014 Reality

The reality is it has been a tough week. The mid season tiredness has crept into my legs and soul. A co-worker has been let go due to lack of work. Lay-offs are looming large above all our heads. This lay-off has created more work for me. I'm really not sure if it's good or bad, but I just keep showing up and collecting a pay check. I hope with all my heart this lay-off goes better than the last one.

The USGP in Kentucky last weekend was okay. Perhaps I was expecting more, but the venue and course did not seem ready for a world championship event. The week has cost us two broken shifters, a gore cable, a sliced tubular, and a lot of sleep. On the bright side Bad Andy got caught in this pretty sweet photo.

I'll stop bringing you down. I'm looking for the bright side. Negative energy out and positive energy in. I'm excited to race my bike this weekend. Mac Races #7 and #8 Beacon and Highland Park.

Have you seen the time traveler caught talking on a cell phone in this clip. Kinda funny.


013 Battle Scars

 This weekend was the Granogue cyclocross race, MAC races #5 and #6. The queen of the MAC GRRRanogue. Did you know in 2005 at my first Granogue while pre riding the course in the foggy misty morning I was so scared of this course that I went to the car and didn't race. Yes it was my 3rd race ever but I don't think I'll ever live that one down. My best Granouge finish came in 2008, 6th place B Women. That year the course was dry and swoopy, the barriers were near the rooty tree, the climb to the water tower was fast and powerful and it was a sunny crisp fall day. I was having one of those rare days when it felt like my legs could do anything. I attacked on every hill on the first lap and tried to maintain. I often think about that day, I attacked the course with vengeance, I had something to prove to myself, I wasn't scared.

Did you know after two years of trying I have never finished the Granogue mountain bike race. That's another story for another time. This year the Granogue cross race celebrated 10 years and it's first double up weekend with two new courses. Did you know Bad Andy has been at every Granogue Cross for the last 10 years.

Saturday's course offered a downhill slalom from the water tower, a rideable backside hill, and a random sandpit in the woods. I ripped the start finding myself in decent position after the first corner. As we approached the sand pit I was ready for anything. I left a little room to the rider in front just in case things got crazy. Good thing, there was a pile up. As people parted sorting out themselves and bikes, a path was cleared for me to continue rolling with out the need to dismount. Score. Up the next hill I desperately tried to attach to the group in front of me. Through the barriers I attempted to make up more time because I new I needed a wheel on the windy road section. Well this failed completely, I wrecked on my remount and cut my knee on my bike. There's a first for everything. The knee didn't hurt just a little bloody, I kept going.

Bad Andy Granogue Cross
Then my seat decided it wanted to be pointing at the sky and not level. I was near the pit and knew BA's bike was in there for me. My first pit, while searching for the bike a couple more spots were lost, I kept going. Finished 15th out of 46 starters in the B Women. It turns out i needed four stitches in my knee. Thanks to RKL and LVG for accompaniment and car to the medical clinic post race.

BA had a good ride, although 11th is the the worst spot in a UCI C2 race, no UCI points. For a good majority of the race he was in a group of 8 or so. I think one of the biggest groups I've seen in a cross race that stay together for awhile.  

Bad Kat Granogue Cross
I'm somewhere in this cluster.
Sunday morning I didn't know if my knee would let me race. I almost broke down before leaving the house. BA talked me through it. The plan was to ride around and see how it felt. Upon arrival I forgot about my knee. I started riding and forgot about it even more. I was excited to see what new surprises and challenges the course had to offer. Sunday's course gave riders a run up backside hill (BA and some others rode it), a tough ride up to the water tower and a downhill remount after the run up. I killed the start attempting to attach to the top four. As I made my way down the hill from the water tower I was desperately searching for a place to recover. A few people passed me. I kept fighting for positions knowing that I was running down the downhill re-mount section. I was lame today because I was thinking about my knee. I passed people on the tricky turn before the road. I was really suffering during this race and it seemed like everyone just kept passing me, so on the last lap when I was passed on the water tower hill I attached myself to the wheel and sprinted for 10th out of 46 starters in the B Women.

BA had a inspirational ride to 6th. He rode the backside hill and when the crowd went nuts it fueled his fire. Check out his post race interview.

This weekend we head south to Kentucky for the US Grand Prix of Cyclocross. We are both excited to see what the Kentucky Cyclocross Scene is all about.


012 Yesterdays Skinsuit

Bad Kat Friday
Searching for more gears.

This past weekend BA and I headed west to the triple up cyclocross race known as the Cincinnati UCI 3. We met up with fellow C3 - Athletes Serving Athletes teammates and friends to concur the Ohio Valley CX Scene. It was hot and dusty. Not your typical cross race weather. I brought the camera, it never left the car.

Friday's race course greeted us with some challenges. Loads of climbing. It was definitely one of the toughest cross courses I've done. I've never wished so badly that my 38 lil chain ring was a 36. The 42 saw no action except for the start. Monkey and I found each other on the last lap. I yelled to her as she passed. "I hate this course with every fiber in my being" she started laughing and said "I think I'm gonna puke". It was awesome to have a teammate to share that moment with. We finished together, still in the top ten. No disrespect to Friday's course designers, just not my cup of tea. That one hurt, but everyone is still talking about it. Shout out to DeeDee who took 3rd in the elite women's race way to crush it.

Bad Kat Saturday
What a difference a day makes.

 Fueled up on Thai food and donuts we set out for Saturday's race. The race course is in a smallish park in the middle of a neighborhood. I wish my neighborhood had a cross race, jealous. The course was wicked fast, loads of turns, ups and downs. I breathed a sigh along with most of the team. I loved every single moment, so much so, instead of warming up on the trainer I just road the course. Sometimes the first race is nice. 6th B women. BA had a solid ride to 14th again.

On Sunday as we set up camp at the venue, and I started looking over the clothes I had left. I really wanted to wear a skinsuit. They make me feel fast. It was dirty. I only wore it for an hour yesterday I thought giving it a sniff, not to bad. Maybe my stink would deter someone from riding my wheel the entire race. Monkey and I both agreed we would wear yesterday's skinsuit. Sometimes at a bike race you just gotta do what you gotta do and not think twice about it.

Bad Andy Saturday
Lucky 13

My legs hurt, but I sucked it up and rode the uphill sand because I knew it would be badass. BA went crazy. It made me smile. Hey, I passed three people running. The last lap I again rode the sand. Probably a mistake, I made it through but totally felt it and suffered through the last lap. Didn't have a good finish. Oh your passing me on the finish straight by all means please go ahead. Not good. 8th B women. Sorry Ohio I dropped the F-bomb (at the railroad tie mulch thing) and the S-bomb (weird uphill tree turn) during this race, I sometimes get a potty mouth during racing, not at racers but at obstacles (trees, roots, rocks, etc.) they don't have feelings.

BA rocked it to 13th like his number. UCI points for the Class I race. He road the uphill sand a couple laps to pass people, but not every lap. On the laps he wanted to rest he ran. He's smart.

Fat Marc and Monkey as always great hotel roomy's. LVG always crushing it with a pair of seconds, nice. C3-Athletes Serving Athletes, what a great weekend in Cincy, Outhio. Granogue this weekend, MAC races #5 and #6. Find me selling t-shirts to chat or buy one. All the cool kids are wearing them.


011 A Tale of Two Races

Bad Donkey likes new home.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness. It was the season of cyclocross. 
On Saturday Bad Andy and I headed down to northern Maryland for MABRA Race #2 supporting breast cancer awareness. Good cause bad directions. BA and I got so unbelievably lost we almost gave up on the race and went home. We were on a tour of the Gettysburg battle fields and not headed to a race. Seriously. If not for a quick call to Fouche who is semi local and was able to point us in the right direction we would have bagged the race. We owe him one.

I would like to just skip over my race on this day entirely. I was ready. Third to the mud at the start. Then it all went wrong. Apparently I wasn't ready for the mud, the slog of a climb. I tried to make up where I could, it was too late. I'm proud I stuck it out. I knew what was happening and I tried to adjust my riding style, but was glad when I finished. I held it together for the most part. 7th in the Cat. 3 women's field.

BA had another nice ride to 4th in the Elite Men's Race. Battling with Bishop. I'm told they both found a secret concrete gutter along the really muddy off camber section. Everyone else thought it was a stream. BA took the line through the mud, Bishop was pushed into the stream, when Bishop discovered it was concrete he attacked. Later BA used it to attack Bishop. Those crazy elites. BA had his number on the wrong side the entire race. He was rider X. The officials where really nice about it.

On Sunday we headed over to New Jersey for the Hillbilly Hustle v.5 put on by Breakaway Bikes. I new things where right with the world when we got out of the car and heard G n' R blaring on the race course. I breathed deep, and exhaled letting the previous days bad race float away into the Jersey breeze, this was gonna be a great race. The course is flat, sandy, loads of turns, a giant dirt pile, and some fast tricky sections.

Bad Kat Hillbilly Hustle
Yeah I'm holding my breath.
I pre rode a bunch, it calmed me to know the course inside and out. On the pre ride I saw the log natural barrier. I saw the way around. The log wasn't that big. I've been practicing log hopping this summer on the mountain bike (I usually slam into them and hope my mountain bike suspension does me a favor). On the mountain bike this log is a no brainer a bump in the trail. On the cross bike it's a different story. I rode up to it twice in warm up until I finally found the confidence and over it I went. Not bad. The first lap I hopped the log and the one spectator in this section went crazy. That was all I needed, I railed it every time the rest of the race. I hung onto the wheel of two chicks that have been racing elites since I started racing like it was my life's mission. 5th in the elite women's field. 

Bad Andy rode like a rock star to WIN his first Hillbilly Hustle. He's been there since the inaugural race, except for last year when we made the trek up to Gloucester for New England Worlds. Not this year kids, we were pumped to get hustled. He signed a few autographs and posed for some fan pictures post race. Didn't I tell you this is a great race. 
The best part is the super Bad Donkey trophy Bad Andy won created by Warren Holzman. It found a good home. Thanks to everyone who had a part in the Hustle. It really is a gem. Alright, I'll stop now.

Elite Men's Podium Hillbilly Hustle
With the high of the great race going I may not have been slightly negligent with the bike rack. As we crossed the Delaware Memorial Bridge we heard a rustling up top. I looked over to see BA's brand new bike dangling off the side of the car held by the wheel strap. My heart sank. We made our way the the right side of the bridge desperately searching out a pull off. The drop out is slightly damaged, everyone seems to concur it's not structural. 
This weekend we head out to Cincinnati Ohio for the three day race weekend. The bikes will be inside the element for this trip. What's better then a cross race? A day off work. Can't wait.