Monday, April 28, 2014

Spanked by Trans Iowa V10

Avoiding Toll Roads

Meat Up 

     We traveled out to Iowa on Friday to get checked in and "Meat" up.  On the way we stopped at a few tourist spots to try and grab some post cards.  For most gravel races, we have to register using a post card, and they can sometimes be hard to find around the house!

Trans Iowa Start

Iowa is not flat

At least the hills blocked the headwind while climbing

   The race went pretty well.  I started off strong with the lead group, people kept getting dropped one by one and we were down to 3 guys and me.  The winds were insane out of the east.  The first 170 miles were mostly head winds except for when we would turn left or right for a few miles then head back east into the wind.  We were averaging 16 mph into the wind, which was way more effort than I wanted to use, but I didn’t want to be alone in the wind either.  So I just held on as long as I could.  At about 120 miles in they dropped me for good and I rode to the second checkpoint (mile 193) alone, finally after the check point the course turned around and we had a tail wind but I was spent.  I stopped and tried to get some food but couldn’t hold anything down.  I waited an hour or so trying to digest something then rode another 20 miles but the legs just wouldn’t come back.  So I called Christina for a ride, and called it a day, I dropped out at 10:30 Saturday night after 200+ miles.  104 riders started and 19 finished, which isn’t uncommon for this race, its known for its high dropout rate.  I’m a little disappointed, but I can’t beat myself up too much because I gave it all I had.  There will be other races.

  I'd like to thank Guitar Ted for putting on such a cool event.  His race got me out on some pretty awesome training rides this winter and spring.  Also Wheel Werks Bikes for all the help.  And last but not least my family for putting up with my many hours outside riding bikes!

-David Swanson

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Lincoln Park Crit

Took the train to Chicago Saturday

Commuting from Irving Park To Lincoln Park

Cold and cloudy for the morning race.

The Lincoln Park Crit U-turn was sketchy, but I passed through 30 times without a crash.

The Macho Man in Crit mode

Lake shore and all city

The white caps illustrate the high winds

On the train headed home

All City Head-tube badge

     I wasn't planning on doing anymore crits for awhile, but after last weeks disappointing finish I had to redeem myself.  So I hopped the train and headed down to Chicago for the  xXx Lincoln Park Criterium.  This week I performed much better than my first crit last weekend, which you can read about here.

      I raced the Cat 5 in the morning under a cloudy sky and cool temps.  The race went really well, I stayed near the front and even won a prime (pronounced "preem").   I took off on the last lap a little early, and ended up third of 60+.  I was content with that, it wasn't a win but a podium finish is cool.  

     The next race was Cat 4/5, and I could tell right from the beginning that I was riding with some strong guys, that or I was not fully recovered from my previous effort.  They took off hard, and I just sat back in the pack for most of the race.  Toward the last few laps I worked my way up front, but couldn't hold it with the insane wind.  On the second to last lap I executed my plan which was to get on the inside of the U-turn and cut everyone off, but the leaders saw that coming and boxed me in.  So I dropped back in the pack again.  Ended up 11th in the Cat 4/5, which I again was pleased with. 

     Overall it was a great day on the bike, no crashes and some good hard efforts.  The Trans Iowa taper is going well, with less miles but harder and shorter rides. Two weeks away... I'm getting pretty pumped.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Blackhawk Farms Spring Super Crit

Got that Honda loaded down, headed toward something new.

Getting set up in the pits

The ten minutes at the start line seemed like forever

Out front early

Better luck next time, Dad.

Tried my first "Crit" this weekend, and got my ass kicked.  Going into the race I thought for sure I was going to win no problem.  I mean they make me start in Cat 5, how hard could it be?  Well its tough no doubt.  

Somehow I got it in my head that it was going to be a three lap race, and so toward the end of lap 3 I gunned it and got way out front, looked back and wondered why no one was even trying to keep up. 

 Then I wondered why they weren't waving the checkered flag at the finish line, I even took my hands off the bars to get ready for my victory fist pump, then I heard the truth "fourth lap green, GO GO GO!!"  Only problem was that there was no more go in these legs, I put everything into lap three.  I had no idea there was going to be a lap 6.

Lesson learned next time pay attention to the announcer at the start, check the timer on my handlebars, and don't try and skip CAT 5 by racing the Cat 4/5 race.

I know in my head I could have finished well if I would have been smarter about it.  Now I just have to wait till next time to prove it.  Next Crit isn't for awhile though, which is fine, next up is Trans Iowa (340 miles of gravel), followed by Almonzo Royal (162 miles of gravel), and WEMS in Kettle Moraine(8 hours of single track).  So I should have a good base going by next time. -David Swanson

"The only source of knowledge is experience."
Albert Einstein