Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Sunday April 6th Cross Country

Early wake up today we race at 8 AM. It was cold this morning when we got up this morning around 50 degrees so we put on our arm and knee warmers and headed out. Today will be the first time I get to race against the guys I'll see at the National Championships in Vermont in July. Once the sun started coming up the cold quickly disappeared, the weather was perfect for a race.

They called up all of the Jr. Experts to the line which was cool I have never had a call out before. There were some race rules given and then the 1 minute to go, 30 seconds, 15 seconds, GO.

Let's just say my start sucked for lack of a better term, I went into the single track 2nd from last. Not to worry the race is 30 miles long plenty of time to move up, right, wrong. About 3 miles into the race my rear tire was flat. Fortunately I had a couple of co2's with me and was back under way quickly. Unfortunately, it was one of the fastest sections on the course. I don't know what it was, but, I struggled on the short steep climbs in this race. Never the less I chased as hard as I could and finished 8th in the race and 5th overall in the General Classification. Steve should em that you don't need no stinkin' mountain to be a fast mountain biker, he flatted early in his race and still chased them down and won by over a minute. 2nd in the GC. Great job Scuba Steve. Dad got a worst start than me and finished 18th for the race and 10th in the GC.

Coach Drew had a great race proving his win in Georgia was no fluke finishing 5th in the XC out of about a zillion. We didn't get to stay for the Pro's, but, my pal Ryan Woodall kick some major butt finishing 12th against some of the best in the world. It was his best National finish so far and a good sign of what's to come. He should be ready for the National Championships in July.

As soon as we finished racing we packed our bikes back in their sweet bike bags and headed to the airport. None to soon I must say as we got to the gate they were giving our seat to some standby fliers, needless to say they were a little less than happy when they had to exit the plane.

Thing is we weren't late for boarding, we still had 10 minutes. Still it was to close for comfort.

We walked in the door at home about 2AM Monday morning, 71 hours after we walked out. Over 3500 miles in the air, 3 races in 3 days and some tired legs. I can't wait to do it again.

Saturday April 5th Short Track

I woke up at about 8 MST, Arizona time 11 our time, sweet 10 hours of sleep. Off to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. They don't have grits, hash browns or sweet tea in Arizona. They need to come Southeast of the Mississippi river and learn about good food. I had home fries with my eggs, I guess that's ok. Then it was off to the course to get Steve's Lefty fork looked at. After our practice run on Friday all the air in it mysteriously disappeared. For some reason you have to put a ball bearing in the valve stem to put air it, well of course we don't have the bearing with us or a shock pump for that matter. Off to the Cannondale trailer nobody there, borrow a pump from the Gary Fisher guys and find a small rock for the bearing, ha ha, it worked. Funny thing it didn't leak after that. Still Steve wanted to have it looked at, so we went out to the venue. The Cannondale mechanic was not very nice at all. He even went so far as to put Steve's team replica Scalpel outside the barriers when he went to find us. Needless to say Steve wasn't to happy with the mechanic. Steve never said he was a Cannondale dealer, he said it shouldn't matter. Word must have gotten around, because later in the day the guy knew his name and was kissing his feet. Moral of the story never ignore someone you don't know, they could be someone, that works for a company sponsoring you, it wouldn't look good of you.

Anyway we went back to the hotel to grab a bite, rest in the AC and get our cycling gear.

We got back to the venue a little later than planned. We took off for a pre-lap on the cross country course. Steve and my Dad's race was at 2:30, we finished our lap at 2:23. No rest for them and no pre-lap either. But they both did great Steve took 2nd and Dad got 10th. My race was next and Dad told me to do a couple of laps before my race. Good thing I did because therewas a hill right after a 90 degree turn that you had to run up. It caught Dad by surprise and he lost about 7-8 places in his race. I'm glad he told me about it, although it still was my undoing during the race. Fortunately, I can ride almost everything in Florida so I don't have to run much, I think I'm going to practice some that little hill almost killed me. It just sapped the energy out of my legs. As the race wore on it took it toll and the leaders got a gap on me. I finished in 6th place, not to bad for my first short track race, but, I know I can do much better. I then watched coach Drew race to 19th in his race with something like 60+ riders. Then it was
Ryan Woodall's turn in the Pro race. Those guys are so dang fast it isn't funny, Geoff Kabush and Barry Wicks rode away from everybody, Ryan took 37th I think. I didn't get to watch the woman's race as I was mounting new Kenda tires, courtesy of Jim at Kenda, on my Sun Ringle' wheels. There are some serious rock gardens in the cross country course and the super light Conti SuperSonics wouldn't have survived 3 laps of pounding. After the raced ended we headed back to the same Mexican restaurant from the night before, then back to the hotel and to bed. We race at 8AM tomorrow.

Arizona NMBS #2 Friday April 4th Super D/Time Trial

First off I have to thank Steve Bent (Bent's Cycling & Fitness) for assisting me with my travel.
Clayton Goldsmith (Hayes Bicycle Group) for parts, mechanical assistance and shade via the Hayes team trailer. Jim (Kenda Tires) for tires. All of these people assisted me in one way or the other to make this weekend a success.

Okay here is how it went down:
Friday April 4th Wakened at 3:15 A.M. by my Dad, out of the house at 3:35. Arrived at Steve Bent's house at 4:05. Amazingly he is at the door ready to go. Head to Orlando airport on the plane by 7:00, in the air at 7:20. Arrived in Phoenix at 9:00 A.M. their time, 4 hour flight took net 2 hours, cool. My coach Drew Edsall met us at the airport just as we got all the luggage and bikes in to the Escalade(really a Ford Escape) Steve told my Dad we got upgraded to an Escalade on the phone when he picked up the car.......NOT. We were able to get an early check-in at the hotel, so we dropped off the luggage and built our bikes, grabbed some lunch and headed for the course. I have never been to the desert before so it was cool to see all the cacti everywhere, cacti to the Arizonians are like trees to us, no big trees like around here, therefore no shade. Once at the course we headed up to the start of the Super D/Time Trial. On the way up the hill I notice my rear brake is dragging pretty badly, fortunately the SD course is mostly downhill. Now if you haven't riden in the desert it's a little different than anything in Florida. The closest thing turf wise, or lack of turf, is Oleta with no roots. The difference is everywhere there are things just waiting for you to touch them so they can stick in, scratch or scrape you. But, the course is fast and fun and the weather is perfect. When I get to the pit area I take my bike to the Hayes trailer to have my brakes looked at. Clayton had it fixed in about ten minutes and it worked better than ever. Then it was back up the hill for the race. My Dad arrived at the start about ten minutes before his start luckely I was still there so he could see me off. When they started staging the Expert men James Knight was called out so I went to stage, there I found out I had somehow missed my start. I went to the starter and explained I had been there for 15-20 minutes and never heard my name called. The starter was kind enough to allow me to use an empty time slot for my run. They didn't have to do that and I am very thankful to them for it.
I got scolded by the officials at the finish, but they let my corrected time stand. 4th place. Lesson learned! Be early to the start line. After that it was off to dinner and back to the hotel. A few minutes in the hot tub, to bed by 10 Arizona time, 1 our time. Holy smokes a 22 hour day.