23 November, 2008

FOR SALE: Kona Major Jake


11 November, 2008

More CX race reports

Seems I don't have much time for blogging these days, so these come in the way of multi-race posts. I'll try to keep them brief.

Speed River Halloween Stage Race Day 2 - October 26, 2008

I had non-cycling commitments for Day 1, which is really unfortunate because SRCC puts on some great races and I would have liked to come with a costume.  That said, not having to come up with a CX friendly costume did suit my lazy tendencies.

The Sunday course proved to be much dryer than what I had seen in reports from Saturday, which made for some fast racing.  As we pulled up for the day, I noticed a run-up and some switchback turns down the same slope - very nice.  This would prove to be my favourite part of the course by far.  I hit this runup with increasing speed each time, and actually ran, unlike the "hike" up from the beach on the other side of the course.  Yeah, beach.  The sand was fun.  I rode it every lap in warmup and race, except my last when I decided I had better legs for running at that point.

My race started really well, opening up a gap with Nick and Peter off the start and actually holding their wheel.  That felt good because they're normally a lot faster than me.  About halfway through the lap I slid out in an off camber corner and lost their wheel, but nobody passed me.  Over the next lap or two I let a couple people go hoping to reel them in later.  Unfortunately I tripped on the barriers Sven Nys style lap 3 and went down hard.  I got back up alright, and finished without losing any more spots, in 5th.  My crash was apparently more spectacular from a spectating POV - some folks thought I'd have broken my collarbone.  Luckily all I took from it was a scrape below my eye.

Barrie Cyclocross - November 2, 2008

This year the Barrie race was held at Hardwood Hills due to being unable to secure last year's venue.  This was fine by me, as I knew that the terrain at Hardwood should provide ample features for a good course.  I was not disappointed - lots of fast grass and doubletrack was offset by some tight sandy switchbacks, a ridable but tough sandy hill, a cruel run-up (or ride, if you're Mike Garrigan) and some quick but tight hairpins on flat ground.  This was the first course of the year other than bits of the Kingston race where I could hammer in the big ring and not kill myself doing so.  If I had any complaints it would be the slow approach to the barriers.

The race was off to a quick start, strung out and I was sitting about 5th wheel.  Strung out up the sandy climb, I lost some ground but was riding well.  In subsequent laps I found running the hill better due to traffic with the M3s, but in hindsight riding would have been a bit faster.  As the race progressed, a battle developed between myself and Jamie who is usually a little quicker than me.  We went back and forth, and unfortunately it was a mechanical (a rolled tire) that took him out of contention.  I would go on to finish 7th, with Brusso riding strong for the win over Peter and Dave.  Hm, when are those guys going to upgrade...

Toronto UCI C1 weekend, Day 1 - November 8, 2008

This was a weekend I looked forward to as much for spectating as for racing.  Tim Johnson and Jeremy Powers among others were confirmed for the Elite race which was sure to be a good one to watch.

Sticking to my own race for the purpose of this blog, however... I had a pretty bad race on Saturday.  Finished for enough points to put me in 4th for the S3/4 standings, but I just didn't feel good.  The course was nicely laid out with plenty of tech, but the long power sections between did not suit me and the field just rode away.  A quick consultation with the coaching staff after my race, and yup, lots of TT workouts will be in the plan for next year.

This was my first race on the new tubulars (which are actually some grungy old Grifos) and the impression was good.  I will get used to them more in the coming races, but the ride quality and traction at low pressures was great.  I rode the nasty hill at least once in the race, but other times did not find the traction.  More on this in the Day 2 report.

Toronto UCI C1 weekend, Day 2 - November 9, 2008

Heading back to Centennial Park for day 2, some drier weather greeted us on course and the pre-ride left me optimistic that maybe this was a better course for me.  They really used the ski hill well, and it made for some nasty climbs and fun off camber descents.  I was able to ride all of it in pre-ride, but this fell apart quickly as the course got torn up.  By race time I could not ride either big climb, and was reduced to running (or walking, as would be the case by lap 4).

I started strong, letting Peter by in the first corner as he had a crappy 2nd row callup (hmm, UCI Commissaires doing callups at a 3/4 race... yeah...).  He chopped my lines through the wet section going into the barriers, but I held his wheel until we started going up.  Right off the first punchy climb I dropped a couple spots.  More on the big hill.  Still, I was riding well, and started to gain some momentum through the technical section at the base of the hill.

I continued to let riders go on the subsequent ascent, but come lap 3 I found myself with Mark Brusso coming into the start/finish and he was right on my wheel.  He wanted around, so I let him and quickly hopped on to take advantage of the draft on the fast straight, and held it right until the hill again... off he went.  He did come by and say that I was riding strong afterward, which made me feel good.  I would finish in 11th, largely due to the bigger than usual field (some US riders from Rochester and many 1-day racers came out).  This would however maintain my spot in 4th overall, and I hear Peter is moving up leaving me in 3rd going into Provincials... I'll write about that another day.

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