CSI Day 1
The Saturday course remains one of my favorite in New England, despite the fact that there is a GOD AWFUL WINDY POWER SECTION in the lower field, because everything else is jam-packed with FUN: sandpit, runup, rideup with stairs that you could only ride if you were insanely motivated, pro line downhill, rad woods.
Stoke was high. Random number was also high. But it's okay! I sliced and diced through the aforementioned power section and was deep into the core of the field heading into the fun section on lap one.
But then, as I was passing some guys on the outside of a turn, the standard UCI-lap-one-almost-crash happened where a tangle led to a chain reaction of five people barely-not-crashing. Which was great, except that Trent Blackburn's not-crashing moved his rear skewer directly into the line my front wheel was committed to, and then he and I were very much crashing.
I swear I was up and back on my bike in under five seconds, but when the race is wheel-to-wheel that's enough to go from "comfortably in the middle" to "last."
I immediately got out of last, though, because some guy hooked his bike on the unbreakable tape on the runup dismount, and had never dealt with unbreakable tape before (thanks JD). So instead of unhooking it from his bars he tried to break it by pulling his bike, and it's entirely possible he's still there to this day, uprooting more and more stakes with panicked tugging.
I started furiously chopping my way out of last place, because I am better than last place (tm).
AJ Moran counter-chopped me while RUNNING down the pro line, which was great, there is a video of it on the internet but I can't find it now and speed bloggers don't have time to google "got GLVed at CSI video rad" for the next 10 minutes :(
My legs were refreshingly functional so I made some real progress for a while. Right about the time that progress stalled, Eric Follen caught my group and he was in full Wilcox-mode. Wait, do you guys even know what Wilcox mode is? Sigh. It's when you spend 15 minutes warming up during the race, and then become the fastest guy on the course and break scrub-zone hearts for 45 minutes.
So Follen cruises through with his sub-1-hour Mt Washington wattage, and then the game was to hack my way through traffic and shred technical sections to stay on his wheel for as long as possible. It was excruciating, but effective, and I think I managed to win the game for at least 3 laps, which is longer than anyone else around us did!
I finally gave up on Eric as he pulled me into Andrew Lysaght's group, because now #houseclash was on, and my body hurt.
Since I had caught Andrew it was clear that I was going to win #houseclash.
Then, as we rode along the upper road section, there was a brutal ping-chunk from my back end, as my rear wheel destroyed my chainstay cam.
After 5 years of running a GoPro less than an inch from my spokes, I finally got to find out what would happen if they touched! It was surprisingly not-catastrophic... but it did leave me with a broken-off GoPro mount spinning wildly on my rear chainstay, which was loud, and distracting.
So I stopped to take it off, and giving up 10 seconds at Noho with two laps to go HURTS. I chased and chased and chased, and I watched Andrew sit in while some other jerk pulled the group around, and I knew exactly what was happening -- right about the time I started to threaten to regain contact, he attacked, shelled the guy who had been pulling (that's what you get for pulling my friend around, jerk), and rode away from me for the #houseclash win.
I ended up 37th/65, which was pretty tolerable for being 65th/65 at one point. On to the next one!
|Jesse Quags took this photo of me looking competent on the very legit pro-only section!|
CSI Day 2
In typical double weekend fashion, day one left me thinking "wow, take away the crash and the chainstay cam explosion and you coulda had a great result." Hopes were high...and legs were crap. Dammit.
I had a much better random draw and a crash-free start, but you know what, being mid-20s on lap one when you're a mid-30s racer actually just means that you're going to have a pretty demoralizing race day. Every group I was in was stronger than me, and the field was windy, and legs were bad. I got popped from groups I really really really wanted to be in. Over and over.
This also led to a lot of riding around in the wind by myself, which of course is my forte. I built some character by going as hard as my little legs could go (that's how you're supposed to bike race, right? I frequently try to avoid this) which still wasn't fast enough to avoid getting caught by Eric Follen (duh) with a few laps to go.
Eric had helpfully towed Preston up to me, but he had also punched Preston straight in the face with his calves for half an hour. I lasted about four minutes with the Follen group and pulled the plug when he accelerated to 0.9c on the finish straight.
Preston came around to try to close the gap, but the warping of space-time made it impossible, and soon it became cleared that Preston and I were going to have a classic end-of-race-throwdown-with-your-buddy.
I came up next to him on the runup and he was breathing like he was dying, which seemed like a good sign, so I pushed it a little through the next technical section and oh, crap, now I have a GAP with 1.5 laps to go, so I had to do real honest work, instead of just winning the sprint? Sweet plan Colin.
But I did! It's probable that Preston was totally slain from half an hour on the Eric Follen Express, but whatever, I'll take it.
I rolled in for 36th/63, getting basically the same result from Day 1 via totally different methods.
And then I ordered a new GoPro.
In the meanwhile, you should watch the DirtWire highlights, because they are SO FREAKING GOOD: