Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mansfield/MRC Race Reports

What's up my bloggers! We last talked on Night Weasels Eve, when I was so serene I could actually blog, instead of running around an crashing into things.

 It turns out that was because Chip Baker and Sara Bresnick are an AWESOME copromoting team to work with, and we had that race on LOCK. Also, the race course wasn't a pile of mud in the shape of a mountain.

The weasel went off with nary a hitch, and I had so much fun that I blogged about it the next morning. Except I put some extra flavors in it, and made it official-like, and sent it to NEWS OUTLETS AND STUFF and called it a press release. But really, it was just a blog post, and I tricked people into reading my jokes under the guise of "news."

Another satisfied customer!  Must be the throwback kit...
Oddly enough my positive promoting experience had no effect on the traditional race-promoter-health-problems and thus I ended up donating my Providence entry fees to Richard Fries and turning into a spectator.  Luckily I actually love cross races whether I'm participating or not, so I SUPERFANNED Christin's race and the Cat 3 race to produce some footy:

Cat 3/4 Women's Bar Cam!

Cat 3 Mayhem Cam!

Obviously after that much time being-around-bike-races-but-not-racing-a-bike I was starting to freak out.  So I doubled up the next weekend.  Here we go!

Mansfield Hollow Race Report

I've done Mansfield Hollow a whole bunch of times now, and while I always like it, I gotta say this was the best course yet.  Possibly 'cuz it contained not one, or two, but THREE features I could ride while other people couldn't.  But also because it had a nice balance of features and pedaling.  Yes... even I appreciate some pedaling, now and again.

Also quite thrillingly, with the exception of Todd Bowden it was a SCRUBFEST!  When the race started, Todd shot off the line and the experienced cat 2 scrubs wanted NOTHING TO DO WITH THAT.  It was like Lance attacking a bunch of sprinters at the base of a climb.  We didn't even lift a finger, we were just like, see ya Todd.  Have fun winning!

Unfortunately, one scrub was not familiar with the Canadian-national-champion kit, and figured that being second-wheel in the holeshot would be a great idea.  So he and Todd tore off the front, and then four minutes later he came limping backwards and was never seen again.

The first lap I mainly hung out in traffic and freaked out when a gap opened ahead of me.  Even in a scrubfest, some scrubs are too scrubby to hold a wheel.  But as the lap ended, I think we had consolidated all the cat 2's present into a chase group:  Me, Mike Wissell, Hunter Pronovost, and Adam Sullivan.

Aaaaand then we quit riding.  Well, kind of.  It was windy, and we had a long time to go, and we weren't catching Todd.  About halfway through every straightaway, the guy on the front would swing off and we'd all kinda just go... meh.

This may be why Cosmo Catalano caught us about a lap later.

He was riding well.  But there were four of us, and one of him, and he is a CAT THREE.  THREEEEEEEEEEE.  

Like a good teammate, I waited for Cosmo to make contact before I attacked the group.

Actually, I didn't know I was going to attack the group, but when Mike bobbled the run-up (or ride-up, if you were droppin' BALANCEWATTS), Hunter and I were suddenly the proud owners of a three-second gap.

The gap held through some technical stuff, and then we hit a big power section and I said "we've got a gap, I'll work if you want to" and so Hunter DRILLED IT and we were off!

Bike racing!

For the first time in recorded history I was taking straight-up legitimate PULLS in a cross race.  Guys!  Training is a thing!

Somehow Hunter and I managed to hold the Sully/Wissell/Catalano chase group at 5-10 seconds back for the rest of the race.  Entering the final lap, I was busying figuring out the plan to win (protip:  if you don't make a plan, you do dumb stuff) and I forgot that CORNERING IS HARD, so I laid down to think about it.  However, lying down when you had a plan to win (ok, get second in) the race three minutes later makes you FREAK OUT, so I adrenalined my way back to Hunter without too much incident.

He had a super-pro bike-block on the ride up to force me to dismount, but I was sticking to the plan, and THE PLAN was to attack at a zillion miles an hour into the final off-camber, and it WORKED!  So I got 2nd.
I was like, man, how cliche is it to post a picture of all the money I just won?  Then I realized I never win any freakin' money, so I better milk it the best I can!

Minuteman Cross Race Report

Minuteman ended up being Scrubfest 2:  Less Scrubs, More Mud, but it was still scrubby enough that I ended up with a front-row spot.  The course started straight into some wicked-technical off-camber mud, so with SIXTY clowns lining up behind me I was keen to get the hell outta dodge.  Thus, the holeshot!  This time there was no Adam Myerson to berate me for my foolishness, and more importantly, I was riding WELL!  

Jeremy Durrin was on my wheel and we were chatting about how sick it was (because talking in lap one of a cross race is how you let people know you're a cool kid), then he passed me, then he bobbled and I was like "NO RESPECT!!!" and went flying back past him, and the whole time I was like "dear god this is fun!"

Since Durrin has piles of UCI points and I don't, it was only a matter of time before he passed me again, and I was still like YAY BIKES until Chandler and Sweens also went ripping past me.  I was under the impression that Jeremy and I had been shredding so hard that all my scrubby peers were long gone, but it turns out that you can't make anyone "long gone" in five minutes of cross racing, you can only make yourself TIRED.

So then it was ON.  Sweens and Chandyland were both riding disturbingly well, and even though I had been thrown into my preferred briar patch of slippery corners, I was still struggling to maintain contact.  A few laps later, I had drifted 5-10 seconds back from them, but it's OK!  Because Shawn Milne is here, and Shawn has PRO ROADIE power, and those few times when the course did straighten out he would smash it, and I would make a pain face while eating a lot of mud on his wheel, and it was FUN.

Then I would recover on the technical sections while heckling him about how ironic it was that the CRITERIUM NATIONAL CHAMPION can't corner.

Then Kevin crashed, and Shawn put in the 20th monster pull of the day, and BOOM!  We made contact with the second-place group, and I was like, IT'S TIME TO MAKE A PLAN TO WIN (GET SECOND)!

The plan was definitely not "get so tired from holding Shawn's wheel that you crash on your face, bang your knee off your stem, and bend your derailleur hanger," but that is EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED.  Guys, bike racing is hard.

As usual, the crash produced an adrenaline spike that led to me near-crashing several more times trying to chase back onto the group, and when the adrenaline faded I was suddenly aware that I had smashed my PROBLEM TENDONin my knee and I no longer was having fun.

I consoled myself with the knowledge that the five of us were so far off the front that at least I would get the last spot in the money.

And then I noticed Nick Keough.

Nick had lined up at the back, for practice/masochism, and while it took him thirty minutes to get clear of the epic Cat 3 mud scrum, when he finally did, he was FLYING.

He gobbled up my 20-second lead in half a lap, proceeded to show me how to ride across to the group that had just dropped me, and then how to ride off the front of it and almost win the sprint for second.

So, that was nice for him.  Not so much for me as it changed my paycheck for the day to zero dollars, and as I frequently point out, I do this sport for the money.

Now I get to not ride my bike for a week while I ice my knee and wait for the swelling to go down, so I have extra energy for blogging!  Hooray!

2 comments:

Cary 10/16/2012 8:19 PM  

Glad you are not riding, I am sick and still at work anyway. I need to pull off a weekend split somehow to even make it a crossclash. I am so far back I don't even get mentioned on this blog anymore...

Colin R 10/16/2012 8:35 PM  

Maybe we can hang out at Downeast or something? Random draw and all that...

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