Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tulsa Tough, Best Experience Ever on a Bike!

What an outstanding event! This has been on my bucket list of races for a while and now that I have experienced it for myself I highly suggest you get your butt down there. I am hooked and will be back for sure!

The races were well organized and a crap ton of people everywhere. The entire environment was incredible. I raced Saturday and Sundays races and actually preformed pretty well for my standards. I even had my family down to see me race the best I ever have on the road!!! Its such a wonderful time to  be able to share that part of my life with my family. I am officially in super hero status with my 4 year old mini me! Nothing can beat that!!!
My Mini Me! 

Trainers! Holy Crap, hit the big time!
Heading down to Tulsa I told my wife that I did not know what to expect and would be happy with a top 10 finish down here. Little did I know that I would be in the top 5 mix! AND on both days! Completely surprised and stoked about it!!!

Saturdays race took place at the Brady Arts District and was really fast. Rode a bunch to try and get warmed up, did a couple sprints in the parking lot only to find out there were rows of trainers at the start finish. Wow! I am not used to this kind of stuff!

Finally got to line up and was mid pack to start, but as luck (for me) would have it a guy just to my right missed his pedal and went down taking some dudes with him. Pedal, pedal, top 10 right off the bat. The pace was fairly high and I was within myself most of the race. Had the usual guys nervous and yelling at other guys in the group. Crit Racing! Yah! I just focused on keeping near the front the best I could minus one lap where I accidentally found myself out front and decided to lead a lap and get my 15 min of fame. It was being live streamed after all! Fast forward to about 3 to go and I made damn sure I was close to the front and come last lap a move went on Soundpony Hill and I got in it. It finally dawned on me on the decent before the final corner that I could not be in better position. Holy Crap!!!!! We had a good enough gap that it was the four of us alone heading to the finish. I hit my sprint or what was left of one and ended up passing only one guy and took a 3rd place finish!!!
Sat Crit, Brady Art District
I was as surprised as Mark Horn is on JDubs video!!! (the decent on my 15 min of fame in the front; 60 seconds in real time)

HERE IS A VIDEO OF THE RACE, START TO FINISH. HOW COOL?!

Afterward it was mini me's turn!! There was a kids race and he could not wait to get in it! More proud of that than anything. He is the dude in the yellow shirt passing everyone on the left! Its a crappy video, but he took off before I could get my phone out.

video

Checked into the hotel and headed back to watch the Cat 3 race to support the Colavita and the KCBC boys in action. Then the Cat 1/2's to watch Kent and his crew.

Saturdays Results Here

Video from Saturdays 1/2 race at the Brady Art District. This is pretty cool, you can see HR, Watts etc.. Watch for Olathe Subaru, local bad arses were strong.

Meanwhile, I have to say, I met some of the coolest people hanging out watching. I was asking around where I might find an ATM and got to talking to one of the board members and she ended up taking me over to a cool restaurant and bought me an IPA. How cool is that!!

Bought Bobkie a beer at Soundpony!
Sorry I forgot your name, but thank you so much for the hospitality!!
I am so impressed with the TTough people!














Sunday was the race everyone talks about because of the atmosphere on Cry Baby Hill. (just google it or search #crybabyhill on FB, Instagram). I haven't raced back to back days since cross and never seem to do well on day two, So I did not really know how my body was going to respond. But I decided I was going to get started right and staged pretty early and got a nice second row start. This race was a little less stressful. With the hill looming every lap there were fewer people trying to keep in the front. The only sketchy section was after a steep(ish) decent there was a over 90 degree turn into the final straight. One lap two guys over shot into the grass and almost came and took me out when they were trying to get back on the pavement. Thank goodness it wasn't raining. That would have changed the race completely.

Not much of a poker face on Crybaby Hill Thanks @samuelsmith (Instagram) for the pic!
The hill did not take its toll on me util we had about 3 laps to go. I could tell my legs were getting tired, but at this point there were not many of us left that were still climbing pretty strong. There was a break of one or two guys at one point but got pulled back with one to go. Now I have to say, what you read about cry baby hill is absolutely correct. It is flipping awesome!!! I am a Cat 4 and felt like I was in the Tour!!! No joke, it was amazing.

Last lap I made sure I was only about 3 to 5 guys deep because I knew what was coming. Once up the first part of the climb (the steeper part) I got to about 3 position and covered all the moves the remainder of the climb. One last dig to catch one more wheel got me over the hill and we caught the remainder of the guys in front. Down the hill in 5th position, sharp right and sprinted with what I had left which was just enough to keep my position. 5th place. Just had my two best road racing results in the toughest race I have ever entered.

VIDEO OF THIS RACE ON VIMEO


John at the Start of Saturdays Crit. 
Video on Cry Baby Hill from Sunday. This is our group, Cat 4's, guy in front is Prologue's Mark D. Probably about half way though the race at this point. Speaking of Mark D from Prologue, he was right on my heels both days had a great weekend as well!

Another Video from Sunday.  Gives you a good idea of the atmosphere.

Sundays Results Here

Still can't get over how awesome this experience was!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Tour of Kansas City

First race of 2015 is in the books! I forgot how fun this is!!!

I drove down to Kauffman/Arrowhead to race in Sundays Crit in the Tour of Kansas City. I wanted to race Cliff Drive as that course suits me a little bit more, but had a wedding to attend, so that was that.

The course basically was around Kaffman Stadium Parking lot with a handful of corners, one small incline and a long sprint finish. I arrived early to watch the big boys in Cat 1/2. That seemed to be the only race of the day that a break actually stuck (but real close). They had a nasty looking crash 200m from the finish that could have helped the break, but I don't really know.

There is a couple videos out of some of the action on FB: Here,

After watching that excitement I really started to second guess getting there so early, the Cat 4 race was the last one so I about took a nap waiting for the next two races to finish. One thing was clear, does not look like a good day/course for a break to stick.

Just before the start Kent basically told me the same thing, so I took a front row start and we were off. A stiff headwind on the longest stretch of the course kept things in check and most of the race was actually fairly easy to manage. It was really easy to stay in the front minus our group apparently felt the need to bomb the last corner and sprint to the start/finish every single lap.

Thanks for the pick JDub!
I tired to chat up some guys and joke around a bit, but dude, some of these roadies take themselves way to seriously. There is definitely a multitude of personalities out there, some of whom need to chill out. Cool dudes, stay cool man and get a cross bike and come play. Anyway, I digress...

About 2 to go my ADHD started getting the better of me, in addition to getting frustrated with the dive bombers in the last corner I stretched my legs out a bit after the short incline to see what would happen. Well, nothing, I got a small gap with a Prolouge guy but we were not getting anywhere with a headwind so I choked my motor and sat back in to recover a little.

Now that I wasted that energy it was the bell lap and my main goal was not to get boxed in and try to get some good positioning into the last corner. All went well minus I was about 5 to 8 guys too far back and probably about 20 of us ended up in a group sprint. I was way too far back to have a shot at it, but for my first group sprint ever, it was some good experience. Still being new to the road race scene I still have a ton to learn.

Man I love racing bikes, this was so much fun! It was also great seeing some race buddies I haven't seen since cross season.

Results for the weekend here.