Saturday, September 22, 2007

Eco Cross Race Report

Ok, so when we last left our intrepid hero he was freaking out about the unspeakable beatdown he was going to receive riding Open Men at the Eco Cross. Let's see how it went!

Well, the initial prognosis was not lookin' good. As if Toby and friends on the prereg list weren't enough, a certain legendary cyclocrosser whose name rhymes with "Shark McCormack" was there. Various Keoughs were rolling around wearing some national champ stripes, which was intimidating me. My old buddy and pro roadie Ward was there. It was looking grim. I said to Josh, as we waiting in the shade for the women to finish up, "Well at least Matt White isn't here."

5 minutes later, guess what jam-related team rider rolls up? EFF US.

At the end of the women's race I got my bike back from Anna McLoon, who was using it for her first CX race ever. We had like 20 minutes until start and of course instead of warming up I had to fix the brakes, since one of the wheels was considerably less true than it had started. Gewilli introduced himself by heckling me working on my bike at the last possible moment.

Ok, so, racing. There were maybe 35 people on the start line. I had been hoping for a lot more pack fodder but apparently the smart cat 3's were up at New Boston not getting mauled by Matt White.

So GeWilli, myself and Josh all line up at the back, and when the course bottlenecks we basically come to a complete stop. It took like a half lap to get un-blocked since it was a no-passing kind of course, so Josh and I kept talking nonsense while we couldn't ride. Eventually G told us to shut up, probably because we weren't even breathing hard and he was.

After a while things got moving and I was at the absolute rear of the accordion I couldn't move up because everyone was sprinting out of the corners. Finally I decided that maybe chilling in last place wasn't a great plan (sorry Josh) and I got it going on one of the few spots wide enough to pass. From there, I raced my normal CX business (which is to say, good cornering, low power, bad remounts) for a few laps and moved up through the field. After 3 or 4 laps I was in a pretty groove until I came through the start/finish and saw seven laps to go. Seven freaking laps. Holy crap, I am not ready for 60 minutes of racing.

This sobering realization took its toll on the whole field, though. I backed off the pace, but ahead of me PvB and Ben Corbalis were in sight and getting closer. A few more laps of trying to ride steady and crashing through at least one bush per lap and I had made it up to Ben's wheel, and while I sat on he reeled PvB back in. So with four to go, we kind of consolidated into a group of three, and since I'm stupid I rode at the back.

I kept lapping wheels with Ben on corners, trying to find an opening, but the course was not very forgiving. Three times I either touched his wheel or had to put a foot down to keep from hitting it, and I was getting frustrated. Finally I reached new heights of stupid racing and tried to take a ridiculously aggressive line on the corner on the fastest part of the course to make the pass -- next thing I know I'm tumbling across the grass with my bike flipping over me.

Get up, grab the bike, run, run, mount, shift the derailleur hard to pick the chain back up... ouch. When the adrenaline ran out, I was left with two twisted brake hoods and a body full of lactic acid, and a brain that suddenly didn't want to hammer anymore. I rode a lap and lost a place. Ben and PvB were up the road... but man, what the hell? I was there, man, I coulda been up with those guys, but I had to crash like a dumbass.

I guess the nice thing about racing for 60 minutes it that you can take a introspective lap and still have some time to get your race on.

I finished the lap and decided that I wasn't blowing this chance at a very decent result. Brain and Legs had a quick conversation and Legs reluctantly admitted that they probably could give a little more for the last 15 minutes.

I picked it back up and got my place back.

At the end of the lap, I caught Ben. Then PvB. Matt White lapped us on his way to the victory, and suddenly we only had 1.5 laps to go. I decided I'd sit in for a lap and then try to sneak by with a few turns left.

I spent the next 6 minutes vigorously defending PvB's wheel from Ben. He almost got me on the sandy runup, but one more trip into the pain cave kept me on PvB's wheel. With about a third of a lap to go, I had a smooth trip through a nasty corner and crept up on PvB enough to make a bid for the holeshot into the final tight section. I sprinted past and kept my heart in my chest just barely enough to ride the last technical section in control, then put my head down and suffered into the finish.

No idea what place I was.

60 minutes is so hard.

Bedford tomorrow is gonna hurt, but at least Matt While won't lap me.

3 comments:

josh 9/22/2007 10:50 PM  

g was totally jealous of us chatting it up (f-ing roadie style) while he was sucking wind.

you're not to shabby in terms of getting up a quick report either.

Alex 9/23/2007 5:39 PM  

I just want to point out, Anna used my bike in her FIRST cross race ever. Then I broke it. And then she got to use your bike. You gotta get your facts straight, man.

gewilli 9/24/2007 9:57 AM  

actually i wasn't breathing hard either...

and i thought it was funny...

there we were... all fahking stacked up behind some dude who stacked it into the tree around the damn animal fence... you two just chatting along like it was pre-ride lap.

ya couldn't see my face when i said it... i was laughin...

figured i said enough words that you two would have noticed i wasn't breathing any harder than you...

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