"Fat on Saturday, skinnier on Sunday." Tires that is. Certainly our recent over-indulgence isn't going to provide me any weight loss!!! Sorry in advance for the distinct lack of photos, I will try to get more snaps for the next one...
Saturday we rode the mountain bikes on San Juan Trail. Conditions were primo because of rain on Friday. The ride was made even sweeter by the fact that we got to ride with Ben Jones, Brent Prenzlow, and Chtistina P. Turner! Perfect single track shreddage and a veritable who's who of cycling in So. Cal. made for an exceptional day.
On the climb Ben Jones was riding in front which made for a nice change of pace. I am usually playing 5mph bumper for Allison but on this day Ben took the onslaught of shuttle riders and DH rippers. Our pace was fairly moderate which was good because my legs were quite sore from running 4 miles in 30 minutes on Friday.
When we arrived at Bluejay Campground where we usually refuel I discoverd that my rear tire was leaking down and Allison declared that she was going to give in to her training OCD with a 10 minute low cadence climb up "Pain Divide". Nobody thought that sounded even remotely like a good time so our little party of five broke up. I put some air in my tire and hoped it would seal but it didn't. I then figured I would tube it while Allison was flogging herself on the fire road climb but that didn't quite work out as my spare tube had a hole in it. When Allison came back down I decided to milk the tire as far as I could which wasn't very far. I hate having to put a tube into a tubeless setup!
The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful. I slowed my pace to stay close to Allison and to ensure I didn't pinch flat the tube. With the conditions so perfect there were a lot of people climbing the trail late in the day so it was a good thing I wasn't really letting it rip. I love to open it up and blast that descent but on day's like that when other trails are too wet to ride San Juan is amazing so there is always a ton of traffic.
Saturday night I BBQ'd dinner at my father-in-laws house as an early birthday celebration for Allison. As is customary for us we ate too much and drank too much and generally had a great time. We both paid for it on Sunday!
Sunday we awoke to rain. It seems some people get really excited for "real 'cross weather", but Allison just gets super freaked out about keeping her foot warm. I have tried to explain to her that I don't think that less than 1 hour is enough to cause Black Death Foot, but it is a huge deal and we really don't know for sure exactly what the limits of her condition are. If finding the limit means another three months off the bike and another wasted season I say we stay well on the safe side!
When we got to the park it was pouring rain so I set up the canopy and the trainer and then set about getting dressed. I layered up and jumped on the rollers. Riding rollers in the rain on a CX bike with 35psi in the tires is tricky to say the least! My legs were feeling pretty sore and beat down though so it was nice to spin on the rollers for a few. I didn't get to ride a full lap of the course before my race as the lap times were fairly long and I needed to strip all my warmup layers off. I had another iffy start as you can see in the video (4th or 5th wheel), but I really didn't want to be on the front as I hadn't ridden a full lap and figured it might help to have someone in front of me for the first lap to keep me from blowing corners or crashing.
The first lap I didn't feel terrible. I was easily holding position in third place. The course was very slick in places and I was being a bit conservative. I was third wheel going onto a high speed sidewalk section when both of the riders in front of me splattered. It looked terrible, but I think they were both okay. I snuck around unscathed only to get passed in the next corner by Brent Prenslow! I didn't know he was racing with us but I sort of hoped he would be just cruising so I could hold his wheel. I figure I have a lot to learn and staying with a guy that wins at the Elite level locally might help, especially seeing his lines on the rest of the course that I had not pre-ridden.
Well it didn't last long. My legs just didn't have the extra gear to hang with BP. I really tried, but it wasn't to be. He quickly opened a gap and I found myself battling with another rider for 2nd. The other rider seemed to have better power than me but was struggling a bit in the mud so I tried to help him out. "Stay centered on the bike, lean it under you, don't get inside the bottom bracket." I don't know if I helped him, but I tried. Soon after that I got a gap on him and was pulling away.
On the last lap it looked like I was going to take second place with a good margin to BP in first and about the same gap back to third. There was a slippy muddy section leading onto a tarmac straight. Unfortunately as I was speeding through the mud my bike started to skate around, I wasn't well balanced as I came up on the transition to asphalt and couldn't un-weight the bike properly bashing my front wheel on the lip. That horrible swish-swish-swish sound of my front tire going down sent a feeling of panic through me! I need points! I tried to stay on the gas and found out going into the high speed corner at the end of the tarmac that although a tubular tire will stay on the rim, it doesn't afford any real traction or predictability on the mud. I face planted.
I struggled, riding the rest of the lap on the flat front tire. It was pretty terrible. I managed to cross the line in 9th. I felt crappy about the whole thing even though the course was tremendous fun and the mud was a very welcome challenge. Two flats in two days, and this one was my first time flatting a tubular.
So a flat tubular comes at about the worst possible time. My mom had a tumor and her thyroid gland removed from her neck last week and it turns out it was malignant. My mom means a lot to me and she is strong, if anyone can beat cancer it is her. It still scares the shit out of me that she has to fight it though. On top of that we will be leaving for Allison's birthday celebration this week. Four years in the making, 11/11/11 will be epic but it leaves me zero chance to strip off a dead soldier and glue a freshie. Oh well, everyone keeps reminding me that "it is just cyclocross." I fly out to Chicago on Sunday afternoon for work so maybe I will skip the CX race altogether. Maybe I will have time to update the blog, but it may be a while...
Till next time, hold it WFO and rubber side down! BRAAAAAP!
Update: Robert Plumb uploaded this pic of me to Facebook, I thought it was cool as I think it shows how much concentration goes into riding the slick mud sections.