Updated: Video Fixes
The NBX Verge races at Goddard Park have always been my favorites of the Verge series. The best sand, the tightest turns, and the most burned out competition means I almost always pull of a good result. Last year I finally got my first Verge points here, and the year before it was my first respectable B race ever. That's right, I'm into my third year of blogging and I still don't do anything except write ridiculously long race reports and talk about myself. I'd apologize further, but you're the sucker reading this.
NBX-praise aside, the Saturday course was about the least Colin-friendly thing they could build there. I believe they were trying to develop a nice contrast between the days (power day 1, technique day 2) with this setup, which is a legit goal, but not the kind of thing that I dream about racing on. In my ideal world, straightaways longer than 100 meters would be UCI-illegal, and the Saturday course was basically long straights connected by one or two technical corners. Every time I'd have the bright idea to get to the front and try to attack the corners I'd realize that there just weren't enough to do any damage before getting back into the open. The life of a mountain biker is hard, I'm buying a power meter.
Unlike previous years, we had a strong turnout here, I think around 80 (!) prereged. Last year when I got 12th there were only 55 guys or so, which cheapened it a little, but this year NBX was BIG. If you weren't there you missed a great time.
I was a tad slow on the start, or maybe other guys were a tad fast, whatever happened I was back to 8th or so just five pedal strokes off the line. Luckily, the guys in 2nd-7th were all satisfied with their positions, so I freaked out like it was a finishing sprint and moved up to 2nd. Oh holeshot, why are you so tempting?
Hunter P led the field though the first sand run and first tech sections with me sitting second wheel. As previously discussed I find riding behind him a challenge and today was no exception, first I'd be like "auugh why are we braking here?!" and have to shoot to the outside, and then I look up and he's already got two bike length on the next straight, "auuuuughhh why are we sprinting here?!"
Nevertheless I stayed on the wheel enough to be the first guy he looked at on the road, when he realized he was towing 20 people. He swung out and I kind of looked the other way and whistled innocently, oh, you couldn't possible want little ole me to pull now, could you?? I stalled a little bit and then took the lead at the end of the second pavement into the big off-camber turn, if I'm gonna be on the front it will at least be into a hard corner!
My time on the front was short-lived, as a motivated James Tosca quickly took the lead on the next power section. I was happy to oblige. Soon after that, the generally unbeatable Dylan McNicholas came around to lead, and you could kind of sense the whole field thinking "ok, now it's go time." We still had a monster 20-person group going at the front, and the guys at the back were about to feel some serious whip-cracking pain, right?
I was positioned as second wheel so I was ready for it, I figured riding Dylan's wheel until I detonated was the ticket, but strangely enough he just led us around at a moderate pace for nearly a lap. Guess he wasn't joking about not feeling it today. Finally on the upper road section he decided to put in an effort, I was right on his wheel, I saw the gear change, I was ready, and I still almost got gapped. Somewhere behind us the elastic broke and the 20-rider front group was down to seven or so.
We still kept sitting on Dylan, that's the price you pay for
sandbagging dominating the crap out of 2/3's, we look to you for guidance! After another lap of hard but not insane exertion, the front group had gain a bit in size and Brian caught back on. He quickly decided that the group was too big and hit the front hard on the road section. This was another one I saw coming that still hurt like hell, in fact, this is where the race turned from me being in control of things, sitting second wheel, to hanging on to whatever body was in front of me. Brian's attack stretched it out again, and I was the last guy to stay in tight contact, with Todd Burns, Hunter and Pat Goguen strung out behind me (thanks, seat cam!).
While I was clinging for dear life to the lead group, somehow Todd bridged across to it, and he quickly realized that I was not the wheel to follow. He moved around, relegating me to 5th, and if I had been cheering at this point I would have screamed at myself "get off the back (you idiot)." And I did want to get off the back, believe me, but soon enough my goals had changed to "get back on the back" as I started getting gapped on the sand runs, and I started having to DRILL. IT. after them close up. You've probably never read the phrase "then I drilled it on the straightaway" here, so yeah, this was getting pretty taxing for me.
I wasn't the only guy doing it though, the seat cam revealed Pat Goguen putting in an insane effort to close a 50 yard gap to us on the upper road. He briefly made contact, but staying on after a sprint like that is really really hard, as I was currently proving.
So he popped off, and then I popped off, then I sprinted back on, and the pace stayed stupid-fast because Dylan, James and Brian were basically punching each other in the face up front.
Finally with just under two to go we hit the uphill sand run with me tailgunning, Brian was fourth, and somehow a gap had opened in front of him. He put it into overdrive, and since there's not exactly a draft while running, kindly transferred the three-second gap back to me. This was about the 4th time I had gotten broken off in the sand, but this time I wasn't coming back, it was time-trial-to-the-finish time.
There was a nasty looking group of six guys behind me, luckily with 1.5 laps of power sections left and a 30 second lead on them it was a holdable gap, such is benefit of getting dragged around by Dylan's group for most of the race. I tried to focus on putting in harder-than-usual efforts on the road, which isn't saying much, but was enough to keep the dogs at bay and get me to the finish line for fifth place.
NBX GP of Cross Day 1 2/3 Men Lap 1-2 Seat Cam from colin reuter on Vimeo.
NBX GP of Cross Day 1 2/3 Men Lap 3/4 from colin reuter on Vimeo.
Post-race we had tightened up the battle for third, the current standings were:
Jeremy Dunn 152
Brian Lawney 150
Colin Reuter 137
James Patterson 118
SO MUCH DRAMA!
After recovering from hypothermia I screamed obscenties at Linnea and provided helpful advice like "close the gap," and of course she did a much better job of that than I did in my race, so she ended up 10th. With more money and UCI points. As always.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Updated: Video Fixes