Friday, September 16, 2011


Photo: Russ Campbell @
I kicked off my cyclocross season at Quadcross on Sunday. With zero cx practice leading up to the race, I was keeping my expectations low. I doubled up, racing in both the Cat.3 and the SS open, and I'm not sure which was harder.
This was my first Cat.3 since upgrading at the end of last season, and it was punishing. The course was well designed, making good use of the available terrain. It included several punchy climbs, some sketchy descents, and tight single track, as well as some open grassy sections, and a long straightaway on double track. I lined up at 43 out of 77, and that was exactly where I finished up as well (crossresults race predictor is scary). The pace was much higher than what I remember from the 4's, and I was constantly battling the guys around me. My top end isn't that great, so I would get passed on the long straightaway back stretch, and then regain position on the ride/run-up, only to be passed again on the grass after the barriers, and then regain it again on the hill. I had one minor crash in the sand pit, where PJ left me in the dust. I need to remember how to handle smoothly again, and not try to force it as much. Maybe I can get some handling pointers from the crew that went to Adam's clinic. I had great last lap, and picked up a few places, gunning for Brier, who John Plump yelled at me to catch. I caught on to his group right before the finishing hill, only to have the folks in front of me crash right as I was about to punch past. I narrowly avoided get caught up in it myself, but had to scrub speed to do it. 

Photo: Tom Gumbart
The SS race made the Cat. 3 seem pleasant. I had recovered pretty well from my first race, with the exception of my lower back, which ended up slowing me down a bit in this race. This was my first real ride on my new SS bike, and it was a blast. I went with my stock 36x16 gearing, which could have been slightly easier, but I was able to ride almost everything. I had a bad start, getting caught behind the guy in the first row who mis-clipped, and gave up any unrealistic sliver of hope I had of destroying myself in the first lap for the beer prime. So I went with my next more realistic goal, which was to avoid getting lapped. I went into the woods roughly 13th out 30 guys, and eventually got passed by Conor from Geekhouse, and Mark Bernard in a Zanc kit. My back was really bothering me by the 3rd lap, and I was having to stand up at times to try and stretch it out, keeping me from really gaining back much time. The small amount of time I was able to pickup running up the hill after the Newbury Comics barriers, would evaporate by the time I hit the starting area. Every time up the finishing hill, I kept hoping to hear that lovely bell, and actually managed to get out a gasping, "thank you!" when they did finally ring it. I really appreciated the cheering from the MRC crew in this race, it kept me working hard through this suffer fest. I finished 15/30, which I am happy with.

-I need to work on my handling, and try to set up tubeless soon, as I can't afford to lose any time through loose sections.
-Looking at the data from both races, I averaged the same speed on my SS as I did on the geared bike. 
-SS seems to play to my advantage, since you have to run a bit more. I was faster off the bike than most. 
-Try to avoid getting such bad tunnel vision, that I don't acknowledge the folks cheering/heckling me on, with at least a smile.
-People would cheer for my mustache, even if I wasn't attached to it .

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