Monday, October 27, 2008

Autumn Leaves

The skies they were ashen and sober;
The leaves they were crisped and sere--
The leaves they were withering and sere;
It was night in the lonesome October
Of my most immemorial year:

-Edgar A. Poe

Did you ever have one of those days where you felt as if your legs had endless energy? Where those killer hills seemed somehow smaller? Where you normally stop your ride, but this time felt like doing it all again?

That's what a great fall ride can do for me. When it gets brisk out, when the humidity falls away, when the sun hits the leaves just right I feel like I can ride all day.

Took a great ride yesterday that reminded me of how much I love the fall. I started my normal loop and before I knew it I was atop the first major hill. I usually have to rest there, but this time there was no need. I turned on to the next section of trail and was just amazed by the colors of the leaves that the sun was bringing out, but this may have been the last good weekend for the leaves. The deer are in their rut, and I saw several large buck charging through the woods at the sight of me. I almost ran over a garter snake sunning itself on a rock in the middle of the trail. The sound of dead leaves crunching beneath my tires. For all of these reasons and more, I love riding in the fall. But alas, the fall reminds me that winter is not far behind...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Month of Mud - Moraine

11th place Masters - 9th overall in the series

Last race of the season, and I should've just stayed home. The Wednesday prior I started coming down with some virus that's going around. By Saturday, I was starting to feel a little bit better. Sunday, I thought I might be okay. That is until I hit the first hill of the race.

We all took off from Davis Hollow Marina at Moraine. The course was slightly different last year, in that we took the first climb all the way to the top and over. My plan was to start of at a steady pace, not a fast one like the year before. I figured I'd pass a bunch of guys who blew their legs out, or that had mechanicals from all the rocks. Well, after climbing the first hill, I could tell I had no gas in the tank. The virus was just too much.

I thought about dropping out about half way through, but kept going at a snail's pace. I was walking my bike up hills that I had easily ridden in the past. Got to the end of lap one and thought again about calling it quits. Saw Dave atop a rock, and in my delirium thought maybe he had lapped me and was already done. He said his derailluer was bad and had to pull out. This made me want to quit even more. I could crawl up on the rock, with the sun filtering its way through the autumn leaves, and just watch the rest of the race with the cool rock soothing me.

Then some stupid voice said that it was the last race, and I had to complete it, even if I was dead last. Emphasis on the word dead.

I continued on with the second lap, but readjusted my goals. It was a beautiful day, so I was just going to enjoy it and not worry about my time (as if I had a choice).

Did okay on the second lap, the gels gave me a bit of a boost. Finished, got to parking lot, loaded up and left. Barely stayed awake enough to get home. Crashed on the hammock, and took a great nap.

Overall, I rode really consistent this year. I think I needed to do more interval training in the month prior the races. Disappointed it was only a four race series this year.

But as always, the guys that run MoM did a great job. Course marked well, very well organized, results up quickly. Kudos to them.

(p.s. result were up fast, blog now updated)

Until next year...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Month of Mud - Grove City

Time 47:46 - 14 th Masters

Deja vu, well sort of...

Month of Mud race, but instead of the normal cross country race this is a cyclocross race. I've learned to really like these races, and I'm considering getting a cross bike. Anyway...

Off we go. The course is like last year, we start on pavement, up a hill to the obstacles, down into some "singletrack" on the ball fields and finally back to the pavement to finish. Four laps, if you don't get lapped.

Well, like last year I had someone purposefully cut me off when it wasn't necessary. Now, I don't mind being cut off if need be. Back to the race. There was one point where there are trees on the left, and a metal pole on the right and only room for one bike. This guy in blue starts making a move on me right at this spot. I yell that there's not room, but he doesn't care. I easily could've but him off, but he would've been wrapped around the metal pole. So instead I get cut off and have to slam on the brakes to keep from hitting a tree.

My only goal now, to finish ahead of him.

I catch him on the road section and blow by him, round the hairpin turn and finish lap one. Second lap he passes me on the field section again, and once again I pass him on the road section. Third lap he passes me on the field again. We get to the road, but this time he gets grabs on to a pack of about five riders. I can't catch him. That's when I had this weird experience.

I start slowing down to save some energy, when this guy on a green bike flies by me. But then he looks over his shoulder and slows a bit. Does he want me to get on his wheel? Not sure, but I try anyway. He speeds up a bit and looks back again, I'm still hanging on. He speeds up more, I'm there, speeds up more, I can't go any faster and he matches my pace.

Quickly, we catch the group in front of us and the guy on the green bike peels off into the bigger group and I sling shot past them. We get to the hairpin turn and my mountain bike tires grip great and I take my lead up the slight hill to the finish line. Well it's not really the finish line yet as we have one more lap to go, but the guy in blue doesn't seem to know this. I guess he doesn't want me to pass him as badly as I want to finish ahead of him. He give it his all to beat me to the finish line, but I hit the pedals hard and stay ahead of him. He thinks we're done, and when he sees us all continue on he realizes his mistake. "Oh @#$@$#"

He physcically and mentally was done. I finish the fourth lap and never see him again.

Finished with the same time as last year, I felt faster, but maybe the course was a bit longer? It seemed so. Was a really fun, and different race. Hmmm, may check into this cross stuff.