Saturday, September 17, 2011

Tailwind Doublecross CX Day 1!

Cyclocross is finally here!!!!! I felt like a kid at Christmas all week for this day to come. I was hoping that racing Kisscross Plaster Creek CX, would chill me out a bit. But it just aint the same. If you want to race some real cyclocross in Michigan, with real cyclocross talent in every class, it has to be a USAC race, and no one has been doing it longer or better than Tailwind. And this year's kick off was no different. The season/series kicked off with the traditional Doublecross weekend. Held at Waterford Hill Race track, the course has always got a surprise or 2. And of all the times I have raced here, this is the best course design I have seen here. My hats off to Joe Brown on a great job setting it up! The course itself consist of a nice black top start/finish area, some bumpy grass. A deep hole in the ground that acts as short single track sections in the middle, a set of barrier, and few twist and turns all over the place, and oh that favorite of every one's - the Orange Crush Flyover!

I got to the course early to try and sneak in a few quick recon loops to check out what I was up against in between the C and B races. I then got a good warm up in. Said hi to all the folks I have not seen in a year. And finally got ready to race. Lined up on the front row, and looked around to see who was present. The usual suspects, a few missing, and a few new ones. We got Ready, and the whistle blew! Everyone went out like they were shot out of a cannon. I could not clip into my pedal!!! I was falling back quick. In about 50 yrds, I was somewhere near dead last. I finally got in and clawed my way to 6th place before hitting the grass. A large group of 6-7 guys stayed together as Rob Selle rode off the front. It was hard to get around anyone in the course, mainly because it was so fast. The group kept a good pace, but I was still sitting at the tail end of it. We hit the pavement again, but no one wanted to react. Rob had since fell back into the pack. Then David Johnson shot off the front and did not look back, and again no one reacted. This time I was able to pull up a few spots and went around for another loop. On the 3rd lap, it was my turn. As soon as I hit the pavement, I launched an attack to try and bridge the gap to David Johnson. The only one that reacted was Jarod Makowski as he got on my wheel and we reeled in David. All 3 of us stayed lock together for the rest of the race, growing the gap behind us bigger and bigger! We would all take a few turns pulling on the front. Then with about 3 laps to go, Jarod made his move. It was hard counter for me. David stayed close, as I slipped back through the more technical single track sections in which Jarod excelled at. At the end of the 6 lap, David and I pulled Jarrod back into us as we were going into our final lap. I knew that if I let those guys get through the single track section before me, it would be hard to stay on there wheels. However, if I could control the pace through the single track, I would be the first one onto the longer flat grass sections and final pavement, thus being able to lay the power down and hopefully ride them off my wheel.

So that was the plan, now the last lap. I attacked early on the false flat start. I got around Jarod, and David followed. I hit the pavement and those guys stuck to me like white on rice! I buried myself and felt like puking the entire time. I was the first one up the Orange Crush and David hopped on his bike at the same time I did. We rolled down together. This was the deciding moment. He struggled to clip in. I punched it just ahead of him into the right hand turn into the first single track section! Goal 1 accomplished. I controlled the tempo though the rest of this section so they could not get around. Next was the barriers. We all went in together, but I was able to muscle back to the front around the next corner. From here to the end was free sailing unless the other guys had more in the tank than I. I popped it up a few more gears and did not look back. I was the first onto the pavement and gunned it. I was not sure how close the other guys were, but never looked back. As I got a few feet from the line I finally was able to throw both my hands into the air and celebrate for the first time since 2008! I just won my first cyclocross Master 35+ race!

It was great to see everyone, and it was even better to hear all the yelling a screaming at us as the race was happening. Tomorrow is another day, another race. So I hope I can sneak in another podium...

Thanks to JB Hancock for the pics!

1 comment:

jbhancock said...

AWESOME ride today, now recover and get ready for tomorrow's effort!