10 November, 2010

Super Race Report Catch Up Time!

Alright, after being questioned multiple times online and at races about my fantastically out of date blog, let's get this done so I can write a semi-current post about Nationals, etc. Apparently 15 races in 9 weeks is a lot, and I suck at finding time for blogging. At some point I may write a more detailed account for memorable races such as Gloucester, but for now I'll resort to point form and blurry memories.

When I left off I had done the Ellison Park race in Rochester, the first of the Full Moon Vista series. The next day I was back in Ontario for:

Speed River CC Guelph Cross
- first Southern Cup of the year
- good size elite field
- craploads of off-camber and one really steep climb

I had one of my usual amazing starts and found myself on Box's wheel at the back of the front group with Mogg leading the charge and I think Derek H in there as well as a couple others.

I was promptly spit out the back the first time up the climb and dropped back first to Marco, then back to a group with Isaac. Still not a bad place to be by any means.

Of course I continued to drop back until I was solidly in the bottom half and trying to hold off as many as possible. Brusso kept having issues like dropping his chain and then proceeded to ride back up to me and make me work to hang on for a lap. Finally his issues stopped and he dropped me.

Good enough for 13/21 with the majority of the guys I am normally battling DNF'ing. Too bad I could not have a better showdown with Mark R, but such is life.


Grand Prix Of Gloucester!
DAY 1:
- holy crap it's Gloucester
- there is way less grass here than I imagined; lots of rocks
- are they seriously sending us down this sketchy chute off of a paved
downhill start?!?

I got on course early for a recon lap and mostly I liked what I saw. Sand pit was good, lots of turning, not too much climbing... my kind of course.

I watched Pete battle it out with Hines and JOHNNY BOLD and take an impressive 3rd in the 35+ while riding the trainer. Got to staging JUST in time not to miss my 1st row callup (www.crossresults.com FTW!) and got the worst possible lane on the left. Ok maybe the second worst lane... but anyway, used my hole shot power to avoid the sketchiness (for that,
see here) and held 5th wheel or so for half of lap 1.

Lots of the usual pack surfing and a multiple lap battle with Geekhouse rider Josh Wright, but overall one of my best races ever led to a respectable 18/114.

DAY 2:
- this is the "traditional" Gloucester course
- uphill start is less sketchy, but also less favourable to me
- long headwind sections
- awesome runup

Day 2 I was staged 2nd row, and was kindly reminded by a fellow racer as I rolled into the start pen that I was not wearing a helmet. Really? Shit! Race back to the tent at the top of the hill and put it on and got back in time not to miss my callup, but just barely - how's that for a warmup you ask? Well, my heart rate was pretty close to where it would lie the majority of the race, but it sure didn't make me feel any better.

Off the gun it was the usual elbows out, try-not-to-go-backwards-because-it's-uphill start. Yeah I suck at going uphill. I hit the grass maybe top 20, which I guess means I more or less held my own off the start.

Basically the race went like this: suck wheels across the field and the sea wall, make up 3 spots on the runup, make up 2-3 more in the twisty bits up to the barriers, lose 5 spots in the long windy headwind section, lose 5 more on the paved climb to the finish. So... do the math, I was sliding backward at a comfortable rate of 5-6 spots per lap. Starting with around 15-20th and you get can predict my finish with amazing precision: 46/119.

Definitely not the great ride I had on day 1, but it was a great race for learning experience nonetheless. I got to race man-to-man for the full duration, and I had some exciting battles which is really what cross racing is about anyway.

Also notable is the dinner we had Saturday night. We found a nice little restaurant and a bunch of us had this shrimp scampi type dish with feta cheese and spinach. Local seafood rocks!

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