Saturday, November 23, 2013

True Confessions of a Slacking Blogger (Part 2)

This year, as an attempt to make training easier to schedule, my parents and I decided that homeschool would be the best option for me. Somehow, even though the purpose was to free up time during the day for training, I still seem to never have enough hours in the day. Anyway....

FSC #3

Cody, Me & Tyler on pre-ride Saturday
Before this year, the third race of the FSC has always been held at Haile's Trails in Gainesville (as long as I've been racing). This year, we were not able to race there, so GoneRiding brought the race back to Ocala at the Hardrock, a motocross park where they used to do mountain bike racing a long time ago. It was a pretty cool course, and definitely was a fitness course.

The weekend started out kind of weird. My family was in North Carolina for a wedding on Saturday, so I stayed with our friends Dave, Stephanie and Kyley for the weekend. Dave races in Cat 3, so getting to the course wasn't a problem, plus, he lives right down the street.

My parents got back into town early Sunday morning and my dad came to the course early to pre-ride. Mom came over a little later. I was really pretty excited about racing on a new track. When the whistle went off, I took the hole-shot and was first into the woods. I extended my lead significantly over the course of the first lap, and even had the fastest lap time for the whole wave of riders.

Unfortunately, I think I went out way too hard, because I bonked bad on the third lap. The rest of the guys caught me, passed me, and I just sort of soft-pedaled back to the finish. Not exactly the way I wanted to end the race and I was beginning to think my season was just not going in the right direction.

This is how I felt after 2 laps.

Tampa Riverfront CX

Lining up with Michael Danish and Ryan Woodall on Saturday for the Juniors race
The next weekend was a whole lot better! I got the opportunity to switch gears and do some cyclo-cross racing in Tampa. I had just finished building my new CX bike and was super stoked to race it.

Me leading Ryan Woodall.......briefly! LOL
On Saturday, I raced in my Juniors age group and won. Then, I raced in the Cat 4 group and blew that up, too. So, it was recommended that I apply for my Cat 3 upgrade, even though I've only done a handful of CX races ever. Also, the guys at the race suggested that I try the Pro/1/2 Open class on Sunday, just for fun. I thought that was a great idea, and so did my dad. He signed me up for it and let me race against Ryan Woodall, and some of the other pros and experts.

Sunday's race was awesome! I stayed in the top 5 for a couple of laps, but just couldn't maintain the pace for the whole 60 minutes. When Ryan Woodall came up and lapped me, I grabbed onto his wheel and rode with him for a while. I ended up finishing 8th, but had a great time.

**Thanks to Christie Burnett for pictures from FSC #3.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

True Confessions of a Slacking Blogger

Me and my Mini-me

I know, I know, it's been three months since my last blog post and this officially qualifies me as a blogging slacker, or a slacking blogger, or something. There's really no excuse for it, because I actually did write things to post--I just didn't post them. So here's my attempt to set things right with a series of updates on what I've been up to.

FSC #1 and #2

The Florida mountain bike season is different from everybody else's season. For us, it starts in September and goes until the first week of December. The first two races of the series were frustrating for me, even though my results were pretty good.

Tallahassee is one race course that I love riding. I really enjoy the fast and flowing trails that you're met with when you go and ride there. When we arrived on Saturday, I helped my mom and dad unload the car and set up our pit with the First Place Racing team. Then after we got all done, I changed into my kit and set out to pre-ride the course with my friends. After we finished riding, I concluded that the trail was in great condition and I felt ready to go out and try to win the race. However, the cross-country race wasn't until the next day and I still had a time trial to do. So I made sure not to wear myself out and just sat under my canopy to wait for my turn to take off and crush it.

After about 1-1/2 to 2 hours of waiting, it was my turn to do the individual time trial. So I lined up and prepared to go. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, GO!!! Off I went with a really fast start, going past the fence and into the woods. Two or three minutes into the ride, I was powering over a bunch of roots when my chain fell off. I jumped off my bike, threw my chain back on, and took off again. more than 10 feet later, my chain fell off AGAIN! So, I did the same thing as the first time and I continued down the trail.
Knowing that my dad had a time of 14:50, I tried frantically to go fast, be smooth, and brake as little as I could. Then, after looking down, right before hitting the BMX track, I saw 13:30 and thought that I had my dad beat, so I continued pushing hard and with one last attempt to beat his time, sprinted to the finish. In the end, I apparently tied my dad with a time of 14:50. However, in the final results, I was listed 16th and he was listed 17th overall, so therefore, I WON!! Also, even with the chain drops, I finished 2nd in my class, losing by only about 13 seconds to Sam Connell. It was not as bad as I thought it was going to be, but not what I wanted to get.
After finishing the ITT, we packed up and went to the hotel. I had a rough time sleeping that night because I was so excited about the upcoming race in the morning. Once I got to the park the next morning, I got ready to be the rabbit for the kids' 9-11 race. At 11:00, I got ready to race and set out for my warm up, making it back to the line for the 11:30 start.
Once everybody was lined up, Dave got ready to blow his whistle. Off I went. I got the hole-shot and sped through the fence. I felt great, but then at the end of the double track as we were getting ready to enter the woods, somebody had changed the tape and everybody turned left, instead of going straight. Once we all realized it, it was too late. We all turned around and we had to jump off a 4-foot drop-off to get back on the trail. This messed up the placement of the entire group. I was originally in 2nd before the course change, and got thrown back to 4th place. Cody Burnett got up to 1st, Tyler Mayer got up to 2nd, Adam Cohen got up to 3rd, and Sam Connell came in right behind me in 5th after being in the back of the group.
Throughout the rest of the race, I made it back up to 1st and Sam got to 2nd. We rode most of the 1st lap together until I messed up and crashed on a sugar sand turn and Sam passed and attacked me so I couldn't catch back up. I rode the rest of the first lap and the second lap alone. On lap 3, Cody caught up to me and we rode together. Half-way through the lap, Cody passed me and I rode his wheel until we reached the BMX track. We got stuck behind some people that were on the course even though they weren't racing. I took an inside line and passed Cody. I slowly started to ride away from him, but he didn't give up. He got on my wheel when we came out of the BMX track and headed for the finish. We ended up in a sprint finish, with me just barely winning to take 2nd. Sam finished first, Cody came in 3rd, Adam came in 4th, and Tyler came in 5th. It was a great weekend and I had a lot of fun!
FSC #2 in Fernandina Beach, on the other hand, was not nearly so fun. I got to be the rabbit for the kids race in the morning, and that was pretty much all the riding I was able to do that day. The start of the race is paced by Austin on the motorcycle for about 2/3 of a mile down the asphalt road to the entrance of the single-track. About half-way down the road, my chain broke at the master link and I was done for. It was extremely disappointing, especially after the chain issues I had the race before.
More to come....