Archive for April, 2010

Old Capital Criterium

My blog has become a dumping ground for race reports and nothing else.  I must try harder to bring back some kitty content, at least, and maybe even some observational humor.  For now, this is it, enjoy.

Last Sunday the 33rd annual Old Cap Crit took over downtown Iowa City.  I first rode this race almost 20 years ago as a cat 4.  8 speed STI and ti rail Flight saddles were all the rage and I had 7 speed downtube shifters on my Trek 1200.  I placed 18th, for which I won $5.00!  Over the years my placings and category varied, culminating with a top 5 in the 3’s and being spit out the back in the 2’s.

This year as a 30Cent Squad rider in the cat 3 race I had 9 speed STI, a ti rail Flite saddle, and an Ira Ryan custom steel frame and fork with cantilever brakes.  Rain threatened, and I had decided not to race if it fell, but it was all dry and blustery when we took off.  The Old Cap is a fun course.  Lots of corners, a screaming downhill, and a climb big enough to hurt you but small enough to let you rip it over the top if you are so inclined.  I never was.

Picture courtesy B McConnell, see me hiding in there?

My start was awesome, I was at the front and just settled into it.  There were some teams there with some decent numbers and they sent riders away and there were some chases and some primes and at some point I noticed for a few laps in a row we were doing 30mph on the big police speedometer thing.  I felt pretty good in the race.  I was moving up when and where I wanted to, cornering well, and really enjoying my second crit in 2 weeks / 4 years.

We did 25 laps, and when we got 6 to go everything was still going well as we headed down the hill, but then the corner arrived, and the rider in front of me had some kind of issue and suddenly had his inside foot out and was going all cyclocross style into it and shi-whoops, he slid out and ate it.  Being on a finely crafted bicycle with a straight blade fork I just cranked it hard to the inside and made it past what sounded like rapidly amplifying carnage behind.  A quick look over the shoulder confirmed, anybody behind me was on the ground or gone.  A quick look ahead showed that a  gap had indeed opened from me to the field.

I punched it and got back on by the base of the climb and was feeling all proud of myself, but honestly I was a bit shaken by the near miss.  We came back to the start/finish and those that had crashed and risen again were being pushed back into the field.  I was bummed to be at the back and now have guys just getting back into the field in front of me.  Things were not as they had been…

Then it started to lightly rain.  4 laps to go, I am still at the back and not at all happy with my position in the field or the precipitation or the guy in front of me who I think was in the crash and kept messing with his bike and farting around through the corners.  Did I mention the race was almost over and I was tired?

I fought on for a lap, and when the guy in front of me who had crashed and was then messing with his bike threw his derailler into his wheel on the climb I mentally said UNCLE and just gave up.  Came through the start/finish with 2 to go just off the back and figured I would just roll it in solo.  Which I did.  For 17th place.  I thought that might have been good enough for another $5.00 but I guess in this economy all I won was being done.

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Eagle Point Criterium

Sunday I raced my bicycle again, which is just a greenwashed way of saying I went for two car rides.  Hetrick and the Rock worked out the particulars and, because none of us are juniors, we left at the respectable hour of 11:30.  The drive up was good, we hashed out Amstel Gold and enjoyed the scenery.  Arrived at the park, registered, warmed up.  My warm up was good, they have a big hill there.  I rode around a bit, rode fast twice, and then rode up the hill.  Did a lap of the course and lined up.  Rick had to check my helmet to make sure that it was still legal after 6 years of use.  It was!

I was racing the cat 3 event for the 30¢ Squad and there were 13 of us, I think, and we did 20 laps through a park at the top of a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River.  It was mostly a nice course with twists and turns and a couple of small rises.  It had some big cracks in the pavement to keep you awake, some trees growing right out of the street, and the first corner was weird.  I never felt like I had the line figured out for that one and I was not alone.

(Action photos courtesy C Kessler)

The race developed predictibly, ATLAS had 4 riders so they did the attack and counter and a few people got dropped as the rest of us switched wheels and tried to stay near the front.  Which was also near the back in such a small field.  They had 3 primes for the race, and I thought about going after one, but I had not raced a criterium in 4 years as near as I could figure, and I just wanted to get through it without blowing up so I let them go.

I felt okay bordering on good for most of the race.  I closed a gap or two, almost crashed into Dan once, and pulled a little bit.  As laps were winding down my old ATLAS mates put the power down and strung it out, and on the last lap I got myself into the 3rd wheel sweetspot.  Coming out of the last corner I stood up to let em’ have it and nothing happened.  Whoops.  It is kind of hard to recall, maybe I was in the wrong gear?  Did I not throw myself into it?  Was I really that tired?  I’m not sure, but not only did I lose ground on the riders in front of me, but guys started coming around pretty much immediately.  So I waddled on and crossed the line in 7th place.  The race paid 6.

I did sweep the minor classifications of Steel frame and/or fork, Hairy legs, and, due to an obscure UCI regulation, what we are now forced to call Traditional Wheels, which just means they are constructed entirely of metal solids and all spokes cross other spokes.

The prize for winning any or all of those classifications (To win them all at a single event is incredibly rare, of course) is that you can blog that you won them and post yet another nice picture of your bike that a friend of yours built for you that you like so much.

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Sylvan Island Stampede

Did a mountain bike race yesterday for the 30¢ Squad.  Rode the Salsa single speed, 32/17.  It is a crazy twisty turny course and I felt very comfortable with the gear.  I later heard that Jesse Lalonde rode a 38/16.  That is bigger than my townie gear!

It was a beautiful day and I hitched a ride over with the Eppens.  We got some food at the New Pi and made it over with plenty of time to poop, register, and pre-ride the course, which I did in that order.  The last time I did this race I got there just 20 minutes before the start so things were looking up this year.  For some reason, however, a bunch of us stood around talking and by the time we rolled over to the start there were already a couple of rows of riders.  I considered backing it in for the front row, but as I have said before mountain biking is not my scene so I just got into the 3rd row so as not to ruffle feathers.

The start was, predictably, sketchy.  People sprinting into the people in front of them, hooking handlebars, swerving, skidding, the works.  I got a bit of room and drilled it but when we got to the singletrack it was a parking lot.  I kept shuffling forward as best I could, but others were being much more aggressive than I and that part was not much fun.  Quickly got back to riding and it was, as always at Sylvan Island, a blast.  The course is really fun.  Lots of twists and turns, ups and downs, whoop-de-dos or however they are spelled.  Plus the leftover bits from the factory that used to be out there, slabs of concrete, bricks, a big piece of iron like a railroad tie, all sorts of stuff.

I enjoyed the riding and just focused on holding wheels and recovering so I could drill it at the next open section.  There were not many of those, and I spent the first lap and most of the second passing people wherever and whenever I could.  I again did all the fun mountain bike race stuff like clipping pedals, hitting trees (I am finally going to cut down the Salsa bar a bit, that thing is huge!), and sliding out in corners.

By the end of the second lap I had some room to cruise which made the singletrack more fun and I continued to move up through the small groups of riders.  Near the end of the third lap I felt the bonk coming, whoops, so I had a gu and drank some water and hoped for the best.  It was not too late!  My fourth and final lap I had lots of lapped riders to contend with.  There were 120 people in our race and we were pretty strung out over the 4 mile loop.  I finished alone, no riders visible ahead or behind.  So I made it through without crashing, which was a big goal, and I think I rode a pretty good race.  I just wish I had gotten a better start, I would say 3rd times the charm, but I don’t think I will do the Sport race here again.  The field is just too big and sketchy.

There was some problemo with my chip for the chip timing, so initially I was not listed in the results.  I think they got it sorted out, and they told me I was 8th or 9th at the end of the day and 5th in my age group.  Not quite what I had hoped for, but better than my previous 11th place and it is such a fun place to ride I can’t complain, just glad to have been there.  The Salsa was great, I do think I was much less sore towards the end of the race than I was when I rode the Bridgestone.

Hopefully I can find some photos and get the results to add here, but unsurprisingly the Eppens won their races so it was a happy drive home.  Next up for racing looks like the Old Cap Criterium, I wonder how that will go?

Here are them results, gotta look at the Sport for me, looks like 9th was the ticket.

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