Cranky's Corner

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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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Fatigue

This past week certainly has not been a banner week for me on the bike, actually the last 2 weeks have been pretty poor time and mileage wise. Why? It’s because I’ve been fatigued, but not what you think. By that I mean I haven’t been physically fatigued but rather mentally fatigued. Work has been stressful and grueling at times and then throw in life’s other little challenges and my brain is spent at the end of the day. It’s funny because I can be physically fatigued or sore and still get out on the bike. Getting out on the bike, even if it’s an easy spin, just makes my body feel better and loosen me back up. However when it comes to mental fatigue I can’t even fathom getting on the bike. Every morning I get up, get excited if it’s going to be a nice day for an afternoon ride, have a good lunch to fuel my planned ride but by the time I get home in the afternoon I’m just spent and can’t muster the energy to get out on the bike. Sometimes I think if I can just get out I may feel better but I’m so frazzled a slip of focus while riding could have severe consequences so it’s probably better I surf that couch and let my brain rest.

Today was my first day out since last Sunday. My legs felt dead at first and I though it was going to be a horrible ride. But I didn’t set out on a hammer fest and turned down a few new roads today and ended up having a blast exploring. After a stop at Starbucks I even tackled this one hill I’ve wanted to do for a while. I ended up having a ton of fun, banging out a bunch of hills and just loved being out on my bike.

Then I came home, switched shoes and took the CX bike out around the ‘hood for about a 20 minute spin, riding the grass, hopping curbs and practicing some dismount/mount and shouldering skills.

Overall it was a great day. I didn’t care about time, speed or setting records. It was just a day for me to enjoy. There are few things greater than powering yourself down the road, breathing in the fresh air and conquering all types of terrain. You know I must really be fatigued if I don’t even want to kit up and get outside.

Tire Teaser

What on Earth am I cooking up with these?

Clement MXP

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