A not so great feeling...(Ed Sanders race)

Photos by Sara

I had heard of this race, but I had not raced it. Sounded like an interesting course riding through a garden of lily pads. Sara came with me and was my support, I told her not to expect much. Usually I will say that something of the sort but do pretty good. Well I have moved up from the CAT 4's to race the CAT 3/4 race so I was wanting a top half finish, and I didn't achieve that. I got to the race, and the CAT 3/4 masters were just about to start. They went off while I was getting ready and I saw from the racers that the course was muddy. Raul looked to be riding well and so did Mark D. Well they came off the course, and Mark D said it was so muddy he had to pit and get water on his bike to get it moving again. Mark also gave me the hint to run the muddy section(which I should of done).
Ok so I try to warm up and not ever really getting a good warm up. I was not able to pre-ride the course, but was confident that my technical skills were not going to be the reasons I did well, or not so good at this race. The race starts I got mid pack to the outside, knowing I should be able to move up some spots in the beginning of the race. I usually have a good start, but then I fade as the race goes on. This year I was planning on doing a good start and then trying to find a place where I could maintain my pace. I get going and we are doing the grassy lanes near the ponds and then I rode into the "muddy" section this was that thick peanut butter farm yard mud. Well had to get off and run, and then on the remount my front wheel went into a hole and I jumped to a bike that wasn't there. In the process my bike computer fell off. I went back and picked it up, since I wasn't going to win this race no need to loose a bike computer. I lost like 10 spots there. Well we get the first lap done, and this was a long course! I mean I think we only did like 5 laps. Most cross races they fit in like 7,8 laps in 45minutes. I was riding with Jud from bike doctor, which was surprising to me cause I thought he was allot faster then me. So we are riding and he is has good speed on the straights and I was doing better then him on the back nine which was more technical. I think after riding a bit behind him, I decide to kick it up a gear, and big ringed it on the gravel sections. This is where my back issues came into play. Then Jud was off beating me pretty good. I hurt my back at the greenbrier race in April and since then it has been a curse I have had to deal with. I am trying to do some core exercise to help; hope it works so am I good for November. So after my back started to flair up, I was kinda in the dumps. One of my big goals was to have the race not hurt my back. So the next two laps I was fading and getting passed by like 2 people. At one point I was all alone kinda strange in a cross race to be by yourself. For the last lap I came up with the strategy of getting out of the saddle and sprinting where I could since it did not engage my back like sitting down and pushing the pedals does. I then was able to catch up to some people and wanted to get this one guy but couldn't at the last second, but I still sprinted to the line.
Random Notes:

  • Matt Parse got a 5th great result considering he was racing CAT 4's last year I got a 3rd behind him at a race last year.
  • Ryan Bannon looking strong like he did last year got a 7th so he should be a good person to watch in the coming weeks.
  • I really liked the back 9 of the course, all cross courses are different, but I would loved a course that was like 2/3 back nine stuff, and 1/3 flat gravel.
  • Pretty location for a race
  • Next week is Hagerstown, I got 4th there last year in the 4's, but still going with the same game plan as this week-try to get in the top half and not to have my back hurt me.


CX Clinics Ft. Reno Wednesdays in September 6pm

Photo by: Joel Gwadz
Dates: 9/3 (Women Only), 9/10, 9/17, 9/24
Time: 6pm
Location: Ft. Reno Park, Northwest Washington, DC
Cost: Free; bring your USAC license is you have one, if not we’ll cover the cost of your 1-day license

6:00 pm - 6:10 - registration
6:15 - 6:45 pm - skills instruction
6:45 - 7:30 pm (light permitting) - unstructured skills work and ride on practice loop.


Spin it out with some buds....

After doing the Giro d- Coppi race on Sat. I was to ride with some friends on Sun. The idea was a 2 hour road ride, followed by a 1 hour cross practice with some riding on the Ide Lee course in Leesburg. Well my legs were cooked from the day before, so I was not really feeling it. Also the mugginess was just taking the energy out of me. We ended up doing 40ish miles around the Leesburg area, which I usually don't ride. When I am out in Leesburg I am usually hitting my dirt road rides. I will have to remember some of the roads we went on it was some good riding. I will be racing Ryan, and Matt in cross this fall in the CAT 3/4 group. Ryan, Matt, and I all raced the CAT 4's last year and I think Matt got 2nd over-all and Ryan got a 2nd place at Capital cross. We talked about cross and the possibility of maybe going to nationals to watch and race(why not!). I figured out part of my squeaking on my bike was actually coming from my rear skewer that needed to be tightened. I decided that I was done after the road ride section, with Erik, Ryan, and Matt doing the cyclocross and confirming that it was really hot in the exposed sun of the Park. Erik then had a BBQ I was able to go to for a bit with Sara before hitting the airport. Well I will be seeing these guys next at the Ed Sanders CX Race.


It's a great feeling.......(Giro di Coppi)

It's a great feeling to plan something and execute that plan and to see it work.
I only did three road races last year(poolesville, RFK, Giro di Coppi) and this year it will be just the Giro di Coppi. As part of the DCMTB team we are a Mountain bike team that races cross and road races as well. For our Priority Calendar we only had two races RFK crit(citybikes sponsors it) and the Giro di Coppi. The Giro di Coppi is the only hilly race in the MABRA series that I know of. I did it last year and you see how that turned out here.
This year I thought about it, and I knew what I wanted to do. The issue was I had to make sure we had some DCMTB racers there to execute a plan. I raced the CAT 5 race again since I don't race enough to really move up. I knew Matt was going to be there, and there was some openings cause of some team members who couldn't do the race with the date change(was to be in July). I got Rudi who leads the Tuesday Dupont ride, to be a guest "DCMTB" member. I hope I can rope him into racing with our team, since I do allot of training with him already.
The race starts out and we are doing a pretty mellow pace and Matty went to the front for a bit, doing nothing crazy just letting legs get going. Rudi was on the front a little bit, I was trying to get him not to be at the front and to save his energy. Some how Rudi and I were at the front for the Old Baltimore Rd. Climb and we rode that pretty strong, I dug a little more then I wanted to. So we kept on riding and I made sure after that not to go to the front, and Matty and Rudi stayed in the top 1/3 of the field as well. The original Idea I had was that our whole team would attack in unison on the climb. The Idea being if it is one person they will let him die out there, but if it is 3 people from the same team you know the move is serious and that they are going to work together. I had attacked last year and no one came with me so this year I wanted for our team to make the race, and not just sit around reacting to moves. This summer I had gotten a good tip from Chris on my team, he said that you have to attack on the hill(the finishing hill) before the climb. I then started to see how this would work out Rudi would go first and launch us on the finishing hill, cause these are his bread and butter climbs that I knew he would do well. I was then then to take over on the down hill.
So we get to lap 2 of 3, and I saw that Matty was staying near my wheel, and I told Rudi to get to the outside and to launch after the 2000meter to go sign. So Rudi did a good job he was at the head of the group which wasn't ideal but it was 2-3 across so that was helpful. Rudi Jumped and I was right on him, I thought Matty was with me but I didn't have time to look behind. As we were about 2/3 ways up that, rudi started to get separation from me, so I said,"Let me come to you", giving him encouragement in saying keep it steady. So we get to the top and I take over and take the turn hard and start gunning it down the downhill. Previously when we did this people did not do the downhill at full speed. So I was flying down that around 50mph, and Matty came out of my wheel we were both just flying. I then was in front on the climb and then it got steeper so we were spread across the road. I looked to see if Rudi was able to hang on which he was. So we kept going and I think Matty saw two guys coming(Andrew Chamberlin, Brian Dietz), so once the two other riders showed up there were 5 of use doing really fast pulls. We all encouraged one another. We took the turn on Comus and when I looked back I could see people trying to chase. Once we got through the next turn we got a time gap from the Motor official that we had 35 seconds. That lead went down to 20 seconds then back up again. I was starting to loose it, and not being able to pull through and take my pulls(no acting here). Rudi has really good reserves but he needed to get his heart rate down so he was in a spot of bother at the beginning but got better once we were pace lining. On Old Baltimore Rd. I was starting to loose ground, but was only a couple of bike lengths behind. On the next road before the final turn I was still further back, but still had the lead group in sight.
Once on the finally road I was more concerned about the peleton coming behind me and going right pass me. I went into mountain bike survival mode, where I put in effort where I could. I also had a severe calf cramp that I was trying to not think about. I looked behind me a couple of times, and I still didn't see anyone coming. So I kept motoring to the finish and got myself a respectable 5th place I think like 35 seconds infront of the group. What I didn't know was that the lead group that was up the road from me had built a lead of a minute on the peleton. Rudi finished in 4th but could of maybe done better if his cassette cog didn't crack and fall off leaving him only his top cogs so he had to grind out those last couple of miles. Matty got 3rd and said that with him training for the SM100 he had no top end speed at the end so when the last hill came Brian Dietz from All American just kicked up an knotch and got some distance. With the guy from Andrew Chamberlin getting second.
Final thoughts:

  • You can still be in a CAT 5 race and use team tactics, and not just sit on waiting for the finish
  • Was great to plan a "move" and have it succeed with us off the front for the final 13 miles.
  • Found out one of the All American Teamates destroyed himself on the downhill so that Brian Dietz could make it to the break, good show of teamwork and it paid off.
  • Brian and Andrew who came across to the break were what we needed, they had the extra speed and with 5 people it is easier to do the pulls.
  • Glad that Rudi came and he was happy and seemed to have a good time.
  • Maybe next year I won't cramp :-)


Busthead-Dirtyburg -Iron Cross Prep.

I had put this ride out to the masses and had 5 people that seemed up for the ride. Come to the ride itself that went to 1. So I did this ride with Mark, which was fitting since he did the Iron Cross with me last year. Mark did not do the SM100 this year, like myself so he is motivated to do the Iron Cross as compensation. The big issue on the ride was what effect did hurricane Hanna have on the dirt roads. Well it turns out she made the roads great! I was expecting the roads to be damp and have some major puddles. The dry weather we have been having really helped the water was just soaked up, and made the dirt roads have a little better grip and no dust. This was a different experience for me in that I have never done this ride in warmer weather. Mark and I did the ride together, with me trying to hit the climbs pretty hard and regrouping after the downhills. There were two blow downs that would have stop car traffic. The one was so big we had to work our way through the branches. The down hill of Busthead is always crazy there are two steep pitches that really test your nerve. Mark got an energy boost around the 15 mile mark and was kicking it to the rest stop in Middleburg. I thought we might see Jon who was doing a PPTC ride in the area cause of the other PPTC riders at the stop. I found out later that he did the longer option so he arrived after us. The second part of the ride as to climbing sections with the first easier then the second. The climbing is totally the opposite of Busthead with climb back over Bull Run Mountain being a bunch of ridgeline climbs not just one push over the whole thing. I remembered how much I like this ride with it's little traffic, and scenery. I am thinking in the future I might have to hit this route backwards which I have never done.