new to me.
  4. I got an Knog Oi bell for my bike. I haven’t had a chance to use it yet but it doesn’t look like a bell and you can hardly notice it on the bike (I have the all black model) and it might be less jarring then yelling “on your left!” as I got whizzing past.
  5. I’m on the hunt for a power meter for my C’dale. I’d really like a spider based unit like a Power2Max or Quark, but they are a bit cost prohibitive especially since I have a wedding coming up. I do like the idea of pedal units like the Powertap P1 for the Garmin Vectors, but they are really cost prohibitive so I’m leaning towards something like a Stages to replace the left crank arm. I probably don’t need double sided power but I’d just like to have numbers while I’m out on the road.
  6. I’m on the hunt for some new wheels. I’m looking drooling over the Flo Cycling 45 & 60 models. Not sure if I can swing them before the wedding but we’ll see. I’ll probably spring for a power meter first.

With all that said I am not getting a bit sleepy and Santa will be here soon. My Christmas present to myself will be a ride outside tomorrow. Since I’m visiting my parents in SC it should be a wonderful ride outside not requiring any cold weather gear!

 

He sprung to his saddle, to his team flicked an elbow, and away they all peddled, dropping everyone with ease,
but I heard him exclaim, as they hammered out of sight…

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

My first DNF

Well it was bound to happen at some point, so no point in hiding it.

I arrived at the PCX course much earlier this week to get in some warm up laps and I was feeling pretty good, even though I ate it on a soft corner right in front of someone. I was going about 3/4 race pace and trying to try out some new lines (not to mention we were racing the course backwards today so everything was different) and I washed out on this one uphill corner and bit the dust. No harm done, just a dropped chain. I finished the lap and did a couple of more w/o incident and I felt good when we were ready to start.

The whistle went off and I was hanging with the main group fighting for position around the narrow corners all the way up until the first barriers. I had a great dismount, cleared both barriers, remounted and then missed clipping in, my foot slipped and I sort of threw off my trajectory, I recovered as best I could, finally got my foot clipped in but now I was behind the lead group and probably let 2 people go by me during my mishap. I fought back to the group and caught them on this really narrow twisty section through the trees.

While I was making my way through the trees, I went wide on one corner and someone came  on my outside, so I went to squeeze on his inside and I guess he thought he was going to fall because he pushed me with his hand and I almost ended up in a tree. He apologized but I had to unclip to prevent getting up close and personal with some bark. I somehow managed to say in front of him at least down the back straight but then he overtook me on this slight uphill. No worries, I stayed on his wheel until the steepest part of the course when I got into some soft stuff and fishtailed up the hill and hand to run it for a bit. Not quite sure what happened but I was riding the same line I warmed up with and had no issues. I get back on and now really have to chase to catch up which seemed futile.

I was holding my own on lap 2 when I got to the barriers again. I went to dismount and I was still carrying too much speed and just took the bike to the ground. I was going full gas trying to catch up and got sloppy. I picked myself up, crossed the barriers gingerly and got back on the bike. I’ll well behind at this point as another couple of people passed me and I’m pretty sure I was in last place. No matter, I remounted and kept going.

Then I hit the stairs. My heart is beating through my chest at this point, I dismount, run up the stairs, shuffle my bike around the course, remount and… go over my handlebars. I really have no idea what happened, the remount is on a slight downhill so that played a part but not sure what I did. I managed to say on my feet as I jumped over the bars as the bike endo’d but it wasn’t pretty. I think the bike is ok, other than pulling some grass out of the levers and bar plugs.

I tried to race back on as hard as I could but I just felt so cooked at this point and I was getting sloppy. I got lapped just before the start/finish line and I called it quits as I rolled over the line to complete lap 2. I felt like I was going to hurt myself if I stayed out there and I wasn’t really having a ton of fun at this point.

Needless to say, I still learned a lot – like what not to do! Basically I panicked and over extended myself and got sloppy. I really need more practice on the course at race pace, warmups are ok, I can usually ride them flawless, but make me have to chase and I make mistakes a plenty.

PCX Race #2

Last night was my second CX race. Due to travel and other life circumstances I had not been on my bike, any bike, in a week. I was hoping to arrive a bit early and get some good warm up laps in but that didn’t happen either and I had a whole 3 minutes of warm up and I paid the price. My first lap was ok, I was in the last 3rd of the field but then the side stitches hit a little ways into lap 2 and I had to drop my pace for a bit to recover. I held my position for the most part until the lower back pain kicked in on the next lap. I still don’t think I have my tire pressure dialed in and I’m taking a beating over the course. Once that pain kicked in my power was off and I was just riding around. I did manage holding off getting lapped until lap 3 this week, but ultimately I would be 3 laps down by the end but still not last place. I guess I shouldn’t feel too bad as over half the field got lapped at least once. It was some fast competition out there.

I’m still learning, this certainly isn’t like road riding and not riding for a week certainly didn’t help. I think my aerobic engine went into shock. I’m traveling again and wont be back to my bike until Monday but hopefully I can get one or two rides in before the next race to make sure I’m more prepared.  Oh and I need to leave 1/2hr earlier so I can get some proper warm up laps in.

Tonight I became a bike racer

Yep, thats right, tonight I actually entered my first sanctioned bike race so I need a license and all that jazz. However this was not a road race as most of you might think. No, no, if you saw my previous “Tire Teaser” post you might have an inkling. I pinned on a number for a cyclo-cross or CX race. Now if you don’t know what cyclo-cross racing is, well, it’s hell on wheels that involve, barriers, stairs, running, carrying the bike and sometimes also includes mud, snow and all sorts of foul weather. If that isn’t a good enough description for you here is a video that summarizes it well. Thankfully our course was dry and it’s way to early in the year for snow.

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