Monday, October 26, 2009

Hartford Cross, Victory is mine!

Some sick dudes at the line up. I had to not look at them so I wouldn't get intimidated by there carbon wheels and onesies uni suits or what ever you call them.

Lot's of rain the day before left the course muddy. A pit bike would have been nice.

Jesse, Naomi, and Will cheered me on to victory. Thanks' guys for being there!

This was the run up. Check out the guy with the single speed mountain bike. He was killing it!
It turns out that he was Salem Mazzaway. Apparently a legend mountain biker. I kept yelling at Josh Wilcox to "get that single speeder!" I guess everyone was doing the same and it got to be annoying after a while. Josh did beat him and came in third! Podium weekend for 503 Cycleworx!
Woke up this morning at 3:30 and couldn't get back to sleep so I figured I would upload some pictures on Facebook and do my blog. Now it's 5:13am and I'm debating on weather or not I should go for a run or keep writing.

I'll keep writing for now. So yes the Hartford Cross race went better then expected for me. My Mother-in-Laws Fiance Steve asked me (through Facebook) how I did it? And I would like to share what I told him.

James Harmon October 26 at 4:04am
Thanks Steve! How did I do it? I think there was a lot of factors that helped me to win.

#1 was all the training that I did during the past week. I've picked up running early in the morning for at least a half an hour and then I had 2 good days of riding over 2 hours.

#2 was that I rested well on Friday and Saturday so when I got on my bike Sunday morning I really felt like my legs were in good shape.

#3 was the course had a huge run up and since I had been running and doing practice run ups it really helped me to not "red line." I just ran up it at a comfortable pace while others around me were really huffing and puffing.

#4 was that there were some tricky sections that only mtbing can give you the skills to make it through. When I talked to the guy that got second place after the race he told me that every time I hopped over this log he had to dismount and run over it causing him to loose time and then he would have to push really hard to catch up.

Not that I'm pro or anything. Or that you could benefit from me telling you what I did the past week to help me win, but I think I did do some things right. I've been doing run ups in my training. Lot's of run ups. And I was hoping for all of the cross races to have a mighty run up. Hartford was the first real run up this season. And I was happy that all of my work had paid off.
The race started off in this wide parking area and narrowed to double lane pavement with a right 45 degree turn and onto the grass. I knew that I needed to get the whore shot so I wouldn't get tangled with anyone crashing on this corner. I was second onto the grass and passed him 5 seconds later. I was happy to be safe.

The first lap I was battling it out for position and was in 3rd. I was comfortably riding behind the leaders and then the leader went down on a pavement turn I assumed the lead and held that position for a while. Then I traded pulls with a few guys up to the run up and then back to the lead.
Ryan O'hara stepped it up and pulled in front of me for a bit. I barely beat him last weekend at Mansfield Hollow so I knew I couldn't drop a beat. He followed me the rest of the race. I would get a gap and then he would close it on the flat sections. Every lap was the same. I would look over my shoulder and see him turning the corner that I just went through.

The final lap rang out and I knew I had to stay on top and ware him down as much as I could before the slick steep slope of a run up. This was the final run up so I pushed it really hard. If I nailed the off camber grassy/muddy down hill I was home free. But as I was descending I ran into traffic from lapped riders. The ruttyness of the hill made it impossible to pass. You just had to pick a rut and stay in it. Isn't that ironic? I made it down without crashing and put the hammer down. Hopped the log and kept my speed up. A few more turns and I'm home free. Out onto the grass I was out of the saddle and trying to not give it all just in case Ryan had enough in him to catch me. On the last turn I clicked down a gear got out of the saddle and hammered home. I didn't see how far back Ryan was but I knew that I pulled it off. Sweet!
This weekend I'm planning to go over to NY to race at Tymor Park in NY. Cash prizes and close to home! That's what I'm talking about. I now have a few victims. Mckittrick is my nemesis. He's killing it in the Verge series. No way I could beat him at Northampton. He will be in the front row and I'll be starting in 60th place. I guess I'll have 2 days to try.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cyclocross is really hard, but fun

John Foley crushed the 2/3/4 class at Mansfield Hollow. You really can not see how ripped Foley is in this picture but if you check out the site I stole it from you will see how impressive John really is.
Hey Mom! That's me with the blue helmet.

Michel Mckittrick eats pieces of sod like me for breakfast and poops me out the back. I grabbed these photos off of this site.
Thanks Steve Yau for taking them. They look much more impressive over there.

I haven't updated my blog in quite a while. Mainly because I haven't had the time or energy to do so. Since I was sick I felt like I had been sucking and therefore wasn't very excited to tell every one how much I suck. I also have been enjoying reading every one else's blogs that that consumes my time.
Anyway, Providence was fun but hard to move up from starting all the way in the back row. I went from 90th to 28th with 100 guys in my field. I was really happy that my grandparents from CA came out to see me race. I haven't seen them for 18 years. It was good to catch up on things.
I raced at Mansfield Hollow and placed 5th in the Cat 2/3/4. My goal was to beat McKittrick , but I think he wanted to beat me and showed that he could on the first lap. After we went through the sand I dropped my chain and there he went. Cross is so unforgiving. I'm not giving an excuse, I'm sure he would have beaten me anyway. Great job Mike! I battled it out for 5th place with Ryan O'hara, one of Mike's team mates, and I was able to get him at the line. It was tough to keep up with him but by the final lap I was on his wheel and I thought we could get up to 4th if we tried harder. I was trying to encourage him by telling him we can catch 4th, but I guess I wound up using him to get me to the finish line. That's cross. It's all about the mind games.
John Foley got the win. I won some winter riding gloves and some cash. Great course. I really appreciate the people who put this race on. Mckittrick wrote a great report on the course and race. Check it out.
I loved the course so much that for $10 more I entered the pro race an hour later. I was feeling good and confident. Then I told Colin I was going to be racing with him and he was like, "you're going to regret it after you start." I was thinking man he might be right but I'm feeling good so maybe he's wrong. He was right!
He was so right that he would have lapped me if I didn't drop out at the bell lap. That was really hard to suffer for that long. But I kept telling myself to stick it out. I still had fun. Maybe I would do better if I didn't blow myself out and then race the fastest guys around. What I discovered though was that I haven't been pushing myself enough for my own race. I haven't felt so much pain and suffering during the pro race and it took every bit of strength to finish the race. I got lapped so I didn't finish but I was done. My track coach in 8th grade told me that when I'm heading for the finish line if I wasn't fully out of gas I didn't push myself enough. I'll try that next time and let you know if it worked.
It was good to see Rob Stine racing with gears like me. The course didn't suit mountain bikers too much like I had hoped but then again Foley won my race so there you go.
Next race Hartford Cross! I see that Ryan O'hara is signed up. I'm sure he wants a rematch.
By the way is really cool. Thanks Colin for making that site.