Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tennessee State Championship Race Report

Tennessee State Championships Chainstay Cam from colin reuter on Vimeo.

I am way behind my 2010 racing pace after missing an ENTIRE weekend of race potential this week. Luckily I have sweet chainstay cam action from Tennessee to give me sweet, sweet content.

After the bigtime UCI race on Saturday, about half the field headed to North Carolina for a different race on Sunday. I stayed with Adam and The Wilcox in Tennessee to race again the next day -- but first, we had to have an ADAM MYERSON PERSONALITY CULT MEETING with the locals, which was awesome, mainly because my table kept buying pitchers and not letting me pay for them.

And then the next morning I felt not so awesome. But! A fake-pro must rally. We had a 2pm start, so it was totally doable.

This is what rallying looks like:

Rallying was not helped by the fact that the course was the EXACT same as Saturday. Clearly down in Tennessee they don't know about the whole run-it-backwards trick for lazy course switchups. It would've totally worked, too! Anyway, combine that with the lack of UCI points and I was antipumped. But then we lined up, I turned the camera on, Jonny Sundt started talking trash, and I was pumped! Bike racing, I can't believe I thought you weren't gonna be awesome for a second there!

Jonny rode around behind me for a while, and I put myself in the tape to save him the trouble, but I did it so smoothly you might never even notice it on the video. Thank god for single-wrapped tape that comes off the top of the stake!

The Wilcox initially went up the road with the lead group, but then he got dumped into no man's land, and then he got gobbled up by my chase group on lap three. Exciting! Due to some shenanigans I somehow got off the front of the group with another crazy-strong dude and went into lamprey mode.

This gentleman was, unfortunately, stupid-strong and probably not still reeling from several pitchers of free beer the night before. With four laps to go I rocketed backwards off his wheel and discovered that I couldn't pedal to save my life with the wind in my face.

So The Wilcox caught me. Which was a bummer. But the Wilcox was also feelin' it, and not in a good way, and weak Colin can stay on weak Wilcox's wheel exactly as well as strong Colin can stay on strong Wilcox's wheel. No, wait, I don't think I stayed on Dave's wheel to the finish line even once this year. Until today!

My inability to pull led to us getting caught and passed by another guy, so we were racing for 7th, which just happened to be the last paying place. And even though Dave is my friend, my ride to the airport, and the guy who would be driving my bike back to New England -- I still had to come around him in the sprint because BIKE RACING IS SERIOUS BUSINESS.

2011 season over! Stay tuned for the next installment of my race career, "how discovering indoor climbing ended my ski season."

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Kingsport UCI Race Report

Now that I'm the fake-pro-est person in my life, I can -- no, I am obligated to-- wantonly blow money on chasing the bike racing dream that I've long since given up on. A UCI race in Tennessee in the middle of January, with $180 airfare and transportation/lodging already set up? Who cares that I hung up the bike and started drinking/skiing a month ago, sign me up!

The Wilcox was driving the Pedro's Party Van down for three weeks, so I stashed my bike in there for extra money savings and hopped a plane with Adam Myerson to North Carolina. Dave met us at the airport, whisked us away to some host hosting (did I mention how fake pro I am? Awww yeah), and the next morning it was BIKE RACING TIME. I hadn't taken a race seriously since November, which might've actually been a good thing...

Somehow the race was in a magical snowless bubble, surrounded by white hillsides, with nothing but brown grass on the race course. My disappointment was tempered by the fact that the ground started out frozen solid, but race-time temperature was over 40 degrees, so some impressively greasy mud was coming out of hiding. At 11am, the course was fast, bumpy and dull -- but by race time, one of the off-cambers had become a dismount, and almost every turn had at least achieved "interesting" status.

The course was EURO, which is to say HARD and not especially FUN. There were two technical sections, but other than that, a lot of bumpy straightaways with stiff, dead grass and emerging mud. Power was totally the name of the game. Commence whining.
45 and sunny is not what I was expecting.  [ Kim Bailey ]

We had 25 starters, which meant that everyone was going to get paid, but also that I wasn't getting UCI points without one of the best rides of my life. As it should be. I fell into an unremarkable 17th place or so on lap one and set about my standard racing style of "hiding from the wind."

I ended up on Dave's wheel, which is generally a good place for me to hang out. I prepared to hang out there for the next 60 minutes, but next thing I know, The Wilcox hooks the tape and goes down, I gap him and there's no one in front of me. Time to... attack?

Kind of. I had that awesome half-lap of attacking where you're totally gaining on the next group and definitely going to bridge to them... and then it just stops. And you're still 10 seconds back, and ten seconds is really long in a cross race, doncha know?

So, solo TT time got started early. The Wilcox was having some gastrointestinal issues (Taco Bell was not my idea, I'd like to point out) and thus I was somehow able to ride away from him all by myself. Unfortunately, the fastest Hup rider I've ever seen (Eric Wondergem) came outta the fray behind me and started eating up my gap like he was a local strongman on a pedaler's course. Because he was.  He had monster wattage and impressive local support.  One of his fans recommended that I "don't even try," which made me quite interested in, um, trying.  Just sayin'.

We still had 30 minutes to go when he caught me, so I sat up a bit and got excited to CONTROL SOME DAMAGE. He sat on for a second and then attacked, which made it instantly clear that my new goal for the day was to hang onto him as long as possible so that when I blew from the effort, everyone else would be far behind us.

Unbeknownst to him, I spend my entire fall trying to hold the wheel on faster riders on power courses, so the cycle of trip to the pain cave->brief recovery->repeat is my bread & butter. A few times he would sit up at the end of a 60-second attack and swing off to "let" me pull through. I politely declined, as I was in full-on barnacle mode and he would have to start swimming into the rocks to remove me.
Fleeing absurdly-strong HUP dude at our picturesque race venue [ Kim Bailey ]

He did figure out that my non-pulling was a sign his efforts were working, so we kept doing warp-speed laps interrupted by the occasional sit-up-and-look-at-each-other break. With three to go we caught Noah Metzger and became the 12th place group, so all I had to do was not get last in the group to set a personal best finish in a UCI race.

...but then with 1 to go, Eric attacked both of us again, and I put in a stupid-hard effort to close the gap, didn't make it, and then promptly threw out my parachute when Noah came around me to continue the chase. I dropped 40 seconds to them on the last lap and limped across in 14th.

A lap too far!

All in all it was a great time, though, for a first-year UCI event in a region without "big time" cross racing I thought it was really well done. More starters and more turns would've been nice, but I'd still do it again in a second.

I raced the next day in the Tennessee State Champs and actually remembered to turn the camera on that time... so stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tuesday Night World Champs

I made my traditional jump back into ski racing before actually having any kind of fitness, just like every year, on Tuesday night. It was my 6th time on skis for the year, but more importantly, my first change to repay ROOMMATE CARY for abusing me all cross season.

I strategically lined up deep in the field, to intentionally miss the front group, and thus not taste my lunch until at least the ten minute mark. And it totally worked! After a few minutes things settled out, my equipment was intact, and all the fast guys were cleanly up the trail. But not Cary.

I caught onto Cary and Luke's group and pretended I wasn't winded by making a joke about it being the washed-up-college-skier group. Then I went to the FRONT because I was so STOKED to be skiing NON-TERRIBLY.

I believe this dispatched Luke. However, someone was very audibly skiing close behind me... one guess who it was.

Jamie Doucett was out on the course blinding people with his flash, but also taking some really nice night pics:

Yup... that's Cary behind me

I told him that I wasn't going to be able to bridge to the next group (which was kind of a lie) and he told me he couldn't help (which was also a lie), because half a lap later he came around and started dragging us across the gap to Terry and an unknown junior skier.

I sat on, because I'm "tactical" like that.

With half a lap to go, we made contact and I slingshotted like a jerk from the back to the front. I noticed that I now had a cramp in my stomach, which was going to make the final 2 minutes a little grosser than usual. But I kept the lead (and my lunch down) to cross the line in 8th.

The times on the results are VERY suspect, because they make it look like I was only 5 seconds behind the main group of guys I race with when I'm in shape. And I have a lot of trouble believing I'm anywhere near in shape...

But man, don't you hate guys who talk about how out of shape they are, when they totally aren't? Guess I better shut up until I see how this weekend's race goes. Maybe two months of partying actually is a viable way to peak.

But I doubt it.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Wrentham Bandit Cross

Wrentham Bandit Cross Bar Cam from colin reuter on Vimeo.

I recently made the questionable/awesome decision to fly to Tennessee next weekend for EVEN MORE UCI CROSS. Therefore I am putting off the nordic season for another two weeks (yeah, am I even a skier at this point? Not really) and trying to resurrect 60 minutes of race fitness from whatever you want to call the insanity that's been the last two months of my life. Oh, this is going to go SO. WELL.

So in between riding the trainer and trying to relearn how to sleep eight hours a night, I headed to Wrentham for some bandit cross at the old MRC race venue, organized by Gewilli.

It was a snowy morning, which meant that a) getting out of the house was really hard, but b) the riding was actually AWESOME. With shovels and tires we beat in a 4 minute lap into the bumpy and snowy hillside and got to some Euro-style racing in two 20-minute heats.

Myerson and Jerome Townsend were there, but elected to start at the back, so I ended up leading the first 1.5 laps of race #1. I could hear Jerome closing on me so I decided to ride more aggressively, which led to slipping a tire on an uphill corner and then coming unclipped and bouncing my knee off my stem. OW. OWOWOW. And that was that. I slipped back to 4th, chased Brant Hornberger around for a while, and then got sloppy when I caught him and couldn't make any kind of challenge for the last "podium" spot. Weak.

Race #2 was the same course, but backwards, which actually had a ton more braking and rode totally differently. Once again, holeshot, held it for 1.5 laps, managed to block Adam out of a pass and force him to dismount... but who am I kidding, I'm riding unsustainably hard here. Two minutes later I had the inevitable bobble and the top 3 went by. This time, though, I rallied with some clean riding for once to catch back onto Donny Green (who had ridden up from Providence!!) and race for 3rd. With one to go, he was getting sloppy in the snow and I recognized (for once) that I should attack. So I did. And wrapped up a "glorious" 3rd place at WRENTHAM BANDIT CROSS.

It was actually totally sweet conditions for racing, if you missed your snow-cross fix this season you should really head down there next weekend to play bikes.

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