KMC Crossfest

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KMC Crossfest

September closed out with the KMC Crossfest at Thompson International Speedway in Thompson, CT. Held at the speedway, but it was all dirt, grass, and hills..or at least almost. This year the course was changed up quite a bit from last year. The 2 mile course used the fields, dirt, grass, and elevation that Thompson has to offer. The fast straights, tight turns, short steep run-ups (ride if you can), off cambers, steep descent, and uphill finish kept the race challenging and a lot of fun to ride.

Saturday racing was part of the CT Cyclocross Series, while Sunday was was a USA Cycling PROCX event. My racing was in the Masters 50+ category, and as you may know I often refer to as the really fast old guys. And you may also know that I’m no longer fast, but I enjoy it anyway and have fun at every race. Both days I do think that I did well for myself. I think that this race course might be one of my favorite courses too. I finished 31st on Saturday and 26th on Sunday, and -1 lap each day, but overall I had two very good races.

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Cross Is Here #crossishere

Early cyclocross racing started for me on August 26 at the Syracuse Bicycle Cyclocross Festival, held at the Empire Farm Brewery in Cazenova, NY. A fun and Challenging race course through the grounds of the Brewery. A 12th place finish was a very promising start to the season for me.

The following weekend I once again headed west to the Syracuse area. This time to Chittenango, NY for the BonkWerx Cyclocross Race. It was held on the property of Clear Path for Veterans. Another challenging Central New York race course that required my mountain bike skills to come out. With another 12th place finish, I feel the best I ever have for that early in the season.

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Kirkland CX barriers

Two weekends off from racing then brought me to Kirkland Town Park for Kirkland CX and the start of the NYCROSS Race Series. I always like this race and I usually ride well. This year was no exception. The 2 mile course was changed a little bit, which I thought was a definite improvement over previous years. I think between my fitness and readiness for the season, this year’s course suited me a little better too. NYCROSS categories and Masters age groups where changed up quite a bit. This year my NYCROSS category is 50+ which include 50+ and 60+ scored separately for the day’s racing, and together for the overall. I finished 12th in age and 15th overall. The 15th place finish is the one that counts for the overall. I had a very strong and clean race that is even more promising for me.

The next weekend of racing will bring me to KMC Crossfest in Thompson, CT, at the Thompson Motor Speedway. This will be my first ‘big’ race of the season.

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Cyclocross Just 3 Weeks Away

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#crossiscoming

It’s already August, and that means that cyclocross season will be here very soon. In fact, for me, it’s just 3 weeks away. Yep, cyclocross in August. August 26 to be exact. The Syracuse Bicycle Cyclocross Festival will be held August 25 and 26 on the grounds of Empire Farms Brewery in Cazenovia, NY. The weekend will include a cyclocross clinic on the  25th with a full day of racing on the 26th. Normally I would start my season in Springfield, MA at the Blunt Park Cyclocross Race. This year I wanted to do something different so I’m going west instead of east.

With only 3 weeks left until racing, I really need to ramp up my ‘cross specific training…running, barriers, dismounts, remounts, etc. So far it seems to just needing to shake off the rust.

My race plans for this season are pretty much the same as other years with the NYCROSS Series being my main focus. Other races will be Gloucester weekend, Syracuse weekend, Northampton weekend, with a few other weekends and individual races where and when I can.

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Dangers of Rawhide and Safe Alternatives

No, this isn’t cycling related. As a pet owner and a dog lover, I thought it would be good to share this article.

Dangers of Rawhide and Safe Alternatives (by: Sarah Sypniewski)

Rawhide chews and bones are very popular for dogs. They come in all sorts of sizes, and they are pretty economical to buy. Depending on the dog, a rawhide can last days or even weeks! However, rawhide is extremely dangerous. It is so dangerous, that I am stunned they can still sell it. In fact, the Humane Society of the United States and the ASPCA both discourage rawhide consumption and list it among the dangerous household products for pets (next to pesticides and cleaning chemicals). If you still use rawhide, read on to find out more about why you should stop – and what chewing alternatives are out there.

What Is Rawhide, Anyway?

It’s the inner layer of cow or horse hides that has been cleaned and stripped of hair. In order to remove the hair from this layer, the hide must be soaked in chemicals, primarily sodium sulfide. It’s as toxic as it sounds. It’s then washed and whitened with hydrogen peroxide, dried, and pressed into the treats you see in the stores (sometimes they add flavorings or coatings to make them appetizing for dogs). Other toxins, such as trace amounts of arsenic and formaldehyde have been detected in rawhide treats as well. Rawhide is classified neither as a human food nor pet food, so there are no regulations over its production.

Dangers of Rawhide

Choking – Probably the biggest danger of them all is the risk of choking. If you’ve ever watched a dog chew on a rawhide, you know how stringy, soft, and long it can become. At some point, a dog will have worked at it long enough that he’s chewed off pieces small enough to fit into his mouth and even into his esophagus, but that’s often where the buck stops. The rawhide can quickly and easily become lodged in his throat, blocking his airway…..

Continue reading the full article here: Dangers of Rawhide and Safe Alternatives

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New Season, New Training, New Team

The 2017 cyclocross season might have been the toughest race season that I have ever endured. I did a lot of traveling and raced in some of the biggest races in the Northeast. By the end of the season I was whopped. After the Bethlehem Cup, my plan was to just rest and recover until the first of the year.

usgp04After gaining 13 pound in two weeks, I realized that a 6-7 week layoff was not going to work for me. My 12 week training plan that I designed for the off season was about to turn into a 16 week plan to shed the weight that I put on and to get ready for spring riding and racing. The plan is to do four days a week of interval training indoors on the trainer. Two days of HIITs and two days of sustained efforts. My goals are simple: lose weight to get lighter on the bike, and gain speed to get faster on the bike. I’m not too concerned about my endurance, that will be there, especially once the weather is warmer and I’m riding outside. In the first 6 weeks of training, not only did I drop the 13 pounds that I gained, I also lost an additional 7 pound for a total of 20 pounds in six weeks of interval training. Now I’m fluctuating between 162 and 165 lbs with my target race weight of 160 lbs so close.

I am also racing with a new club and team. I have joined the Capital Bicycle Racing Club (CBRC) out of Albany, NY. CBRC has been an active Albany racing club for many years. Riding and racing with CBRC will definitely improve myoverall racing.

My 2018 race plans are a full season of cyclocross racing from September through December. Any racing that I do prior to ‘cross season will be just a handful of road races. It will be strictly for fitness and preparation for cyclocross. My goals are to focus on staying health, no injury, and getting just a little bit faster.

My tentative 2018 races will include: Trooper David Brinkerhoff Memorial Race Series, Lime Rock Gran Prix, Empire State Senior Games, Capital Region Road Race, Rochester Cyclocross, Gran Prix of Gloucester, the full NYCROSS.com Cyclocross Series, KMC CrossFest, Northampton International, and probably a few more mixed in.

During the last season, I really didn’t think that I would or even could race and travel again like I had. But with a strong off season of training, diet change, weight loss, medical improvements, etc, I feel the best that I have in many many years. And now, cyclocross season can’t get here soon enough.

 

 

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CX season is just flying by

Wow, it’s November already. Cyclocross has been going since the last weekend of August, and it’s already starting to wind down. With only two weekends of racing left, it’s hard to believe that it’s almost finished…for me. My remaining races are the two days at Northampton International Cyclocross and then winding up at Bethlehem Cup, the NYCROSS Series finale.

Gran Prix of Gloucester

Gran Prix of Gloucester

This year I ventured out to some of the major races throughout the northeast. The year started out in January 2017 with the US Cyclocross National Championships in Hartford, CT to finish out the 2016 season. In the 2017 season, I raced at Rochester Cyclocross, KMC Crossfest, Gran Prix of Gloucester, and coming up next weekend, Northampton International Cyclocross. Added to that, I’ve race to full NYCROSS.com Cyclocross Series with the finale, Belthehem Cup, coming in two weeks, and I raced a few others that fit in along the way. That is a full schedule of races for me.

I do have to admit that I’m not sure if I was totally ready for all the racing that I have done. And I didn’t fully know what to expect at Rochester, KMC and Gloucester. By mid-October I was whooped. I ended up taking a week completely off and did nothing with the bike or with running. A good rest was definitely needed, and I never before felt as exhausted as I did. That’s when I reworked my training plan to incorporate better rest periods during the week.

However the season goes for me, I have fun each weekend of racing. That’s what is all about for me, fun…fun and fitness. Any result above the last few is a bonus.

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To Run or Not To Run

bethlehem_cup_04_jhThat does seem to be the question when it comes to training for cyclocross. I think everyone will have a different opinion on the matter of incorporating running into you cyclocross training. And I’ve said it many times before, I dislike running very much. Every year I get older it feels like it gets harder. But, I will say this…after including running in my training plan for one day a week, my overall cyclocross riding has improved. I’m not going to say that the run-ups are easy, but they are definitely easier. Where I use to struggle on the run-ups after the first lap of a race, I now shoot right up, struggle free, and hop right back on the bike. No stopping. No resting. No need walk my bike to catch my breath.

It’s all about training your muscles for the running motion. If you don’t, you will feel it when you have to dismount and run. I’ve incorporated one day a week of running 1.5 to 2 miles. It’s not training for a marathon, it’s not even training for a 5K. It’s just training you muscle memory for the short runs that come up in cyclocross.

You may or may not agree with me. But for me, it definitely helps. And for the record, I still dislike running.

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First Full Weekend of Cyclocross

The first full weekend of cyclocross racing is complete.  The opening race of the NYCROSS.com Series, Kirkland CX, was held Sunday at Kirkland Town Park in Clinton  NY. Kirkland CX is traditionally the NYCROSS opening race. It always a fun and usually a fast race course through the field and trails at the park. This year seemed to be a little dryer than usual, but the park still hold the same wet spots throughout the course. With this race being the second race of the weekend for me, I was more tired than I thought I would be. But overall I rode pretty well and rode each lap pretty clean. Even the long run-up was clean and right back on the bike at the top of the steps. That didn’t happen in past years. I always had to keep running (or walking) up the little hill at the top of the stairs. I finished -1 lap in 18th. I wanted a better result, but I’ll take whatever I get.

The weekend started Saturday in Rochester, NY with the Rochester Cyclocross event..the season opener for UCI points for the pro’s. The amateur racing was on the same course, one that I had never raced on before. I wasn’t sure what Genesee Valley Park had to offer, and I was not disappointed either. It was a fun, fast, flowing, rolling terrain course with stairs, two run-ups, a run-down, and just about everything that you would want in a cyclocross course. It was also in a region of New York that I haven’t raced in before, so the majority of the other racers were new to me too. As hard as this race was for me, I rode well and had a great time racing in Rochester. I finished -1 lap in 27th place, and probably a little better than I expected.

There’s also one thing that I noticed with my racing this weekend..none of the run-ups hurt. I didn’t struggle with any of them. As much as I dislike running, incorporating running into my training 1 time a week has been a huge improvement for me. Now, if I can just knock a little bit off my lap times…

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‘Cross Is Here! #crossishere

It’s the end of August and fall is just around the corner. It’s my favorite time of year. Why?? Because cyclocross season is finally here. The 2017-18 season has started, with ‘cross racing at Blunt Park in Springfield, MA. It’s a low key, non-sanctioned race that’s close by and a good race to get the cobwebs out. However, that doesn’t make it any easier. It’s still has many of the usual guys that I race against each weekend throughout the season. With the first NYCROSS Series race only 2 weeks away, the Blunt Park race is a good warm-up race to see just where I’m at in the beginning of the season. And I’m right where I expected to be..near the bottom. But there was one big improvement for me, I did finish on the lead lap. Racing with the “really fast old guys”, that doesn’t always happen. It always feels good finish on the lead lap and I just hope that that’s a precursor to my season.

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Less Than 2 Weeks

With the start of my cyclocross racing right around the corner, less that two weeks away, I feel a little more excited about it each day that it gets closer. I think what excites me the most is that I’m more ready than I have ever been for cyclocross. Now, don’t misinterpret what I’m saying here, I know exactly where I stand in the Master’s category age groups…way closer to the bottom that the top. But I’m still excited and more ready than ever, both physically and mentally. I’ll be jumping right in with 4 race days in the first 3 weekends of the season. Then two weeks of no racing, easy training rides, and rest. And then…every weekend up to Thanksgiving, with most being double race weekends. My goals are the same as last year: finishs a little better than the previous season, bigger races, and move up in the NYCROSS Series overall.

And again, I can’t wait.

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