Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I ended up picking up a cold last week. Not too surprising given my trip and racing.

I felt more or less better by the weekend, so I took my CX bike out to the club's beginner MTB ride at Bald Mountain. It turned out to be more fun than I thought to ride that bike on the trail. Yeah, it was pretty sketchy a few times, and I'm shocked that I didn't get a flat (40psi on the rear tire), but it was definitely fun to ride. I should probably do that a bit more in the Fall.

The downside to the ride was that I discovered that my knee was still messed up from my fall at the cross clinic. It was very painful that night (probably working around the house all day didn't help). I ended up going to the doctor on Monday. He said that I most likely have a contusion (bruise) on the bone. He had it x-rayed just to make sure it wasn't fractured (it's not). Prescription: quit riding for a couple weeks! I have to agree, every time I've ridden since I fell seems to have set me back.

Also, I'm heading back to Europe this week for work: Monaco and Paris. I can't complain too much about traveling to Monaco. I'd wanted to rent a bike in Monaco and go ride in the mountains, but, given my knee, I'll have to find something else.

So, I'll miss the Munson CX race; I'm also not planning to make the trip down to Cincinnati for the UCI race. Kind of a bummer...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Waterford CX

I went to bed Saturday night not sure if I would race Sunday or not. At some point during the middle of the night, I decided that I would. I figured that my body was already used to getting up early, so why not?

After having not ridden for a week, I had no idea what to expect from my body. As it turned out, racing wasn't so terrible. I actually felt halfway decent for the first lap, but things got rough and I wanted to quit after that. So, really about normal for a cyclocross race!

My only big disappointment was that I was pretty terrible over the barriers. Getting that thought in my head during the race didn't help either. Anyway, that will clean up as I start riding and practicing more regularly again.

I ended up 13th out of 30. Basically about how I usually do. Really not too bad considering...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Europe, Part 1

Almost immediately after finishing the Addison race, I headed out for a business trip to Europe. My knee ended up getting pretty sore and stiff on the plane, but it improved as the week went on.

First stop was Ketsch, Germany. Basically not too much around there, but the hotel was nice and everything went pretty smoothly.

From Ketsch, we took a high-speed train to Paris. I'd been on a high-speed train once before in Japan, but that time, we were in an artificial "canyon" the whole time, so it was really hard to get a sense of the speed. On this train, we were more out in the open, so you got a better sense of how fast it was. Anyway, it was pretty cool.

Apparently, there was a big fashion expo in Paris the night I was there, so hotels were hard to come by. The one we stayed at wasn't so nice... the bed was on the floor (no box spring, bed frame, etc). There was no chair, just a stool. Cleanliness of the carpet was a little suspect. As it turned out, the biggest annoyance was a running toilet. It refilled loudly about every 2 minutes. I ended up sleeping with earplugs in.

I didn't get a chance to spend much time in Paris... that's how business trips go. But I did at least get to see the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe, even if only from the car. That made it better than the last time I was in Paris...

Last stop was Monaco (yes, my company has a plant in Monaco). The weather wasn't so great while I was there, but Monaco was otherwise pretty nice. It's a different world there. The yachts were bigger than I expected... some were easily bigger than my house. I also saw lots of nice cars... Ferrari's, Lamborghini's, you name it... I didn't get to spend much time there either before heading home.

The flight home was a little tense. My flight out of Nice was delayed and I ended up having to run through the Frankfurt airport to catch my flight home.

So, one week, no exercise (except the aforementioned airport jog), and the 2nd Waterford Hills cyclocross race the next day. Sounds good...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Addison Oaks XC

It was a busy weekend for me. Saturday was the FRCC cross clinic. I almost decided not to go to the instructional part, but I decided that I could always learn something. I ended up picking up a couple of interesting points. Mostly detail stuff, but still worthwhile.

It started raining pretty hard near the end of the instructional part of the clinic. While we were doing some relatively slow laps of the course, I fell pretty hard on my knee. I'm not sure if the bike hit my kneecap or my kneecap hit a rock/root, but it was pretty painful.

At that point, we still had an hour or so to wait until the race. I decided to head home instead of waiting in the cold / rain. Particularly considering that I was going to race my mountain bike on Sunday and then come to Europe. It was a good call I think, I didn't realize how cold I was until I got in the shower at home.

I wasn't really keyed up for the race at Addison on Sunday morning. I knew I was leaving for my trip in the afternoon and my knee was still sore. With regard to the knee: I hoped it would feel better once I warmed up. I also figured I wouldn't hurt it any worse by racing. It seemed like it was just the bruise on the surface that was the problem, rather than anything internal.

My first lap of the race was pretty rough. It seemed like I was physically going OK, but my bike handling wasn't sharp. I also got held up a couple times passing some of the Expert women. They were riding fine, I just caught them at some inopportune times. In the process, two of the guys I figured I should be able to beat got well ahead of me.

The first part of my second lap was about the same, except my knee started to hurt. I tried to assess what was going on while riding. Again, it still seemed like it was just the bruise, so I kept going. Near the end of my second lap, I started feeling good about my handling, so that helped my mood considerably.

From that point on, I physically started feeling strong and I felt like my handling was getting better. Then, I started reeling people in and dropping them. It was pretty cool. I've never gotten stronger during the race like I did on Sunday. I attribute it to the good base I've built up this year.

There were also a lot of Rhinos out spectating on the course (John, Paulie, Andrea, maybe more...). Their cheering definitely kept me fired up.

My lap times basically confirmed what I felt. My first lap was the fastest and my second lap was the slowest. But my third and fourth laps were only about 15s slower than my first lap! Maybe that means I could/should have started harder, but I think a lot of the gain had to do with my improved handling and confidence in the later laps.

Anyway, it turned out to be a good race for me. I ended up 15th out of the 18 finishers in my class, which was an improvement over my placement at Pontiac Lake (DFL). The bruise on my knee definitely got more sore (especially on the airplane!), but it hasn't turned into anything too bad.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Many Dimensions of Hosed

There are many dimensions of being hosed:

- I foolishly rode on Saturday morning without knee warmers (I did embrocate though!) in 55F degree weather, up hills, for 3.5 hours. Which helped lead to my next two problems.

- My knees have been a bit achey the past several days, although they seem to be coming around now.

- I seem to be fighting off a cold. My legs felt terrible at the track last night, and I started feeling a bit sick after I got home. I decided not to ride to work today (or do a short-track race tonight), and I seem to be feeling a bit better.

- I've gone on a couple VERY short runs, also probably not ideal for my knees, but again, they do seem to be getting back to normal. It's amazing how crappy my legs feel after running even a little while.

- I'm going to be going to Europe next week. It's kind of a cool itinerary (middle-of-nowhere Germany, Paris, Nice/Monaco), but since it's a work trip, its coolness will probably be limited. I'll also be getting home on Saturday, meaning I'll miss the first cyclocross race of the year. I sort of doubt that I'll want to race on Sunday, but we'll see. I don't think I'll have to travel anymore this year though.