Friday, October 24, 2008

Downeast Cyclocross Race

I got my first cross race of the season underway this past weekend over at the Downeast Cyclocross Race in New Gloucester, ME. This used to be a venue the was home to a Verge series weekend, and I remember seeing the big boys race on this course and it was what really got me stoked on the concept of cross racing. I've raced at this venue several times now, and I really like it- the big issue for me is to now put some effort into coming to the race to do well.

This year was about having some fun, shake the cobwebs out and just see how it went. During warm-ups I realized that not having worked on dismounts, remounts, off camber, etc was going to be an issue. I worked really hard on those elements last year and it paid off- so this year was more of a fake it till you make it.
The girls all went with me to the race and K was shooting pics while the girls drank hot cider and cheered. It was cool to see them during my warm up laps and during the race. I raced as a 4 so that we could head to Freeport after the race and still have most of the day, that meant a 9am start on a frosted course. It also meant a 30 minute race, which I assumed would be a 35 to maybe 40 minute actual race. That wasn't quite the case.

We got cued in the start area, I saw Marc from the Maine Cycling Club, who I've been racing cross with since I was doing my race promotion work with the original Rockpile Rampage (now a part of Porky Gulch Classic). I also met Ethan "Buzz" Magoon, a fellow Bikeman team rider.
A Group of 4's about to create chaos

The race began, we were expecting it to be four laps, and I immediately was reminded how squirly a cat 4 race can be. This isn't to say I'm the worlds best bike handler, cuz I ain't, but I do understand the etiquette and how to race aggressively without putting everyone else in danger of going into the ground. Needless to say my lack of initial desire to be at the front bit me in the butt, and I held back to let things string out a bit before trying to pick up the pace.Holding back, wishing I hadn't
Soon I found that Marc and Buzz were right near me, and for some reason that made me feel more comfortable- Marc is a solid rider and Buzz seemed to be so I was not as nervous having them either on my wheel or being on their wheel. We made our way around, the course had only one dismount, and two other spots where some chose to run. I was feeling ok and was able to ride the two other spots each lap (well that's not entirely true- on the first lap I did have to scooter the first little run up as a guy slid out in front of me and I dabbed to keep from running him over). The girls were moving all over the course so I got to see them several times and that was cool (and the photo credits go to my wife- nice work K!)
On the flat section topside

By the end of the second lap I was feeling ok and wanted to start moving up, we rolled through and they called out last lap. What? This is going to be a three lap race? That doesn't even make sense! (should have raced at 10 for the Master 3/4)- I put my head down and so did Buzz and Marc and we moved up a bit through the field. Buzz was ahead of me on the climb and I yelled to both he and Marc that they had to clean the piece that others were running- telling them it was the small victories that count. We then made it to the top of the course and I accelerated and passed Buzz and then rolled in for an 8th place.
In the final set of corners.I would have liked that last lap to see if I could have made top five as I was really starting to feel strong, but that's how racing works- everyone has a Monday Morning QB story!
Post race.My girls after the race.
So that's the story.

Roll on.


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