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I still ride bikes, sometimes.


Back in Black

After nearly two weeks off the bike, my battered knee felt strong enough to spin today between rainstorms. Should be back in top form in just a couple of weeks, just in time for the MoState hill bike race at Castlewood (which I am ineligible for anyways). Honestly, if any a time to hurt myself mid season, this was it. Weather has been uncooperative and I saved money on brake pads by not racing Rhett's. Just deluding myself about missing out on some quality saddle time.

Paramount to all though, I landed a job with Accenture. Details pending, this fall I'll find myself in the windy city as a tech analyst. Excitingly, I will be able to live it up here in the 314 for one last Goonie summer with the Mesa boys. Now I just need to find one of those summer jobs.


Massive 'Sup-date

Delineating time:UFD East #3 Greensfelder Challenge
In my opinion, one of the most demanding and abusive race courses for the St. Louis crowd in quite awhile. So much so, that I found myself on the deck in the opening minutes of lap 1. Having deftly descended the opening fall line, mine field I sat mid-pack behind teammate Drew Black and an aggressively hard-charging Scott Piepert. Half-way through the ensuing meandering uphill switchbacks, I found myself grounded between a rock and an Epic. I am still uncertain what I hit. Regardless, I scraped myself from the trail like a charred & forgotten hamburger patty from the depths of an ungreased diner grill. My right knee and shin took the brunt of impact; covered in blood and locked up. Peg-legging out of the woods, I hung up my helmet and headed back east after a short 5 minutes of racing in exchange for an afternoon of RICEing. I felt in good form coming into the event and had really hoped for a good result to back up the training hours I've put in this spring.
WORS #1 Iola Bump & Jump
Amidst a series of typical spring rainouts, I opted to pack up the jeepster and head north for the WORS series opener. Having raced here and won last year as a Cat 2 rider, I was eager to return to the World Cup style course and put in my bid for the Pro/Elite field. If ever presented with an opportunity to compete at a WORS event, do yourself a favor and follow my lead. With half of the course poised on the edge of a massive ski jump basin and the other half following a slew of circuitous cross country ski routes, the Iola course evokes imaginative moments of chasing down Geoff Kabush or sprinting bar-end to bar-end with Julien Absalon. The 109 man strong Pro/Elite field lending to the over 850 total competitors for the event surely doesn't diminish the european race atmosphere either.

Arriving at the line 20 minutes to launch, I found the start chute already teeming with riders and unhappily took my spot near the back. From the gun, eventual race winner Tristan Schouten set off on a laser mission seemingly with 107 compatriots in tow. Working on finding my lungs on lap 1, I settled into a sustainable pace by lap 2 and maintained my rank among those riding around me. Having suffered from allergy/sinus issues all weekend, I rolled across the line after 5 laps in a dismal 72nd place finish. Not the result I was hoping for. Regardless, it was an enjoyable weekend trip with picture perfect spring weather (more than could be said for St. Louis).

So far this year, I have been able to follow a fairly intense and regimented training plan with the absence of school or work in my life. I am able to ride 10-20 hours per week depending on weather and motivation and have sneaked in half a dozen or so trips to the Ozark trail. Lucky, I know. However, I am slightly dismayed by the plateau I find myself stuck on. Given the amount of bike hours logged thus far, I really expected my fitness and results to be much more impressive. I would really like to see some positive result before plunging into the corporate world here in just a few short weeks. I am flying out for a final interview this coming Friday and hope to end this doldrums chapter of my life. Until then though, I will continue to be one with the bike.


Leadbelt XC

Much akin to 2008, the 2010 Missouri statewide mountain bike series kicked off at St. Joe State Park under a new moniker, the United Federation of Dirt. Despite the new name, the race exhibited similar tricks. For one weekend a year, an 8 mile stretch of dirt bike trails are passed off as a cross country course. To continue with the theme of tricks, this transmogrification represents the "turn," with the "prestige" being a resultant face melting, as flow is a minuscule concern to those with 250cc, four-stroke, smog machines between their legs. For those of us with less than 400 watts of power in our two "leg" strokes, flow is paramount. Complaints aside, the masochistic side of me has really enjoyed this race each year. It's an ideal location for early in the season due to the lack of elevation and rocky soil. Mark, the race promoter, also seems truly passionate about hosting this event each year.

With a fair amount of base leading up to the series opener, my legs felt robust as I waited at the line for the Cat 1 race, lungs a different story. Off the start, I easily found myself where I wanted to be, second wheel into the singletrack. I followed Zak Hafner for a little over a mile with the rest of the age groupies in tow. The start seemed a little sluggish for an expert race, although given the adverse trail conditions for the day, I was complacent to save some energy. Zak bobbled and hesitated on a slick stretch, in which I capitalized and put in a quick hard pull to separate from the pack. Sitting up after the pull, I noticed that one rider had tagged on. Incredibly matched on power, we traded pulls for the remainder of lap one, slowly putting distance on our cohorts. Hitting the asphalt wheel to wheel at the conclusion of lap 1, we collectively decided to sit up, grab some water, and sneak in a quick chat, having not seen any competitors for a few miles.

Rolling through for lap 2, it was game on. I inched out ahead wanting to hit the singletrack first. I put in a few hard pulls on the false flats and progressively got a little bit of breathing room behind me. All of a sudden, the fellow disappeared from the rearview mirror apparently with a mechanical ending his day. I finished out lap 2 solo.

By lap 3, I managed to catch a Revolution rider and kept within 50 feet or so for the last lap. Needing one hard surge to gap up, I found all of my matches used up. The Revolution rider (the money spot) disappeared up over the last climb, relegating me to a 4th place finish overall, 1st in the 19-29 age bracket. I am incredibly elated! Pre-season training payed huge dividends today. I had a great ride despite less than desirable conditions and know what I need to work on. Granted, this is merely a low priority early race, but I hope it's a sign of prosperous times on the horizon.

Here's to a buck nasty start to 2010.

To see 30 seconds of my butt, then me getting dropped follow this link and fast forward to the 3:20 mark: