Monday, November 7, 2011

Cycle-Smart Intl. Day 1

Sarah and I drove out to NOHO Saturday morning, arriving at 10, for my 12:30 race. I was excited to be racing later in the day, after dealing with the Cat 4 Ice World of the year before. On my inspection lap, I found the course to be surprisingly dry, and very fast. The Cycle-Smart crew and JD, did a top notch job putting the course together. There was a nice mix of power sections, coupled with enough technical sections to keep the strong time trial riders from getting away. The start was set up much like I remembered it last year, with the first big bottleneck coming at the run-up. With a starting position near the back of a 150 person field, I knew that I would have to try to push hard from the start; I didn't want to be stuck at the back of the queue, zombie shuffling their way up the hill. I also wanted to beat Todd, who has been edging me out all season. These aspirations were dashed before I even left the starting grid, when I was caught right in the middle of a crash seconds after the starting whistle. After dislodging myself from the pile, and getting my shifter pointing forward again, I was ahead of 6 or 7 guys, 3 of which didn't have functional bikes.
After the starting grid crash, I was at the very back of the pack.

I counted myself lucky, since I wasn't seriously injured, and my bike was mostly working. I did have plenty of room at this point, so I got on the gas, and tried to get back a few places before the run up. I pulled back a few folks, and soon found myself making the obligatory cow sounds, as I got in line at the hill. I was joking with some guys that we were joining "Occupy the CSI Run Up". I was next to my MRC teammate Matt , who also happens to be one of my Cross Clash rivals, as we made our way up the loose dirt. After losing to him many times last season; I made it my goal to make sure I was ahead of him, no matter what happened.

My plan of attack, was quite simply, to attack. So attack I did, again and again. I spent a good portion of the race out of the saddle, pulling myself up to small groups; Fighting my way to the head of them, then trying to bridge to the next group. This meant that I was spending a fair amount of time out in the wind by myself between groups, but I was feeling great. Matt was also doing well, pulling through groups after me. He finally caught me at the top of the run up on the last lap, when I slipped. We worked together to try and reel in the next group ahead of us, before I blew a tight turn. Matt got a nice gap on me, before the sharp descent off the hill. Andy was right there yelling at me to catch him, that I couldn't let my teammate beat me. This gave me a boost, and I slowly brought Matt back. I was able to make a good pass on him right before club row. I saw an MIT rider about 15 yards ahead of me. I turned myself inside out trying to catch him, and keep Matt off my wheel. When we hit the pavement, the MIT rider only had a 15 foot lead on me. I dropped it into high gear, and still had enough in my legs to make a strong sprint. I was able to nose him out with a well timed throw at the end. Granted I was sprinting for 92nd place, but damn it it felt awesome.
Attacking through the barriers, with Matt in pursuit.

Aside from the crash at the start, I felt like I had a very strong race. I don't think I could have put in any harder of an effort, and I managed to beat the pre-race predictor. I had fun, which is why I'm out there. So while the results didn't look that great, I will chalk this one up as a win.

Post race observations
The Good:
-Fun course
-Sprinted out of every corner.
-Attacked constantly.
-Passed 45 guys.
-Young kid at the run up, who told me I had the best mustache that he had ever seen.

The Bad:
-Playing pig pile at the start line.
-Todd not getting stuck in the pig pile, and pulling away.


  1. Sucks you got caught in that start crash. But you had an awesome race on Sunday! Amazing how many power efforts we do in this race compared to the old days...

  2. I can't believe you guys are as fit as you are and sprinting for 90th thinks about 30 guys should be upgrading?