Sunday, November 15, 2009

This is November?

Hard to believe that we had another couple of great days of nice weather. I wonder if November's average high temperature is higher than October's was? I didn't get a chance to ride Friday because I got home late from work but made sure I was out early on Saturday. Nothing hard since I was planning on racing the Stony cyclocross the next day. I also wanted to enjoy the last day of riding on state land before the deer gun season started.

The ride had a magical feel to it as I rode along and leaves crunched under the tires. The early morning light was filtering through the trees and a light fog. I wished I had a camera with me to capture the feel of the ride. Later while riding in Bald Mountain I came across a couple riding the trails and gave them a tour of the LOHS trails. I enjoy showing people the school trails; most have no idea that the trails are even there.

The nice thing about this time of year now that the leaves are down is that you can see deeper into the woods and sometimes new trail opportunities open up. I had already planned on a few additional sections for next year but discovered another potential expansion yesterday. It wouldn't be very long but more trail is always good. I went up to the school later in the day with the leaf blower and marked a rough outline of where the trail would go. I will need the help of the school to cut out some fallen trees but other than that it would be a quick build. I may work on it again tomorrow since we have the day off from work.

I headed over to Stony Creek Metropark this morning to do another cyclocross race. The weather was definitely not as nice as Saturday and it started to rain lightly as I was loading up the bikes. Fortunately it didn't rain hard or for very long, just a light mist that seemed to follow me over to the park. The gray skies and wind coming off the lake the course ran against made it feel colder than it was.

I had again planned on racing my converted MTB SS in the B race although team member Bernie was planning on racing his first 'cross race in the C class so I thought about racing with him instead. I didn't see him in time to get warmed up for the earlier C race so opted to race the B class.

The course ran along the beach in spots and the sand was mostly ridable but there were a few short sections that forced you to run or dig deep and power your way through. And then shortly after the sand you hit a muddy stretch that was almost as bad as the sand, it really sapped your strength. After doing a partial warm-up ride I elected to go to an easier gear but didn't really have the right chain combo so I just made the tensioner as tight as I could and hoped for the best. I finished the swap as they were calling for us to line up for the start.

I took my usual spot near the back and tried to keep up the best I could once the race started. I was in front of about a third of the group when we hit the grass but immediately the chain started to pop as it slipped on the cog or ring. It didn't do it consistently but you never knew when it would happen. I tried to be careful while applying power. Sometimes it slipped more when soft pedaling, I think it may have been because there wasn't as much tension on the chain.

I was pretty much near the back of the field but I managed to catch one other rider as he faded back to me. In the end I came in 20th and beat about four or five others. Sometimes I'm not sure why I do these races, especially knowing how much it hurts and with very little chance of even finishing in the top half of the field. Before Iceman they were great to add a little intensity to the training. Now I'm just racing and pushing myself for the exercise. Plus it will make the off season a little shorter. Two more cyclocross races are left, I may do them and maybe even throw gears back on the bike.

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