Sunday, February 26, 2012

Post race drive. Long way home.
Southern Cross is a race I've know about through friends for the last two years, but never had the money or time to give a try. I wanted to go last year, but I was already committed to the Snake Creek mountain bike series.This year it happened. I signed up and there was no looking back. After four or so weeks of freaking out about training and making sure my bike was ready I finally knew how much food to carry, what gear to run on the single speed (39X20) and what tires to run and so on.
Friday night after work Ross, Daniel, Alan and I packed up and headed out to Dalonega, GA and the Etowah River campground. It was an alright drive and we got to the camp ground to be greeted by a good crew of fellow Alabamians. Some were already asleep and some were hanging out by the fire. After helping set up the tent I tipped back two Good People Snake Handlers hopping it would calm me down and help me sleep. I get nervous before big races and normally don't sleep well. Anyway, chug some water, the stars looked awesome and time for bed. Ear plugs... good idea, thanks Alan. 3 AM. (Ear plugs fell out) Not sure if I'm awake or dreaming, hearing weird noises... roosters in the distance, coyotes cackling in the campsite.(So Lee tells me the next morning) Glad I did't know they were outside my tent I would have lost it. Fade back to sleep.  6 AM. ish. Light... Finally, time to get ready for the race.

We get to the vineyard and sign in, roll around, get warmed up and find the start. The start was a mass start of 300 people. I lined up about mid pack and looking back I wish I would have got a position a little further in front. There was a lot of bottle necking and falling which really didn't mess with my race, but I was just ready to reach the first climb, winding stair. Once we finally hit the dirt things started to spread out. I started passing people and people started passing me, but no other single speeders were in sight. Finally, my team mate and fellow single speeder John Karrasch caught up to me. We stuck together there for the first good part of the climb John was even nice enough to hold my helmet while I took my hat off. "TEAM POWER" I said. Not long after this the road started to get steeper. I'm not sure what mile I saw John last because a familiar logo caught my eye.

Yep, Trek 29 crew kit. It was Rodger Masse, this is the guy Cycling Dirt interviewed so he had to mean business and he did. I went back and forth with him and one other single speeder on the first climb. We finally got to a small decent and my seat bag got bumped around and was hanging by a thread. I had to stop and shove it in my pocket and because this occurred  on a decent and the two other single speeders were on mountain bikes my race was from there on (until very close to the end) set in stone. I just couldn't keep up with them on the descents on my cross bike...

Driving down the Sassafras Mountain decent on Sunday drive with Theresa.
On the next climb, which was pleasant compared to the first I was a lone single speeder. It was really beautiful out there climbing up next to the creek. Alan had described it as "The place where the orcs attack and kill Boromir in L.O.T.R." I agree, absolutely beautiful. Eventually, I caught up to a woman who I later found out was Cheryl Sornson who destroyed the woman's field. She would later pass me then I passed her back on the final decent. A little further up the second climb I passed a man in a blue and black kit who told me he was sure I was in 4th place for SS and to "keep it up!" I also later found out that this was "FarmerG" who's hot sauce I won in the raffle and intent to us a dash of on my breakfast omelet in the morning. After FarmerG's words of encouragement I thought maybe I would be able to catch one of the three SSers ahead of me, but it never happed.

After the fast and fun final decent I take the super sharp right turn off the never ending spin fest that was the main road and then take a left and see my awesome girlfriend there waiting to take pictures and cheer me on. It brought such a smile to my face to see her. I knew I was really close now and it was time to stop my moaning and get this thing over with. The turn to the vineyard surprised me and I took it a little hotter than intended, but I kept cool and rolled to the free beer. At the bottom of the big run up I dismounted as gracefully as possible, held my bike in my right hand and grabbed a High Life with the other. I took a good chug and started up the hill. About half way up my pace deminished. My legs were giving out. I rode with the beer all the way to the next road crossing. I kept lolly gagging and then after the log barrier I looked back and notice that I was being caught by another single speeder. TOTAL PANIC! I don't think I have ever pushed so hard with so little energy in my life. I could NOT be passed in the last few 1000 feet of this race. With every last ounce energy I pushed across the finish line in 4th place with only 10 seconds on Gary Chambers (very nice guy) who came in 5th. With scores posted I would found out I was 26th over all and finished in 3 hours and 33 minutes. Not complaining at all.
Over the line with the tank on E. Photo props to  the southern cx facebook.
To sum it all up I had an amazing time. I trained hard and planned as best I could for this race and I think it payed off. I race with an awesome group of friends that love what they do and that's what it's really all about, sharing a positive lifestyle and celebrating life with other people whose company you enjoy. Camping was a blast and so was spending Sunday driving through the mountains and all over Atlanta with Theresa. Thanks so much to the people who took the time to put such a big event together and I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did. See ya next time!
Strava Data.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Bamacross finale
Sloppy turns.
Yesterday was the Bamacross finale. I wasn't sure what to expect about the course, but I saw where some one had posted "flat and no mud". One of those things was true. The course was flat, but there was a lot of mud and deep grass that soaked up so much of your power. My favorite thing about the course was all the twists and turns. The more turns the better I say.

 Off the start I got out front and tried to stay smooth and smart to keep up the pace.  On the second or third lap I found myself catching the masters 45+, then  35+. I took some beer ups and some bacon treat ups and kept pushing as hard as I could.  That was pretty much that. All my trainer hours and commuting and riding really have payed off this year, the extra effort has been worth it. I ended up first in SS for the day and second for the season in SS. So after the race I just relaxed and had a good time with my friends. The Barton's where nice enough come out and run the grill. They always cook up something good. watching my friends race was fun too. Alan ended up first in the 3s and I could tell he wanted it before they even started. Kyle got first in the 4 race which was cool to see because he has also been working hard this year. So then we were off to the Back Forty brewery for the award after party.

The 2nd and 3rd place trophies I made.
This year I helped make the second and third place trophies for the series. In the left side of the picture are second place trophies which are cast bronze and aluminum waffles that I made at school. I had hoped to make more cast waffles, but the fact that pouring metal isn't a one man job I had to rely on other people and it just didn't work out. So I made the barriers that you see on the right. I hope everyone enjoys them. I got one of the waffles, but I gave it to the owner of Back Forty for hooking up Bamacross all year. The guys at the brewery were really nice and opened the whole place for us to explore. I think everyone really enjoyed it and they have some really good brews too... Really liked the Kudzu Porter and Naked Pig.
Back Forty Brewery.

 In summation, I had a really great season of racing cyclocross. Second in SS, cat 3 state champ, cating up to the 1/2s and 5th in SS at my first USGP race. Cyclocross is the best and I hope to keep racing for a long time. My big goal for this year is USGP Lousiville single speed. I would love podium there. But until then it's time to start putting in miles on the mountain bike. Southern Cross is next!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

 Southern CX Training
Today I decided to go out to Oak Mountain State Park to figure out a good course to train for the Southern CX Race. After looking at Alan Barton's Strava from last years race I knew this race was more about elevation gain than distance. I also have to give Lee Neal, George Mattison and others a shout out because they used a variation of this to train the last few years. Oak Mountain has some good climbs for cx, especially Pevine road and the boy scout road climb. The red trail fire road would also be great, but it is hard to ride on a cross bike without getting a flat. Anyway, here is basically one lap of what I plan to do for the next few free Sundays before the race. One lap of Southern cx training. I had to work today otherwise I would have done this twice. Now all there is left to do ride and find the right single speed gear ratio. I'm excited to train for and race this race, all I hear are good things.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Well I decided to give blogging a try. I will manly be talking about racing on here, but I will more than likely post about other things like music and art. Anyway, stay tuned for posts on the last race of the Bamacross series. Suspected dirt crit style course and then party down at the Back Forty brewery.