After the deadly biological/mechanical combination failure at Waterville I realized that needed to get my act together for cross season. 3pm race starts on a bike I haven't really maintained do not go well when I eat poorly.
I started by addressing the first problem, and it only took me an hour of monkeying around to get the shredded cable housing under the bar tape replaced. I am not going to be a professional mechanic any time soon, but at least I got it done.
With Linnea heading to Mt Snow to race mountain bikes, and rumors of Sucker Brook being "faster than ever" I took the opportunity to steal her Edge 2.68s for my bike. It took me another half hour of fighting with the brakes to get the carbon-specific pads installed, but when I was all done I had a 17.6 lb bike with CAHBON WHEELS. Look the eff out, Sucka Brook!
It should be noted that I've never ridden Sucker Brook before. Turns out there's a rocky fire road descent (sounds like a mountain bike feature, right?) with loose rocks, and you hit it wheel-to-wheel at 20+ mph. Scariest thing EVAR when you're riding borrowed $2,000 wheels. I took a couple rim shots on the preride lap and heard about a guy who had busted a carbon wheel in the 3/4 35+ race and that was it, I can't ride down that 10 times while being terrified of blowing up one of the $1000 bills I have on each wheel.
Ok, back to my wheels, boohoo. This necessitated another pad change, and after all the trouble I had getting the pins out last time I decided not to wedge them in that deep this time. FOREBODE.
It was my first day running the seat cam and I was STOKED to overlay some techno on people riding behind me after the race. Only problem was that I forgot to turn it on because I was too busy being social on the start line. Dammit Colin, less chatting, more filming!
I realized I had forgotten on the first straightaway. Literally, while sprinting, that's what I thought about. I had the brilliant idea to try to turn it on after the first corner. This didn't work, but it did cost me 10 places and place me nearly DFL. Oh, but I wanted the video so bad!
I remembered that I also wanted to not suck so I gave up on the camera and started racing my bike. I made up a few places on lap one only at the cost of too many matches (patience, grasshopper!) and then some guy in his second race of the day totally imploded after three minutes of euphoria, and next thing I know I'm gapped. Hard.
At this point my plan of "make the first or second group and sit in as much as possible" was out the window, so I started chasing hard. For two more laps I kept the gap to the 10 leaders steady at 15-20 seconds, they were tantalizingly close but I just wasn't quite there.
Eventually I cracked and they started rolling away. I fell into a group with PVB, Ryan Larocque and someone else (Corey Lowe?). First I was driving the group. Then I was second wheel. The PVB gaps me, and Ryan rolls up (sounding far too composed, I might add) and asks "can you close that?" I said no, so he went around and closed it for me while I tumbled into the pain cave trying to hold his wheel. Six to go. This is trouble.
A few turns later, while clinging to the back of the PVB train, I hit the brakes and hear the sickening sound of metal on metal. Next turn and there it is again. Something bad has just happened to my bike. I'm off the train immediately. My spirit is broken, just like my bike.
But wait, is it really that bad? Time for the gentleman's DNF, where I tell PVB that I was totally going to counterattack him if I didn't have a mechanical.
So anyway, you know those little pins that hold your cantilever pads in place? You should make sure they're seated really well, because cross is rough, and you can't race very fast when your brake pad falls out.
Now I'm sitting here seething at how badly I performed (both days involved biological issues, not just mechanical ones) and suddenly terrified of the UCI Cross season that I signed up for. If you're wondering, one bad weekend of cross can completely ruin any confidence you might get from a good mountain bike season. It sucks when you suck. True story.
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