Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cross Crusade #3 and 4: Broken bikes and Aggressive Riding

To recap on my last two recent races I had great results on road racer friendly courses under dry conditions and long road sections. Not my style of course.

Looking tough makes you fast right? Photo from pdxflint

At PIR I was sitting in 6th place in the B's and had a explosive failure of my carbon seatpost upon remounting. Luckily I kept the bike upright and had not impaled myself. But trying to maintain my position was another matter. I had to ride through tight turns and off cambers and an uphill section all out of the saddle as I no longer had a saddle. This lead to a fade of 4 spots as I fought and sprinted to keep 10th. Not bad considering no saddle and I didn't let my bike try to mate with me.

Washington County Fairgrounds last weekend was another dry course with long straight aways. I attacked myself into a hole right off the gun going from 4th on the first lap and fading a  position or two a few laps in.  By the last lap I was in 8th place and being over taken going into the barriers when I forgot how to unclip. Luckily the guy right behind me was wearing a helmet camera and caught my stupidity. (I am still looking for that video.) I decided that I was going to let camera man from Trusty Switchblade beat me so I chased hard coming into the twisty 180 degree switchback section of the course. Here I used my body and bike handling to squeeze around camera man. This lead him into a fence but he was ready for this game and push right back sending me towards a tree at the next corner. We traded very physical barbs through another 5 or 6 turns and fought all the way to the line. In the end I prevailed over camera man and he conceded for 9th place. We shook hands afterwards and I invited him over to our team tent to have a Ninkasi Beer (compliments of Ninkasi). I am still looking for him to post that video but I think it will be entertaining.

My last part of this write up is about breaking bike parts and learning to dial in my own bike. I do bike fitting as a physical therapist but often stop my adjustments at fit. Also its hard to be precise and bike fit yourself. That being said I had to put on a new saddle and seatpost after PIR and was reminded why you need to play with your fit. I rode around with my saddle too low and felt the good old quad burn. I have to be careful as this was a symptom of knee pain for me in the past so know your bike position feel, and if its not right have someone who knows the human body take a look.

Tensegrity Physical Therapy, my work in Eugene has been a great host to the team and the Tensegrity principles often apply to the bike as well as people. For instance after finishing my race, I like a donkey drove over my Mavic training wheelset. (I was sure they were done for). But this was a great lesson for me, I learned to tru my wheels. Truing wheels is like fixing people, you need to add or decrease tension in certain areas to make the wheel roll straight, or make a person function optimally.

P.S. Keep an eye out for us race 5 and 6 in Bend, we will have another tasty Ninkasi Keg there for all you non Deschutes people.

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