Tuesday, December 6, 2011

CSI Invite and The Snow Bowl

Wow, what a weekend. A little bit of everything thrown in there. Most of us Cross racers have full time jobs. Spencer Powlison has a cool job at the Brewer's Association, Scott Tietzel works for Curve, Allen Krughoff is a photographer, Jesse Goodrich is a full time student, etc. I am a swim coach. Which means that many a weekend is taken up by hours on the deck in some chlorine laced pool, being served Chik-Fil-A biscuits for breakfast and pizza for dinner. On weekends like this, I race not for results, but to get outside and do something other than yell out split times.

That was the case this weekend. The CSI Invite started on Friday morning at 7 am. RallySport Aquatics had a great meet. We had 12 new Sectional cuts and a new Junior National qualifier this weekend. We were especially good in the mid distance events, a point of which makes this "sprint coach" very happy. However, that is for another blog. I left the pool at 12 on Friday, came home, got Breeze and my bikes ready, rode for an hour and headed back down to the meet for finals which ran from 4-8. I stayed in Denver Friday night as some more snow rolled through and thoughts of I-25 driving at 7 am on Saturday morning did not encourage me. So Saturday am I was back at the pool at 7 until the end of prelims at 11:45. I hadn't decided whether I was going to race at that point, but I got to the car and started the drive to Louisville. 

For those of you who don't live in Colorado, we got another 3-5 inches of snow Friday night and the race was going to be a powder fest. I was in need of some time outside and I decided on the drive up that racing was needed. i got to the race at 12:45 for my 1:05 start. I yelled go at Breeze who was on course as I grabbed my number and bike from her car. I crawled into the back of the Xterra and embro-ed up and got on my race gear. I emerged, got my number pinned, rode down the hill and to the line. Nice warm up, eh?

The sun was coming out and some of the snow was revealing wet, cold mud underneath. The start was chaos as some rode and some like Brady ran the start. The run was the way to go. I was bounced off of 3 or 4 guys, but finally got to the first corner where I realized that Breeze had the mud tires on her bike and that my all-terrain tires were not quite ALL terrain. I was all over the place. I heard Doug Schuler behind me saying "keep it together" and I was trying and barely succeeding. Around the backstop and down the back stretch I was on and off the track with people flying by me. I thought for not the last time how nice a recon lap or 2 would have been. Up the first run up was fine, but then the next problem revealed itself. How do we get back in our pedals? Then it was up to the top of the bowl for a screaming snow packed back stretch before dropping back in the bowl briefly before the second run up. Here again a pre ride would have been nice. I spent the first two laps trying to remount halfway up this only to realize later I was way faster running the whole thing. Then it was down the sidewalk, then a snowy left up to the sand (which was hard pack) and then a couple tight, slow turns to the finish and then an ever changing, muddy descent to the Start line.

By the second lap, I had put myself very far back. I was trying to figure out how to ride this stuff and by the 4th lap I had it down pretty well. Better late than never. I caught Zac and we battled for a bit and then we caught Brady who was struggling with his bike and then others appeared in front. I was feeling pretty good and cranking up the hills. With 4 to go I hit the run up thinking "man this bike is heavy" and watched Zack Gould make a bike change. Now that's a plan I thought, but I was convinced that my spare bike (Breeze's) was in as bad a shape as mine so I trudged on. For the record, I was wrong, she had it ready for me. Best. Wife. Ever.

I ended the race in 18th. Very far back, but squeezed some more points out of the effort. When I came across the line I looked down to see that the rear wheel had built up so much snow and mud/ice that it was no longer turning, but just skidding on the snow. Pretty sweet.

I washed the bikes, grabbed some coffee and got back in the car and got back to DU at 4 for the start of the Finals session. That's a pretty good way to spend the break in my mind.

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