Tuesday, November 26, 2013

What's a Community?

A few Tweets, several emails and some coercive text messages and the North Shore trail running community came out of there burrows and bungalows to beat the Hares up BCMC, this past Sunday.

Vancouver trail running community, you are one of a kind. How many other groups of people can you think of that would come out to a lung burning, heart testing, beating of an event under total self-motivation and call it a good time? Not too many, I'd say.

Congratulations and thank you to everyone who made it out on Sunday morning. It wasn't an actual race but the desire to maintain position was enough to surge a good number of you to setting a BCMC personal best. 

Although the event was done under the guise of my 40th birthday, I'm sincerely thrilled to have had the community together atop Grouse under blue skies and some balmy temperatures. It's always great to laugh, breath hard and drink coffee with good community.

Until next time...

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Updated List: Hounds and Hares BCMC

BCMC
Of course the offer to join Sunday mornings Hounds & Hares BCMC is still open, but to enter now is kinda' cheap because you've had a chance to look at the times your adversaries have called in. If you decide you'd like to join us, choose an honest time and start so that you finish at 10:00am.

Hounds & Hares BCMC
There are only two things certain in this thing, the place you leave in and the time you leave at. Once you're heart is pounding and you're climbing, it's up to you to keep your spot and arrive on time.

If each participant has indicated an accurate and honest time, everyone should be arriving at the top by 10:00 am. This means the real push to maintain your place will happen in the last 200 to 300 meters.

A few tips and reminders:
  • Start is just south of the Grouse Grind gate.
  • Finish is atop Grouse just below the chalet after you step over the yellow rope
  • It's F'n cold so bring something warm to wear up top and for the download
  • Bring $10 for the download and a few bucks for java
  • It's icy in the middle of the trail after the 3/4 mark. Walk in the soft pack on the sides. If it's shiny, it's slippery.
  • BCMC is a public trail so please be super respectful of others. Say hello and hope they don't stab you. People traveling downhill should give you the right of way coming up but may not. Smile and keep moving.
  • The trail splits after it starts to flatten up top. 
  • Stay to the left and follow the two types of markers: 
  1. a white reflective diamond that says BCMC or 
  2. a reflective orange plate that has BCMC felted onto it.
There is obviously no obligation to show up but it would be nice to let somebody know so we aren't waiting for you. 

I'll likely be freezing my ass off in the parking lot at the start area about 8:45 to see people off. You'll notice I'm hanging onto my thirties  and aiming to climb in 39 minutes. It's all I got now, baby!
 
And now for the list...
Start Time
Time Estimate
Name
8:15
1:45
Brandi
8:30
1:30
Linda B.
8:50
1:10
Jen Closs
9:00
1:00
Jackie M.
9:00
1:00
Ken and Crew
9:00
1:00
Katie D.
9:00
1:00
Andy Aitch
9:03
:57
Julie M.
9:04
:56
Josh B.
9:05
:55
James M.
9:05
:55
Warren
9:05
:55
Lara
9:06
:54
Pam S.
9:07
:53
Linda L.
9:09
:51
Scott W.
9:10
:50
Solana
9:10
:50
Eamonn
9:10
:50
Melissa M.
9:10
:50
Nathan V.
9:10
:50
Hilary M.
9:10
:50
Kevin L.
9:11:30
48:30
Darby Kai
9:12
:48
Kate M.
9:12
:48
Nicola G.
9:13:
:47
Gemma Slaughter
9:14
:46
Duncan
9:14:30
:46:30
Chloe G.
9:15
:45
Adam W.
9:15
:45
Shea M.
9:15:25
45:35
Hikari N.
9:17
:43
Jay K.
9:18:25
:42:35
Terry B.
9:18
:42
Ran (Seven)
9:20
:40
Jeff P.
9:20
:40
Rob Doyle
9:20
:40
Mark G.
9:21
:39
Tom C.
9:21
:39
Bob Welbourn

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Hounds & Hares ~ November 24th, 2013

The date is nearing on which I plan to roll into my next decade. I'm cool with this because we all know 40 is the new 30.

The Plan
I would love nothing more than to get a bunch of cool people (that's you) out on the trails and then go sip some seriously murky coffee. 

It's a Hounds and Hares (see Wikipedia) style start from Grouse Mountain's dirt parking lot. The aim is to make it to the top of  BCMC without getting passed (or stabbed) by 10 am. This means you figure out how long you think it'll take you and start at the appropriate time. The idea is to catch the person (hare) in front of you and not to get caught by those behind you (hounds). If everyone puts in a fair and honest time estimate and starts when they should, nobody should pass or be passed and everyone should arrive at the top right at 10:00 am. Who will be bold enough to claim the position of the lead hare?  No one shall know until all time estimates are in.The beauty of it is that you can choose whatever time you like as long as you make it true on game day.

If you think you can make it, send me your estimated time at tomcraik@hotmail.com. I'll compile all the times, even if there are only three of you, and make the start times public before we begin. This way you know who's chasing you and who you're in pursuit of. Please submit your estimate by Friday, November 22nd. 

PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE THIS. MORE PEOPLE. MORE FUN! 


There are no prizes for passing people. Only pride.

Please don't hesitate to send questions or comments either.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Cross Border Clash~ Saturday


Working the barrier

It's not hugely problematic but the issue of non-standardized classes in cyclocross has me confused when it comes to registration day. At Mahon and Vanier I registered as Citizen Men. In the Cascade Series I registered as Men C for Cross Border Clash and Mens C Masters at Silver lake. I will be 40 in less than a month afterall.
My results are all over the place and I'm not sure if it's time to move up a category. At Vanier I placed 9th. At Silver Lake I placed 3rd. At Mahon I placed 2nd and at Cross Border Clash I placed 1st. 

Cross Border Class
Cascade Cross Series organizer, Ryan, called us up and divided us up, Canadians on the right and Americans on the left. The Americans had won the cup last year so it  gave them an advantage going into the first corner as it was a lefty. My wheel was on the line to start and when that blast went off I pinned it. Redlined my heart rate and made sure I was the first rider into that left hand hair pin. It worked. I came out of the hairpin and doubled back on the next hairpin, a righty. That was when I saw the mish mash of bikes and some serious congestion. It was me and one other rider out front. He sucked off my wheel for quite some time and made me work bloody hard. The true reason I went out hard was yet to come, the Flyover. If multiple bikes go into this thing together the results are another lot of congestion and then carrying your bike up the "stairs". Once over the flyover and through the halfway mark of this 3.2 km course, I started to widen the gap. I shouldered checked several times and didn't see anyone. Of course my mind had me convinced that someone was breathing heavy behind me, so I kept my head down and continued to push. With each lap I could tell I was increasing my lead.
Cascade Cross Series Flyover
Of course I'm thrilled with the success I'm having but when is it time to move up a category? This past weekend, as you can see from the results above, I was a good distance ahead of the rest of the pack at the finish. If you think about it, close to two minutes is quite a distance when you're on a bike. I don't want to seem arrogant by moving up a category prematurely. And I definitely don't want to continue racing in a category where I am riding alone. That's true sandbagging. And a bit assholish. 

When I finished the race on Saturday I apologized to race director and told him that I wasn't sure what category I should be riding in. I even thought about dropping out of the race at the mid point but that too would have been a disservice to the people I was racing. 

I'll have to make a decision before the next Cascade Series race, Thanks Given'r. I'm thinking I should race Men's B, but I don't know.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Mahon ~ Year Two


I'm so glad I registered on-line because had I not gotten the call-up for this one I'd have been starting at the back of the pack. The citizen men's class, the class I'm in, started at the same time as the cat. 3/4's. Not sure why they formatted it this way but it made for a nasty bottle neck and some screeching brakes going into the first tight lefty. It took an entire lap to catch my buddy who was only a bike length ahead of me at the start line. Thankfully it's acceptable to get those elbows up and grind folks in the corners. Some creative lines certainly were a benefit to my overall race.

I loved this course. Last year it was similar but with more muck and fewer tight switchbacks. The organizers pre-watered the existing mud pit to help it be nasty after all this dry weather we've been having and they did an amazing job of piecing together as many dismounts as possible, some straight-aways, sand, side hills and several steep, fast ups and downs and the all too enjoyable Shimano barrier set.

Marx socks carry me lightly over the barriers.
I felt fairly good out there as my control is improving in the tight corners and on the dismounts and remounts. Unfortunately I'm still lacking on the straights. Ain't got no spin.

In hot pursuit of Quadzilla. Thank god for my 40 psi decision.
Until next time...

October 23rd, Post Script:

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Silver lake CX - 3rd 40 Year Old

A pair of bright, green Marx Conditioning socks rolled into Silver Lake at 9:10 for a 9:30 race start. Damn border! Either way, I pinned number 361 to my Salomon race jersey and it was a blast even if it took my heart rate from resting to red line in mere seconds. A mostly grass course weaved through single track, around a barn, over a couple barriers and was perfect under blue skies and cool temperatures.

Coming in as 3rd place 40 year old was the happiest part of my finish as I felt terrible to finish. Jelly legs and seriously munted lungs. Let's say I hacked a bit afterward. I loved it though. 

Until Mahon next week...
The boys and their post-race bevvies.

GO, CASCADE CROSS SERIES! Thank you.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Cascade Cross Series - Race #1 Silver Lake

Two weeks after Vanier and my bright, green Marx Conditioning socks are clean and ready to roll again. With a few changes this year, including tomorrow's venue and some class changes, I'm excited. There's nothing like a new venure. It's an adventure, right?
Silver Lake, Washington near Maple Falls en route to Baker from Sumas

The new classification has me a bit confused. I get it but last year I raced in the "C" class and things went fairly well. I didn't cream the entire field but I certainly held my own. This year however, classification reads as follows:
Categories below are self-seeding, meaning that you choose the best race for you based on your experience, speed, endurance, and equipment.
If you are sand-bagging (racing in too low of category), people will heckle you and you won't do it again.
If you race in too high of category, people will feel your pain. However, you can downgrade at the next race if necessary.
In general:
  • C Racers are absolute beginners to cyclocross, even brand new to bike racing, or fitness is not really your thing, but you like to get fit by coming out & just racing! That's totally admirable - sweat your brains out. Or just participate & have fun, with low pressure!
  • B Racers are people with some cyclocross racing under their belt & ready for a higher challenge, or experiencing success racing bikes in some other discipline (e.g. Road, XC, DH, BMX). Or maybe you're just a really good athlete! Cyclocross is different than other sports & even cycling disciplines, but it's also about anaerobic conditioning, mental fortitude, focus, & pure bike handling. Do you have those things? If you don't know, try Cs, then upgrade if you are seriously demolishing people out there.
  • A Racers know if they are A Racers. You train hard & focus your life on this sport. Or you're a freak. Or both. Not for the faint of heart. Also, the races are long!
Remember, you can always race up! For example, if you are 50+ but should be racing As, race As! If you are a fast woman and want a longer, faster race, race with the A or B men! If you are fast junior and not feeling challenged in the C Men, race with the B Men!

 I'm pretty sure I'll end up in "B" class and that excites me. It's longer and it's harder. Both equal more fun.