Sunday, November 6, 2011

Team Landis' Off Season Race Weekend

It must be winter because I just had a race weekend stunningly different from what I was used to.

After a super fun DH racing season I injured my back riding with the Grassroots crew up at Crested Butte a few weeks ago. It was a great weekend but has taken me out of hard riding commission for quite a while. I had to skip out on the Dual Slalom race at Hucktober Fest & have been doing everything I can to recover. This includes going to a Chiropractor, Ice, Heat, Ibuprofen & rehab strength training with James Wilson

I am starting to feel strong again & decided to race the 2nd of a local 5 race Cyclocross Series at Long Park.

If you are not familiar with these races, the gist of it is we race around in one of several large parks mostly through the grass & twist around very tight corners around trees & other park obstacles. These races also always include man made walls that you usually have to dismount & run & jump over carrying your bike. You might be able to bunny hop them if you didn't have to run the seat super high for an efficient pedaling position. This race also included a sand section riding through the middle of a full size volley ball court at the end of a long sidewalk straight away that has us hauling into it.

That sand section was my favorite part of the race. I don't know if I was the fastest through it or if I just made it look harder than most after several almost crashes but I had the spectators cheering every time I made it through. It was super rutted & sketchy.

This race began at 8am Saturday Nov. 5th when it was raining heavily & very cold out. It's not the most fun thing ever but I do these races for training & because I simply like racing my bikes. I race in the A or Expert/Pro class which is a 45 minute race. Mostly road racers or Cross Country MTB riders do the best. I don't ride this type of event & don't train for long distance seated pedaling much.

I go into these events with well managed expectations. Along with not practicing for this I also jokingly ride my Transition Bank a short Jump/Dual Slalom bike. It is very light & being a hard tail it pedals well. It has very versatile geometry & I use it for all types of things. I special ordered a 420mm seat post for it that I run over an inch above the minimum insertion point but still leaves me too low in a poor pedaling position. That is OK because I have fun being able to lean it in the corners or handle it through other more technical sections. In the race I accomplished my goals. I got a good workout, had fun & got the Grassroots Cycles brand & my other sponsors in front of an unlikely audience. Regarding my actual placement I have 2 things to say about it:
1. I finished right behind the leader!
2. I did not podium:)

The very next day I took my same Transition Bank. Made a few hardware changes & went to the Grand Valley BMX track for some more racing.
I was a little soar & tired from my punishment the day before but now it was time for some fun. I took my family including wife Sara, 1 year old Emmett & 4 year old who is becoming quite a BMX'r, Porter. The track was a little muddy & felt slow but the dirt had way more traction than normal.

I did my normal in the Expert Cruiser class which is I race hard but am almost always humbled by some punk on a little BMX bike about half the weight of my mountain bike. I had one shining moment where I had a great gate from the inside lane & got the hole shot, soon to be overtaken down the next straight away. Turns out however this particular punk is a pro BMX'r that used to teach classes for the popular Stiles BMX clinics that just moved to town. That made me feel a little better.

The real highlight of the day was from Porter. He has done several races & had not made a main event yet. He is only 4 & is one of the youngest out there. A couple of weeks ago we thought he would make it but got taken out in a violent crash down the first straight. It was so traumatic as by the time he got up he saw the rest of his class going down the finish straight. He was balling but still wanted to get on & catch them so he could make it to the main.

Today he looked strong & more confident than ever before. He is not the fastest out of the gate but he saves his energy & is consistent around the entire track. He would slowly pick off riders until he was doing very well at the end of the race. This consistent riding qualified him for the main event & finished 4th overall! We are very proud of his progress & even going back out there after his big crash.

Almost immediately after leaving the race Porter fell asleep in the truck satisfied, holding his trophy...

1 comment:

  1. You are a Cycle Stud! CX, BMX, FaMX (Just made that up, for Family Cross) Thanks for the kind words about the CX series. You set a new standard in watts to the grass/sand. Look forward to seeing you out there!

    Mike Driver