Saturday, August 9, 2008

Tour of KC day 1and2


Aside from the fun times I am having here in Kansas City, I have been completing (somewhat) the end of a very long racing campaign. This year was my first year in the P12 category. Other than Rouge Roubaix '06 in Baton Rouge, LA, I have only used my racing license to compete in the great state of Texas. This year, however, arter upgrading to a 1, and feeling like I had achieved my goal for the year, I decided to take a little journey into the bigger arena of competitive cycling. I have been racing since the end of January 08 and have only missed one Texas race while working a 45hr a week bike messenger job. It's important that I consider these things when I look at the results of the last five weekends. They are pretty horrible on paper. Each one for me is a personal experience with a thousand fighting echoes that still reside in my mind and tremor like aftershocks through my body.
It's Saturday night and tomorrow is the last day of racing before I go home to Austin and go back to work as a courier and spend the rest of my time fixing my body with yoga and Barton Springs. But before that, let's race report...

Friday night crit was on a roller coaster course in a pretty seedy area of KC. Steep downhill, hard right, up again, another right, flat straightaway to another right, very open descent, curving right, punchy uphill to start/finish. Carlos attacked from the beginning and got a gap immediately. A few others joined and the break was established.
That morning, Carlos had finally gotten the bolt on his chainring replaced, but his small ring was so bent that he still dropped his chain when he was riding in it. During warmup he could not get his small ring to not drop his chain so he decided he would have to do the entire race in his big ring with only an 11-21 cassette. ouch.
Stefan Rothe attacked the field on the left and I had a slow reaction on the right. Stefan had a much better jump but I still had a good gap on the field while Brian Jensen sat on the front. No one was gonna let him go, so I decided I would try and bridge up to Stefan. It didn't work out for me and when the field caught me I jumped in to recover. I could never recover and got dropped about two laps later, making about 25 minutes of the race.
I had been feeling real good during warmup and for the first 15 minutes thought I could make a big impact on the outcome of the race. Then one move and I'm unable to recover and getting dropped. Weird. I rolled over to the start/finish where Mel is and I'm gettin dizzy. Even weirder. Later that night, I'm super achy and then I sleep tons. For 25 min of racing?
Carlos' break gets reshuffled a few times and he misses the winning move of three that includes Jensen, Rothe and some 42yr old. Jensen attacks with two to go finishes solo. Rothe and his partner work together until the last lap when the 42yr old drops Rothe. Carlos gets 4th in the field sprint for 7th.

Woke up to rain.
Mel and I go have coffee and buy me a cycling cap at Volker. There is a guy in there with his girlfriend and she is wearing what is no doubt a typical prom dress. He askes me if I have a minute. I reply yes but I don't work here.
Carlos' new problem is his cleat is almost completely stripped and if his foot cocks to either direction just a millimeter, he comes out of his pedal. Today's course was tough with a nice little climb, switchback descent, some mud on a very fast curved section and a steep climb about 1k from the finish. I had nothing today, so I was nothing. For the first few laps I stayed near the front, out of trouble. I was feeling so tired but tried to tell myself that other's were probably tired too. With 11 of 18 laps to go Jensen got away with a few others. Up the climb, through the start finish, Carlos looked around to see if anyone could help. I went to the front and punched it up the small climb to keep the pace high. Afterwards, I just focused on recovering, so not to get dropped. After the switchback, there was an odd angled right turn that always fed to a strung out, hang onto the wheel in front of you, section. I did not want to lose connection as I was already in fear of getting dropped after my effort. The rider in front of me braked too hard (i thought) on this odd angled turn and I jumped on the inside to avoid too big a gap opening. He got offended, overcorrected and then we both got gapped. He sat on my wheel as I struggled to get back on to the field and then attacked me when I was used up. That was the race for me. Jensen won again out of a three man break that included Brad Huff and a very young kid. Carlos came in next, first out of the chase group.

Who said this had to be all about racing bikes?

some fishing...

maintaining friendships...

and meeting new and exciting people.

Friday, August 8, 2008

before the end

Kansas is becoming the best part of this trip. I almost decided to go home after Elk Grove but decided to slug it out just one more weekend. Besides, Mel was coming to Kansas to hang out after she finished summer school.

I call this place home right now. Carlos and I have the place to ourselves, aside from the construction workers during the day. There is no tv and no internet, so we sleep ALOT. There is one sauce pan, a tortilla warmer and some cups. The other day I made chicken with brown rice and a salad. I felt like newlyweds.

Mel comes into town and takes me underwear shopping. Im still blushing

Mel in the clouds

couldn't help myself. seriously this window was asking for this

On Tuesday Carlos and I go to LatteLand for my never ending quest for that perfect espresso. This place was in the plaza, very close to where we were and the espresso was the best I've had since leaving Austin. Carlos' bike was missing a very important bolt in his crank so I asked the barrista where we could find a bike shop. She sent us to a shop her boyfriend was working, Volker Bicycles. Here we met the owners, Britton, his wife, Melissa, and their 8mo old Boston Terrier, Cooper. Britton ordered the part and then took Carlos and I riding through the hilly terrain of Kansas City. We scoped out the courses for Friday and Saturday's race. They both look pretty tough. That's all for now. I've already been to two other coffee houses today, Broadway, no wi-fi (boo) and now at Mildred's. Going out with a bang this weekend!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

tour of elk grove

After Superweek Carlos and I stayed one more night with our host, Steve. He sent us off the next day with another cookout and a guitar, two blow up mattresses, a towel holder and eddie bauer duffel bag. Steve is selling his house and really wants to move to South Carolina (Good luck Steve).
Carlos and I arrive in Elmhurst, IL Tues evening and are greeted by our new host, Bob. We stay in the basement again and Bob takes us riding the first two days. The third day Carlos and I ride the same route we went on the day before and we get soaked in a rain storm. I felt pretty lucky we didn't get carried away by a tornado but there were flooded streets and downed tree limbs. It was pretty crazy.

On Wednesday, I take the train to downtown Chicago and do some sightseeing along with catching The Dark Knight. I finish my excursion with a sunset and wine.

check out the cig in this guys hand

Tour of Elk Grove was another bomb shell for me. For the weekend, we stayed at an extended stay and were joined by Jorge Alvarado of Khala/LaGrange and Christian Helmig of Metro/VW. Both these guys were riding great all weekend and fun guys to share a tiny hotel room with. I felt great but could never manage to get my grip at the front. Once, on Saturday, when Carlos was in a break up the road I tried to jump across and instead brought the field with me. Carlos saw this and got pretty pissed at me. There were a lot of crashes. One crash, at the front of the field, occurred when two guys started taking swings at each other and one guy crashed and took out those around him. I avoided all the pavement kisses but felt this is what I did the entire race, avoid crashes. I finished in the field at a solid 39th. Carlos won the field sprint for 5th.
On Sunday the field was down from 100+ guys to 85. I felt better but really never could assert myself at the front. I pretty much just sat in the middle and finished there too. Carlos won the field sprint again but one guy had managed to sneak away.
Feeling a little discouraged, Carlos and I headed to Kansas City on Monday. We arrived around 9pm in a real nice neighborhood. We are staying in a house that is being renovated and owned by my friend's parents. It's empty and under construction but we have everything we need. This weekend is the Tour of Kansas City and then I head home. I stretched last night and realized my knee was still a little jacked from crashing on the last day of Superweek. It's a little weird to demand so much from my body but be blind to some of the subtleties of my workings.