Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Bobsled

In high school I had some friends that were on the bobsled/skeleton teams. One of them was in the olympics in 2006. I was super jealous that they got to go "practice" every week. What I would have given to just do that once. Well, on Saturday I did a ride that ended all those years of jealousy. The Bobsled, in SLC above the avenues, is the most fun I've ever had on anything that moves. The trail involves shuttling to "almost the top," then a tough mile or so long climb. Then the fun begins. A rutted out, steep 1/4 mile descent (not so fun, but more fun than the climb). Then the run begins. It can't be better described than it's name. Fast, flowy turns with HUGE berms. The trail is built down a small canyon, and the berms are the sides of the canyon walls, some of the turns 12-15 feet above the canyon floor. A few smaller stunts and some big ones (for next time, after 'cross season is over and when I have some pads), including a huge step up to ladder ramp to huge step down. The flow of the trail is what gets to you, there are few trails in Utah that are so smooth and, well, flowy. The trail conditions were perfect, most of the trail a dried-clay, concrete like consistency. Not a lot of pics because we just rode and it was no fun to stop for pictures. On a trail like this, you've got to take it top to bottom. You can find videos online but they don't do the trail justice.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Cross Ogden- Bruised and broken from my knees to my toes

My bike remounts have been pretty good this year. Up until today that is. Luckily I only had to get dismount/remount once per lap this go round, but that still added up to 7 terrible remounts. One of them was so bad that it tweaked my seat so the nose was tilted up about 45 degrees. I had to reach behind myself mid-lap and pull it back closer to level. My shins are all banged up from hitting the pedals. Of course because of my mental fear of bad remounts getting bigger and bigger each lap, the remounts got worse and worse. Which brings up the next subject: Bad choices due to oxygen deprivation.

Lap 1.5: Hanging on to the lead group...miscalculated a bunny hop by just a bit and my rear wheel slammed into the log. Result: Dropped chain, dropped from the lead group. Passed by 5 or so riders.

Lap 1.5 on: constantly hitting potholes, etc, and taking the worst possible line on the paved section. What, have I not ridden on the pavement before?

Lap .9, 1.9, 2.9, 3.9, 4.9, 5.9, 6.9: Barriers, barriers, barriers. For how much fun I made of the people slamming into that log, they can make fun of me for stumbling through the barriers. I felt like I'd never done these before. Guess I know what to work on this week.

Lap 5.5 Perfect bunny hop, totally blew through (read forgot about) the sharp left after the log. Slammed on the brakes and slammed my knee into the stem. By now I was bleeding in at least three places.

I'm amazed at how stupid I felt mid-race as my thoughts got less and less cognitive. At least it makes for some good "lessons learned" afterward, once I could start processing thoughts again.

On a semi-different note, just as Team Racer's Cycle Service got our skinsuits, I won't be able to use it when I achieve my dream of being a World Cup downhill racer. http://www.bikeradar.com/news/article/uci-ban-skinsuits-and-open-face-helmets-for-mountain-bike-competition-19021 What? The UCI wants riders to wear pads? Oh well, those New Zealanders looked slick in their all black skinsuits on their 8 inch travel bikes while it lasted.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Heber Cross/Big Springs

Big Springs is perfect right now. The trail is packed and hard the turns somehow are no longer washed out but nice and semi-bermed. The whole descent is so fast and curvy, especially the first 400m or so on top. I've been up there twice this week and would ride it all day if I could. With a decent amount of rain it will probably be great all next week too...

Heber Cross was today. Heber was the first venue I ever raced 'cross at and was my best finish last year. Last year it was super muddy and thick, this year it was ice cold and the course was hard and firm in most places. 33 degrees and snow was the situation, but luckily the snow let up before my race. So we raced in 33 and dry, which I've decided is much better than 50 and wet (like last week). Because of my 7th place finish last week I got "called up" and got a front row starting spot, which was great and I got a good start. The first set of barriers came up quick and I was the prime spot to watch the holeshot rider turf it over the first barrier and land on the second one. It looked super painful! Luckily the rider was okay, and being the fast guy he is, recovered and still won the race. Wow. The race was super fun and I was actually in a group this race which meant we all just kept passing each other and passing each other back. It was a tough course with a lot of sticky flat sections that we had to power through. I was so grateful for any turn to recover a bit on and usually get a bit ahead of whoever was right on my tail. There were three of us right by each other at the end which meant a sprint finish, which felt much better than crawling across the finish line like last week. Fun fun fun! Sorry no pics, Ash is in California.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Draper Cross

The season officially started off today. A big pacific storm blew in last night to kick it off in style. We usually get one day of Seattle-like rain in Utah a year, and today was it. The course was fast and smooth with a lot of hills (for 'cross). It was so much fun that I couldn't stop smiling. Except for the 200-300m asphalt climb that was a killer. Here's some pics: