Sunday, October 19, 2008

This is CX! -- Lower Huron Cyclocross!

I just love this place. When I think of cyclocross, this is one of the first venues that pops up in my mind. It has a long fast stretch of pavement for the start, and energy zapping sand volleyball court to run through, lots of fast straight and twisty grass sections, 2 track, a set of up hill barriers, and oh yeah -- that race deciding monster run up! Besides the course, Lower Huron is just a great park and in the peak of fall color, it just makes it that much more enjoyable that you are racing cyclocross here.

As for the racing today, I decide to race the normal routine in the C-class and then try to mix it up for 45 mins for additional pain in the Single Speed class. I was looking for the extra training. So what better way to get some extra training in than doing a CX race right? I was asking myself all the way to Lower Huron -- Am I nuts? Well maybe, but I am still alive and I did all right in the process. Heck, now I am even thinking I might try and go for a series award in single speed like I did in the MTB time trail series..... we will see.

Race 1. It was cold. Very cold. Still a lot of slippery frost on the ground at the start. There were 22 folks in my class and we were ready to go. I lined up front row. The whistle blew and we were off! I pulled the entire field into the first grass section. Nobody wanted to lead going into the hole shot. They would rather draft off of me. So at one point I actually backed off to see if someone would go around. Nope! Oh well, this was the safest place to be in the first lap. As we twisted through the grass we came up on the sand in the volley ball court. This year you ran through it, turned 90 degrees, and then run back through it again. And oh yeah, no body was riding their bikes through it this year. There were 2 logs placed at the beginning of the sand, so everyone was forced off the bike. So we were back on the bike and back into the grass. This is where my MTB bike handling and power to the pedals came in handy as I was able to force a gap into the field. Through the first set of barriers and onto the 2 track. More my style, push! push! push! a twist and turn, push! push! push! I was gaining on most of the field. I approached the next set up barriers placed in front of the monster run up, shouldered the bike, and 2 guys shot past me with mountain bikes like they were riding an escalator. WOW! I hoped on the bike and was able to hold onto their pace. There was a Wolverine rider with me, and we tried to work together to keep up the pace. He could not hold on so I figured I would go to bridge the gap. By the end of the 2nd lap, I was sitting in 3rd with a 20 sec gap on 4th place and within striking distance of the leaders. Then It felt like I had a flat tire. I looked down and saw I had a 3 ft stick jammed between my chain stay and small ring. and the rest of it was rubbing on my tire. I thought about stopping, but then I would lose my lead over 4th. I got to the grass again and the stick broke. It was no longer dragging on my tire, but it was still pushing on my chain ring causing drag with each pedal stroke. The Wolverine rider caught me again, but I was able to pull away even though I was pushing harder because of the stick. with 2 laps to go I pushed and pushed and pushed. Took a few more looks back saw no one in sight, and finished with my first "actual" podium spot of the year for CX -- 3rd!

Race 2. I felt good after the first race so I was thinking I am going to be alright for 45 more mins of racing, on a single speed, um - right? So I lined up at the back of the B-class with the other 2 single speeders for the day. My goals were easy for this race.
1 - Finish
2 - don't get lapped by the B-class leader.
We took off and I was surprised I was mixing it up well with the tail end of the B-class on my under geared single speed mountain bike. I kept on pushing as hard as I could and accomplished both my goals. And for my efforts I got 2nd place! The hardest part of the race was doing the monster run up 6 times after I just did it for 30 mins 4 times. And I was surprised at my overall times. They were not too far off from my C-class times and I stayed within 1 min for each lap for the entire race. So This was a good test to see how my training is coming along. But man am I tirrrreeeedddd!

And lets not forget, Lee (TSB team mate) came out and did his first CX race. And the Mofo took 10th place! way to go Lee. Jason made it down for the pain in the sun and improved greatly from his Stony result a few weeks ago with a solid 15th. And then there is Nolan. He gave a clinic in the kids race by showing them how to clear the barriers and came home with 2nd.

Capt' Curt -- Thanks for hanging out with us and snapping all the sweet pictures! You will get your's next year!

1 comment:

Todd Shorkey said...

You Animal!!!!

Awesome job John!!!!