Saturday, August 29, 2015

Crawling out of a hole...

Since May, I have been off the grid so to speak. Hung it up for the less than interesting races that were available, and for the first time in 10 years, just rode my bike to actually have fun. Not plan, no time limits, no thought. Just ride. Ride where and when I want. Ride as much single track as I want. Don't ride at all if I want. And I have to say, it was sweet!

But eventually, the fire in my belly started to burn, and it is almost a raging inferno now! CX is around the corner, so I am finally crawling out of my hole.

So in early August, I entered the race scene again at O2S. One of the best races on the plant! With little fitness and tired legs, I finished out of the top 100. A bit of my goal for the day, but damn I had fun! And actually felt good overall to boot.

With a little more fitness, I tackled the Michigan State Championship XC MTB race at Glacial Hills. Decided to throw my hat in the ring with the Elite/Expert single speeders. Legs seemed to be firing well. And I ended up a solid 3rd at the end of the day. But lots of work is still needed before the kickoff of the CX season at the Alma Grand Prix! Things all seem to be on track. Now time to go back into my hole a little longer. See y'all on Sept. 12th!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Arcadia Grit and Gravel

I may have found the perfect race...

One that is in an incredible area, incorporates gravel roads with tough climbs, probably some of the best single track in the state if not the world, a mass start, and a great after party right on the finish line!

Arcadia Grit and Gravel... I finally pulled the trigger on this one and I am glad I did. The race seems to capture everything, and the layout of the course lends to some true tactic style racing.

Brad Lako and I arrived on Friday afternoon to checkout the course and get in some openers. It was very obvious that they Taylor Rd. dirt road climb was going to be my make or brake point for me in the race. It's key to be in the front 5 or so going into the single track if you want to have a chance for a win, or top overall spot. so I knew what I needed to do, but now the next thing was to figure out if I was too rested leading into the race. Only the race would tell me this..

On race day we arrived early. warmed up, and got in line for the mass start. Brad and I got pinched off from the front line. and ended up around 15 or 20 spots back. not a big deal as it was a neutral roll out. We took off and the brake taps and wheel buzzing began. We finally hit the first dirt section, and everyone exploded. I stayed near the front and the pace was hard. Legs were already burning as we hit the first real climb. The group was already breaking apart. The next climb had some really deep sand at the bottom, and this resulted in a big pile up. I just missed being taken out and made it to the back of the lead group. I stayed hear for the first half of the race. We now had a select group of about 15-20. The pace stayed high as we hit the Taylor Road climb. Half way up the climb Keegan Meyer made the first attack. It was not a big one, but it was enough to string out the pack. Brad grab his wheel and I started to slowly slip back to the last spot in the pack. By the time we made it to the top, Brad was leading going into the single track, and I was just hanging on. My HR was sky rocketing and would not come down. Once in the single track, I was too far back as slower riders were causing bottle necks. My chances to hang with the lead group were gone. But there was still a chance for a high overall finish.

I continued to push and ride my own race. The single track was fun as hell! But I was still suffering at the same time. After the single track, I was able to pick up a few spots on the 2 track and final dirt road sections. This was good. But I felt like I still did not have the best race I could have. I was just too flat and way too fresh.

After Brad told me that his group finished 5 mins ahead of me based on our Garmin times, I didn't even bother to check results for the podium. I figured I would just check when we were about to leave. As I waited to take Brad's pic of his first place, to my surprise, they called my name for 3rd place! Brad and I both started laughing... But I was happy to sneak out the last step of the podium out of 33 guys in the age group, regardless of how I felt during and after the race.

Congrats to Brad on his 2nd overall and 1st in age group, and congrats to the other Brad, Kevin, and Nick for solid results and representing KLM on the other side of the state.

I cant wait to do this race again next year. And I now know what to expect, and what I need to work on.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Ft. Custer

Helped a dude for a few minutes that tired to rip his face off with the dirt. Lots of "non-license" pack fill, Flat tire on 2nd lap.... DNF.

Not impressed.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Pontiac Lake Classic XC MTB

The feeling out process continues. This time at one of my favorite trails in the state. Pontiac Lake Rec Area. Lots of new faces, so I was not sure what to expect from my legs. I was rested, and feeling good, and ready to see what I was able to do, and what many of the others were able to do as well.

Like all the other races this year, the 40-49 expert field was the biggest and probably the strongest overall beside the elites. And so it begins.

We all take off and jockey for position before the single track. A huge conga line forms and we push the pace. I settle in around 6th. a good spot, but know I need to be attentive if any thing happens. We stick together for the first half of the lap. then in some traffic, Ed Seratt and a Felt racer get off the front. The guy on third wheel cant get around the traffic and the rest of us are stacked up as well. By the time we made it through we could no longer see the 2 leaders. I worked my way up to the 3rd spot in the chase group. And sit in for the rest of the lap.

On the 2nd and last lap, the chase group is still at least 8 strong. I decided to test some legs, try and chase down the leaders. I make an attack in the grass, and hold it until we hit the single track again. By the time we hit 2 mile hill, all that is left is Greg Giles and myself. This is good I thought, and figured the leaders can't be too much farther ahead. I pushed the pace about as hard as I could. At the half way point Greg said he would take a turn pulling. I must say, this is the strongest I have ever seen Greg ride. It was awesome. And I did everything I could to hang on.

The pace was still good and I was with Greg until the last few climbs. He opened up a small gap, and got just a hand full of seconds before the finish line. It was enough. Greg got a solid 3rd place, and I was really happy to come home in 4th. This is going be a tough year! But it may actually turn out to be one of the best...

Great Job to Bill Sloney on another W!

And to B-rad for sneaking out another W. this time with gears.

Finally, great job to the rest of the KLM crew. We had guys on the podium in almost every class! It great to see so many team mates sharing the same passion of having a good time, and challenging themselves to do better week after week at the races!

Fort Custer next...

Monday, April 20, 2015

Yankee Springs TT

Not too much to report here. Other than what a great day hanging out with 700 friends, drinking beer in the warm sun, and riding my bike on some great single track.

Leading into the the race, I pushed to get as many hours as I could before closing out base 3. This left me tired and a bit flat, but it's what I expected. For as tired as I was, my first lap was respectable, and overall felt good for the entire race. So I think my fitness is still on track. I ended up 16th out of 60 guys in my class. Not the best, but not the worst either.

Congrats on Brad's dominating performance for the EESS class for the big W!

Bill Sloney for taking the win in Sport 45-49.

JTP for a solid top 5 in expert 40-49.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Lowell 50 - Classic Gravel Road Race

The Lowell 50 is silently becoming one of the best races in the state if not the mid-west! with a beautiful start finish venue, some of the best dirt roads in the state, and an awesome race promoter, its not hard to see why. And each year since the race has started, the field has gotten better and deeper in both the 34 mile and the 57 miler. For the past few years, this race has been a must do and top priority for me. This year wasn't any different. But with the depth of the field, and moving into the always fast 40-44 age group, I knew this wasn't going to be easy and I would have my work cut out for myself.

The race started out with a neutral roll out this year. The KLM squad had a full armada in the race, and everyone was showing their best. This was a good sign as we could all try to work together throughout the race. As the roll out vehicle rolled to the side. JTP threw the first punch! This got the group going. Jim J, Tony B, JMAK, Shaun W, and myself all closed in near the front of the group. This start to break things up a bit already. As we approached the first big steep climb of the day. JTP threw his 2nd blow. I jumped on as did several others. By the time we cleared the top, the majority of the selection of who's who was already sorted out. JTP, JMAK, Jim J, Tony B, and myslef began to try and turn the screws and rotated through the pack to share the work.

We continued like this for the first half of the race. Then out of no where, Luke Mullis, and the Martin Brothers, along with a few others, came from behind with an attack up a slow grinder. The pace quickened, but was manageable. It was clear that these guys had been sitting in, and to my surprise, the group was still 10-15 guys strong.

The fresh guys began to play games a bit. Another big hill and then a hard attack. JTP jumped right on the wheel of the leaders. I slowly got popped at this point and fell off the back. Shaun, and Bryan Waldmen came to the rescue. Bryan told me to hop on his wheel. This helped me recover a bit. And on the next section, I turned on my diesel in the flats and motored all 3 of us back to the lead pack. This was it. The winner was going to come out of this group. There was no longer anyone in sight behind us as well.

As we hit the pavement again, we crossed the river and began climbing again. This time JTP and one of the young guys went off the front. No one chased. Tony and I settled in to see what would happen. The gap grew to at least 30 seconds. I thought they might actually have a chance to stay away. Finally one of the Martin brothers yelled out, to the rest of us, "we cant let them get away". Then they took up the chase. We were all back together again.

We rolled through the remain parts of the course with minimal accelerations. Then as the last few hills popped up. The attacks happened again. Every hill someone would go! I covered them and was still in the group. One by one, others were slowly getting dropped. On the last big hill the group was down to 8 riders. I was still hanging on. JTP was on the front! I just couldn't hold on any longer, and now I was popped. But I still had Bryan W, and another guy by my side. We closed the gaps before and we can do it again. I turned the diesels on one more time and pushed forward doing most of the work. I was OK with this as I was feeling good, and figured it was my chance to lose. We closed down the gap to about 10 seconds before the last turn. I now knew that the top 5 overall was settled, but there was still a chance to snag the last step of the 40-44 age group podium. I turned the screws one last time, and finished just a few feet ahead of the other guys that I had worked with. It was enough for 3rd in the age group, and still 7th overall for the race out 250+. Still very respectable!

My hat is off to JTP for fighting in the front the entire race and giving himself a chance to win all the way to the end.

Tony B and JMAK for hang in the front all day long and keeping the race real and high paced! You guys had some kick ass results!

Jim J and Shaun W. You put it all out there in the early part of the race, and helped the team overall, and still had solid results! Very Cool.

Yankee Springs! Next stop...

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Barry Roubaix 2015 - New Direction

After a long winter, and some early aches and pains, and mental struggles through base, it is finally racing season! I have been overly excited waiting for Barry Roubaix to roll around, and be racing as part of KLM / Coldstone.

Going into the race, I wanted nothing more than to be apart of a winning team in the over team competition for this race and to do it with some of my closest cycling brothers and in a KLM kit. Well you boys came through and delivered for me!!! KLM / Coldstone Racing - 2015 Barry Roubaix Overall 34 mile Team Champions!

The entire team performed well and was well represented in almost every class! This is amazing to be apart of something with so many people that share the same passion, and excitement about training, racing, and just riding and having a good time as I do!

As my individual race. I stuck to my plan of staying with Simon Bailey, and working with team mate Todd Green the entire time. I felt great and was able to stick with the leaders the entire race. But in the last corner, I was taken out of the top 5 hunt by a falling rider in another class... total over the bars, on my head going around 20 MPH. This doesn't usually end well. I hurt my wrist pretty bad, and have since been slowly evaluating it and seeing if I avoided a breaking it. Time will tell...