Starting in the second row, I had the first “job” of my racing career: stay with significant attacks for the first 30 minutes of the race. I was racing for my teammate Tim and not for myself. Freaking exciting!
One guy attacked right off the freaking line! Who makes an attack hold in wind through a 75 minute crit off the line? I let him go and so did everyone else.
Laps average 1min 36secs over 0.8miles with an average power of 346watts. The attacks and counter attacks usually took place up the hill and then again at the top of the hill. After these guys blasted my legs for that first 30 minutes, the race would end for me… but it didn’t.
I can feel 30 minutes of attacks in my legs and sit up to let one of my teammates take over. I fade back in to the pack with considerable exhaustion, yet I was so excited to be racing with these guys that I recovered and started working again. Rory and I traded attacks. Tim and Luis looked for opportunities. By the end, we put Tim in the top 10!
I didn’t do so bad either: 20th place! With 68 total riders staring this race, I’m hopeful. I’m psyched to have Eric Kenney coaching me from EK Endurance coaching. He’s taken me from a completely inexperienced Cat 4 road racer to a potentially competitive Cat 2 roadie in 1 year. Psyched about Simple Racing!
I blog about these accomplishments because I believe that our efforts will bolster support for the Pedal Project. I now wear the Pedal Project logo while I race. I’m very proud of this fact. Ever since 24 hours of Moab – my 1st big bike race – I have wanted to race for a cause that depends on the effort that I put into each and every pedal stroke.
So through racing well, I expect that the Pedal Project will grow. We will one day have a substantial team of kids racing CX who would not otherwise have the opportunity…you just wait and see!
Well, it happened. I started this season as a category 4 road racer with minimal experience. There were many obstacles limiting the goal I had for the end of the season – namely, I had a hard time learning how to race like a road racer. Pictured below, I took the podium in the Steamboat Stage race criterium, which was my last race of the 2012 season. At the end of this race, I was not tired, I was not sweating, and I honestly felt like I did nothing, which means one thing: I learned how to race like a crit champ! Well, the points were hard sought, but I made it through the gauntlet. I’ve earned the honor to line up to race against Colorado’s fastest men: the pro/1/2 field.
Evidence exists to sway even the most prominent mustache researcher that a warning label should accompany all facial hair experiments. Colorado’s criterium state championship hosted my first (and hopefully last) significant slide across pavement wearing spandex. The rear tubular tire detached from my wheel as I went into a corner at around 25 miles per hour. Admittedly, it was my own fault as I glued my tires on my wheels myself, but in my own defense, I truly sought out wisdom on the subject before I glued them. After the wreck, I was hurting and rather dazed. I grabbed my bike and starting running in the wrong direction! One of my teammates yelled, “go to the wheel pit” and I made my way. I had some kind help to get back in the race. As you can see below, I was pretty mangled, but I made it across the finish line in 17th place – a victory for this day. Getting back in the race was only possible through the hope presented in the cheers of my teammates! Thanks GS Boulder for being there for me when I needed it the most.
My second race after upgrading to SM3 was exciting. On the forth lap, three guys went off the front and I sprinted up to catch them. We worked together well putting about thirty seconds on the pack; however, there were only two of us left on the fifth lap. Together, we traded position trying to put even more time between us and the chase group. On the final sixth lap, my partner fell off and I was solo with a big decision: do I go for it or sit up and wait for the pack to catch me so I have some sprint left at the end. Well, I decided to go for it! It payed off too. I won with 15 seconds on the chase group! This race was a rather large confidence booster, but I still have a lot to learn before I’m racing with the pro/1/2 field. This season is starting off well.
As a new member to GS Boulder, I’ve decided to take a season away from mountain biking and focus on road racing. The community aspect of being able to chat with friends while training as well as working together while racing has brought me a new passion. I never thought that I’d put so much energy into road racing, but I’m loving it! My goal is to be racing against the pros by the end of my first season. I have a lot to learn though and this goal may not be realistic. I’ve been upgraded to cat 3 so we’ll see. Road racing is teaching me a lot about patience.
Saddle surfing through Denver on a tangerine morning, I hear that familiar windswept rhythm of the pedals keeping our beat yet again. It’s the easy going song she plays that reminds me of her reliability. I can hear thankfulness in the smooth glide of her chain as we settle into our joy hugging the contours of the road. Red is no ordinary bike. She’s been my victorious steed laboring through two cyclocross seasons and countless road races. We’ve done a lot of miles together. So when we take off to roll into work, it sort of feels like we’re crossing yet another starting line.
It’s a line that we intentionally cross, but that unintentionally changes our perspective each day. Sure, it’s just an imaginary a line without a real significance to this world, but for us, it signals our best efforts to join the ride with our desires (and yes, Red has desires). Come what may, this line is the beginning of our journey into the unknown. So we cross that line each day and in return it encourages us to believe that we can navigate the surprises that life throws our way.
Beyond the starting line, there’s always something to navigate, right? That’s where we found our tune. We explored a harmony that took us beyond race day suffering and united us in perseverance. This harmony is now our story that we laughably relive while taking in the scenery on our work day commute. It is our history as much as it is our future. The leaves are falling now and though we’ll soon be using another tread, our journey will continue. We’ll move on.
So I ride to work to feel and create the history that these wheels know so well. I’ve traversed miles in a process of discovering who I am. A process that continually begs me to answer, “why do I ride?” And you know what I’ve found? My answer is a project making refinement a mode of being. Just like our bikes needs to be tuned to function properly, so can the human spirit. So ride your bike and you’ll see; it’s a lesson in perseverance that will set the pace for things to come.
What if you knew Airistoph, Anne MoMay and her brother Daz when it happened? You would have celebrated.
There are people who are in the majority. We wait for things to happen to us. For instance, we wait for an estranged friend to find opposition to her own insensitivity. That big promotion is just around the corner – so we wait. Plunging through mundane and novel days of existence, we find something that tastes like purpose. Yet what if our purpose was to experience a happening? A truly out of your own control event that completely alters your life.
“Hey Money,” drops Airistoph, “That ledge isn’t getting any closer.”
It’s been decades, but no one has dared venture over the ledge. The unknown is irresistible so still they conjecture on what could be.
Anne is a strong woman so she’s not affected by Airistoph’s comment. She’s been part quartz for years. That clear color that sort of looks like diamonds. Hence the nick name Money.
“Life is still with us and that happening is always looming.” You gotta lend it to Daz, the self-propelled optimist.
An over inflated front tire (31 psi) was the only reason that I met Airistoph, ‘Money’ and Daz. I knew the Bailey Hundo had about 50 miles of fire road or pavement so I kept the pressure high thinking I’d roll faster. Daz was the first one that spotted me cresting what I only viewed a small rise over an uneven section of trail. He drew the others attention as my tires spun near the edge of the ledge. Into the corner now, the grip on the tires released it’s hold spitting me hard onto the rough gravel filled trail while shooting Airistoph over the infamous ledge.
The life of a rock is lived in waiting. A happening is a reason to celebrate. So Airistoph was letting out celebratory laughter and his long time friends, formed under the same pressure during the same time period, were just out of breath with questions. What did the ledge teach them?
I know what they taught me! Laying on the ground bleeding from my knee and dealing with the fact that my partly broken bike might not allow me to finish the race, I was already aware that 31 psi was anything but a new favorite number. For the next 40 miles, I dealt with shifting issues that were too complicated to fix without the proper tools. Fortunately, the happening gave me hope. I knew that if I could just get to a mechanic, the problem would be minor. So I pressed on…
Around mile 55, the only aid station with a mechanic came into view and I was ecstatic! Could he fix it?! Oh man, Obama taught me one thing, “CHANGE CAN HAPPEN.” And change did happen after Shawn from Wheatridge Cyclery wrenched on my bike - it was as good as new! Life came back into my legs and I burst through the next 45 miles like a vegetarian does asparagus. (Good luck with that analogy). In my excitement, the final finish line turn evaded my eyes, which added about 5 lonely miles to my already epic ride.
It was good to finish the Hundo. And even though his marble like gloss and mobile nature was probably the cause of my crash, I’ll never forget what Daz said to me as my tire shot Airistoph over the ledge.
“You are changed by the things you change.”
Daz was telling me all about this philosophy just before he did this to my leg….
The Rabbit Valley results have not only given me hope, but a new category. I’m now a cat 1 mountain bike racer. Woot woot!
Rabbit Valley outside of Fruita, CO was the home of both my first 8 mile hike in mountain biking shoes as well as my first race against cat 1 mtb riders. The hike was epic, but the race was like a walk with the Almighty.
The day before the race, I decided to roll over the 32 mile course to check it out. At mile 15, I was standing over my bike looking down at an interesting sight: a screw came out of my frame and pinned itself against my small chain ring, making it impossible to pedal. After a 5 mile hike down the trail in my mtb shoes, she arrives. What a beauty! Her black skin radiated warmth in the hot sun while her length made it obvious that she was going to be my perfect number 8. This size alan key, offered from a dude on a dirt bike, was exactly what I needed to take off my cranks and remove this darn screw so I could pedal home. It’s funny, but the moment I put the cranks back on my bike was the same moment that marked the start of even more problems. In summary, all of my small chain ring bolts came off, I wrecked hard, banged my shin on my pedals and hiked another 3 miles at one point. This pre-ride was hell!
Oh, but the race was heaven! After Adam Williams from the Golden bike shop hooked me up with a high quality repair, my bike was primed to race. USA cycling allowed me to race with the cat 1 guys and this turned into an opportunity. I got to pedal against some darn good riders. When I took over the lead position on the first hill climb, the bike between my legs seemed determined to showcase it’s abilities, the mild heat of the sun was speaking encouragment into a cooling breeze, and many of my minds cluttered thoughts seemed to fall off my radar. All but the immediacy of my smile was gone. This smile blew up on my face around each banked turn, through each rocky decent, and lent me a hope that maybe, just maybe I might actually be strong enough to challenge the pace of these respectable riders. Six miles to go and I still had the lead, but I was working hard. The other guys were catching up and I knew it. Holding it together at a decreasing pace due to the onset of major fatigue in my legs, I could hear them shifting in the distance. Exhausted, Damian and I battled it out for second while Josh used some unknown reserves to pull out a victory. I was satisfied with my 3rd place finish (unofficial as I am not yet a cat 1 racer, but this finishing time gave me a reason to petition for the privilege).
I’m very hopeful now. If I can take the podium in cat 1, there’s a chance, a real chance, that I might actually get to be a pro one day. Why pursue this though?
As these somewhat silly dreams linger on, the pedal project is on my mind. I feel like I’m pedaling for a chance at achieving this crazy goal. Being a pro is meaningless to me in a lot of ways; however, it could earn me a little credibility, which might be just enough to make the pedal project come alive. The experience of getting on a bike with the knowledge to repair it only reaches a select few. Along with a team of good people and Buddy, I want to change this fact…one podium finish at a time. So I’m going to shoot for pro status.
For all those who think I’m insane, please read on. In the absence of a solidified idea behind what I’m doing spending all this energy on this passion, I am hanging on to one little thing: similar to my affection for bikes, I like apples just about anytime of the day. So I guess that I’m just doing what I love. How do you like them apples?