Skip navigation

I guess 2017 started on time, but I’m a bit behind. Between the much warmer than normal weather and the new trainer a lot of time has been spent in the saddle and little has been spent on goal setting. I’ve added an interval regimen and a considerable amount of intensity to my training for early season. So far it has paid off. I’m at a point right now that I need to increase volume and lower the intensity a bit before picking it up again before race season. 

I’ve taken some KOM’s early on and even set some personal records on trail even in single digit temps. Core work and the intensity have been paying dividends. Not sure yet how the players will shake out for the race series this year, but I’m planning to push it pretty hard. 

There may be more goals to be set, but these are some priorities. 

1. 4k miles. That’s a 76mile / week avg.

2. Break the 5 hour mark @ BT epic

3. Place in the top 4 overall in IHRS sport class.

4. Take second place or better in 30-39 

A long time ago in a galaxy without bicycles I started this blog as a way to keep track of my hunting escapades. One day I woke up and discovered the love of cycling and since then the number of hunts I’ve been on have been declining drastically. So far this year I’ve only managed to go out once and before we even got to our spot we spotted one and were unable to connect. 

This afternoon we headed out a little early and on the way up the road to the gravel pit I spotted one on the edge of the field about 300 yds out. There were trees between us and it just sauntered off pretty nonchalantly. We toyed with the idea of calling it off, but decided to give it a try since we were trying out Brent’s new e-caller. After 3-4 minutes of rabbit distress he threw in a little dog fight and a very healthy looking female popped out of the woods @ 80 yds. He took a nicely placed shot and hit the caller again hoping to bring in another dog or two. No dice on a second shot, but it was still a good time. 

Fortunately, I was able to complete most of my goals this year and even exceed some. According to Strava I managed 3686 miles and 201,000 feet of climbing. I am thankful for the health and energy to be able to do all of that and look forward to laying out some more ambitious goals for the coming year.

I don’t have any pics for this and all my buddies that have some haven’t gotten them to me. We did a late year ice coated snow peppered cx race @ Donovan park. I entered masters 30+ and cat5. As the first race started everyone was a little tense with the ice covered grass and little skif of snow covering. It was pretty slick, but by the time we made the first couple of switchbacks things started to get sorted out. I was sitting in second place to some guy I’d never met. 1/2 way through lap 2 I passed him and never looked back. I won the race by nearly 1/4 of a lap.
The second race was a little tougher. It had drizzled a bit more and the temp had dropped even more. (20°) I was following a guy pretty closely the whole race, and had the gas left to pass him but by lap 3 my shifter or derailleur had frozen up and I could no longer shift. That made for a tough race! Ended up taking second place by less than 100′.

Cyclocross really can be addictive! For the past couple of months I’ve been going to team cx practice and having “fun” and it’s made a noticeable difference in my power and speed.
The folks ovsr at Peoria Bicycle Club put on the WPP spooky cx yesterday and it was a beautiful fall day. I had texted throughout the week with a guy I’ve ridden with a few times who is a great competitor about our plans for the races. We elected to do a morning Masters 30+ race and then do the legit Cat5 race in the afternoon.
Since our first race was just a warm-up and course check we started in the back. We did a fair amount of talking for several laps and taking notes out loud on the course conditions. As the race went on we noticed we had passed a bunch of people. We ended up taking 3rd and 4th places.
We enjoyed a few calories while we watched the open and women’s races. As start time approached we lined up near the start. We were not gridded within our categories, so we found our way to the front line of the cat5 group. Cat4 riders took off 30 seconds ahead of us. As our start whistle blew we launched into action. By the time we were 3/4 through the first lap I had caught up to the tail of the cat4 guys. We wrangled for position for the first couple of laps before the pace picked up and we started to thin out the herd. I knew there was one other cat5 guy ahead of me, but didn’t know if there were others because we had wormed through so many of the cat4 riders.
After a horribly difficult sprint to the finish passing two other riders it was finally done!
Ended up taking 3rd in the cat5 race and 6th overall. We had passed all but three of the cat4 guys!
It was lots of excruciating fun! Two weeks before we can do it again.

image

image

Friday morning we loaded up with all of our bikes and gear and headed toward the sleepy little town of Steelville, Mo. Mark and I pulled into Bass River Resort about 3:00 and checked into our cabin and waited for the rest of the fellas to arrive. We spent some time watching some stunt/trials riders warm up for their show.
We had a great evening telling stories and prepping the BT newbies for the following days festivities. I managed a little bit of very poor sleep due to grabbing the wrong sleeping bag from the closet at home.
At 8:30 Saturday morning we took off from the start. Andy and I had placed ourselves about mid pack @ the start line. We had both set the same ambitious goal of a sub 5 hour race. As we took off up the gravel road and hit the first hill I passed what felt like hundreds of riders. I continued to pass people until we ducked into the woods around mile 3. Since this was my second time @ the race there were some visual cues and markers that helped me remember where we were and what was coming up next. I breezed through the first checkpoint and only stopped long enough to rearrange the food in my pockets. As I began to wind through the woods the climbs didn’t seem as bad as they were last year. Several times I found myself behind folks that were pushing a granny gear up the hills so slowly I could not sustain it. Finally managed to pass several slower packs and got to moving again. I stopped @ Berryman to grab some food out of my pockets and took off right behind Andy. On the long climb up to the third station I passed another racing acquaintance and made sure he was doing alright. Stopped at the aid station and took on some water and ate a bit. Only burned about two minutes there. That gravel road leading to the big downhill before the three sisters seemed to go on forever and I was trying to gain ground, but only managed to pass two guys. Once we made it to the sisters that changed. I made it past several folks as they walked those climbs. Even the sisters didn’t seem as bad as last year. I’m chalking that up to my increase in fitness. The tail end of the race after we pass the resort was uneventful. I managed to clear the big concrete step up this year too. I knew as I crossed the gravel road to hit the last stretch before the finish that I wasn’t going to make my goal. I crossed the finish @ 5:14. I’m still happy with my improvement over last year. (45 min) No flats helped with that result. Ended up 26th in my age group and 99th overall! Gotta say I was pretty stoked about a top 100 finish.
I plan to start a little further up next year and try to avoid some of those slow folks.

image

image

image

image

image

Since it’s our anniversary weekend I thought it would be a great idea to go do a night time cx race in Beardstown. My beautiful bride was kind enough to accompany me and cheer me on.
The course was a little shorter than normal in order keep us in some light. 23 men left the start line and somehow I ended up in the front row. There was only one sharp short climb, several off camber sections, a flyover and two passes through a sand pit. The course was super fun and very fast. I ended up in 5th place overall. A very acceptable finish for my 3rd ever cx race and first one on a proper cx bike. All those nicht of team cx practice have paid off!

One week from now I should be sitting around a fire watching a bunch of crazy folks celebrate their finish at the BT Epic.

Earlier I set a goal of 5:15 for this race, but what’s the point in setting a goal you’re very confident you could achieve? I am revising my goal to something a little less realistic. I’m striving to beat the 5 hour mark.

Just spent the morning riding Indy and Dirksen with Kalib and I’m feeling a whole lot better than last year. Barring any mechanicals I think I can do this. All of the cx practice and road miles have made a great difference.

 

Our first tour de Fulton only whetted our appetites for the great gravel spread across the county. We picked October 1 as our date to hit those sweet roads again and to do a little more exploring.
Five of us planned to make the trip this time. 
     As the day approached a few were forced to cancel due to work, etc.                 When I woke up on Saturday morning I was greeted by a text from Tim stating that his legs were in no shape to do a big ride due to the previous day’s ride. After giving him some grief for his poor decision making I figured I’d better call Cody and make sure he was still good to roll on the very misty morning. We decided to abandon the original plan and just meet at Cody’s place and head out from there.
As we rolled out from his subdivision the drizzle seemed to get worse, but we had checked the radar and were confident that we’d soon be in the clear. Cody was navigating us through roads that would be fun but not too muddy. As it turned out everything was pretty muddy and we stopped around mile 25 to hose off ourselves and the bikes. We made a couple of stops to say hi to some of his friends and family and eat a bite or two. Shortly after our lunch stop we were posed with route choices.
Our conversations typically went something like this:
If we go this way we’ll be done in “x” miles or we could turn this way and hit these cool hills and it’ll be “x + ” miles.
Oh, let’s go hit the hills.
This scenario repeated itself several times. We also found ourselves hopping 5 gates, and riding through one creek. As we began to close in on Canton again we found our odometers pushing 85 miles, so we figured we may as well finish out the full century. I had to ride around the block once before rolling into Cody’s drive to hit the 100 mark.
That was one of the most enjoyable rides I can remember doing. It was just a lot of fun and I felt great even as we finished.
     Too bad it was too rainy and I was just too busy having fun to take pictures of some of the cool stuff we saw. 
Maybe next time. 🙂
  

Thursday and Friday had been filled with rain and overcast skies. Murmurs of whether we’d even be able to race Sunday were being floated around. Saturday brought sun, breeze and 75°. Although it helped dry a LOT of the trail tread, the creek crossings were very muddy and the spillway was uncrossable. The powers that be decided we’d shorten the course, delay start times by 2 hours and include a little downhill section out on bittersweet road.
After a quick pre-ride to check out the muddy spots (especially the one at the bottom of the only real climb) I was feeling pretty good. I was sitting in 3rd place in my age division for the season with what I thought was a manageable lead. All I had to do was beat or finish within a couple places of Percy and I’d be set, or so I thought.
We lined up at the start and prepared for a fairly fast if slightly slippery race.
I had my best start of the year and managed to be in 7th place going into the woods. Both laps went pretty well and I managed to clear the muddy mess of whistler hill both times. I was feeling pretty stoked when I passed Percy on the dam trail. I ended up finishing the race in 10 th overall and fourth in my age group.
Everyone gathered and shared stories of their race as the awards were prepared. As they started the awards for my age group I was amazed to not hear my name. Seems that one of the BCF guys had not completed his 6 races until today, so he jumped right past me to take 3rd for the year. I’d be lying to say I wasn’t disappointed. Oh, well, I’ll use it to be more determined for next year.
I did more races in the series this year than ever before, made new friends, and had a lot of fun.

image

image

Two podium finishes for the season!
After BT epic next month the training for next years xc series can begin.