MRC Cross Race Report

MRC Cross Seat Cam Lap 1 from colin reuter on Vimeo.

After a few rides with the seat cam, I've been getting a variety of jokers mugging for the camera while staging/riding behind me. Hey man -- whatever encourages people to get behind me.

Saturday's MRC cross race in Wrentham had especially good seat cam potential because no one fast preregistered, gifting me an ill-deserved front row start spot. Adding to the excitement was a $120 crowd prime (preem? preme? I hate spelling that word) for winning the first lap. Two years ago I saw Mark McCormack and Justin Spinelli have a huge crash going for the crowd prime here, so knew it was going to be exciting. My plan was to get off the line as fast as possible and see where I was after half a lap -- then, if the front seemed reachable, go for broke.

Much to my chagrin I lined up in the deepest sand available on the front row, and it looked like I might not get an opportunity to ruin my race on the first lap when I started a bit shakily. But, #2 seed and serious prime contender Gavin Mannion ate it big time exiting the dirt road start and just like that, I was up to 5th. Let's do this thing.

Over the barriers and into the backstrech it started to get strung out. Curtis Boivin was going after the first lap pretty fiercely but some of the guys behind him were taking a more long-term view of the situation. As a result, he quickly started riding off the front and it seemed like the whole thing might be pretty anticlimactic.

But then, Pat Goguen got to work, and he was most certainly only worrying about lap one. We took off at Mach Unsustainable on the doubletrack, weaving through Hunter P and Todd R who were riding "smart" instead of "greedy." Pat's insane effort dragged us all the way back to Curtis' wheel and left him hurting even more than me, I think.

Over the smaller barriers it was just me, Pat and Curtis on the front, we all went for the early remount and riding up the hill. I got clipped in fast and back on the pedals, I thought everything was cool -- then, out of nowhere, Manny Goguen comes running up next to me.

Oh haaaaaail no, no 16-year-old is running past me and taking my money, I thought. He was running fast. I was basically in a full sprint over the top to close the door on him, and I realized that I was going deep into the red and my race was basically going to end after this lap.

Better make it count.

I flipped out and passed Pat and Curtis. I wasn't even pretending to be racing a full race, the finish line was at the end of lap and I was doing a 6-minute interval to get there. Coming into the big log of doom I was going crazy fast, Tim Johnson fast, it's really hard to handle a bike at that speed when you never practice. I knew if I tried to ride the log and blew it I'd never live it down so I dismounted, running like crazy, almost losing control of the bike as I put it down. Luckily my attack had gained me a few bike lengths so Curtis couldn't come around there, two hairpins to go and I knew I had it.

Two more full gas sprints out of the corners and I was $120 richer... and completely blown. The packslide started immediately. Curtis, Pat, Manny, Hunter, Toby, Brad, who knows who else, they all went streaming by. I was riding so slowly it was practically dangerous, I was a little old lady, cluelessly doing 45 in the left lane on the Mass Pike with guys in Beamers swerving around her flippin the bird.

Ok, so it was a wee bit dangerous, but I had no idea what was about to happen... I believe this is how it went down:

We were going 15-20 mph and Adam Sullivan swung out to pass me. He hit a rock, hard, and got knocked off balance and onto his top tube. Losing control, he swerved into me. As he was coming up from behind I never knew he was there -- until he hit me. I had just enough time to think "this makes no sense" as I bounced off him and headed straight for a tree.

My front wheel hit the tree, destroying it (the wheel, not the tree), I shot straight over the bars, taking a fair amount of skin off my thigh on the stem, luckily avoiding the tree with my shoulder and flying through the air to land on my back.

Adam went down pretty hard as well, he didn't have any trees to break his equipment on but he did have plenty of gravely dirt to surf on. The whole thing was gnarly enough that Todd Rowell, who was right behind it, locked his brakes up to see if we were alright.

I think the first thing I was said was "I'm alive."

I lay on my back for a while, alternating between saying "ohhhhhhhh" and "I'm ok" as racers kept asking about us. Then I realized that maybe I should actually try moving everything instead of assuming that being conscious meant I was ok. Other than some bruises and losing some skin off my inner thigh though my shorts (ouch) I was completely fine.

After a good 5 minutes of sitting on the ground we walked out, just in time to hit the crowd of panicked race organizers running down the course to find us as they got increasingly grim reports of the carnage in the woods. Rob from Minuteman said to me, "I got some wheels in the pit."

At this point the leaders came through again, putting me one lap down. I looked at him quizzically.

"I think you might have to finish to get the money" he said.

Oh, you bastards. I had trouble believing they wouldn't have given me the money after what happened, but the more I thought about it the more doing some riding seemed like a good idea. I took Rob's 40 psi clincher and rolled off, almost a lap behind last place.

Needless to say, the rest of the race was pretty uneventful, as even when I caught people that only meant I was back on the same lap as them, not passing for position. But, it did give me 45 more minutes of riding before having to come to grips with how sore I was going to be. And somehow I beat someone after all that, I hope for his sake he had a mechanical too.


solobreak said…
The prime race was the highlight of the day. The little kid was flying; he wanted it bad. I think I saw him later with a completely tacoed wheel too. You looked totally in control though (other than the look over your shoulder two turns from the line). I was surprised that you didn't keep going. You weren't wearing your suffer face at all.

Maybe next time if you're doing a front to back shuffle you should yield the fast line...
Colin R said…
Oh yeah, I definetly learned a lesson about packsliding on the racing line. Never again.
CTodd said…
Taco´d wheel!?

Damn boy. And I thought I was tough on them tubulars...
rob said…
very cool video, and report.
thanks for taking care of the race results.
Todd Rowell said…
Ah, this explains what happened to Adam; from behind it looked like a stem bolt failure. I had an exciting view of the crash and was sure you were going to land on a big pile of rocks off in the woods, and even if you missed them there were plenty of trees, hence my concern. I have to say that I was pretty stoked to not see you on the ground on the next lap.

Good job on that prime ... even if I think primes in a 'cross race are kind of insane. What's next? Beer handups?
G-ride said…
wow, that was the most amazing pack slide EVER! And caught on film!!!

Impressive. Try to top THAT!
Julianne said…
Great video and race report... glad you guys are both ok. I hate when trees jump in front of your bike going high speed. Keep the seat cam going!

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