Spring Into Summer
With summer finally and officially kicking off I thought it was time for a spring report. After a long winter I started getting the itch to race in April. I didn't have quite the winter full of riding and training that I have in the past and knew I'd be a bit behind. I was really hoping to enjoy the events I selected with no pressure and focus on gaining fitness.
I kicked off the season with a point to point event in Ontario. I traveled up with Mike and Michelle Simonson(Gary Fisher) the day prior to the Paris Ancaster. After a short pre ride we had a great Italian meal thanks to Mike's internet research. From there it was a visit to the hotel hot tub then a good nights rest. The race for me was pretty uneventful. Nothing fancy. No preferred starts, no bottle feeds and no race specific bike set up. Just point and shoot. After the crazy mass start and a long rail trail section I managed to work my way up within the top 50. As soon as we hit the decisive right hander onto a loose climb my chain jammed between my cassette and spokes. It took minutes to fix as I watched the masses go by. I wasn't too fussed as I pressed on. Eventually I worked myself over and found a group that was my speed. I attacked through the infamous mudslides and was able to leave the group and pick off a few others on my way to 55th and a super muddy Quiring 29er MTB.
A week later it was the kickoff of the Tailwind(www.tailwind.net) USAC-MTB Michigan State Championship Series. The venue, Pontiac Lake. This one was a TT format with two 10 mile laps. Conditions were wet and muddy which isn't unusual in April. Besides a hard crash on lap one due to a tree root and a pedal I had a solid ride and snuck my way on the podium with my teammates Jason and Mike. 5th for me, 3rd for Lummis and the win to Mike. Go Team!
Next on the docket was the classic Fort Custer Stampede(www.mmba.org). I started feeling like a bike racer again as I had a solid 1st lap. Lap 2 I faded but recovered quickly and worked to keep the laps consistent. Which I did until the last lap leg cramps set in. I ended in 5th not too far back and departed happily to the post race action at the Bell's Brewery Beer Garden. Heaven on earth.
The next race turned out to be the greatest of my spring campaign. A family van road trip out to Boston to meet my new Niece Zofia. She was born on May 14th and we rolled Clark W. Griswold style and arrived mid day Friday. In between Zofia's feedings and diaper changes I cruised the city and chased down commuters and couriers on my MTB. Once I'd raised enough hell I'd return to hang with the family and eat the best pizza ever, The Upper Crust(www.theuppercrustpizzeria.com). Check it out if you find yourself in Beantown.
Eventually the family truckster returned, the pizza was digested and the next thing I knew I was lining up at Bloomer Park.Race #2 in the USAC State Series. I had a good start but found myself quite uncomfortable. Perhaps that’s why I chose to slide out on wet grass and take a breather. That's all it took for me to lose sight of the front runners for good. I rode out a couple laps with Jamie Parker(Specialized) and Cory Stange(Cyclefit) which kept me motivated. The last couple laps were solid enough that I was able to separate myself from my companions to roll in for 6th. With a sizeable time gap to the guys in front of me I was left with a bitter taste in my mouth. Much work to be done.
The last weekend in May was the 3rd stop for the Tailwind crew. The Brighton Stage Race. Two days, three races. Saturday a TT and short track and the XC on Sunday. Our powerhouse teammate Mike Anderson came down to test his new Quiring rig. Jason was available for the full weekend as was I. Things looked positive for Bell's/Quiring. The TT went excellent with all three of us in the top 5. Mike whaled on everyone and after one stage looked to have the event locked up. Crazy! With Mike and Jason in the top 3 they were sitting pretty. I was, at the very least, looking to maintain my position after the short track. After a great start and some friendly teammates I was able to form a gap. Eventually Lummis got ants in his pants and bridged. Bam! Joe and Jason off the front. Sweet! At some point during lap two Anderson launched from the chasers leaving them all in his wake. He bridged. Even sweeter. Mike, Jason and Joe off the front and opening the gap. Mike pulled Jason and I along and eventually I popped. I was able to stay strong and keep the chasers at bay to make it a Bell's 1-2-3! Very cool. Coming into Sunday's XC Mike and Jason had 1st and 2nd scooped up. I was one second out of 3rd behind Mark Parmelee(Cycletherapy). Anderson took the whole shot and I sat second wheel. Towards the end of lap one I was struggling to stay with our teammate. This was a long race and I needed to be smart. Mike was long gone and left Jason and I to contend with both Jamie Parker(Specialized) and Mark. Shortly before starting our final lap Mark crashed slowing up Jamie and I and off went Jason. Jamie and I worked to get back into our rhythm not seeing Mark nor Jason again until the finish. On the final lap Jamie was having a bike issue and I took of in pursuit of that 3rd spot. Mission accomplished. A Bell's/Quiring 1-2-3 overall. Go team!
Ruby Campground was stop number four. I was 50/50 on attending all week. With poor sleep and lousy legs I had nearly pulled the plug. I rode the day prior and couldn't get out of my own way. Ruby is not my style of a course. I was concerned I'd feel the same come race day which would be torture on that trail. So...while I was driving to Ruby Sunday morning I was hoping for a miracle. Sometimes, you know how it is, you can have no legs one day and great the next. This would not be the case on this day. I felt just as I did the day prior. After the first bit of single track I was going backwards. We hit the first river crossing and I searched for a booze cruise. I did not want to continue. But somehow I fought off those demons and pressed on. I noticed that my first lap was only 24 minutes. A quick bit of math and I new I'd be done in around 2hrs. So that's what I did. I rode my bike for a couple hours on Sunday. I even landed a podium spot for 5th place due to Cory Stange's late race misfortune. A flat.
So that's my spring as I recall. Thanks a lot for reading. Next stop is the Stony Creek Marathon this weekend. This is a true summer opener. I'm sure it'll be HOT as per usual. Me, the heat and the endurance specialists. Should be a fun. It's on Saturday so you know what that means. Post party time!!!
Happy summer everyone!