Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Ara's 2015 Sea Otter Report


It has been almost a decade since I attended the bicycle racing orgy that is Sea Otter and nothing has changed. You have your gravity punks, XC gram counters, shaved legs roadies, and a sprinkle of trials/cyclocross/average Joe's having fun in Monterrey. The setting shouts fast being on the Laguna Seca Speedway. The festivities are endless and the shwag from companies to wow you. Great excuse to mingle and say thank you to various sponsors.

Wasn't feeling too good going into Sea Otter. Catching a nasty head and chest cold put me out of US Cup Bonelli the weekend before and off the bike for 5 days. Got there on Friday with Gabe and registered for Cyclocross and XC, what the heck, got to have fun! Pre-ride on Friday afternoon was painful. Congested, mucous, and green goo coming out of everywhere. Sleeping in on Saturday was in order.

Cyclocross! It has been over 4 months since cyclocross season ended but it came back quick. surprised on the field size of 43! Had a great start and was holding my own on the techy jump section and fly over. I could feel the power waning as the race went on but was stilling holding on the top ten. Was wearing my Sigma Sport jersey to represent and it was covered in snot, sorry for the mental image. Two laps to go and crowd was going crazy near the Sierra Nevada Beer Garden. Then WHAM! Hit a curb and pinch flatted my front. Just like that I was out. The Kommando wheels are great but the Laguna Seca raceway curb has taken out Dugatis also. Broke my heart. It is what it is. Fun while it lasted. Took a parade lap and chugged a beer from a heckling fan followed by Amino Vital Pro grape to recover.

Saturday night I was coughing up blood (Gabe is my witness). Was not feeling good at all. Woke up at 6am and headed to the XC race. With 5 minutes to spare got in my Cat 1 group and took off on the tarmac. Lets just say I was "racing" the 24 mile 3300ft of climbing course. Had fun, got a good workout in, more yellow mucous with a little bit of blood came out, and most importantly represented our sponsors. My Kenda Honey Badger XC Pro were a great choice because there were some sandy spots and my Sigma Rox 10.0 registered a climb at 18% but still didn't slip. I lost my Ryder sunglasses on a gravel downhill but the guys at the Ryder booth were super nice. Did not cramp up when I was pushing it to finish the course in 1 hour 48 minutes.

KEN is the MAN! Ken from Xpedo is awesome. He rebuilt my mtb pedals and hooked me up with the "Beard" socks. Crash and the Beard are super nice American Classic/Raleigh pro team racers. These guys are rippers! Major respect.

Gabe Margve got 8th place in his category but could have done better if it wasn't for the slowpokes on the single track climb. Great Job old man! Mark is officially back and raced last second on Sunday!

Major props to Ed from Voler, KMC,  and Jay from Royal.

Santa Ynez is in two weeks, hopefully it gives me time to recover and build up again,

Until then,


Three Races In One Weekend For Josh Qualls

Decided that I was ready for some suffering to see how my training did over the winter. I drove down to Tennessee for the Three River Rumble in Kingston TN. (About 4.5 hours from home) 
It's a 2 day 3 race event. 

Day one: Time trail in the morning and a Crit in the afternoon. 

The time trail was a great course with a few fast turns and a couple of small rollers. I held a 25.2 mph average (on a regular road bike) with a max speed over 34 mph. Placed 3rd with just 4 seconds between 2nd and myself.

The Crit
The course was a figure 8 set up with 8 turns in .8 miles. It was fast to say the least. You were either going into a corner, in a corner, or coming out of one the entire race. 
The field was small, which meant more work. No time for resting. We averaged 22.6 over a 30 minute race. 
I was very impressed with the Novatec Impulse Wheelset with the Kenda Kountach mounted on them. I was taking more than 90° corners at speeds of 26+ mph and was never worried they'd lose grip. Grabbed 3rd place again for the second time in one day.

Day two: Road Race

Oh my! Where do I start with this race. With 90% chance of rain in the forecast, I was a little nervous.
20 minutes before my start time the rain let up, only for it to come down harder as the whistle blew. Off we went with 26 miles of hard racing ahead of us. With 11 riders in the group, we stuck together for the first maybe 2 miles. As we crested the first climb, 4 of us had a small gap on the others. We made the descent at speeds of 35+ mph the sky threw everything it had at us. I was soaked to the bone within 4 miles of the race. The 4 (two guys were on the same team) of us worked together to get a nice gap in between us and the peloton. 
We had a 3 minute lead at the half way point. Did I mention that it was raining?? Hard??
The teammates attacked and left me and the other guy working hard to catch up, which we failed....
So it was him and I going for the last podium spot. With 2 races in my legs and him not racing the day before, I didn't have enough gas in the tank to keep him from taking it away from me. 
3rd was just out of reach but happy with 4th place after the weekend I had.

On the 26 mile course I averaged 22.2 mph with 1400+ in climbing. 
I'm so glad I had my Sigma Rox 10.0 set up to alert me with a tone about my heart rate because I couldn't see it the entire race. 

I'm calling this weekend a huge success in my books. I was the only one who had raced all 3 races during the weekend that were in the top 5 of the road race. 

P.S. Shout out to Amino vital for keeping me hydrated even though there was plenty of water coming out of the sky and off the tires in front of me, I still managed to down a full bottle of the Amino vital Pro grape in the road race.