I had the opportunity to race with JJ today. What a great guy! We warmed up together riding around the parking lot at the lake and got to know each other more. (Best part of bike racing are the friends you make.) JJ and I both left just a little before 11:45 on a time trial effort that would take us one lap around Pontiac Lake’s hills.
It was a beautiful morning (especially after being very cold the day before at the Willow Time Trial.) The big difference between the MTB time trial and Willow Time Trial is that there are hills thrown into the mix on MTB time trials (which in my mind are the equivalent to an attack on the pack of a road race). Our time trial covered about 10 miles and at the Sport level is only one lap. On a good day, Pontiac Lake can be done leisurely in about an hour. In a time trial, you have to be in around 45 minutes, 40 if you want to be in the money.
I fear my competition may be a little tougher this year than the first year that I did the Tail Wind MTB series. I pushed it hard enough to almost bite it into the woods a few times (my best indication that I am ‘on the edge’), but still fell short of the ‘wooden podium’ by 3 places. Finished 6th place….not sure what the times are of the guys who beat me…will have to find out online tomorrow. A great beginning to the MTB racing season.
Hope to see you all at the Stampede next weekend. I will be racing in Traverse City on Saturday, then down for some fun in the Fort on Sunday.
So today was the Willow TT near the Detroit Airport. A race I do every year and a good early season TT to test the legs. Two weeks after Fisk Knob and I had been a little sick for a week or so. The weather was very chilly in the low 40s with a chance of rain (luckily it held off). I was very unmotivated to go this morning due to the weather. But, Devin picked me up and Jack and his son were there (Jack was our pit “mule”:)) so off I went – one we got there I got motivated.
Had a good warmup and cranked out the 13.3 miles in 31.06. One of my faster times there for an average of around 26 (25.77). Good enough only for 5th this year which while frustrating since I was on the podium last year – still a decent rest. The legs are feeling pretty good and I am on the way to hopefully slaying the race that is my nemesis in June (State TT). We shall see. Thanks to Mike for letting us borrow the van and Devin for driving. Great showing by Jack Jr in his first TT and Devin on his “standard” bike. A good day out.
My race day began at 11:30 with the little kid’s race that my youngest son Jacob participated in. They rode about a ½ mile section of the 2 mile loop near the main trail head. He thought it was pretty cool and enjoyed going down the 4 – 6” drop offs with his dad alongside holding him up and pushing when the training wheels got hung up. All the kids received a plaque and they all thought they were the bomb the rest of the day.
My race started around 12:30 in the sport class. I started off like I always do, until I found my pace. By the halfway point I had passed about 10 or so people and had only been passed by 2 guys. So I knew I was doing pretty well at this point. I kept waiting for my WSI teammate to come push me along, he started 40 seconds behind me but never caught up. I ended up getting pushed by somebody else the last 4 miles or so, until he made it by me when my calves cramped up a bit. I was able to somehow put together a pretty good sprint at the end and come in with a time of 55 minutes. I finished 15th out of 32 in 30-35 sport class. Anytime time I can get in the top 50% of my class I am a very happy man.
I got back to the start line 2 minutes before my oldest son Dilan took off for his race. He competed in the 10 and younger class which is one full 10 mile lap just like the big boys raced. I replaced my water bottle and took off again to follow my son around the course. This was only his second time at Yankee and he was pretty nervous about the whole thing. He ended up doing just fine though. He got to pass several of the older kids in the 11-14 class then we eventually caught up to and passed some of the beginners in the adult classes. He thought that was pretty cool. He fell a couple of times, had to take a couple of quick breathers and had to walk maybe 3 of the larger hills. Other than that he did quite well and I was very proud of what he accomplished. It will not be long before he is out doing me. He took 2nd place out of 6 riders with a time of 86 minutes.
Special thanks to Mike and Charles for the refreshments after the races. Hope to see everybody at the Stampede on Sunday.
The 3rd race of the AAVC Spring Training Series was today and my son joined the C race again. He did a great job, it was 25 minutes plus 2 laps and in the final 5 minutes, once again, carnage occurred. According to my son, it looked like a cyclist touched the wheel of a racer and went down, taking at least 6 others with her. It was ugly and a couple cyclists remained on the deck for several minutes….all are okay.
My race was was the B race and you may remember that I held on for dear life in this race working with another cyclist just to finish. My goal this week was to ride with the front of the pack for at least the first 20 minutes and then see what I could do. At the end of 20 minutes and having stayed at the front of the group, I felt surprisingly strong. For the next 15 minutes, I just paced the group and watched-out for any wacky line changes. My boss was in the race too (bonus for getting excused to go for long rides during the work day!) and came up next to me in the last 2 laps and said, “it’s go time”. I followed him and continued to follow along with the increased pace until the end, finishing in about the top 15. I may actually feel comfortable hanging in the front during the Milford Criterium if this keeps up! Go TAR Cycling and WSI!
As Eric Cook, Dave Goff, and I were making our way to registration table I felt as though I was going to have a lonely 20+ miles out there on the course not seeing any other mountain bikes let alone SS. With the usual pre-race preparations complete we made our way to the start line setting around the front 3rd of the field. When the gun went off I was at top speed with a few strokes of the crank as the back half of the field passed me like I was out cruising around on a Sunday ride. With in the first half mile we turned onto the gravel roads and now I had the advantage.
The dirt roads started out a little wet and loose for the riders with skinny tires, so I was able to regain all that was lost and even caught a group that Eric was leading. As I hung on to the back of this group we started to pull away from the field behind us. Eric was trying to organize a push to catch the leaders but the group was too worried about racing each other. After about 8-9 miles of spinning out and bouncing off my saddle I realized I was going to blow myself up and not keep a good pace to make it to the end so I backed off a little and let the pack go. Reality is we got out on to some pavement and the pack left me behind to fight a stiff head wind for the next 6+ miles. I would periodically catch a dropped rider, draft off them for a rest and then move on.
A mile or two after the half way point there was an option for mountain bikes to take a shorter route on a rail trail. I thought good idea take it. Not sure if that was true or not. I traded a hill climb for riding down a 3/4 mile rail bed of loose 3-4 inch size rocks that had me cussing the whole way how stupid that it was to take. Note – don’t take the rail trail short cut.
Knowing I was on my way back toward he finish I put my head down and just spun away. Having riders insight to chase made it bearable to keep pushing ahead. I was able to pass 3-4 riders while trying to real in one more before the finish but he was able to slip away having the advantage on climbing the hill at the finish line. All in all it was fun and I even finished on the podium. Unfortunately they had some mistakes with the results so I wasn’t listed until the next day and didn’t get my picture with the rest of the finishers. I look forward to a repeat performance in the fall race.