Welcome to The Wheel Racing....

Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.
George S. Patton

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Wheel Goes Off-Road!

       A lot of people don't realize that The Wheel Racing Team has a long history of racing off road. The last couple of years, the focus and spotlight seems to have been more on the team's success in criterium and road races. It's easy to forget that The Wheel knows dirt too! Heather ran the Midwest Fat Tire Championship for many years, and won the overall title for a couple of those years as a Category 2 racer. Dan raced expert (Category 1) as did Tom Hall (your friendly mechanic by day). Many of some of the very strong off-road racers that you see out there got their start with the Wheel Racing, and Heather still officiates a lot of mountain bike races. You may have seen our crew out at God's Country Off-Road Duathlon, or the God's Country Mountain bike Classic doing scoring and helping out.

            Last weekend we made the short trip out to Clinton Lake for the 5th annual Bone-Bender 3/6. Heather offiated, and Heather and Dan (and our great volunteers) did scoring. The Wheel Racing was represented in the woods too! Tony Sargent raced the 6 hour division, Men's 35-50yo (or the medium old guys, as Tony called it). I raced the 3 hour Women's Open. If you've ever ridden out at Clinton, you know, the trails out there are fantastic. Lots and lots of technical areas, and some great power climbs. Lot's of fun, and really pretty challenging. Honestly, I was in a little bit over my head, but the very challenging course really played to Tony's strengths!
         So while some of us were out there cursing the hills and the rocks.... Super Tony was having a great time just tearing it up. And after 6 + hours, 4 laps, and about 50 or so miles of pretty technical single track trail, Tony came out on top of his age division, and 5th overall. You know you have it under control when your last lap is your fastest! He really did the Wheel proud! There are lots of great photos, as well as all of the results from that day on the BoneBender blog. Chris Locke and the guys from CowTown put on a great race, and having Heather there to make sure the logistical details of scoring and officiating really makes for a great event. I've done a lot of their races, and have always had a great time, even when all I'm doing is helping out with scoring.
      The next race that we are going to is The Roubidoux Roundup, which is in St Joe on Memorial weekend. Then we set our sites on Mason's Midsummer Revenge at Wyandotte County Lake. WyCo has quickly become my favorite place to ride and race. Last year's WyCo's Revenge turned me on to the trails, which are flowy and fast, with enough technical stuff to keep it interesting.
     In other news, Category 4 road racer John Witt had great results racing in the Velo Fest Old City Crit in sunny Florida. He took 3rd in the Criterium on Saturday, and 7th in the Road Race on Sunday. Also- registration is open for The Wheel Cyclery Ms150 team. We'll be doing training rides and much much more. Sign up now and check back for updates!



Thursday, April 11, 2013

Spring Racing!


Spring is the season of anticipation. You know soon it will be warm, but it isn’t QUITE warm yet. Me personally, I start to worry a little bit. Did I put in enough time? Should I have lifted more, done more long rides, ridden outside in the cold more? The answer is probably YES—but you can only worry about what you did or didn’t do so much. Time to focus on what you CAN do NOW.

You’ve got to  get out now. Group rides and training rides have started at The Wheel! I love when this happens, because I have a responsibility to everyone who comes to be there and ready to ride. Knowing that people will be there waiting for me means I don’t blow of rides. Although I know you guys are more than capable of riding without me,  feeling accountable has really helped me be more consistent. 

 It’s time to start racing too, get out and see where you stand, what you need to work on. This is the scary part, personally. I hate that feeling of, “What if I  haven’t ridden nearly enough and I get spit out the back on the first lap?” I have to keep reminding myself that this is about working out kinks, seeing what needs work, and getting those jitters over with. So Heather and I  headed down to Salty and Tall in Tulsa, OK a couple weekends ago. Dan and Ryan went to this race last year, and it was a good event. Saturday’s event is a relatively hilly circuit race, with the finish at the top of the hill. I finished 6th of 9 in Tulsa, then set my sights on the Tilles Park Criterium.

I’m always nervous about racing with girls that have seen a lot more sunny weather and miles, but hey, this is just practice, right?  The weather at  Tilles Park  in St Louis was beautiful, near 80, with a light breeze.  I was feeling spunky first thing in the morning, so I registered for both the 3/4’s race and the Women’s Open. The 3/4’s was going good,  we were just about to roll 7 laps t o  go when there was  a wreck on turn 4. They neutralized the race and we tried to stay warm while they got the course cleared and the ambulance loaded. I should mention, there were a lot of girls out there trying out crit racing for the first time. I think this course was fantastic for a first time racer, but if you’ve never taken a corner in a tight pack, there isn’t much that compare you for that. So anyway, they got the course cleared off, lined us up, and got us separated by group, which they had done a good job of keeping track of. They started us with 10 laps to go. If you’ve never had to restart a race, let me tell you it is not any easier. It burns.  We had a girl off the front, so right off the bat the pace was hard, trying to chase her down. We finally caught her with a just a few to go and the rest of the race was a blur to me up till that last lap. We rounded the second to last corner and it was on. It was pretty tight through the last corner, then the road opened up and I tried to find a little more gas in the tank. I ended up with 5th, which I felt pretty good about considering we started with about 30 girls. Lesson learned, I need to start my sprint a little earlier.
Next, time to try and get settled, eat and drink, and be ready for the Open race. For me, the open race was simply about getting extra practice, extra training. I knew the race would be faster, with more attacks, and I was already pretty pooped. This field was quite a bit smaller, so there were fewer places to hide from the wind, and less space between the sweet spot at 5th wheel and that dangerous space off the back of the group. I was off the back a lot! Each time I fought to catch back on, and the group would ease up just in time for me to drift back in and try to catch my breathe before the next attack. By the end of the race I was barely hanging on, and SOO grateful for the bell lap! I finished up in 8th, out of 12 racers. I was very grateful for that whoopin to be over, and never have I been so proud of an eigth place finish.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

First tuesday night ride of the season.  It was a little cold but much better than sweating buckets on the spin room floor.