Monday, September 22, 2008

Operation Incline: Week 5 Recap

I am sitting here Monday morning with a big cup of coffee feeling pretty shelled from yesterday's big effort, but I'll get to that in a minute. The original plan was to hit masters this morning but both Trevor and I thought it would be a good idea to sleep in and make sure I recover because there is still plenty of hard work ahead.

First of all check out this killer fortune I got this week. Things are looking good for next month!

Last week I got some work done on my bike in prep for the end of the year races. My homebody Gordon (Smudge) at B&L got my bike dialed in... as he has done all year. I really don't think I would be having the season I am with all the help and support the boys at B&L have given me this year... especially Gordon. He has kept my bikes running smoothly all year.

I got some new Stan's rotors installed, bars cut down a bit, new ESI grips, and my new races tires mounted. I will be running a Maxxis Larsen TT rear and a Maxxis Crossmark up front. This my favorite combo and one that will work well in both Tahoe and Maui.

On Saturday I had mellow ride on tap just get the legs ready to race on Sunday. I decided to head up to San Clemente to ride some single track that Gordon had told me about. It was killer and only about 30 min from my crib.... a good place to go for a mellow ride. There was plenty of flowing, fun single track, with only some minor climbing.

miles and miles of this.

fun switch back.

I was up early on Sunday to head up to Big Bear for the California State Cross Country Championships. I got to the race site, got checked in with plenty of time to get in a good warm up. I love the mountains and the weather was perfect.... about 70 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. There were a lot of people out there for the race and I could tell I would be racing some fast dudes, but the vibe was pretty mellow.

My heat went off at exactly 11:02 am. All the Expert classes went of together so it was big group and it went out fast of the first climb.

I had never ridden the course so I really didn't know what to expect. I knew there was a ton of tough climbing but I really wasn't expecting how technical and sketchy most of the descending (there was a lot) would be. The good news on the day was that I was able to climb with anybody and ride away from most of field when ever the course turned up hill. The bad news was that I lost a lot of time descending. I really wasn't willing to take the chances on the descents to stay with the lead pack... they were flying and totally letting fly over the loose, sandy fire road descents and then seemed to the single track and rock gardens pretty dialed in. Most of the guys I was racing against had raced up there on that course quite a bit (it was the same course they used for the Big Bear Shoot Out for years). Nationals is now less than 2 weeks a way and the last thing I needed was to crash, hurt myself, and hinder my training leading up to 2 biggest races of the year. Kind of a weak cop out... but it's the truth. So I held back.

So there was kind of y0-y0 affect going on. I would catch or pass guys on the climbs and then they would gap me on the descents. This went on for the whole race and the climbing seemed to never stop. It was definitely hard but I was having a blast. Even though I wasn't flying on the descents the single track sections were killer and definitely unexpected. I ended up finishing 4th in the Expert 30-34 class and only 1+ min down on third and 3+ on first. So not a bad day and I am sure if I was willing to take more chances I would have had a good chance to get on the podium.

When Trevor first suggested I head up to Big Bear for this race I wasn't into it... I mean it's football season and that means I am all about getting workouts done in the morning so I can plant my butt on the couch and relax. Then I remembered the Bolts are playing tonight on Monday night football and I decided to race.

Racing was the right decision. I not only had a blast but it was perfect training for Tahoe. The course was very similar to what I will be facing in a couple of weeks, it was at altitude (we actually climbed to over 8,000 ft.), and it got me WAY out of my "comfort zone" on the bike. Just what I needed. Of course I ran right after crossing the line and the legs felt good and as always I got a bunch of strange looks as I was changing into my running gear and everybody else was either laid out in the parking lot in pools of sweat and blood or cracking open some ice cold beers (what I really wanted to be doing).

After the run I packed up the truck and hit the road for home. I got home just in time for some Sunday night football and an killer dinner cooked up by my awesome girlfriend!

ceviche and filet.

Tonight it's more chillaxing and watching the Bolts take on the Jets. They HAVE to win!


Matt said...

Nice race and smart strategy.
Speaking of strategy, I think my Tues/Thurs. are Caveman specials, no? TG is a madman!

I will do my best to represent tonight! Should be a classic watching a couple of Hall of Famers running around.

2 weeks to go, Homey. Dial. it. in.

Jaakko Hiekkaranta said...

The Chinese cookies never lie!

Great thing you chose wisely on the race and didn't hurt yourself! it just so kills you when you get injured just before your target even (been there recently)

keep rocking'it dude!

Ryan Weeger said...

Yes, they really do have to win. Go Bolts tonight! Good job on the race too. Big Bear is awesome, really do wish I lived a little closer, or didn't have a gas guzzling truck.

GZ said...

Nice job on the race. I hear you on the taking chances ... good call. Will you be more willing to take those chances in a couple of weeks? :)

Vid of you finishing this race and going into the run would have been classic. Even better would be you splashing in a kiddie pool before the start.

Dan said...

Cop out? No way - a smart call.

Your profile says it all "My main focus has been, and will continue to be Xterra. It's all about Maui!".

San Clemente looks great! What an excellent Sat.

emkruse said...

hey dude, thanks for the bigups. smart move on keeping the rubber side down at the mtb race. tahoe is almost here!

Benson said...

Wow, that single track looks heavenly.
Nice race and the chillaxing is the best.
Yummy beer and grinds.

Paul said...

Nice racing dude! Sometimes the risks aren't worth it. Gotta keep the big picture in mind. Great work.

Luke said...

good to see you racing XC again brotha!!

maybe we can get you tie some more race numbers in a MTB format next season?

i am taking a little time off, but lemme know if you want someone to chase during your peak! peace dood.

runninggunner said...

Nice race. Good work.

I like the choice on beer. It's one of my favourites. Have to stock up everytime I go South of the Border

Jim said...

The perspective is right on! You have put in too much effort this year to blow it by letting it all hang out on a race that really isn't on the major list.

Best of luck in Tahoe. Those fortune cookies have a strange way of coming true.

Zippy said...

Sounds like you made the smart move by holding back and not getting hurt. Ditto what Luke said since I'm done until '09.

Gordon said...

Thanks for the kind words James.

If all my athletes were as easy to work with as you are, my days would be shorter.

Congrats on The race! If you need me to polish the bike before Tahoe let me know.

Thanks again!


FatDad said...

The fastest 5K I ever ran was low 18:XX in a meaningless time trial with my running club 6 weeks before my 'A' marathon of the year. Blew my groin, had to take almost a full month off, limped the last 5 miles of the marathon, missed my goal by 5 minutes and was on crutches coming home. You made the smart choice.

TRI Vortex said...

That ride looks wicked. So much in fact that I'm not even going to consider mountain biking. I'm a flatlander.

Rhys Campbell said...

I notice you and your partner wear calf supports after your workouts. Does this assist with recovery, alleviate calf soreness / strains?

I suffer from sore calfs, cramping and strains and I was wondering whether these supports worked and if so, where they can be purchased at a reasonable price?

Thanks and hope your Chinese fortune comes true.

Todd Hatfield said...

Sweet blog, man. Racing xc is so damn fun! Anyhow, good luck in Tahoe!