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Showing posts from July, 2009

Mount Snow Race Report

I decided to head up to Mount Snow a day early to do some sweet "openers" on the cross bike. This year they were doing a short track/summer cyclocross race on Saturday, and since I needed to remember how to 'cross in time for next weekend anyway, it seemed like a good idea. Seemed. The course turned out to have 100 feet of climbing in a 3+ minute lap. I wish I was exaggerating. Turnout was low (of course) but there were some strong dudes there. I accidentally ended up with the holeshot and raced the first 90 seconds like I usually race cross. I got to the top of the huge huge huge climb and looked back, expecting to Kevin Hines and the other fastguys on my wheel. But no! I had a massive gap.

Awesome? Not really. I should never be that far ahead of Kevin Hines in a bike race. If I am, it is a sign I have done something very dumb. And indeed I had! Two laps later the group caught me and I went straight out the back. Ben Coleman was nice enough to get detached…

Hey Guys, Let's Race Bikes

Last week the 2009 Verge CX Schedule went public, uncovering a surprisingly numerous set of changes. As should be expected, those affected by the changes immediately took TO! THE!BLOGS! to make their opinions known. As a CX blogger I am, of course, required to make a contribution, but instead of treading the same ground they've covered, let's look at something new: the inclusion of Cat 2 riders in the elite race.

I am not sure of the motivation behind this -- it could be a larger elite field, it could be to slow the B field, it could be something else -- but I am confident it is not done to address sandbagging. Verge will always be at the mercy of USAC officials to keep folks from sandbagging the crap out of their races, and making Cat 2 an automatic elite upgrade just means that 'baggers will stick around Cat 3 longer. Until the USAC starts giving out mandatory upgrades, nothing changes.

What this all means is that the meaning of 'Cat 2' in New England has chan…

WMSR Points Race Report

Any doubt you had about the taxing nature of WMSR should be erased by the fact that it's taken me until Monday night to write up how the points race went down. Don't get me wrong, racing three days in a row during the work week is a great idea, but it's only because it's such a bad idea. I needed a whole weekend to recover from the racing, driving, and not sleeping.

Going into the points race I was hanging onto 2nd overall by 1 point, having just won the field sprint in the road race. Since the points race is basically 12 field sprints in 15 miles, I had this idea that I was going to do well. I started calculating how much I needed to beat the overall leader by to win the whole thing. I counted the shit outta those chickens.

I knew racing a bike on a rough quarter mile track was going to be dicey, but I wasn't ready for just how insane the guy who was in third on GC was. Most people, when surrounded by other racers, might "take them into account" whil…

WMSR Road Race Report

Stage racing and working a day job is not something I would want to do more than once a year. Up at 6:30 and working/racing/driving until 10pm? There's no time for sleeping or doing anything else! Man, if I wanted to live like this I'd have kids and live in the suburbs (zing!).

This was my 3rd road race of the year and the shortest yet, at only 26 miles. I guess this is normal for Cat 5 races, and I've been just avoiding the short ones. In any case, we went "active" from the gun, which was much better than the usual softpedal-a-lap-or-more racing. One guy rolled around the first corner more aggressively than the rest of us, and I ended up second, five bike lengths behind him. Screw it, I was just talking about resolving not to chase anything, someone else can close that. So he started riding away. Half a mile in, some Noreast guy decides that letting him have 8 seconds was too much, so he gesticulates wildly while going to front and closes the gap down. …

WMSR TT Race Report

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Bet you didn't see this one coming. I decided to recover from Pat's Peak by going up to the Working Man's Stage Race on Tuesday to race the Cat 5. Yes, I seriously went from a Pro/1 MTB race to a Cat 5 TT, and what's worse, I didn't do that well.

I am getting used to being solobreak's road racing experiment, so I didn't protest too much when he was like "we'll get you a TT bike for Tuesday," despite the fact that riding a TT bike in a Cat 5 race seemed like sandbagging. I showed up and there it is, complete with a Zipp Disc, Cosmic Carbone, and intimidating saddle-to-bar drop. Then they gave me a TT helmet. Yikes. I felt really bad about racing with this much fancy shit in a Cat 5 race... right up until I noticed the guy starting two spots in front of me was on a Cervelo P3 with helmet and disc. Oh. Okay. I guess this is how it is on the road.

So as you might imagine, getting a loaner TT bike 30 minutes before the start is "challen…

Pat's Peak Race Report

Putney went so well in the Pro/1 field that I decided to do it again at Pat's Peak. After all, Putney has a ton of climbing; Pat's Peak has a ton of climbing, thus they are basically the same course, I will show up with the same legs, and get the same result! Huzzah!

Of course this assumes that the other Pro/1 packfodder guys will be there to pad out my result, and that I'll somehow have a good day at Pat's Peak even though I sucked royally there the last twoyears.

Enough foreshadowing. This time around, 23 guys took the line in the Pro/1 race, including Jamie Driscoll and Jonathan Page. Oh goody, it's like my first elite cross race! I can't wait to find out if I can hang with them! The whistle blew and they dropped me.

I immediately went for the reverse holeshot, only to lose it to Kevin when he nearly endoed into a deep ditch hidden in the tall grass 100 yards into the course. I slowed down so he could pass me before the first singletrack, so I could &q…

Observations from Canada

Last weekend I made the surprisingly short drive to Bromont, Quebec (only 4.5 hours, with stops, from Boston) to "race" the Canada Cup Finals. Other than the abysmal course conditions, it was a great experience and I'll probably do it again next year. It was really interesting to check out the scene across the border, and there was a bunch of things I wanted to mention that never really fit into the last post.

First off, the junior scene at the race was huge. I don't know if this is only true of Canada Cups, or all races in Quebec, but there were 40+ starters in both 15-16 and 17-18 boys age groups. From what I could tell they were mostly Francophones, so I think the local races up there have a lot of kids out. Definitely puts our junior scene (or lack thereof) to shame. These kids are numerous, serious, and FAST.

Of course, part of being serious and racing technical singletrack in large packs is never yielding to anyone, ever. Apparently. In the United States,…

Bromont Race Report

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Update! Video at the bottom.

Like most Americans, I celebrated the Fourth of July by driving to Canada.

This was not, as has been conjectured, due to a loathing of the Domnarski Farm mtb course -- I just really like driving long distances, using my passport, not using my high school French, and going with Linnea to "big women's races." You probably haven't noticed (because you're probably a dude) that the New England Pro/1 women's fields are usually 3-5 racers, which is less than exciting for the entrants. Thus, a Canada Cup with ~30 Expert women is a unique and drive-worthy experience for her/us. So off we go.

Unfortunately, my decision to spurn New England on its birthday led to Boston cursing me with its weather. We showed up Friday for a preride in the light rain and found a course that was thoroughly saturated singletrack. Luckily we both had some kind of mud-esque tire mounted and managed to ride a lap, which was comprised mostly of steep climbs and r…