Monday, September 21, 2009

Wednesday to Sunday in One Breath

I'm going to take the way back machine for a ride and start this post on Wednesday the 16th.

Wednesday afternoon

Fresh out the box

Anyone with experience building a high po race bike from the frame up understands the intricacies of getting it to all come together smoothly. Alex had the chore of doing it for two racers in about two days, while he ran his shop. On top of it all, the bikes are set up very differently from one another, from brakes and cockpits, to the differences of Campy vs SRAM. To further the pressure these bikes where going to be put under Kevin Klug and Mike Hemme, guys that make crazy power. And of course the final straw, bikes where going to be raced a couple days after they where picked up and wouldn't have any time to be broken in and tweaked. Somehow Alex pulled it off and on Friday afternoon both guys got their race bikes.

Friday evening

Hemme's busted bike

Mike tells me he'll be a good tester because he breaks a lot of stuff... Well, his bike wasn't an hour old before he sent the pic above.

Friday late night

Alex working on his bike deep into the PM

Friday night I hung out at RVB until about midnight working on my race bike while Alex finally had a chance to assemble his... His dedication got COURAGE on the race course this Sunday.

Sunday afternoon


Holly got COURAGE off to a great start taking second in the womens 1/2/3. She has set the bar high for the rest of us. Kevin had a tough start and a couple bike swaps but did what he does best and ruthlessly put the power down for 60 minutes and pick off as many guys as he could for a 10th place finish. You can read about his race on his blog. Thanks to Gavin Gould for the great pics of the Klugs.


Hemme rolled into town a little too late from a wedding the night before in DC. Yes, Mike thought it was no big deal to party all night half way across the country then get on a plane at the crack of dawn, and go straight to the race. He didn't make the start but he strutted around Jackson Park in full kit on his new bike and had a chance to get in a few laps between races.

My race was a big question mark for me. I didn't prepare quite as well this year and I moved up to the 4As, but I have a lot of experience from last year and I put it to use on the start. I grabbed the holeshot and made it out of the dust pit first and was able to put some distance on guys who were a bit faster than me. I did my best to hold them off but in the last two laps I had to race at my tempo and slowly slipped to 15th by the end.

First one out of...

...the dust bowl.

I was happy with my race. I was targeting a top ten and wasn't too far off. I only lost two positions to mistakes. Once flying at the railroad ties behind someone who couldn't get over them very fast. I had to slam the breaks and got passed on the out side. And another time I was starting to loose focus and took a sloppy line around the 180 degree barrier and got passed on the inside.

I love the scene at the races. Props to xXx, Chi Cross Cup and the volunteers for putting on a great season opener. I leave you with this classic moment brought to you by Ben Popper and Half Acre.

Dude, there's a dollar... Ben's crotch!


Ben said...

what a moment to be left with! Can't wait to catch up again in DeKalb!

Mike said...

Alex was key in getting all that built so quickly. I was really bummed I didnt get to race, but I cant wait to race that bike in Madison.