Sunday, October 30, 2011

Collegiate Season Recap and Nationals lowdown

So, since its been a while since my last update, I’ll give the condensed version of what has been going on up until Collegiate Nationals this past weekend.

After pretty much following in step with the ABRA and WVMBA calendars for the entire season, I took a turn and, rather than racing some super fun cross races within an hour of home, decided to spend my weekends high on coffee and nutella driving up and down the east coast to participate in the collegiate racing series. As a student at WVU, I have the awesome opportunity to continue to race mountain bikes until the end of October therefore extending my already long mountain season by about a month.

I posted some serious results during the collegiate season taking multiple wins and never anything less than a 3rd place finish. The season rounded out with the WVU home race at Wisp Resort on October 15-16 serving as the conference championship. Taking an early lead on lap one of the three lap 26 mile XC race, I took the win by around 10 minutes. The course was great and suited me well being fairly climbing with a 2.5 mile long climb leading to the finish. Later that afternoon, I also competed in the short track race on top of the mountain where I tore apart the race by lapping the entire field. The course was, again, great. It was definitely a power course providing huge opportunities to lay down some serious wattage and make some big moves. It also had a nice big rock garden tossed in to keep thing interesting for both racers and spectators alike.

So, after all of the conundrums that come with traveling 4-6 hours every weekend and hosting a race it was time to get focused for the National Championship. Seeing as we would be heading to nearly 9000 feet at Angel Fire Resort in New Mexico, I knew I was going to need to take some serious fitness with me in order to try and negate the effects of the altitude as much as possible. Competing against guys from Colorado means that, all else constant, they have a 10% advantage on me just from living and training at elevation consistently. However, Coach Rob knew this all too well and set me up with a serious workout plan for the two weeks to get me in shape for a National level race. With a painful bliss, I hammered out interval after interval until it was time to hop on the plane to Albuquerque.
After too many hours of plane, airport, and car we arrived at the resort. Upon arrival I received a visual reminder of the elevation. Snow not only dusted but coated the top of the mountain about 1500 vertical feet above the base of the resort. I saw this as no big deal until I came to realize that the XC race snaked its way up through the woods all the way to the peak. That left some decisions to be made on clothing. Too little and I would be a popsicle at the top but too much and I may end up a cold, sweaty gym sock.

I headed out for my initial preride of the course on Wednesday afternoon which my youtube video does a good job of describing and showing. At that point, the course was awesome. Not too muddy and pretty tacky. However, when we woke up Thursday morning it was a different a story. Old man winter paid Angel Fire an early visit and left the town covered in 6ish inches of snow. I headed down to the bike shop to see what was going on in terms of course conditions and was told that they were cleaning the course with shovels and snow blowers. So after waiting a few hours for things to get cleaned up and taking time to throw on a tackier rear tire I headed out for preride number two. This time things proved entirely different. The course was not only covered in snow but also beginning to turn into a quagmire. The climb up wasn’t too bad but the descent was absolutely terrible and left me covered in a sticky, constantly hardening clay. At that point I realized that not only would the race be a physical test of ability but also a mental test of sheer desire.

Our condo was nicely placed two hops and a jump away from the start so there was no rush in the morning to get ready for the race. After getting up around 7 AM to eat, I milled around the place, watched some TV, and slowly got my cloths ready. Around 10:45 I headed down to get warmed up and check out the course and it’s a good thing too! On the ride over I noticed some shifting problems, which ended up being caused by a tweaked hanger. Thanks to the handy guys from Shimano though I had a new hanger slapped on and was warming up by 11:15.

The start went off with a bang at 12:05 and it wasn’t even 30 seconds before I was off the bike. Starting 3 rows deep and in the middle of the pack, I couldn’t get a line to the outside around the madness of lost traction and was forced to dismount with many others on the first climb. I hustled up, went cross eyed, and ran my butt off to get around and in front of most of the madness. Maybe 3 minutes later I was off the bike again, running with everyone else through ankle deep muck. The course had already had 2 races and nearly 100 riders over it 5 times before we hit it so things were just an absolute crap shoot. I ran hard, rode harder, and crashed even harder until I found myself finishing the first lap of three in 12th place. Riding solid behind two University of Colorado guys for most of lap two, I was able to keep a good pace with them and pass one at the top of the climb. I chased the other one, going back and forth with him, for the last lap until he got a lead on me in the final descent and then sealed the deal when I overshot the last muddy turn and hit the deck. Being my first National level event and first event at altitude, I can’t complain about my 11th place finish although I do wish I could have reeled in that UC rider.

Saturday brought the short track and another chance for me to try myself in a huge field. With 71 starters on the line I was more than nervous given the speed of a short track. When the gun went off I punched the gas and immediately began elbowing my way to the outside. We started into a climb again and there was no way I was getting stuck behind a bunch of guys slower than me again! I found a Fort Lewis wheel and let me lead me towards the front. Whoever the kid was, he was riding super well and I was hoping to hold his wheel for most of the race however he gave it a little more gas than I had at one point and I lost him. Midrace or so I made a move for the top five. I was feeling good so I launched an attack, which was unfortunately thwarted by fatigue and the altitude. I ended up dropping back to 12th where I remained for the rest of the race. Again, I am super happy with this result given the many firsts but was a little disappointed that my A game didn’t show up for the short track.

Overall, the mountain bike season was pretty good to me. Being my first “serious” year on the bike and training I have to say I am stoked to look back and see what I accomplished. I don’t think it is quite time to hang up the race shoes for the year yet though…..I mean, there is still cross! Well, back to the airport and homework!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Late Season Recap

After (20+) races in the spring and summer, fall is a nice break for me. I get to spend extra time with the family, go on vacation, and pretty much catch up on all the things I put off all summer and even have surgery so for the most part no bike riding.

Well, as October rolls around, the 1st Abra Cyclocross race is approaching. I got to spin a few times the week before, and can immediately tell it has been awhile since any real riding has taken place. I converted the Cx to SS, and took it racing. I showed up just outside of Mount Morris, PA. It was cold and raining which was a great way for me to fudge my fitness and try to make up with my riding skills. We took off in the single speed race, Marc Glass gets the hole shot, and I’m right behind in 2nd. We run most of the 1st lap like that, until I found myself drifting backwards in the pack, and in the red very quickly. The gear I had chosen was a little steep for the conditions, and with my lack of fitness I just tried to suffer through it. I finished 10th with my teammate, Gunnar, taking the win. I watched the vet race, and considered going home because I was cold and tired from the first race, but about 5 minutes from the start of 3/4 race my buddy Tim (Gregis Insurance) offered to let me race his sweet IBIS. I swapped pedals quickly and to the start line I went. As we took off I got a good start. I battled back and forth with a few guys, and was able to take 4th on the day. I was happy to just be out riding bikes and having fun.

Round 2 of Abra Monster Cross Day 1

After a few more rides during the week, I made my way to the 1st day of Monster Cross just outside of Morgantown (about 15 min drive from my house, Thanks JR). I once again signed up for Single Speed. We took off, and from the gun Stevo and Gunnar have it pinned. I don’t see them long so I decide to ride my own pace. The conditions were cold with a little mud and wind, but overall still a nice day for a bike race. During the middle of the race my Ebb slips and I had a good bit of chain binding, so I decided to pull out. I had brought my new MT bike, and thought I would race it just to try it out in the ¾ race. I got a good call up, and to the line I go. The race started and I’m able to get a great start and take the hole shot. I really cornered the turns with my fat tires well and made a nice lead. I was able to keep for about ½ of the lap. I then started to slowly drift back. After 3 laps on the run up, I went to shoulder my bike and could tell the mud was really packing in so I made a switch back over to my SS cx bike and was able to pick a few spots back up to finish 7th. I worked on Sunday and missed day 2 of Monster Cross.

Round 4 of Abra Bruceton CX

I traveled to Bruceton Mills to the Park’s farm for Round #4 of the Abra CX Series. I decided to skip the single speed race, and put gears back on the caad 9. By the time the 3/4 race started at 1:15 p.m., I was able to slip into shorts and a jersey. I tried to get a good warm up in and then finally I headed to the line with a good group of fast 3/4 ‘s. I once again got the whole shot and held it for about 1./2 a lap. I overcooked it a little trying to stay up front and had to back off a little on the 2nd lap. About 20 minutes into the race, I started to feel a little better and was able to reel a few guys back in. The course was super-fast and fun. I finished 7th once again. I lined up in the 123 race a few minutes later. I started in the back, and pretty much stayed there. A lot of HP in this group, I just worked on spinning and riding the barriers. I even got to make a few laps on my road bike. All in all, it was a great race!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

A great weekend for the team!

Cyclocross season has just been outstanding so far in 2011 for Dynamic Physical Therapy Cycling! This past weekend the team captured 5 out of the possible 9, West Virginia Cyclocross State Championships titles!

Men Cat 1/2/3 - Gunnar Shogren
Women Cat 1/2/3 - Betsy Shogren
Men Cat 3/4 - Derek Clark
Women Cat 4 - Nicole Dorinzi
Single Speed - Gunnar Shogren

That is not all! Dynamic Physical Therapy Cycling also after this past weekend leads the high coveted ABRA CX Team Points Competition and many of the individual series classes! Outstanding!

ABRA Team Championship Points Totals After Round # 3
Place TEAM Points
1 Dynamic Physical Therapy Cycling 209
2 Breakaway Velo 198
3 Top Gear 171
4 Ag3r/ Butler Health System 149
5 Pathfinder of Morgantown 132
6 Team CF 100
7 Pitt Cycling 78
8 Beaver Valley Velo 62
9 Steel City Endurance 55
10 JBV Coaching 20
11 DPS Penn/Cannondale 31

Here are some photos from this past weekend! Photos by Fred Jordan!

Thanks to our great sponsors who help make it possible!
Dynamic Physical Therapy
Tomac Bikes
Kenda Tires
Red Rose Imports
Nalini Custom
Industry Nine
Superior Ford of Morgantown
Performance Coaching Services
Gregis Insurance
Raw Revolution
Pathfinder of WV
Mike Miller Dentistry
Edward Jones Investments