Memorial Weekend Race Report – We beat the train!

Grant at the Stockyards

Memorial Weekend is a hotbed for racing in DFW with 3 crits races in the area. Last year I did all 3 races as a Cat 5 (in an effort to get my 10 races and Cat-up). This year my plan was to race on Saturday at the Glickman in Dallas and Monday for the State Championship here in Fort Worth. Moritz is also one of the organizers of the State Championship, so I planned on working the event for a couple hours as well.

Saturday’s course was a technical crit with a 1/3 mile+ downhill, followed by a 180 degree turn and then a 1/3 mile+ climb to the finish line. I didn’t have any real goals for the race since I haven’t been training since my crash (I’ve been riding a lot, but haven’t done any intervals or real intensity work). Unfortunately, on the 2nd or 3rd lap I got caught behind a crash at the bottom of the hill (on the 180). So I spent the next lap or so chasing the pack. I eventually caught them at the top of the hill, only to lose them in the technical section and downhill, then I would catch back on just as we crested the hill. After a few laps of this my legs started cramping and I pulled out. It’s not in my nature to quit and I could have “time trialed” it solo for the next 30 minutes, but something just didn’t feel right. Pulling out might have been the right move since there were two crashed on the last lap (one on the downhill and one at the finish). Two of my teammates were in the crash on the downhill. One teammate went down pretty hard and has some serious road rash, but the more “painful” part for him is that he broke his frame. Crashing sucks, but it really sucks when you know it costs you thousands of dollars in damage.

Sunday I left early for a long ride with Anthony. Planned on doing a nice 4 hour endurance ride. About 10 miles in I was pseduo-trackstanding at a stop light when I fell over (first time in over a year) and bent my deraileur hanger (to the point that I can’t shift into any of my lower gears). So we rode back to my house and I picked up my cyclocross bike. Between my performance on Saturday, a stupid mistake on Sunday and the culmulative effect of having a newborn (two months of crazy sleep schedules, feedings, etc.) it was starting to feel like a pretty crappy Memorial Weekend.

So with my bike out of commission, I was out for Monday’s race. I also decided that I couldn’t leave Jess alone with both kids again (to go help work the event), but I was able to convince Grant to come with me for a bike ride. Getting Grant to ride with me takes a lot of pleading (he never wants to come initially), but when he does come, we always have a great time. When Grant and I ride, we do two things:

1. Look for bats under bridges. After seeing a TV show about the Congress Ave. Bridge in Austin, Grant is convinced there are bats under every bridge.

2. We chase the train. The area we live in (Near TCU and Colonial) has lots of train tracks, many of them running parralel to the Trinity Trail. There is also a small train that runs through Trinity Park near the zoo. Whenever we hear a whistle, we pretend to “catch the train”.

I figured we would be lucky to ride for an hour or so before Grant got bored. We headed to the Stockyards and saw the cows and rode down Exchange Ave. Then we headed NW on the Trinity Trail towards Carswell Airforce Base. This part of the trail is mostly flat, and crushed granite,  running along the top of the levee –  a perfect surface for a cyclocross bike pulling 50lbs+ of trailer and kiddo.

We started to head back towards our house and were just coming out of Trinity Park when we heard it – the train whistle. Then we saw it – the Forest Park Miniature Train. Instantly Grant shouted, “Daddy! The train! Hurry, let’s catch it!” I didn’t have my PowerTap on my cross bike, but I’m guessing I was putting our 500 watts for the next minute and broke all previous efforts. We caught up to the train and rode beside it for a short distance. The people on the train (literally just a few feet away) started waving at us. I looked back at Grant and he was in awe. I told him to wave back and he instantly got this huge smile on his face and started waving like crazy to the folks on the train. He was like a little rockstar for 10 seconds. Then I asked him, “Do you want to beat the train?”

“Yes Daddy. Let’s go FAST!”

Trinity Park Train

So I pegged it and managed to get us to the bridge for the train in time to snap the picture above. Grant was so excited to finally “catch the train”. I realized we had been out for almost 2.5 hours, so I started to head home. Grant actually started crying because he wanted to keep riding. However, it was getting very hot and I knew we should get back. Luckily, when we pulled up to the house we saw my Sister’s van. The Rosslers had stopped for a visit. This instantly dried Grant’s tears since he adores his cousins Hannah and Jack.

They played outside for a few hours and had a great time.

What could have been a crappy weekend turned into a great weekend. The 3 hours Grant and I spent on the bike was probably the most fun I’ve had on the bike in a long time. Made me realize that it’s time to change up my training/racing for a while. I’m not having fun on the road right now (plus all the races that suit my abilitities have already passed) so I’m going to do one of three things:

  1. Start doing some time trialing. Maybe in time for the State Championships in Aug., but definitley in time for the Texas Time Trials in Sept.
  2. Focus on cyclocross skills and really get ready for cross season in the fall
  3. Get a mountainbike and do some MTB racing

It has kind of come full circle. I got into road racing because I didn’t get into the lottery for the Leadville 100 in 2007. I’m the type of person that needs some physical/athletic goal, so when I didn’t get into Leadville, I decided to try my hand at road racing. Now that I have raced on the road for a year, I’m a little burned out and I feel myself drawn to the dirt again (cross or MTB). However, MTB racing or time trials would require a new bike purchase . . . so we’ll see

2 responses to “Memorial Weekend Race Report – We beat the train!

  1. There’s only one cure for cycling burnout: ROCK CLIMBING.

  2. Start cyclocrossing !

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