The End

…of recovery weeks.

After a very relaxing/refreshing two weeks of doing prettymuch “whatever,” I’ve grown restless, and will resume pre-season training this week. It’s been nice. Yesterday, I tried yoga for the first time. It felt good. I’m highly likely to go back. Otherwise, I’ve generally been drinking beer and riding occasionally for an hour or two whenever I get the inkling.

Today, Ryan and I rode 4-wheeler trails out to Gray’s Creek. It was my first singlespeed ride since Thanksgiving, and turned out to be perfect inspiration to get back into the swing of race-season prep.

I love singlespeed.

Sometimes, when I haven’t ridden singlespeed in a while, I sort of forget just how awesome it is. Geared = look at an obstacle, think about shifting, think about navigating, blah, blah, blah… Singlespeed? look at an obstacle, fucking pedal. Grab the bar ends and hammer. I love bar ends…

Still not training

I’m still in a brief recovery period- I haven’t been totally off of the bike, but I’m generally just going out and screwing around whenever I feel the urge. While I’m incredibly excited to start training and racing my 2012 season, I haven’t quite reached the throes of recovery where I’m restlessly checking my training schedule in hopes that Coach has decided that it’s time to get back to work. It will happen soon, though. I’ve got a lot of work to do before Southern Cross in less than a month.

Yes, though I was questioning as to whether or not I’d race it this year because of the race’s close proximity to Worlds, I feel as though I’ve got a bit of pent up frustration due to the amount of work put in to gain fitness for the race followed by the anticlimactic nature of mechanicaling myself out of the lead group in the first lap. Southern Cross will be more than the usual suspects this year since it’s part of a larger “ultra cross” series comprised of mostly East-Coast gravel grinders. I’m not expecting to win, though I do plan on using Selene Yeager’s wheel to destroy every fiber of my being.

Before that, I’ve got training camp 2012 at Syllamo. Given the amount of volume I haven’t done this winter and the all-day nature of training at the cabin, it will be both painful and rewarding.

Other random, impending happenings? Looks like I’m going to take up yoga starting this weekend.

 

For Sale: Wired SRAM SRM and Powercontrol V- $1000

This is an SRM powermeter (172.5mm crank arm length) that I purchased around the beginning of 2009. Earlier this year, I sent it to SRM for a “refurb”- new batteries in the PCV and SRM along with a thorough cleaning of the internals of the powermeter. It works beautifully, but I’ve since gone wireless. Price doesn’t include a GXP bottom bracket, but if you’re interested, I could work out a deal on a new one for you.

For Sale: BH Carbon Cross- $1200

Next up in the garage sale- my “old’ cyclocross bike.

This is a 2008 BH Carbon Cross- size 51cm with SRAM Force components (FSA carbon crank and Avid Shorty brakes). I raced it for 2 seasons before getting my Scott. It was an excellent bike, but just a hair too small for me.

Important Stuff:
-The guy who owned it before me disassembled the front shifter and converted it to 1×10. I mostly raced it that way, but added a bar-end shifter and slightly chipped SRAM Red front derailleur for chain retention and the option to use a 2x setup.
-The front chainring is a 40t with a bash guard
-The wheels are Velomax with Kenda Small Block Eight tires
-Handlebars are FSA Wing Pro Compact- size 42 (they’re 40cm c-c at the hoods and 42cm c-c at the drops)
-I recently overhauled the bike, and in the process, installed new brakes (Avid Shorty 6s) and Cane Creek Stainless Steel Headset Bearings
-Here’s a geo chart:

Here are some photos. As always, if you have any questions, email andrea @ brickhouseracing.com or message me on facebook.

For Sale: Niner Carbon Fork- Vanna White

Here’s the first of what is going to be a large amount of housecleaning with mine & Ryan’s bike stuff… keep checking back for more this week. What doesn’t get any bites from you, my loyal readers, will go to EBay where non-loyal non-readers can purchase it. Email (andrea @ brickhouseracing.com) or contact me through Facebook if you’re interested

First item- my first rigid fork. I love rigid. So much so, that I procured the RDO thru-axle fork late last year. So, now my quick release style fork is for sale. Here’s the rundown:

-Used for ~1year, has a couple of small scratches, but otherwise excellent shape
-Steertube is tapered and 152.5mm in length
-Carbon-safe compression plug installed
-Fork info on Niner’s site: Niner Taper Steerer Rigid Carbon Fork
-$200

 

 

Bailout Privileges

This morning, I exercised one of the most divine recovery period privileges on the list of recovery period privileges.

First, rewind a little…

Hard training is hard. It sounds redundant, but it’s true. It’s not just the intensity, fatigue, or any of the obvious stuff. It’s that, if you want to win (or, maybe even more importantly, to at least know that, if you don’t win, you did EVERYTHING in your power to train to win), you have to train religiously. All weather, all the time, never missing a hard day, whether you want to or not.

It’s what separates the podium from the pack fill.

I trained hard for Worlds.

Back to this morning. I’d been hankering all week to go on a wiley Saturday group road ride and even gained permission to join in on a 4hr Marx-Bensdorf team hammer ride. Matt (who rides with BPC, the M-B farm team) joined me, and we bundled up and headed out to the meet-up spot. It was cloudy, cold, damp, and windy. We were running a couple of minutes late, so I tempo-rode the two of us the half hour there.

Once we arrived, the group chatted then rolled out within a couple of minutes. The testosterone was strong straight from the parking lot- one of the guys sat on the front and pulled straight into the North headwind at what was likely a 300 watt effort on his part. Matt vocalized what no one else would say when he explained how much the cold and effort sucked. He was exactly right. I told him he should HTFU and grind out the remaining 3.5 hours.

I turned off and went home.

Part of recovery (at least for me) is letting the HTFU part of your brain take a break for a minute. It’s sort of a “return to being normal for a minute” thing. Now I’m warm, cozy, and giddy with the thought of having the privilege to go home when my hands and feet are frozen solid while the out-of-the-lot pace is faster than the tempo I was riding when we were running late. Maybe I’ll go really crazy and have a beer with lunch. There’s no telling.

This is what happens when I don’t ride for a few days…

(Warning, this is about to sound a lot like a pseudo-philosophical rant that your one “stoner” friend might tell you an hour or so after eating a “special” brownie…)

In light of the giant, heat-producing contusion on my right thigh, I haven’t done any riding since I arrived home from Louisville on Sunday. I decided yesterday that I’d venture to the mall in search of a pair of jeans. However, rather than actually go into stores and try things on, I ended up wandering around pondering the meaning of life instead.

I mean, the entire contents of the vast expanse of building seemed incredibly useless to me. On the flipside, there are individuals who would feel that their well-being would be compromised if that building burnt down tomorrow.  Which led me to think, Why?
What I figured out was that the average individual needs this stuff because they dress up/down/out/etc to do things. Those things that they do add interest to their everyday life. The clothing defines you and what you do. I’m not judging or saying this is bad at all- quite the opposite…

I find those things useless because I don’t do anything.

All those things that all of those people are doing in order to need to dress up/down/out/etc. don’t exist here. Most people would think that, from the outside, that sounds incredibly boring- a large portion of my everyday existence is dedicated to being able to ride a bike faster than everyone else. Outside of that, I work on bikes, and many of my friends are bike people. I’m not saying this is bad at all, either, just that I briefly noticed the stark contrast between my reality and that of the general public.

It’s not for everyone, but I love it.
(Thank you, mall, for provoking my deep thought of the day. )

Master’s Worlds CX Race Report

Friday night, I was wired- a mix of nervous, excited, happy, anxious, and just about anything else I could throw in there to keep from feeling like I should go to sleep. I managed a few hours, though, and was awake before the alarm Saturday morning. As I mentioned in my previous post, it was stupidly cold- 18 when we went down to breakfast. After some hot cereal and coffee, I tried to relax and make final preparations back at the room.

I’d decided that I wanted to ride the mile or so down to the race course in order to get a solid start on a non-trainer warmup. Once I was at the course, I rode a lap and a half before swinging back by the car for a final shot of redbull and Gu Roctane. The ground was still rutted and frozen solid, so some parts of the course rode like a trenched & rutted hockey rink. Luckily, Saturday morning racers had the luxury of several course re-routes and tape moves to allow for less treacherous conditions than the races on Friday. However, there were still several sections of tape-to-tape ice ruts that would prove to be painful for most of us.

Once I was fueled up, I headed up to the start area. We were called up one at a time to have our tire width checked and go to our spot in the start grid. I knew from my pre-ride that most people like the smooth line to the right off of the pavement at the beginning of the race, but that I’d found a killer line to the left that was way faster as long as you could navigate one section of ice ruts right against the course tape.

When the race started, two women jumped out ahead of me. I took to their wheels on the straightaway until we reached the left turn onto the grass, where they predictably took the far line to the right. I stayed to the left and went flying down the first hill off of the pavement. I used my skatepark skills and thought “manual” as I crossed the patch of ruts that everyone else had gone right to avoid then pumped over the dirt hump at the bottom of the hill. My strategy put me ahead of the hole-shotters going into the first chicane and elbow to elbow as we navigated the frozen sand pit.

The next uphill section was a tape-to-tape ice-rut section that, if you could pedal as hard as possible and unweight your front wheel, you had a little bit of a chance of making it through without wrecking or being forced to run. It was there that the three of us in front made a gap on the other racers. However, as we rounded the next right turn to a downhill left to turn back to a set of barriers, I felt something loose in the rear end of my bike. When I picked it up to go over the barriers, my rear wheel started to come out of the dropouts.

FUCK.

I always hated the skewers in the Reynolds wheels. The rear one, which had been tight in the start grid, had rattled loose over the extremely rough terrain. I was forced to stop and re-tighten it while trying not to panic. I re-mounted my bike in last place. Ass-hauling ensued, and I’d ridden back into 4th by the time I reached the pit. I swapped bikes and yelled at Ryan to check the skewers. Soon after, as I was trying to claw back 3rd, I wrecked hard on the ice and dropped my chain (most common malady of the race, I think). Un-Jamming that allowed 3rd to escape again, and let the two leaders get further from my grasp. I was momentarily heartbroken, but pulled myself together and started reeling the podium spot back.

Once I was back on my Scott (thank you, Ryan, for being an awesome pit-man), I kept the hammer down and finally overtook her in the last half of the 2nd lap. I never looked back, but I know that she fought hard to try and stay with me. When I came through the wall-to-wall uphill ruts at the beginning of my 4th and final lap, I saw her laying on the ground with paramedics around her. I tried not be distracted, but hardly 10 meters later, a rut grabbed my front wheel and slammed me into the ground. I did my best to jump up quickly and told the paramedic who’d left the other racer to check on me that I was OK. I re-mounted and realized quickly that I was, in fact, NOT ok. My right thigh had taken the brunt of the impact, and every pedal stroke was torturous.

On the final runup, I noticed that my trusty Garmin 500 was gone. Even though the announcer called for whoever found it to bring it back, it never turned up. My guess is that it landed in someone’s pocket. Boooooooo.

I finished the race solo, in 3rd place.

Looking back at lap times, the fight for 2nd could have been epic if it weren’t for the two mechanicals. I’m happy, though. I haven’t raced that hard all season. I felt awesome. I took a lot of chances. Most of them worked out. Some of them hurt like hell.

It was a fun journey, but damn am I glad it’s over.

 

 

Master’s Worlds Pre-race Report

Today hasn’t been the best day-before-a-race day.

The weather has been foul. Yesterday, I made the trip from Memphis in blowing snow and heavy clouds. The weather system soaked the ground at the Louisville CX course, creating a thick, sticky layer of mud. Ryan, who had been in St. Louis for business since Monday, was there ahead of me and pre-rode in horrible conditions (remember that part)

His heat race was at 10:20 this morning. As he was getting ready to pre-ride, I put his “A” bike in the stand to lube the chain, which was dried out from the previous day’s ride/pressure wash. I quickly realized that his bottom bracket was toasted. I quickly borrowed a BB tool (yeah, I suck at packing the tool box) and put my bike’s FSA bottom bracket into his bike. Parking lot wrench/repair extraordinaire.

His heat race ended up sucking a little. What had been deep, saturated mud was now frozen into solid, icy ruts from tape to tape.

Riding was treacherous (possibly understatement of the year, and it’s only January).

My original plan had been to pre-ride during the official noon to 12:45 open course time. However, with our quiver of bikes being one bottom bracket short, I had to deal with that first. I started by visiting the Black Spring bike shop across from the hotel. Luckily, the guy there let me make myself at home in his shop, and I was able to rehab the “A” bike bottom bracket and re-install the BB into my bike. By then there was no way to get to the open course time.

I ended up riding down to the course and watching the tail end of the men’s 30-34 race. Not long after, I was about to leave when I noticed that random people were riding on the course. I figured I’d have at it as well.

What followed was a crash course in how to ride on solid, rutted ice. I did my best to float the front wheel and maintain speed. It worked about 90% of the time. The other 5% of the time, my front wheel would grab in a deep, sideways rut and slam me onto the ice. OW.

I was discouraged. I’ve trained incredibly hard, and to have my race boil down to who can crash the least on the ice would be somewhat disappointing. Luckily, the Powers that Be have decided to re-route and re-stake some of the worst parts of the course. So, now I should only crash once per lap instead of 5 times per lap, and be able to get my heart rate over 120 bpm.

Here goes nothing…