Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Kansas Cup Cross Race

I decided to do this cross race because it would get me back into race mode and Wilson will be doing it so I'll have friends racing at the same time too.

Before I get started, let me paint you the mental picture that I had of Cross Racing. Dark, chaotic destruction and despair....I expected to see land mines, laser fields, armed gladiators...okay so maybe not that extreme, but he did say that there would be a lot of people and a lot of crashes. He told me that there is a larger crowd base that shows up to these races and more racers that come out to compete in these events. I wasn't really sure what to even expect.

The alarm went off at 8:30am. Dana and I got up and started about our morning routines mixed with a bit of race day prep. To be quite honest I was feeling rather relaxed for some reason. Not my usual worked up pre-race self. Once my Dad got to my apartment it was time to roll out! Helmet, check, riding shoes, check, gear, check, bike, check! We were set to go! It was a short drive over to Swope Park and we were on time as far as I had planned. As we arrived the race officials pointed me to the parking spot and we began to unload the gear. My lovely girlfriend and excellent Dad were hauling the chairs and food and misc. gear and told me to strike out on my own and get registered for my race. Because Dana still has a broken foot I didn't want them to walk all over God's green Earth, so I was also going to look for a nice spot for base camp.

As I rode towards registration I couldn't help but notice all the red tape strung about. It looked as though someone had given a couple of five year olds police tape and told them to have fun! To my left and right there were twists and turns marked all over these open fields. There were three 2X6s standing tall ways across the marked path. These were the barriers that Wilson had warned me about. Some would bunny hop them and some would dismount their bikes and carry them over the barriers. There were a few riders already on the course and I watched them as I rode on. They seemed to be moving through the course without much difficulty so this can't be THAT difficult right?

After a quick registration and a free sample of coffee I made my way back to Dad and Dana. We ended up making camp right at the registration area. There was a lot more going on and you could see a lot of the action.

11:00 am

The first race starts. The Elite riders group is first up and as the announcer over the loud speakers announces "here they go!" riders start to poor into the turns. Bits of grass are being kicked up into the late morning sun as the riders push hard around the turns. They start off tight together before the field starts to widen out. From our base camp we can see the riders turn hard lefts ,rights and make quick hairpin turns. They turn to the right before the pit area and head out on the only long straight away of the course and disappear for a minute or two. I'm getting pretty excited at this point. Wilson and his family haven't quite arrived yet and I'm wondering if Stewart, the latest 16 day old edition to his family, is causing them to be late. Just then the first riders come whizzing by in the forest behind where we're seated. Yep they're making short work of this 1.25 ml course. EXCITING!!!


The Elite class has finished their race and we are now allowed back out on the course for a pre-ride until the next race. "Babe, I gotta go ride this" I told Dana, she told me to do what I had to do and her and my Dad would be just fine. I'm going to try this out and head straight for those barriers. I rode the straight away to the second open field and entered the turns. Ooo these turns ARE a bit tight. Okay here comes the barriers alright dismount, jump, run, jump,run ,jump. Get back on now. Ugh that was awful! I better mount faster than that come race time! I decide to head back for now. As I did I saw two people that looked familiar, pushing a stroller down the straight away. Hey there's Dave and Katie!


Dave get's all registered and we get Katie situated. Now my head is swirling with pre-race thoughts. Don't crash, don't crash, don't crash. I have earned the name Marcos "Crash" Bowman from my previous races and I wasn't really wanting to live up to this expectation in todays race. The girls take to the course and start their laps, but I'm not really paying attention at this point. My head is a buzz. Dana is trying to win Dave's 2 year old, Claudia's trust with cheezits. My dad is just enjoying the environment and Dave is helping Katie get set up with the their youngest.


CRAP!!! The women are done? The track is open again? "Come on Marcos, let's ride before we start" Dave says as he takes off on his bike. Okay, give Dana a kiss and a good luck from my Dad and I set out after Wilson. I decide to ride a bit more of the grass area and after the barriers this time I headed down the mountain bike single track. Wow! this single track is pretty fun and fast! I glide through the single track and practice my dismount and mount over a rather large log towards the end of the wooded part. As I emerge from the single track I see the racers all starting to line up at the start. The start is at the bottom of the hill??? Darn up hill starts...It's alright I'll deal with it. I ride up and start walking to the back of the group..."Marcos, you start up there!" CRAP Wilson caught me trying to hide in the mid section! Oh well. Like a kid who just got busted stealing a cookie from the cookie jar I blushed and walked to the front of the group. To my surprise, he wasn't calling me out. Us category 4 racers (beginning racers) started before the other two groups (40+ and Single Speeders). Thanks Wilson for looking out for me!

A few more riders came down the hill to join us at the starting line and I reflected on the races before mine. Come to think of it I don't think I had noticed any crashes at all. A couple of broken chains but that was it. Maybe I will be okay. The ground was tacky and perfect for racing, and come to think of it, probably pretty soft for an eh, er... an unexpected landing. The race official was done with her shpeal and now we were just waiting on a couple of guys to get to the starting line. I don't think I've ever taken role at a starting line before...come on guys you're holding all of us up...

1 minute!

There's the adrenaline! I was wondering where you were! The last two guys file in and we get ready. "Alright Cat 4, GO!" The start was cramped, my heart was pounding, I caught myself starting to go too fast too soon. Alright man get a hold of yourself, we've got 30 minutes of race to go, you've gotta make sure you stay to your pace. Before I knew it, we were up that hill and each rider started flowing into the grassy turns. The crowd was loud, familiar voices were yelling my name, cow bells were clanging. My heart was pounding and I was breathing heavily, not from exhaustion but from the sheer excitement of it all. The day had grown very hot. Right turn! I looked down and realized...LEFT TURN HARD!...I hadn't brought any water with me. Dang...HARDER LEFT TURN!

Some racers were catching up to and passing me. "Now here come the Single Speeders!" Crap already!?!?!? Okay okay, stay calm Marcos this is your race and you need to stick to your pace. If I were to...HAIR PIN RIGHT TURN!...go...QUICK LEFT...to fast....MUDDY SPOT!...good thing I picked a good line! If I were to go to fast I could burn out too soon. Me and four others made a hard turn onto the straight away. I was riding a mountain bike, and a lot of the others in this race were riding cross bikes. These bikes are like road bikes with skinny little mountain bike tires on them. They were lighter and for the time being a bit faster than I was. Man I really want to turn on the gas and show these skinny bikes I CAN go fast!!!! No no, you'll get them later, my calm racer voice told me..."Come on Marcos keep it up!" It was Wilson! Dang he already caught me halfway through the first lap! That Guy is a beast!! As more riders pass by I keep to my pace. The crowd is every where and there are plenty of voices cheering all around. We poured into the second field of turns. HARD LEFT...watch the mud....HARDER LEFT...Here comes the barrier area. A right turn and then a hairpin and then things get interesting. As I made the right turn...BAM!!...A guy does a face plant smack into the soft muddy ground!! There's the first crash!! WOOOHOOO it wasn't me!! He had mis-calculated the last barrier height and paid for it. IN YOUR FACE!!! My turn...as I turned the left hairpin an eruption of GO JAVI (Hov-ee) rang out and shook me from my race mode trans. It was Dana's Family! They took the edge off, can't crash with them watching, I thought to myself. Okay, unmount, sprint, jump, jump, jump, get back on dang it!!! Yeah that was pretty bad. The guy next to me made quick work of it and was already 10ft ahead of me. My heart was still pounding as I cut through the last bit of grass turns before the mountain bike single track. Sweat was trickling off of my lips as I nearly smack a tape holding post after the tightest hairpin on the course. Man I wish I brought water...

One last hard right on the grass and I sweep into the cool shade of the single track. Eyes adjust to the darker surroundings. Just in time to see the log jump! Ough! drug the back tire a bit too much on that jump. The race officials had taken the time to spray paint every little root, tree stump and any other obstacle, making it very easy to pick a proper line. A few more racers sneak past me. Am I going slow? Doesn't matter keep your head about you and stay with your pace. My quads are starting to burn on a few of these up hills, soldier up Marcos this is your first race back off the bench no backing out! BIG LOG! dismount, jump get back on, good! not too bad...whoops okay spoke too soon. Couldn't clip in fast enough and almost smashed into a tree on a quick left hander. CLICK, there we go. I climb out of the single track and skip across the paved part only to scoot right back into some more single track climbing. There's a couple of guys talking on the side of the single track. Looks like a fellow racer has broken something on his bike. Them's the breaks my friend. Man this shouldn't feel this hard! I climb and get passed by a few more riders but now I see the table that marks the finish line. Out of the single track and speed past the table. LAP 1 in the bag

The crowd's roar and the cow bells clatter enter my ears as I weave into the grass. Quickly after the first two turns I quickly realize I feel like puking. No bueno. I so wish that I had brought water. The heat was starting to cut through the trees and my mouth was dry with all the air I had been sucking in. Dana and Claudia were on the side of the course ringing the cow bell and taking pictures. I smiled and snapped out all negative "puke now" thoughts. I make the turns in front of them, dodge the mud and yell to Dana her family is here before I cut back into the straight. Stomach churning as I get passed by a few more riders. Which ones am I actually racing? Who is in my Cat 4 class? Am I being lapped? Can't think about that just dig in and finish. I realize I'm going a bit gingerly on the turns but my stomach is messing with my head. My tongue hanging out like a dog on a hot day, I make a turn for the barriers again. SMASH!!! The second barrier claims a victim! This one looked pretty bad. He smacked his shoulder and his bike went about 7 feet in front of him. Dismount, clear the barriers, mount....a little better, but not by a whole lot. Other riders make me look like I'm standing still. I quickly move through the last grass part, doing an unplanned rear slide around a dirt corner. Back into the dirt again. My stomach seems to have worked whatever it was out, and now I need to focus. Faster Marcos fast!!! I try to turn it up a bit through the single track, loosing ground to a few more riders. No biggie just get through it. Man I want to give up....NO!!! Get that crap out of my head! I pass another rider on the side of the single track. He's bleeding a little bit from his shin, but he looks alright. I stand up and shift as I make that last climb to the table. LAP 2 done.

As I pass by the table I ask how much time is left (forgot my Garmin too) and they shout back "2 more laps!" Dang! I was thinking it was only going to be 3 laps but that's cool just means I've got to dig deeper for a bit longer. I see Dana and Claudia ahead of me cheering me on. I got this. On the third lap I'm feeling more confident around the turns. As I turn onto the straight away for the third time I put so much force into my peddling I lift the front end off the ground and do a mini wheely. It's quiet, there doesn't seem to be any other racers around me. CRAP I'm last! That's fine, as long as I finish I've achieved a goal. There is only up from here right? Two more riders catch me on the single track. That's it I'm not going down with out a fight! I kick in the after burners. I push up the last hill to the table and scratch off LAP3. I'm pouring everything I've got left into this lap. Maybe fatigue is setting in and impairing judgement but I'm taking these turns a lot faster this time. I'm tilted way over and pushing the balance limits of my machine now. Man if I only would have raced like this from the beginning! I speed into the single track JUMP totally cleared the log and then some. The wind is whipping through my helmet as I pound down the single track. I managed to catch and pass a few more riders. Sweet maybe I'm not last! Keep hit'n it!!! As I exit the single track for the fourth time...SMACK!!! I wandered into some really soft mud and smashed my left pedal and crank into a rock shelf. My left foot pops loose and all momentum is lost. RUN, GET BACK ON! As quick as I can I hop back on and take off up the last bit of single track climb to the table. There's a guy in a green jersey in front of me, CATCH HIM! GO GO GO!!! DIG! I empty the tanks and push hard but he finishes 20ft in front of me.

I exhale. As I pass the table I see all of Dana's family, my Dad, Dana, Wilson and Family cheering waiting for me. I'm exhausted. That's the last time I forget my water bottle... I drop my bike kiss my girl and immediately start to look for water. The race is done. It was such a blast! Come to find out Wilson had crashed and rode a couple of laps with his handle bars tilted about 20 degrees off 90 and his rear tire had almost fallen out on the last jump of the fourth lap. Dude is an animal!


Well Wilson won the single speed group, no shocker there and I actually wasn't close to last either. 24th! Out of about 35 racers! Not bad for coming back off of the bench! All in all this race was a great time and absolutely what I needed to get me back in the spirit for Leadville training. I plan on doing more races this fall so look out readers you'll have more to read coming soon!

Next race, Cross Out Cancer on Sunday October 10th at Shawnee Mission Park! Until then!!!

Catching You Up

I thought I'd let you all know what's been going on for a month since i decided to take on the LV100.

Since then, I've been riding 2-3 days a week and playing soccer for a little cross training. It's been a bit rough but I feel that I'm getting stronger. Because I've decided to do single speed I've been mainly riding without shifting. It really isn't easy and I can see why Dave Wilson is such a strong rider. It takes a lot of power and endurance to be a single speeder, and that just gets me more fired up to become one.

Because I want to be a single speeder, it only makes since that I need to get a proper single speed bike. I looked at what my coach rides (Wilson) and ordered a brand new SIR 9 frame from Niner bikes (pictures coming soon). It's made from light weight steel and allows me to be a single speeder or a geared rider. Wilson says to forget about the second part because "we don't need no stink'n gears!"

I'm also trying to enter quite a few cross races this year to get my race experience up. But that is another tale....

Now that you're up to speed we can proceed. Hang with me because I've got another blog entry soon...The Kansas Cup Cross race!!!! Should be a good one!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Road To Leadville

Alright here it is. I'm posting it on here because that way anyone who reads this can hold me accountable. I Marcos Javier Bowman, in sound body and mind (debatable), am making the commitment to the 2012 Leadville 100 race. AND to top that off, I want to compete on a single speed. My desire is to finish with in the 12hr time period. I'm going for a little belt buckle! I started training again a week after Dana and I went and helped my buddy Dave Wilson compete in his 4th Leadville race. Where he managed to get a personal best (9:01:53), and snag a BIG belt buckle.... i want that....someday....First you gotta finish.

So to anyone out there who cares, I'm do'n this thing!

More blogs to come shortly....

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Prairie Punisher

Alright folks, now I know that it's been a while. June was the Ride for Diabetes and was rather uneventful, so I didn't write about it. Okay here's a summary It was long, frigging hard and it took me 7 hrs. By the time I got to mile 80 I wanted off so bad I bumped up my pace just to get done!

But now for the race that we all came here to read about, The Prairie Punisher! The race was held at Celebration Park in Gardner Kansas. It is a newly renovated park in West Gardner and was very nice, small, but nice. Anyways, The Punisher is a Duathlon that consists of a 5k run to a 29.5k bike ride (18 miles) and then a 5k run to the finish. I signed up for the team with my friend's boyfriend Kyle. Kyle is a marathoner and so I figured running two measly 5ks wouldn't be too difficult for him to pull off on such short notice. I was glad to find Kyle very excited for a competition race and knew that I had me a good team mate for the day!

The night before the race it had stormed pretty good so I was a bit apprehensive about the condition of the roads. I was racing on country roads, which were in relatively good shape but not a whole lot of cars travel down them so they tend to dry a little slower than most city roads. We arrived at the event and went through the normal formalities of getting numbers' checking in and getting the race chip. Kyle and I were a bit tired, neither of us had slept well at all. I had only gotten 3 hours of sleep and Kyle hadn't had much more. We were trying to formulate the stratigy for the race before we started. Kyle was estimating a 20 min 5k and I was estimating possibly an hour to get done with the 18 miler. After driving the course the night before I found a TON of hills on this course and with the lack of sleep I felt that I could loose a lot of my energy on any of these hills at any given time. The plan of attack was to conserve and then attack on the last 3 miles, and when Marcos says attack, I mean unleash the beast all over that course! So after Kyle and I had the game plan settled, we moved over to the staging area to figure out how the hand off works.

6:55...five minutes to race time

Kyle moves to the 5k start and I go and stand in the "pass box" and wait for my team mate to come streaming in there like a silver bullet. I take the time to size up my competition....yeah I'm out biked....man that's a sweet time-trial bike....whatever chump change!!

10...9...8 Here it goes

7...6...5 man chipotle sounds good for after the race

4...3...2...1 GO! GO! GO get'em KYLE!!!

The pack launches off and they disappear over the hill and off to the right. The staging grounds become quiet and all that can be heard is idle chatter of spectators and cows waking up in the distance. I keep stretching, excitement beginning to build inside. 15 mins pass. I jump in place and attempt to stay warm. 16.5 mins. Holy crap! someone is actually burning up the home stretch towards the staging grounds the first couple of solo contestants hit the grounds along with the first place team runner. Holy crap that guy's fast! 17.38 minutes for his first 5k! He comes in and passes the race chip and his rider takes off running to the dismount/mount line. Crap okay not first, that's cool, that's cool. 19 mins. Kira gets excited so I know Kyle's coming. Where is he, where is he....there! crap he's almost on me! 20.1 mins. He rips the chip bracelet of his wrist and hands it too me. Heart is starting to pound with excitement. I slap the bracelet around my ankle and tear off with my bike for the line. 40 yards...darn cycling shoes, don't make it easy on me to run or anything! I get to the line. Mount Mount! Clip Clip! GO GO GO GO!!!! Heart racing, legs quaking with excitement, lungs sucking down air like a Dyson vacume! Alright Alright, calm it down, remember the pace we decided on. The start is a down hill for a mile, and I'm in second just stay out in front of the third place guy and hopefully I can pull in the first place! Sliding down the front mile I turn right and begin my first climb. I hear what sounds like a car behind me and realize it's a solo rider on his tri bike with a really goofy time trail helmet. That's fine I'm not racing him let him go. First climb in the bag, fast right coming! The pavments a bit wet, Careful! Alright hit it. I climb slowly south and get swallowed up by a couple more solo riders. I know you want to chace Marcos, but you have to keep the pace so you've got something left to unleash at the end. Almost half way to the finish now. That familiar sound is at my wheel again. Glancing over my shoulder I see a blue blur coming up fast, it's the women's champion and she is hauling! I know you don't want to get beat by a girl but the monster hill is coming up, so just let her go maybe you can catch her later. No sign of the first place guy. Left turn...there it is...bofore me was a looming hill. I couldn't see straight accross to the top. It was actually above where I was and I still had to go down first. I might as well have been the Materhorn itself because my climbing legs felt as though I left them in bed. It hurt, quads burning, sweat starting to flow down my face now....man am I glad I saved up for this...


crap there's still another small climb and then we turn left...

We turn left from 143rd street and now it's a bunch of up and down rolling hills to 175th street. I'm feeling a bit fatigued from the hill but not bad....that noise...is it a car? DAMN! it's third place! and he's moving like he stole that bike! step it up Marcos! No no! hold him in your sites and wait for the attack! The rider in third place wearing the gray and gold flies by me like a man possesed. I give short chace but decide to let him go and hope he'll burn up on the steep hills to come. Dang it. 12 miles down, we make a left on 175th towards the flats, but we still have two decent climbs before I get to the easy downs. A couple more solo riders pass and I don't give chace. I just have to hold on to 3rd for now. The second of the climbs was a bit steep and I get swallowed by one more rider. Alright baby, mile 14, let's start going down hill! I amp up the pace and fly past the sleepy airport. No one flying over head yet and nothing but me and the sound of my wheels. As all down hills go, they don't last long and I still can't see the 2nd place man. I can't loose third, Kyle's depending on me.

I make the last turn through a slippery puddle and start to head home. 15 miles, 3 to go lets get this going boy! I slap the gears down and begin to hammer a bit harder, but my confidence and cool collectiveness is shattered by a quick pain in my left calf. As though bit out of blue by a dog, my left calf is on the verge of cramping, a feeling I know all to well. This couldn't come at a worse time because the finish is up hill and I need all off my climbing stregth! THAT SOUND! quick glance over my shoulder. It's FOUTH PLACE team. He must have been working his ass off to catch me! That's fine he hangs a bit behind me and we make the last left turn towards the finish. He makes his move. Calf begining to calm down, okay keep him close. I let him get about 20 ft out as my calf comes back around. Last right turn up to the finish.....All or nothing baby bring out the Red Bull within!!!!! I slam carelessly around the corner and click down a gear. My body knows it's time and my calf lets go, as if to say "go get him boy"... There's a solo rider in between us now. He know's I'm coming. I slam hard and demand everything my bike has to give me.

Get back here goofy helmet boy!

I swallow up the solo rider and am pounding down the pavement after third place. He looks over his shoulder with half a mile to go....big mistake... I know I've got you now! All the reserves dumped, energy coming out of thin air...I can tell the hill is breaking him and I'm eating up space like a hungry hungry hippo. So close now! left turn coming up! I sweep fast to his inside and slide just ahead, we've got 30 yards to the dismount line. I reach the line fist and get off of my bike like it was covered in hornets. I sprint down towards Kyle in the box...Now if you've never run in cycling shoes right after a hard ride, your legs feel like you are running with scuba diving flippers on. The box is down hill and I shortly realize that stopping is going to be a trick :) I yell for Kyle to rip that blasted braslet off of my ankle! "Kyle forth is right there get to it!!!" he waistes no time slapping the bracelet on and tears off.

I'm done....it's all up to him now...

I'm greated by Kira and my dad with the usual good jobs and you guys are doing awesome! I begin to phase out a bit and use the bike rack as a brace to hold myself up. I've never raced so hard in my life and my body was telling me. After I get some water in me and change out of my shoes we all move over to the Finish. The first soloist has finished before we get there. Straight amazing is all I can say about these duathletes. The first place team runner crosses the line and is followed closely by the women's champ. Where's Kyle I hope he can beat the second place guy. A few more soloists finish and then...here comes second place and Kyle still isn't in sight. Dang. I hope he stayed away from fourth place. A couple more solos trickle in. There he is! come on Kyle! Moving like he's pooring everything he's got left in, you can see the pain on his face. "They're right behind you!" I lied :) but it kept him moving fast. Kyle pulls over the line and looks absolutley exhausted. We did it...we clenched third.

Well Kyle and I did better than we had anticipated. We were shooting for 1hour and 40 mins and we rolled in at 1hour and 36 mins. To top it all off, we found out that the 4th place team finished 2 mins back from us was a co-ed team so they actually were not directly competing with us. The men's 4th place team finished 3 mins back so we didn't do so bad. The second place rider actually came in with the best cycling time out of all the cyclists so at least I can't feel too bad about that getting passed by him.

In conclusion, I had a blast. I look forward to doing the punisher next year and hopefully next year I'll get more sleep before the race!!! what was i thinking!!! First place is in the bag!

Thanks for reading!

Tune in next time to see what crazy race the Titanium Rider takes on!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Battling the Bear...

Let me just start by describing this course...Beautiful, Fast, Breath taking (not just the altitude). The Bear Creek Lake Park is a paradise for cyclists, mountain or road. The course is not very technical but does have a few really challenging climbs. As far as a flat land racer is concerned it is a great intro course at altitude. It's well worth the visit if you are in the Denver Lakewood area and you have your bikes with you.

Okay now on to the good stuff! I got here on Thursday night and unloaded all my gear at Matt and Laura's house. After a night of chilling out and downing some oh so delicious taco bell tacos, I decided to go for a pre-ride to figure out what I signed on for. I tried to take the course slow but it was just begging me to ride the hell out of it. I managed to hold back towards the middle of the course as i came up abruptly on "the climb" it was about a 4 story climb at a pretty decent grade. After waking the bike to the top (figuring I'd save some for the next day) I mounted up for the downhill. Now as a Kansan boy I don't see a lot of drop offs like that. The trail was along the side of the hill and it was a near wall to my immediate right and 4 inches off the trail to the left was a good long tumble. I made my way down through the bumpy twisting decent and unloaded on the remainder of the trail. I had to ride most of the remainder with my mouth closed so as not to snag an unexpected protein snack (it must have been grasshopper mating season). After finishing I was very happy with my new bike that I had brought out to Denver, and was relieved at the almost 8lbs weight loss it gave me.

Race Day:

I woke up early and snuck around Matt and Laura's house, so as not to awaken their beagles and deprive my courteous hosts of their sleep. After a delicious breakfast of PB&J and water, I gathered my gear and hit the road for the 30 minute commute. I arrived early at 7:45 and eagerly parked my rock'n mini van next to a Toyota FJ cruiser (I had to leave mine at home, sorry FJ) Suiting up with my Garmin Jersey I took in that sweet morning mountain air. It was going to be a good day to race.

After registering and getting my number, I made my way to the starting area weaving through the hundreds of cars that had showed up for the two races that were going simultaneously. It was 8:25 and the Front Side 50 was gearing up to leave for their 5 laps. I pulled up next to some other beginners at the front of the pack. I would be darned if i was going to get held up by falling newbies again! (okay I realize I'm a newbie too but at least I can keep my bike upright....as long as there's not too many trees) Anyways, I chatted with a couple of guys that were next to me, who both thought it was great that a flat lander had come up to battle against the altitude. My nerves where going bananas and my adrenaline had started flowing. "1 minute til start!" the race official shouted into the megaphone. Gripping hard and biting my lip I had a fire building in my legs and my breathing was quickening. "5...4...3...2...1... GET OUT OF HERE!". We tore off for the hill that greeted us. Covered in gravel it sucked what sprinting power I was unleashing as I fought to stay at the front. I was approaching the middle part of the gravel climb when a rider off to the side and in front of me went rouge and lost control. Slamming his front tire into mine I smashed to the ground with him. Well at least I got my crash out of the way.... snapping up, I grabbed my thankfully lighter bike and sprinted up the remainder of the hill as a large portion of the pack passed me. Jumping on my bike and slamming back into my clips I tore off, chasing down those who had passed me. The rest of the front 4 miles was relatively flat and fast. Zooming down the wide ATV sized path I was working hard to swallow up riders. I fond a good rider and mimicked his line choice letting him forge the path until he blew a tire and pulled off to the side. At one point a rider asked for my left when I was ready ( he wanted to pass) where I replied with a shift and a healthy dose of after burner. As mile 5 came I saw "the climb". My breathing at this point was already stressed and I was not happy to see that obstacle. Shifting into my little front cog I gave it what I could. My heart felt as though it was attempting to burst from my rib cage and breathing was less than productive. I came up on another struggling rider and as his rear tire spun with the loss of traction I made light contact with his tire. At that point it was time to get off and run it up the remainder of the climb. I was getting passed by other riders and had slid 10 riders back by the time I reached the top, but I wasn't worried about that. I was looking ahead at that gnarly decent that had spooked me a bit the day before. I told myself to pick a line and forget what's around me. Moving much faster than before I was still holding up a few riders. I managed to stave them off until loosing balance on a switch back and 3 of them squeezed by. I'll get them on the flats.... Finally! I was down and rear'n to burn out. Screaming down the course I swiftly captured the 3 riders on a slow incline and set my sights on a group of 4 that were ahead. Got'em. I continued to burn through the rest of the course, having to dismount and finish off 2 more climbs where other riders were bottle necking. I finally was caught by the women's champion and managed to stay with her for miles 7-9. Making a bad turn I was passed by the Junior boy's champ. "Oh hell no!" I said aloud and stomped it I caught him with in 20 feet and showed him the back side of my Garmin Jersey for the rest of the race (he finished a minute and a half behind me) chasing back up to the Womens first place I swallowed another rider, and then another. My heart felt like I had buried the needle in the red zone and pistons were about to burst out. Desperate for breath I sailed over a bridge, 1 mile to go. I was 50 or so ft from the woman's lead and closing in on a couple more riders. There it was, the last 80 degree turn then a 100 yard gravel sprint to the finish. Turning rather slowly, the rider I had just passed came around with me. He turned it up "Give me all you got!" he shouted at me. Who the hell did he think I was?!? I gave that mountain boy full tilt and then some. Smashing hard my front tire lifted and the swift orange bike dug hard into the gravel. That guy never had a chance.... 2 more in front. Like a wolf on a stray lamb I bared down on the next and as I came up on him looked him square in the eye. He didn't expect to see me :) and we came streaming in. Beat him by a second. Coming to a harsh stop my lungs released their last hard earned breath. It was over.


I came in 6th in my age group of 19-29 out of 15 riders and 39th over all out of 80 Beginner Men. Not too shabby for an Asthmatic boy from the plains, and only my second actual mountain bike race ever.

All and all I'm happy with my results and think that it was an awesome experience. I'll be back out next year for sure and who knows maybe I'll taste podium? Oh yeah sorry there aren't really that many pictures I was all by myself so I didn't snap off too many.

Now on to recovery and looking forward to the Tour de cure next month and switching it up to the ol' road bike....


Sunday, May 3, 2009

The First Entry......

So I finally decided that I've got something worth blogging about. This is my very first season of bicycle racing and I want to document my adventures. All the tough times and the small victories. Now I make no promises that what I write is going to be award winning materials or extremely controversial, but I will say that you may get a few laughs and might even feel bad for me (just kidding... or I hope you don't feel bad for me). So stay tuned! The season is young and the adventures are racking up!