Friday, November 12, 2010

Playing Catch Up on Race Reports

Where did October go? As I write this I have one CX race left and have six races already done, so I guess you could say I'm behind on my reporting.

The season kicked off, for me, at the Downeast Cross up at Pinelands. The season had been planned to get kicked off at the Casco Bay Cross, but Mother Nature had other plans and dropped so much rain that the race was canceled due to potential damage to the park on the Eastern Prom.

Heading to Pinelands I began to have a few butterflies as I realized I really hadn't done any CX work to get ready for this race. I'd been riding, but more in the manner of going out and enjoying the woods and roads of Maine, not in the lung busting, cross-eyed manner in which CX races are enjoyed. Add to that I hadn't done any dismount/remount practice this year, so I knew I was very well prepared!

I got to Pinelands and realized that the big upside to trying to move up to a 3 would be that I could sleep in for another hour AND the temps might be a bit more humane. However I have done little to try and get myself in shape to move up so early, cold starts are the reality I'll have for awhile.

The course was super fun. Lots of twists and turns, great flow, very little climbing, but lots of energy sucking accelerations on grass made me realize that sometimes climbing is much easier! I took my time on my warm-up laps and did get in a few dismount/remounts done before the start and began to feel a bit more comfortable before I headed down to the start.

The start, well the start of a CX race always catches me off guard. I am just not a fast starter, for two reasons- one I like to ease into a race, and two it scares the hell out of me to go full out, elbow to elbow and wheel to wheel from a dead stop. With that said I took my place at the back and planned on riding my way to outside of the first hard corner so I wouldn't get chopped in the corner.

The starting whistle was blown and we were off and I was quickly in my planned position of back of the group, however I felt like I was riding way too hard to be already at the back. The cold air combined with hard breathing had my lungs searing a bit and I was quickly in full on chase mode. I moved up a bit on the opening lap but the reality was that the lead group had already formed and was cranking along, and I wasn't anywhere near them, nor would I have been able to ride their pace. My heart rate was pretty much pegged from the gun and my goal was just to hold on for dear life.

The racing was fun and my goal became to just ride my own race and not get lapped. I rode pretty well, stayed upright and felt pretty good through the barriers. I moved up a bit as the race went on, but still finished near the back of the pack. I did however catch a guy on the line, but he was racing in the 4's and not the Master 4's- so that effort didn't show up on the result sheet.

Day two was colder than day one and I found myself sitting in the car with the heat on full bore trying to thaw out my toes before the start. I had decided to ride harder at the start and see if I could get a better finish. With that in mind the start went pretty well and I was up in the front group for half of the first lap before sliding out hard on a corner and spending some time on the ground. I chased back only to fall again on a stone wall crossing. That fall did actually hurt and it took me a minute or two of riding to get back to feeling like I could go full gas. I again found myself racing my own race and just tried to be smooth and have fun, and stay upright from that point on.

The course on day two was tougher as it had three dismounts and all three lacked (for me) any real rhythm. It was still a very fun course and I was happy with how I rode. I finished up closer to mid pack on day two and was pleased considering the time I had spent laying on the ground.

In all it was a good weekend of racing.


No comments: