Readington, LBI, High Point, MTB

BY KENNETH LUNDGREN

Hey Gang,

So training has been going well over here… I wrote about the Readington TT in my previous diary entry: the shorter TTs are not my cup of tea, but for some reason I usually have good rides at Readington. Hmmm…

I’ve taken 2nd there twice, both times losing by one second!

404dbe3bfa1bcdd

And in 2011? 2nd! By like 4/10s of a second!!!! But… if I coulda gone faster, I woulda… I launched off the line hard — there is NO time for ramping up here — and kept it pinned the whole ride, felt very good… Was worried how I’d feel, as I had heavy days in my legs leading up to the event…

Still, 2nd place, not too shabby. I’ll take it!

The following day was the Pro/Open Fat Tire Classic up in Connecticut. Blah. Cornering is my Achilles Heel on the MTB, just can’t rail turns as well as these fast pros, and the Winding Trails course up in CT is ALL cornering!!!! Road racing, I’m competitive, can sometimes bring the game face, get the knives out. But MTBing is almost an escape to me, all fun, zero ego, ZERO vanity — just whomping great times.

404dbe3bdb95eb4

So off the line, I let everyone go, didn’t want to cause a bottleneck in the turns. And the story of the day was dealing with the wet dirt and trying to pull back rider after rider… My power curve is flat, and top MTBers really are more fast-twitch, have that pop, so what I lack in raw power I make up with endurance. Big field, and on the fifth lap (Expert did 4), I pulled back a bunch of riders, ended up taking 10th, my first top-10 in the Pro/Open field!!!! Hey-oooooooooooooo! Excited about that, for sure… I guess now I can consider myself a MTBer

Then last week we had the LBI TT. Another heavy week in the legs, had very long LT-Subs on the TT bike, then TT efforts on the PowerCrank bike, just shattered. But LBI looked good for me on paper, was hoping for a strong performance.

Cold, rainy. Good for me. WINDY, eh not so much! The wind was INSANE. I felt stupid strong on the road, but before I reached the first turnaround, I realized I just could not hold the aero tuck, almost crashing a few times, so I spent most of the TT on the bullhorns, down low — but we can all remember Fignon-Lemond in the ’89 final TT… I felt like Fignon, on those damn bullhorns, strong but barreling off the cones going into that finale… I knew I was giving time to the guys who were just able to hold that tuck.

404dbe3c04ca4ec

And kudos to them. They were just better. Time trialing is just not about riding your bike hard. You have to be able to adapt to the conditions, have confidence in your bike-handling ability, perhaps make last-minute wheel changes according to the weather. So I suffered and lost a whopping 90s to Greg Leach of Metra, AWESOME time. Fritz stomped on me, Toby clipped me by a few seconds.

And was I mad? Not at all. We go out there and do what we can do — that’s it. I did what I could, freaking buried it, and came up short. Some riders seem angry in defeat, thinking of what they could’ve done better, almost not accepting defeat, not very gracious. Me, (*censored*)(*censored*)(*censored*)(*censored*), you can’t be fast every race. I went out to lunch with a bunch of Elite Endurance riders — Fritz RIPPED it, taking 2nd overall!!!!!! — and had a fantastic breakfast, was sincerely happy for Greg and Chris. When you’re beat, you’re beat. No excuses… If you can’t be happy for the winner, your cycling life is going to be long and miserable, lol… Kudos to everyone who braved the weather and threw down on this beautifully miserable day!

The following day, I did a long MTB ride up at Wawayanda, and it was wet, and I’m getting better at handling that bike, but I’m still not overly confident in wet terrain, and I crashed a few times — a LOT of times, actually, three full-on endovers, lol… On one of them, I smashed my right knee pretty good…

So this week, I was hoping for more training, hard work, but I couldn’t really do anything. I just took it day by day, TUE sore, WED sore, THURS sore. (*censored*)(*censored*)(*censored*)(*censored*). FRI, I did another light MTB ride, and my knee felt much better, not 100%, but far better…

And then High Point Uphill TT. I joked with a very strong rider before the start that although I look lean, I’m not a very good climber anymore, just don’t climb that much right now. But warming up, I felt very good, and although uphill it’s still a steady-state effort, and I wanted a good one here — big field, wanted to throw down heavy.

Ended up having a good ride, flew up the hill, foom foom all the way, just one of those days where you keep digging and feel like you can’t dig deep enough.

And… lost the overall by 2 seconds, lol… Story of my life. But I had the perfect ride, could not have gone any harder. And I lost to Raffy Urzedowski of Northeastern Hardware, arguably the strongest road racer in the state, a good friend of mine and former teammate — gave him huge Euro hug when the results were posted. Hey, somewhere, he found two seconds I didn’t have and I respect him for that…

But I was elated by the time. I did NOT expect to do so well — thought a top-4 was realistic. The result I guess shows the legs are there and that I’m not just limited to going fast on my TT bike — I might be tinkering with that TT position…

Today we had the Pro/Open at Wawayanda, probably the most techy MTB course in the H2H series, uber-rocky… I didn’t know what to expect — I feel super right now, but I just don’t have the technical chops to compete with the best pro MTBers in the area… First lap, I let everyone go, but on the first fireroad climb, I was effortlessly able to scoot up to mid-pack, felt stellar… But in second series of harsh rock gardens, I fumbled, fell, then graciously let everyone pass…

First lap was a true train wreck, just could not find a rhythm. Was the LAST guy to come through the Start/Finsih, was waiting for the Expert classes from behind to start catching me. Was angry, and I suppose anger on a bike is a gift, and I started to find a good rhythm out there, went better on the 2nd lap, went even better on the 3rd lap, picking riders off, finished 7th out of 15, not too shabby! Just a few minutes off of 4th, which in a 2+h race is NOT much time at all… Very happy with how I came back, rode the final lap like a bull…

404dbe3bcf8d72b

MTBing has certainly found a big place in my heart, will be doing all the H2H, NYS, and MASS races in 2011, plus MTB Nationals out in Sun Valley, Idaho…

This week, have to play catch-up with the training stress — another heavy week, might pay the price at Somerset, probably my best TT, but that’s okay — am perfectly okay risking not being 100% at Somerset if I can find better form later in the year…

So Somerset Sunday… and then I hope to find some peak form for Upper Freehold, Tymor Park MTB, Jersey Shore TT, Williams Lake MTB, CRCA Championship TT, and the State ITT Championships.

That’s the plan, stan. I felt REALLY good this weekend, and I’m keeping my head up because I know I’m going to get better and better — at least for a month, lol. Then time to shut it down and re-group for the second half of the year…

Thanks for reading.

kens-signature

Kenneth Lundgren's Diary | Monday, May 2nd, 2011 | | |