Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Easthampton #4 Accelerated cure project

Josh Wilcox took some mad footage.

The Spooky Bikes Cyclocross Race, race #4 of the 2009 Accelerated Cure Project Cyclocross Series was put on by the Cyclonauts Racers.

Fantastic race! One of the best courses out there. Lot's of turns, decent runup, mud pit, and sand pit all make it fun and best suited for my strengths.

At the line we were told that the first one across the start/finish on the first lap would get a set of tires. So being that I like free stuff I went out to get those tires. I was a little bummed when they didn't have tires but instead I got $20. Lesson learned, never listen to what the race official has to offer. It may be too good to be true. But whatever, I'm stoked to get anything.

After burning up 1/2 a book of matches to get those mythical tires I had to recover some. Graham when by and I couldn't hold his wheel. The last video of the Run up shows the order we were in for the first few laps. Graham Garber, Jeremy Durrin, Anthony Clark, and me. At the top of the run up Jeremy dropped his chain. Something that plagued me last year at the same course. And what's weird is that he had the same set up with the dog tooth thing. I'm glad I got rid of mine and stuck to the front derailleur and I didn't shorten my chain either. My chain came off only once this season at Mansfield. Jeremy was on course to win this race but luck or fate was on my side this time. Mckittrick was also gunning for podium but I'm sure he was just having one of those days.

I started to close in on Anthony and once I caught him I knew I had to shake him or he might think he could hang with me for the rest of the race. (By the way Anthony was killing it. I talked to him after the race and he told me he rides a trainer 9 hours a week while he babysits.) Josh was encouraging me by yelling out "there's the point difference!" (Meaning if I don't beat this guy I'm going to lose the series). I had 2 points on Graham but if we tied in points he would win the series. So all I was thinking about was beating Anthony. Once I caught him I hung onto his wheel on one of the paved sections rested in his draft while he put out effort and then like sprinting for a town line I clicked down a gear and punched it.

I punched it hard all the way up the run up and then needed to relax and breathe because I was really suffering. I recovered for a minute and then I thought "wow I'm in second place". I could see Graham on different parts of the course and I thought maybe I could catch this guy. The only way I could catch him is if he had a mechanical or crashed hard. So I started chanting "crash, crash, crash." Then I stopped because I thought it might make me crash. After the race I found out that he did crash. But it wasn't enough to make up enough time for me. I'll have to work on my voodoo magic during the off season.

So in the end I got "Garbered" for the second day in a row. My hat is off to you sir. Well done. I talked to Graham after the race for a bit and found out that he might not be doing cross next year. He will however be racing on the road. Anthony came in third and Jeremy 4th followed by Mckittrick. Nice job guys it was fun racing with you.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cheshire Cross, CT state championship

Cheshire cross race this year was my payback from a crappy race last year. Last year I raced at Cheshire about 2 months after I broke my collarbone and separated my shoulder. It was 20 degrees out and since I had not been racing for a while my lungs were not used to the stress and I started coughing up phlem. So much phlem that I choked and threw up after the 3rd lap and quit the race. So ya, I was really stoked to come back this year and kill it. Above is me posing with my prime for getting the hole shot.

I almost slid out on this turn. Photos are by Jen Audia.

Santa was back and more obnoxious then last year by blowing smoke in my face.

The crowd was quite until I was halfway up the climb then they erupted with cheers. It was awesome and I gave them the thumbs up.

Finish line

Lots of friends and family came out to watch. Super cool. It seemed like every corner there was someone yelling my name. They made it so special for me.

Race report:

Let me take you back to a couple of weeks ago: didilloo... didiloo... didiloo... (time machine noise)

After Northampton I was thoroughly shot. The double weekend thing really took it's toll on me and I didn't even want to look at my bike for that whole week. Instead I decided to take a brake and shift my focus to running. Since it has been getting dark at 5pm with the new time change and getting cooler at night I really was having a tough time getting motivated to ride. So running was an alternative because I could stay warmer. During that week I ran early in the mornings and I did 9 miles on Thursday night. I was trying to figure out the Turkey trot course but got lost. Then Sunday I figured out the course and ran the 10k in 47 minutes.

Monday and Thursday I rode about an hour and ran a little in the morning. I confessed to Josh that I hadn't been riding and wasn't sure what to do. I was worried that I was going to suck for the Cheshire and the Easthampton race. But it turned out to be a good thing. A long time ago CB2 told me that your body will tell you if you need a rest and he was right.

Now fast forward to the race in Cheshire. spirrrruuuuut. Ding.

I lined up early to get the front row. Then Hunter (the judge) came over and announced that since there was only a few people signed up for the pro 123 race that they were going to cancel that race and only have the 3/4 race. Then he asked if any one has seen Graham Garber and to let him know that if he is going to race then he has to race in the 3/4 because the 123 race was canceled. (Later I would find out that he was in line to go to the bathroom when someone told him that he needed to line up now! But he was like, " I have to pee!") So we waited for Graham to get to the line and everyone was kinda bummed, including myself, that he was racing with us. "There goes my state championship" I thought.

In case you don't know Graham he's a pro in sheep's clothing. He won the cat 3 race in Northampton with only a 6th row call up. He used to be a cat 1 on the road and used to train 25 hours a week. This guy is the real deal.

Anyway, Graham gets to the line and the lady who told us all that we needed to know about the race before we started casually says "go." And were off. Lot's of guys were caught off guard but not me. I tore up the grass and headed directly for the inside corner. We pop a 180 and as I'm turning I see to my left that Graham was already there but his wheels slid out from under him and he almost crashed into me but I punched it as hard as I could and clicked through a few gears. Hole shot baby!

I lead out for a while until I was caught by Bill Kenny then I passed him back before the swoopy downhill section and tried to open a gap. Then the massive run up that only Josh Wilcox could ride. This hill is really steep and rooty and has 2 logs that are at least 18" tall. Really hard to pull off. In this video it's hard to see what's going on until the end but the sound of the crowd is all that matters. I really love this race mainly for the "Hill people." Cheshire is the best race of the season because people come out and go crazy on this hill. I wish I could have been in the crowd cheering myself on.

So once again Bill passes me on the run up but at the top of the hill drops his chain so around him I went. Later I was thinking how nice of a guy he was for letting me by. He could have blocked the trail or something so I would lose some time. What a nice guy. He is such a nice guy that later I found out that he was doing some kind of charity work instead of going to Easthampton the next day. What a good guy.

As you can see in the video Graham has caught me now and is working the lead. This guy knows how to put that hammer down! The strange thing is that once he opened that gap of about 27 seconds he stayed there. I couldn't gain anything. I did however gain a little bit on the last lap when Alex told me to "dump the tank!" With my response being "It's dumped!"

So even with out a warm up, a full bladder and sliding out on at the start and ending up last Graham Garber wins Cheshire 3/4 and is the State Champion! I got second place and Silver State Champion. Way to to Graham you deserve it!

Another cool thing about this race was to have an announcer as we went by the start finish line. During the race he told me to remember to pick up my beer after the race for winning the hole shot. Pretty cool!

I think the best thing about the race was all of my friends and family coming out to watch and cheer me on. I can't tell you how much that means to me. There were at least 20 people yelling my name around the course. Not to mention Alex and Paul rode their bikes from Winsted to watch and Emily came to watch and pick them up. And Josh and Alex running from spot to spot on the course to keep track of how many seconds I was back from Graham. Josh said later that he might overdid it a little going back and forth from the hill. I'm sure that affected his race the next day in Easthampton. Even Charlie came down with his son to cheer me on! Jen and Nay took some awesome photos that I put up here and my Facebook page. They raced earlier that day and stuck around. Their passion for cyclocross is amazing.

I would like to especially thank my wife Jesse for cheering me on and being so supportive and understanding with all of my racing and riding. You are the best!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Northampton Verge cyclesmart race day 1 and 2, Chi running and SSUSA

At the beginning of the season I thought that it would be impossible to get points if you signed up late for a Verge race. Then I got some points on Saturday and got a call up on Sunday. Sweet! So it is possible. I'll have to remember that for next year.

Saturday went well and Sunday went even better. Adam Myerson did a great job setting up this course. I loved every inch of it. After the race on Sunday I did a few more laps because I couldn't get enough of the course. Thanks Adam!

I moved up a lot on Saturday but at the end I lost some spots because I didn't sprint for the finish. I could have possibly gotten 14th but I had this weird feeling that I was going to crash so I didn't go for it. Man did I regret that. All night I stewed over that decision and vowed to never do that again. 18th for Saturday. Not bad for starting in 70th.

On Saturday some guy tried to get in front of me in the woods so I gunned for the corner to get there before him. Well he wasn't budging and I wasn't budging so I sent him into the tape by accident. Somehow he still got in front of me and was really threatening me verbally. Like "don't you f-ing touch me again!" I was like "relax man." I wound up passing him down the course hoping he wouldn't recognize my jersey and throw a fist out or something weird.
Thanks to my fans Alex, Em, and Josh and others who yelled out my name for cheering me on and encouraging me. You are the best and I appreciate it.

Sunday I was on a mission. Destroy every rider in sight until the end. No more hanging onto wheels to recover. I'll recover some in the upper wooded section. I loved passing guys on the open pavement section. I'm sure they were thinking "no, that's not how you do it." And it wouldn't be smart to do it that way if I was in the pro race. But then again look at the pro leaders. They are out there all by themselves with no one to recover with. At Providence Katrina Nash slayed her race even though she was way out front she kept the pedal to the floor.
On the last turn there was no one with me but I sprinted for the finish anyway. I saw one dude close to the line and thought I might make it but didn't. 13th for Sunday.

13th is a victory in my book at a Verge race. If only I could get the front row or 2nd row. I might have a chance at podium.

That double weekend really took it out of me. It's Saturday the next week and I haven't touched my bike. I'm feeling like my body needs some recovery time. It may sound weird but I did a lot of running this past week instead. I think mentally I might be burn out on bikes this week. I guess it's good timing then that I have this weekend off.

I've been "training" to do this run in CT called the Goshen Turkey Trot 10K. It's on Thanksgiving morning. So far I'm pretty slow. I can do about a 9:30 mile over 7 miles. I'm sure during the race it will be different. The top results for the last 3 years have been 5:33 miles average. I've got a long ways to go.

I've been learning a new technique called "Chi Running." It's all about running using the mechanics of your body and gravity to pull you along. It's really hard to master but the more I practice it the more fun I have running. And it promises injury free running. If I do it right.
I also got into the SSUSA race in Tucson AZ in February. I hope I am more motivated to get on a mountain bike soon. I havn't ridden Selma since Ringwood. I still have a broken spoke to fix. I might take all of December off anyway. We'll see.
Next Week, Cheshire on Saturday and Easthampton on Sunday.
Thanks for reading. Peace.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tymore Park

Tim Schopen and team from Eastern Sports Promotions did a great job setting up a course over an Equestrian park. Tim said they used Google Earth to map it out. We could see the course from the road and saw that it was all in this one field and was a little disappointed but once I was on the course I was stoked!

Lot's of twists and turns and out of the saddle efforts played in my favor.

Place Time Laps First Last Team
1 57:47 12 Johannes Huseby FiordiFrutta Elite Cycling Team
2 57:48 12 James Harmon 503 Cycleworx/LHCC
3 58:51 12 David Freifelder Westwood Velo
4 59:02 12 Joshua Wilcox 503 Cycleworks
5 59:57 12 Todd Cassan Westwood Velo
6 60:26 12 Brian Lariviere Team Bulldog/Cycle Craft

An article was published in the Poughkeepsie Journal by Nancy Haggerty.

"The six-rider Men’s Pro race was a two-man contest almost from the start.

Johannes Huseby of Danbury, Conn., who works for Cannondale and started riding cyclocross professionally 12 years ago, traded the lead with James Harmon of Litchfield, Conn., in the early going before settling in right behind Harmon’s rear wheel for the rest of the race.
Well, almost the rest.

On a short, steep hill with about 150 yards left, Huseby, who rides for FiordiFrutta Elite Cycling, passed Harmon.

He’d plotted the move long before, determining where Harmon was slowest on the course and where, with little more than tight turns and one obstacle left, Harmon would have a hard time recapturing the lead.

"He was strong and riding really well. (But) I knew I could hang (on) from that point on," said Huseby, who crossed a second before Harmon in 57:47.

Despite creating an energy-saving draft for Huseby, Harmon said he wanted to stay in front, fearing that Huseby, who was strong on the flats, might otherwise "power away."
"I figured if I kept him behind, I could manage," said Harmon, who normally rides down in Category 3/4 for 503 Cycleworx. "Towards the end, I tried to give it all I have and he was right there. ... He was smart. ... When he did make his move, I wasn’t ready."

I wish I could find some pictures to put in here. It was a really good race for me especially being my 1st pro race I felt pretty good about my placing.

Nancy writes other articles in the NY area that are cycling related. It's really cool to get some coverage like this for small events. Great job Nancy! And thanks.