Monday, March 29, 2010

2010 Ouachita Challenge

This past weekend, Pedro and I headed up to Oden, AR, for our first Ouachita Challenge. It's a 60 mile mountain bike race on the Ouachita and Womble trails with some gravel road connectors. We'd both heard about how great the trails are, and they didn't disappoint. This event had been the focus of my training since the fall XC season ended.

I did a local 6-hour race at Big Cedar a few weeks prior, and while my result wasn't bad, I wasn't happy with my performance. I struggled with cramping and just couldn't make much power. I figured it was due to some combination of three things: lack of dirt riding, lack of intensity in training, and race nutrition. I got one good dirt ride in, but the weather prevented more. I had just started adding intervals, so I kept that up and added the Wednesday MVC ride to the schedule. And, I revamped my nutrition plan, settling on a mixture of Heed and a bit of soy protein at around 280 cal/hr.

Keeping it low-budget, we stayed in the gym at the school that serves as race headquarters. It was nice waking up on site, and I slept fine. I'd stay there again, but once we got kitted up, I did hear a couple comments about MVC at a mountain bike race and how the road team doesn't sleep on the floor. ;-)

Race day morning was cool, windy, and damp with some spitting rain. The race started with a short neutral roll-out to a long, hilly gravel road before the first section of trail. I stayed towards the front but out of the wind. A small group of guys that ride for a living got away on one of the last hills, but I rolled into the singletrack around 30th without having to go too hard.

This ain't Texas anymore! Up, down, lots of rocks! Relative to others around me at this point, my technical skills suck (I'm still "new" after two years, right?). I must have dropped 15-20 positions on the first section of trail. The number of riders passing me dwindled as the trail headed up Blowout Mtn. There are some brutal rock gardens here that are sketchy even on foot, and I took a couple of low speed tumbles. Over Chalybeate, I started passing more people than passed me.

Whew! I made it through the rougher Ouachita Trail portion unscathed and felt pretty good. I tried to find someone to work with on the second road section, but it never worked out. I traded pulls with one guy for a couple miles, but he eventually dropped me. No one else I passed could hang on, let alone help. I rolled into the third aid station in 3:15 and mixed up my second half fuel.

The following section of the Womble trail was as I had expected. It was much more groomed than the OT, but the lake it was winding around was a long ways down. Rounding a corner onto a steep downhill section, I hit a hidden rock just wrong, and my rear tire popped.

I was now on a narrow, bench cut trail, covered in mud, trying to repair an inch-long gash in the sidewall of my tire. I was constantly interruped, trying to make room for passing riders that invariably let out an "Oh $#!*" when they first saw me. I installed a tube and boot and aired up the tire, but it didn't look all that great. There was a bulge around the gash, but at least I was rolling again.

The next couple sections of trail were fast, flowy, and fun. Unfortunately, my rear tire was getting noticeably softer. I stopped when I hit another gravel road and added some air, but it didn't last long. I put in my second tube and spent more time making sure the boot was positioned just right before airing it up. Success.

The rest of the Womble trail was great. I was passing people left and right with only occasional twinges in my hamstrings on the granny-gear climbs. When I came upon the last token station, they said I had 4.5 miles left and it was all road. That was a welcome report, so I put my head down and drove to the finish.

I finished 54th (263 registered) in 6:18 with 32 minutes stopped for the tire. Bryan Fawley won it in 4:51. So, I have some room to improve, but I felt strong and was very happy with the performance. I'm looking forward to next year!

El Guapo rolled in at around 7 hours. I never saw Patrick or Todd. Leave a comment and let us know how it went.

Cat 3 captain - Borski (aka Fitness) - Ronde Von Manda

Ronde Von Manda Cat 3 Race Summary from the eyes of Borski:

Well I knew when Trevor picked me up at 6 am and the wind was blowing 20+ out of the northwest, we were in for a hard day! The race started hard and went from there. A field of 63 started this venture, needless to say, only the strong survived! LOL! The first lap attacks were many and rather gutsy, but each time solo efforts, so I just had to laugh a bit at that, we had 60 mi to go in a 25+ wind on a unprotected course. But oh well lets chase them down anyway seemed to be the motto. Trevor and I stayed near the front, just knowing it was the place to be all day, the teams seemed to want to work hard on the first lap to chase back what seemed futile in the wind. Well finally things settled down, that’s when we knew it was time to do something. Trevor took a flyer in the tailwind section, mostly so he would not get gapped once we hit the several crosswind sections. He just kind of kept it going for about 6 miles. I heard snickers in the peloton, about how that will never work, they let him sit just off the group for a while, Trevor happy to know what we had talked about earlier, would probably work if done at the right time. So just at the catch in the headwind section about 100m from a hard right into a ugly crosswind section, I gassed it, hit the corner and we were off, strung it out and gutter city, got a few guys to help taking turns and before we knew it we had a gap, hit a tailwind section and had a few stragglers tag on and the 8 of us were off. That was the race, we were gone, managed to work well as a group, we stayed away for 36 miles, soon it became evident that some were less enthused about what we were doing, so with about 5 miles from the finish, I went, and just like that we were 5, selection done! The rest was just tactics, I learned a lesson for sure, I felt good with 1 k to go, so made a false attack to see who wanted to play, the biggest wheel suck of the 5 jumped with 500m to go, we got on his wheel, me the last in line, then disaster, the two riders in front of me died, just blew at about 270m from the line, I followed the kid I was marking all day(raced with him in Fayetteville, knew he had good legs) but stupid move we passed on the left, just crossing the yellow line at about 250m, yep the ref let us play all over the yellow line all day, but the rules are rules, I got 3rd in the sprint, but after ref protest, relegated to 5th. Oh well, we came and raced our bikes, that made it fun, well worth all the effort. My thanks to Trevor for the work early, and yes I love it when a plan comes together!!!! Oh yeah Boss, it was EPIC! Afterwards the winner said he was marking MVC all day as it was apparent they came to race.

Click here for the Video link of the Cat 3 finish (3rd place for Borski):

Monday, March 22, 2010

Fayetteville 40+ stage 3 as told by Brownie

[This is a great account of yesterday's stage 3 in the fayetteville 40+ race as told by Mike 'Brownie' Brown on TxBRA.]

"This was one of the most tactical races I've been in in a while. Since Allen [Abel of Joe's Pro Bikes] and [Chris 'CP'} Powers were tied on time, MVC's goal was to get the two second time bonus and then sit back and let the pack bring the race to us and do our best to hold it together for the sprint. Well, Allen beat Chris up the hill with a huge power surge that nobody could match [to earn the mid-race :02 bonus]. That put Joe's as the leaders on the road by 2 seconds. As it played out, that actually proved to be their downfall. Because when [Mark] Wiggins [Austinbikes/Revenant] went up the road with Duane [Neu - NTRT], that put Joe's in a must chase situation to maintain their overall GC.

Chris and I also knew Duane was about 1 minute behind him and Allen going into stage 3. When Joe's went to the front to chase, we sat in the back and just monitored their progress. I must have done 50 time checks during that race. Every time we crested a hill and saw Wiggins and Duane, I started timing their gap. If their gap would have started to blow out to the 1:30 or 2:00 minute mark, then I would have had to have gone to the front to help Joe's in order to bring the gap back down to around the 1:00 minute mark, thus negating Duane's overall GC chance, and putting the ball back in our court hoping Chris could outsprint Allen, take the time bonus and thus the overall CG.

But Patrick [McGrath], along with an occasional pull from Allen, kept the gap at exactly 1:00 minute. It was a huge, impressive effort by Patrick. In fact, it was such a huge effort that MVC never had to come to the front. If Allen had not beat Chris for the 2 sec bonus on lap 2, then it would have been MVC on the front instead of Joe's. It was a pure tactical game all day of knowing where everyone stood on CG, who was up the road, how much power they had, constantly maintaining time checks on their advantage and adjusting tactics if needed to always keep that gap right where we needed it in order for Joe's to do all the work and us do nothing. So, in a nutshell, that's exactly what the 40+ 1's and 2's were doing all day...having a tactical war!"

[As reported yesterday, CP took 3rd on stage 3 and with it the :04 bonus that moved him to the top of the GCand the 40+ win.]

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Fayetteville: Day 2

Day two of Fayetteville brought more great results from McKinney Velo’s 5-man race contingent! To the news:

Cat 2 – The Cat 2 field was shredded today as 11 took a DNF, leaving only 23 finishers. But despite his relative inexperience, Shane “Sammy” Haga hung with the guys he needed to stay with. As a result, he moved up a place to finish 5th on the overall GC!! Haga’s result is all the more impressive since he was a CAT 3 only two weeks ago – must be something in that Haga gene pool (congratulations to Shane’s older brother Chad on his very convincing win in the P, 1 field at Fayetteville). Great job Shane.

Cat 3 – It was also a difficult day in the Cat 3 field. With 13 DNFs today, only 1/3 of the field finished the race. Congratulations to Steve Borski for his 10th overall on GC!

40+ – As we noted yesterday, Chris Powers started the day tied atop the GC with Allen Abel of Joe’s Pro Bikes. Marco and Brownie did what they could to help CP gain that one second he needed for the win. But after Abel’s teammate led him out for a :02 mid-race time bonus, the onus was on CP to pull out something special if he was going to overtake Abel for the GC win. Duane Neu and stage 1 winner Mark Wiggans went up the road and took with them the :10 and :06 bonuses for 1st and 2nd place. All that was left was the :04 bonus for 3rd place and CP nabbed it from a four man group that included Abel. As a result, Chris Powers is your 2010 Fayetteville 40+ GC winner by :02! Congratulations to Chris and teammates Marco Corsi and Mike ‘Brownie’ Brown for a great result.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

An Epic Saturday in Fayetteville!

On a day that will go down as one of the most epic in Texas racing history – torrential rain, hail, lightning, a 15+ degree temp drop down into the 40s and brought 40 mile hour winds to match the temperature – 5 McKinney Velo racers took the challenge and performed remarkably well quite well.

Steve Borski, racing solo in the 3s, rode a smart race. He was positioned near the head of the cat 3 field when the storm front blew through and split the filed in a serious cross wind. Steve made the lead group and ultimately battled to a 12th place finish; a result made all the more remarkable when you consider that only 41 out of 86 registered racers completed the stage.

In the Cat 2 field, McV’s Christopher Shane ‘Sammy’ Haga was where he needed to be when the key split happened. ‘Sammy’ made the decisive 10-man lead group before finishing a solid 6th. Unfortunately, the poor weather took its toll on Haga in the TT. Between worn out brake pads and a slick road, Haga couldn’t keep his bike upright in the TT turn around... after remounting, ‘Sammy’ spent the rest of the TT trying to limit his losses. Nevertheless, a fine effort on a brutal day.

Brutal is the only way to describe Marco ‘Polo’ ‘Kilojoules’ Corsi’s day in the 40+ field. Marco flatted once... each race - rear in the road race and the front in the TT. But on a day when so many racers packed it in early, if they lined up at all, Marco stuck it out and finished both stages. And it’s good that he did because he’ll be needed Sunday. Why? Because Chris ‘CP’ Powers is dead even atop the 40+ GC with Joe’s Pro Bikes Allen Abel after he beat Abel by 4 seconds to win the 40+ TT! CP put himself in position to pull event with Abel and to take the overall title with a ridiculous late race chase in the road race. About 10K out, CP suffered what so many others did today, a flat. After taking a rear wheel from the follow that didn’t match his components, CP chased back on riding in his 53/12, the only gear he had available where he took 9th. Up ahead of CP, Brownie (who ruined 2 tires today – and he didn’t suffer a flat!) was bagging 4th on the stage! Although CP finished 9th, with the benefit of 2 bonus seconds earned during the stage, CP began the TT in 4th, 8 seconds behind Mark Wiggans (who was late for his T start, thereby taking himself out of the running for the overall) and 4 behind Abel. CP reversed that deficit by the same time gap. So together with Marco and Brownie, CP will head into Sunday looking to gain 1 more second on Abel and the overall victory to go with it.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Week's Worth of Race Results

Overdue Congratulations:

MVC has been busy racing in the DFW area the last 7 days.

We begin with the HCTT last Saturday morning, where on the juniors side, Zachary Koeppe took 2nd in the Jr. Open, Christina Koeppe took 2nd in the high school girls and Jennifer Garcia finished 8th. Shane “Sammy” Haga placed 7th in the College A despite a very quick time. Steve Borski was 7th and Stephan ‘Country’ Davidson 12th in the 3/4, and Goran took 11th and Eduardo 19th (out of 46 starters) in the 4/5s.

Saturday also saw a number of McKinney Velo racers tackle the Denton Rhapsody Crit. Tim Kolb managed 4th (out of 46) in the 5s in what was only about his 5th start ever. Trevor Rigby managed 13th, Borski 17th and Walt ‘Disney’ Megura, Jamey ‘Watts’ Munroe and Marco ‘Polo’ ‘Kilojoules’ Corsi finished in the 20s (out of 71 starters). The big news though was McV’s WIN the 40+ courtesy of Steve ‘Oz’ Weber. In true McV fashion, Chris ‘CP’ Powers launched on lap one to initiate the break that would define the race, although truth be told, CP did wait until after the 2nd turn. When the break quickly grew to 6, Kurt Bickel attacked and Oz followed, soon to counter and beat Bickel to the lead group. Bickel would join within a coup0le more laps and 30 minutes in, that group of 8 had lapped the field. From there, the other six from McV in the race (Brad ‘Seabass’ Price, Doc, Jamey Watts, Polo, Disney, and PT ‘Cruiser’ Burke) began working the front trying to set up CP and Oz for the finish, while fast finishers from the 8 man break Richard Lamb, Les Akins and Jorge Merle (in that order) marked CP. On the last lap, CP moved into 2nd position behind Seabass with Lamb and Akins glued to his him while Doc escorted Oz through the wind and dropped him off on Akin’s wheel. Seabass first and then CP drilled the pace heading around the south side of the stadium and then OZ took it to the outside and won by a couple of bike lengths over Lamb!! CP held on for 3rd!

Sunday brought the Jesuit Ranger Roundup, and more strong racing by McV. On the scholastic side, Sammy Haga finished 4th in the College A while Brett Fene took 13th in the High School B. In the USCF races, David Garrett turned in a fine 5th in the 4/5 while Tim Kolb showed that Saturday’s result was no fluke with a 7th place finish. Jon and David Rhodes and Brian ‘Irish’ Fitzpatrick had nice races in support of Garrett and Kolb. Following monster efforts chasing breaks by Jeff Fene, Rocket Richie Miller, and particularly Johnny ‘White Shoes’ Moore, and some good help from Rigby, Polo Kilojoules Corsi and Country Davidson, Jamey Watts managed 4th in the field sprint and 6th overall. In the big boyz (P, 1, 2, 3) race, Oz made the 6 man break while CP and Mike ‘Brownie’ Brown patrolled the field. After repeated attacks from Metro teammates, Oz held on for 6th while CP followed in 7th. A splendid results against a strong field.

Tuesday brought the season’s first Tues Nite Crit. With cooler temps and a breeze from the NW, the pace was fast, fast, fast. Many attacks were launched, but none succeeded. The B and A cane down to field sprints. Garrett notched a nice 4th in the B while Sammy Haga matched that result in the A with lead out help from Oz (7th) and CP (9th).

Last night saw the start of Dallas’s first ever Thursday Night Race series in Sunnyvale. Rocket Richie spent the week encouraging race participation, and then showed why – because the course suits him! Racing in his 2nd race of the night, Rocket Richie took 5th in the inaugural A race!

All in all, an impressive week of racing from McKinney Velo, against some great competition, in some super well run races. Thanks to all the promoters and competitors.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Lago Day Two & Texas Tech HS Races

First off, all apologies to internet eyes for the delay in reporting MVC’s Sunday [2/28] successes – a high school race overall victory by MVC junior Justin Hicks and a 40+ Lago win by Patrick “Bling” Burke. Now, to the news.

Texas Tech High School Races – With great success, MVC and McKinney HS racer Justin Hicks made the trip to Lubbock to race in the Texas High School League events held in conjunction with the Texas Tech Collegiate races. Although Justin, a McKinney High sophomore, is not quite a year into his bicycle racing career, he raced like a true veteran in men's HS B division races in Lubbock. On Saturday, Justin won the opening road race and then took 2nd in the afternoon time trial. Justin then came back on Sunday and finished 2nd in the crit. And that placing secured Justin a spot on the top of the omnium podium!!! Well done Justin!

Lago Day Two: Lago Vista 40+ road race – As reported earlier, with the support of only 2 teammates, CP (Chris Powers) secured a fine 2nd place finish in the Lago Day One 40+ race. While 2nd is nice, 1st is so much better. So for Sunday’s 40+ race, Brownie switched over from the P 1, 2 and reinforcements were brought in from Dallas (Richie ‘Rocket’ Miller) and McKinney (Steve ‘Oz’ Weber, Brad the ‘Seabass’ Price, Patrick ‘Bling’ Burke and Doc). It’s generally agreed among Lago veterans that Sunday’s shorter 4.4 mile course is more difficult than Saturday’s 5.5 miler... less flats; less opportunity to rest and recover. With that in mind, the plan for Sunday was to constantly apply pressure to make the race as difficult as possible. The goal was to get 2 MVC racers up the road (ideally CP and Bling, the 2 best suited for the Lago terrain) and be sure someone in orange, blue and white climbed to the top step of the podium.

Ignoring CP’s suggestion that we wait a lap before we went on the offensive, Bling attacked as soon as we made the first turn and started the backside climb. While the Proactive riders were particularly vigilant at the head of the field, no one tried to join Bling... so he rode out front on his own for the first 3 (of 9) laps. When Bling was finally brought back at the S/F to start lap 4, CP immediately attacked. The field responded before CP could get much of a gap, so Bling punched it again on the back side climb, a move that really strung the field out and saw the first real race casualties slide off the back.

Once Bling was brought back, others from MVC took their shots. At one point, Oz thought he’d gotten in a move that could stick, but it too was reeled in. Then inside 3 to go, Mirage’s Tom Lattig took a flyer. Whether he was going for the win or simply trying to set up his teammate, the always strong Joe Howard, was unclear. In any event, Lattig’s move worked to MVC’s advantage. Lattig, a well known fast finisher, sapped much of his energy with his move, but we still had enough matches to burn to chase him without sacrificing our chances for a late winning move. And that’s just how it played out.

Brownie, ‘Bass, Oz and especially Rocket Richie (who took a back side hill long pull at one point) worked hard to bring Lattig back and to set a pace that otherwise kept the field in check. Finally, while tackling the back side climb one last time, Bling and CP got off the front with Howard, OKC Velo’s Peter Erdoes, and Allen Abell of Joe’s Pro Bikes. While those five worked well together to establish and maintain their winning move, Oz and Seabass followed wheels... specifically, Kevin Schaefer’s wheels, as Kevin fought in vain (and much to his frustration, alone) to bring the break back.

With 1.5 km to go, CP launched a move. Abel, Erdoes and Howard were forced to chase, while Bling settled in for a ride to the line. Then as CP was caught, Bling made his move up the left side and bested Abell, Erdoes and Howard (in that order) for a hard fought win. CP hung on for 5th while behind, Oz took advantage of a strong lead out from the Seabass to secure the field sprint and 6th place. Brownie followed in 11th, Seabass in 16th and Miller was 24th. A plan well executed; a reward well earned.