Monday, August 17, 2009

New York + Pro XC Tour Windham

I plan to do a photo blog on New York City at some point, but for now I will just regale you with tales of upstate New York and this past weekend’s Pro XC Tour finale at Windham (also the Yankee Clipper / Kenda Cup East finale).

Wednesday, the day after we did a recon of the Windham XC course (great race support up there as the course was well-marked and being taped off early in the week already), we slept in a little and then took off on the rural roads near Justin’s aunts house for about an hour spin. I did a few efforts that I felt weren’t hard enough to do any good, but hard enough to still cause fatigue. Not really what I was hoping for, but it was a fairly easy day.

Once we got done with that we spent the afternoon with Justin’s cousin and her two kids, who he hadn’t met (the kids, not the cousin).

Thursday I had planned to do some more laps of the Windham course, but due to lingering fatigue and soreness we settled for an off day and instead spent the morning in some fresh air at a coffee shop nearby.

I poached some wifi since I was getting the shakes

Eventually we headed up toward Windham and our “room” for the weekend at Kelly Acres. It was a SWEET locale. Pretty far from Windham proper, but it was quiet and the best part was full kitchen access. They said “make yourselves at home” and we did!

We had picked up some Dogfish Head “Raison d’Etre” in Hudson at the local beer store, along with some DFH Red & White. We hadn’t tried either, but they sounded good!

After finding out Thursday at “check-in” that we could use the grill and kitchen, we picked up some provisions in town and sat down to a stellar meal of pork chops, rice, and asparagus.

Justin is normally toast after one, but he suggested we open up the bottle of Red & White, so I obliged. We still had a day or so before race day.

Peaceful evening at the Inn…

Justin in the barn setting up my race tires for Friday’s course recon

The idea for Friday was to get up, fill our bellies, and head to the mountain with enough time to bang out a few laps before the Cat 3 race started at 11. Unfortunately we got a late start, and I went to ride up to the bathrooms when my bomb new rear tire went totally flat. Upon inspection Justin noticed the side wall had torn. Riding through the parking lot. Sucky.

Justin gave me his wheels and sent me out to do the preride while he switched around a different set of wheels so he could ride. I got in 2 laps and for the first time all week felt great. My HR was responding appropriately, the legs felt good, and I felt ready to go. They called 2 minutes to race time, so I finished up on the course and waited for Justin to come out of the trees. I figured he’d be out riding!

A bit later he came up from the front of the lodge. He only got in one lap. Sucky. They were not letting anyone on the course (not Justin, not Heather, not Catharine).

Bruce Dickman ready to do some announcing for the Cat 3 main event.

Justin did some re-arranging with the bike stuff, and I chilled in the rental truck

We left the venue and went for a drive. Justin was frustrated about our tire situation. The shop at the mountain had zilch and we didn’t know hardly anyone that we could try to bum tires from. I told him we could ask around and I’d run whatever. His options were a set of Captains (packed up a lot in Tuesday’s recon) and Fast Trak’s (he had slid out pretty bad in his Friday pre-ride, so wasn’t going to run those). So, he was out of sorts and we had no good solution.

We drove around Puhrling looking for the place they had filmed Dirty Dancing. Just a heads up, Dirty Dancing is set in Catskill, but it was filmed in West Virginia. Good thing we didn’t spend too much time driving around!

After that it was down to the closest town to pick up our pre-race dinner. I wanted salmon, but we had yet to figure out what had caused my hives/allergies, so Justin instead suggested steak. So, we picked up steaks, more rice, and some veggies to grill.

I requested again we stop by the venue and ask around about tires. Someone had to have something!

We saw Sam J just heading through the lot after doing his preride for the day and asked if he had any spare tires what-so-ever. He had been running the Sauserwind's, but switched to something a little faster for the race. So, he had some one-runs that he gave us. OMG, what a savior. Sam is an awesome guy; super nice and easy-going, and totally saved us a lot of headache and hassle! THANKS SAM!!

While Justin race-readied the bikes I got to work filling bottles (5 race, 2 warm-up, 2 water, 2 recovery) and making myself a pre-race sandwich, and Justin a post-race sandwich. I wasn’t really sure how the banana would hold up overnight…

Once we both finished up it was time to cook dinner so we could head back to the mountain for the pro manager/racer meeting.

At the meeting we didn’t find much out, except that Pro Men were doing 6 laps, Pro Women 5, Cat 1’s 4, and the start was moving from the start/finish line to the Subaru/Gary Fisher pit spot in the parking lot area. Initially they had tried to spread out the start so it wasn’t a mad dash to the singletrack and then a bottle neck, so we were going to ride a loop through the parking area. However, it was pointed out that due to the paved descent and tight turns there was a high probability for someone to crash and/or get crashed into, so it was just a flat start, up a hill, through the start/finish and up into the woods.

This was the first time all year that they didn’t seem to have the call-up list ready until the race started. Though, the other difference was it was based solely on UCI points, and then Kenda Cup East standings. Weird.

I couldn’t sleep Friday night, but woke up and felt okay early Saturday morning.

Easy and quick breakfast of Green Mountain fresh ground French vanilla coffee and a mix of cereal.

It was pretty misty and damp when we got to the venue, and fairly chilly outside. I was thankful I could just chill in the truck until Justin needed me to head up to catch the start and do his feeds!

“Green” in Greene County (electric moto)

Cat 1 men 30-39 start

I’ll be honest, I didn’t take very many good pics of Justin during his race. I tried to be a good bottle hand-off’er and waste as little energy as possible in the meantime.

I was stoked he got to finish and I’d only seen one other “6” leg marking at the finish before he came through!

Once Justin finished up he did a spin and it was time for me to suit up. Since the race is over and done, I can freely say we got to the venue and my first thought was, “I don’t want to race today.” As I suited up I actually told Justin I felt that way. I suited up anyway and headed out for my warm-up. After some spinning and efforts up and down the highway in front of the mountain I came back to ride the start/finish loop area and wait for call-up info. Justin tracked down someone from the UCI and let me know I would be called up 21st. Last weekend I was 19th. I think my lowest call-up was 24th at Fontana, so I figured I’d just do my best to get in the mix early.

Pretty soon we were staged and OFF! I don’t know if I’ve ever started by pistol before? I was lined up in the 3rd row on the right, next to Kathy Sherwin. We both went for it, but were totally squeezed out twice! Another bad start.

Instead of sitting in I pushed and tried to make up spots past the feedzone and onto the first singletrack-ish climb. I was still passing in between the first wooded areas.

Spot the two riders?

Moving up

I was Kenda sandwich for the first two laps!

I’d never done a 5-lap circuit before, so I wasn’t really sure how it would go. I realized about halfway through that I was putting in big efforts to pass women only to have them right back on my wheel when I was “recovering”.

I figured I must’ve been doing it wrong, so changed up my approach just a little. I managed to finally pull a gap on Zephanie from Kenda, and then I spent at least a lap or two chasing down Heather H. She had pulled over in the tech zone for support, but took off just as I was coming by. I noticed Judy Freeman from Go Girl just in front of us also, so I hoped we could reel her in.

Heather seemed to be struggling a bit in spots, so I put in an effort, got on her wheel, and then she was able to slightly pull away again. The next “long” climb I knew I could make a pass, and put in a sustained effort to pass her, and shortly after Judy as well. Once I got in front of them it was all I could do to keep pedaling, since I knew I had to keep the gas pedal on the floor for the remainder of the last lap.

Not only that, but Krista had flatted early on and had been making up crazy amounts of time every lap, and she was closing in!

I managed to get a small gap and then just kept it moving. As I finally got to some descending I didn’t want to slow down at all, and kept telling myself to make Nancy proud!!

I was still running scared, but came out of the woods and knew I just had to keep it pinned for the parade section through the parking area and back around to the finish!

Aero tuck

Coming across the line

I had no idea what position I was in throughout the race, but I felt like I had finished strong, and unlike races earlier this year, was able to make passes late in the race. Justin said he thought I was top 13-14. Stoked! And muddy!

As usual, I was slow getting hosed off, but eventually we meandered over and caught the start of the Pro Men’s race.

We hemmed and hawed, and eventually hit up a tavern and grill joint in one of the more modern looking hotels in town and got the salmon/rice/veggie dinner. Food was great, service was horrid. The place was empty and our waitress was complaining about customers. Hmm. I looked at my watch and waited to see if I’d break out in HIVES!

We got back to Kelly Acres to the smell of deliciously baking food. Nancy offered us some of her oatmeal craisin brownie.


Justin and I then proceeded to enjoy the remainder of our beer stock: 1 each of Dogfish Head Raison d’Etre and Spaten Dunkel. The Dunkel was not good after the DFH.

All in all, great weekend, and a killer two-race weekend filled east coast jaunt. Couldn’t have asked for much more: great racing, great courses, killer weather! Since the bikes are packed up – we didn’t get rained on once during our rides! Some sprinkles in Vermont, but that was nothin’. Mostly sunny skies and good temps. Will do a short post later in the week about our ride today on Elm Ridge, and I still have that photo-epic of NYC coming your way!

1 comment:

jameson said...

congrats to both of you! sounds like a great trip and good times.