Monday, September 20, 2010

A new cross venue with spirits

This past weekend was the Grand Opening of the new location for the Bend Distillery.  Now located off Hwy 20 in between Bend and Sisters.  Jim Bendis, owner of Bend Distillery, is an avid runner and always one to throw a good least so I hear.  So, for his Grand opening, he decided to host a cyclocross race (Men's Women's) and a cruiser race. 

He set up a 1k course that included 1 long straight away, a mud pit, a steep but short climb, and several little bxm-type burms.  To be honest the course was not very cross specific.  For one, their were no barriers or obstacles to run over, and second it seemed as though there were too many flat tires (at least 8 that I know of).  However, that doesn't mean I didn't think the course was fun and challenging...which it was both. 

With severall other big cross races going on the same weekend (StarCrossed in Seattle and Double Cross in Hood River) I didn't anticipate there being a big turnout for the race.  Considering that it was only 7 miles from Bend it was a great alternative for me.   As I began to get my race clothes on, the trio of Rocky Mountain riders showed up (Sheppard, Thompson, and Petersen) so I knew this wasn't going to be an easy race.  Race length was for 45 min.  Sheppard put the hammer down early with Thompson close behind, while Cody and I battled for 3rd an 4th.  After nearly 20 min. I suffered the first of 2 flats on the day.  With no wheel pit, I went back to my car to retrieve a spare wheel (which was actually my friends who decided not to race).  I jumped back in the race where I left off and realized that Ben Thompson had flatted shortly after me.  Then after 3-4 more laps it was Chris Sheppard who flatted (using tubular tires nonetheless).  So now it was Cody Petersen at the front and his race to lose.  He was using Stan's No Tubes and was fortunate not to suffer a flat and walked away with the victory and the $250 1st place prize (not bad for a $10 entry).

The best part about the race was afterwards all racers (21 and over) received a wrist band that was good for 5 Free Samples of the Bend Distillery spirits.  Good times!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Crossing over

Hard to believe but cross season is already upon us.  WebCyclery has kicked off the season with its weekly Thursday night Thrilla CX Race Series.  This year they decided to move it from its original location by the Cascades Lakes Brewing Company to Northwest Crossings.  The new venue allows for more mileage per lap, more passing options, and much less dust (although there is still quite a bit). 

I've decided to give cyclocross a run this year to maintain my "high-end" fitness through December, as well as have some fun in the mud and cold.  I haven't yet gotten a cross bike (essentially a road bike with wider tires) so I will be riding my mountain bike for the first few races in the series.  I wasn't the only rider choosing to ride the mountain bike for the first race. 

                       Photo credits:  Cascade Event Photography

The course at Northwest Crossings is almost more suitable for a mountain bike, with the exception of one tough sandy run-up.  The new course consists of dirt roads, gravel trails, tree-lined singletrack, a big run-up, barriers, a few blocks worth of pavement, and a steep descent and climb back up on a dirt road.  Each lap seemed to take about 6-7 minutes.  The section that really hurt was the steep run-up.  Although the BMC FS01 may be a light mountain bike, it is by no means a light cross bike.  The race was for 45 minutes so I think we had to run up the climb 6 or 7 times...5 times too many for me. 

There were roughly 25 racers in the Men's A category with Trebon leading the charge.  Right form the gun the pace was insane and it took me 1 lap to get into a good rhythm.  For only racing for 45 minutes, this was ecrtainly an eye-opener as to what to expect for the next 3 months. 

Bend, OR will host the US National Cyclocross Championships again this year, so I definitely have my work cut out if I want to be competitive.  Would like to make it down for this extremely competitive race, but not gonna happen. 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A BIG thanks

This is the time of year I like to remind those who make it possible for me to race my bike and allow me to go to some amazing events across the country.  Without the support of my sponsors none of this would be possible. 

First and foremost I would like to thank my Title Sponsor,  ProAir/HFA.  ProAir/HFA has been the driving force behind my racing the past two seasons.  ProAir/HFA has allowed me to choose the equipment that I feel gives me the best chance at reaching my full potential as an athlete.  I cannot say thank you enough for everything ProAir/HFA has given me.  I'm honored to be their billboard on the trails. 

Second, I would like to thank BMC bikes.  Although I am not a factory rider for BMC, I have been riding the BMC FS01 the past two seasons and have been extremely happy.  I wouldn't want to ride another brand.

Another important sponsor has been Spiz.  I have been using Spiz for nearly 5 seasons and the nutritional ingredients provides more than enough energy to keep me racing at full strength the entire time.  It doesn't matter if I am racing a 24-hour event or a 2-hour xc race, my energy stays at optimal levels.  The product is easy to consume and doesn't have any sugary/sweet taste.  Give it a try, I'm sure you will like it to.  Besides, Randy (the owner) is a very cool dude.

Next I have to thank all the bike shops who have provided unparalleled support.  It's not easy to find a shop that you truly enjoy taking your bike to for a tune-up or just simply advice.  All of these shops have given me some advice, wrenched on my bikes, and provided support when traveling to events across the country. 

Here is the list of shops I would like to thank:

Pine Mountain Sports
Sunnyside Sports
PureEnergy Cycling

Finally I would like to thank my coach, Ben Ollett (Ollett Coaching) for all the work he has done to improve my overall cycling fitness.  I started working with Ben this May and because of his knowledge, he was able to determine what my limiters were and schedule workouts that targeted those areas.  I honestly can say I have noticed a difference in my racing ability this season, and how fast I can recover from a hard workout or race as well.

Here's to looking forward to another successful season together in 2011!!!