Hey, blog, remember me? That guy who used to write stuff on you? Yeahhh. I'm back! You still love me, right? Right??
It's Gloucester week. Gloucester is staging by crossresults.com points. It's the most awesome legitimization of the last three years of my work I could ever ask for. It's also completely terrifying. There is no way, with 1600 racers, that everything will go perfectly. Someone, somewhere, will end up staging further back than they think they should be. Just as long as they don't know where I live...
The awesome thing is that that's not even the craziest thing I'm pulling together this week. We're doing this little race you might have heard of next Wednesday and holy crap, it's out of control. Baker of Hearts is on the staff so I am perpetually inundated with an inbox of "enthusiasm." No, Chip, we cannot give everyone who registers a puppy. Stop asking.
Seriously though, this thing would never happen without Chip and Linnea stepping up. I just do the emails. Oh god, so many emails...
Aside from the puppy thing falling through, we have a lot of cool stuff planned that should make this more than just your average local race. In addition to the obvious $4000 in prize money, with equal payout for women, we've got Richard Fries on the mic, glow-in-the-dark T-shirts, insane primes (my favorite is "last cat 4 on the lead lap"), food, music, glowsticks, winner's trophies made by Leah P-B, and whatever other good/bad ideas we come up with this week.
So if you're buying what we're selling, throw me a bone and get your prereg on. I'll save you a glowstick.
Vermont Cyclocross Day 2 Race ReportYou probably already saw the bar camn, but let me tell you, lots of other, less awesome things happened after lap one.
At the end of lap one I rolled up to Cary's wheel with some very legit work on the finish straight. After getting smoked by him the day before, priority #1 on Day 2 was not to get smoked twice. So this was looking good. I know whenever someone catches me at the end of lap one, they're usually going to beat me.
I recovered as best I could on the brutal Vermont course using my preferred technique of intentionally gapping myself going into corners, and then rolling back onto the group. GOSH, I thought to myself, I am SO SMOOTH. Look at me, playing that accordion effect like an...accordion? Slick.
Mysteriously I did not recover and start feeling like attacking the group, probably because I was racing a UCI Cyclo-cross race and the only person who ever feels good in those is Tim Johnson. But, I stalked Cary successfully for two laps. It was only when I went around him after he ended up on the wrong side of the tape did I realize that things were not as hunky-dory as they seemed; he passed me back within 30 seconds, as if to make it clear that when I was leading we were not riding fast enough. And sure enough, when he came around I did need to ride harder. Ruh-roh.
We were in a pretty fluid group that eventually grew to as many as 10 people. I managed to continually filter to the back of it, because people kept recognizing that I couldn't hold a wheel. No, guys, I'm gapping myself on purpose. I SWEAR.
With four to go, the bomb went off and I went straight out the back like a guy who really needs to remember to eat for 3pm cross races. NOT THAT I'M MAKING EXCUSES! But I was a little hungry. Just sayin'.
I struggled through another lap, sat up completely with 3 to go, and then realized that I was only 1 lap away from getting pulled by the 80% rule AND they had been yelling at me about a dollar prime on the last time up the runup.
Woohoo, let's get paid! I dragged my useless legs back to the runup, rode to the top, stopped and announced "where's that effin dollar?". The effin' dollar was hiding on the top log, blending in surprisingly well. PAYDAY.
Then I had to ride disturbingly hard to hold off Matt Green and John Burns to the finish line, where we were mercifully pulled.
Nor'easter Cyclocross Race ReportI distinctly remember either Adam or JD telling me that they "broke up the climbing" on the course. That was only technically true, in that there were TWO climbs on the course instead of one. And they didn't make it a 2000m runup straight to top of Loon Mountain.
So yeah, the course was hard, wattage-hard and bike-handling hard. With a jillion feet of climbing per lap, I figured that riding something sustainable from the start was gonna be more important than dying for the draft (that's mountain bike experience, right thar) so I took it out slow. I believe that the Sports Scientists would call this "optimal pacing." In cyclocross, it's called "getting passed by Ryan Kelly."
Ryan is on my team this year so it's slightly less annoying to race him. Plus, the course was hard enough that he couldn't find the breath to hurl a single obscenity at me as he passed, a first. When I passed him back on a later climb, slowly, side-by-side at 8 mph, no one said a word. Bizarre. Like we were actually focused on the racing, or something.
On lap 3 Ryan and I had kind of integrated into a group with Collin Huston, Mike Wissell and maybe Josh Lehmann? Anyway, my strategy was starting to pay off because I was actually considering trying to move up. I got as far as 2nd wheel, with the other Collin leading (a battle for Colin-supremacy! May the fewest L's win!) going into the runup, went to sprint by him, and then I remembered we had a giant windy part coming up and I should let him lead. So I backed off.
We crested the top and he took a bad line into the descent. Since I have the memory of a goldfish when racing, I forgot that I didn't want to pass him and prepared to make a sweet move when he inevitably went wide on the exit.
Unfortunately he realized how bad his line was, braked hard at the apex, and instead of bombing underneath his line I clipped his back wheel and dumped my handlebars into his spokes.
Then I chased him down the hill screaming "STOP STOP STOP" while he tried to figure out why his back wheel was locked up.
My brake lever was wedged through two spokes, the shift lever was through a DIFFERENT spoke, and the whole thing was behind his rear derailleur. After 20 seconds of fighting with it, I gave up and snapped my brake lever off so at least one of us could carry on.
Worst of all, I ended up with no bar cam video from the crash because the stupid memory card was full from Vegas and I forgot to delete it.
STUPID MEMORY CARD WHY YOU GOTTA BE LIKE THAT.
Gross. Cross has not been good to me this year. Good thing I only need a good ride at New England Worlds to forget it all.