Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Northeast Velocross

I missed out on this one last season, and everything I had heard about it, made this race a top priority for me. I was especially excited by the idea of riding the BMX track, and getting RAD. I knew that I would be doing the SS race, to try and pick up some Zanconato Trophy Series points. I talked my friend and co-worker, Susan, into trying her first race. Not only was it going to be her first race, she was going to do it on her converted track bike, which only had clearance for 28's. Understandably she was a little nervous, but she also very excited, as only an over caffeinated Mogwai can be. My wife, and her sister who was there to watch her first cross race, also came along to cheer us on.

Susan and I got in a few warm up laps, but all I really wanted to do was play in the BMX section. The course started on the Velodrome, before taking a hard left into the infield. The infield including a number of hard turns, some mud, and two different sets of barriers. The course then took you up over the lip of the track, and down a loose descent, before heading back into the woods for some tight single-track, a steep run-up, and a set of tight turns exiting the woods onto some loose gravel. Then the fun factor jumped to 11 at the BMX track with number of doubles, berms, and rollers, before heading back onto the track. The course was pretty short, meaning that everyone would be doing lots of laps. This was perfect, because it meant more trips thorough the BMX section.

After warming up, we watched the 1/2/3 field compete. Several of my Cat.3 friends had stepped up to the plate to compete with the big boys. Hats off to Matt, Jay, and Jon who all looked very strong. This was also to be the preview race for the Resultsboy vs. Cyclo-What grudge match. Sadly, the course proved to be a man eater, taking out Chandler with a rolled tubular, and Jay with a broken derailleur. Soon enough, it was time for the SS field to line up.

Get spinny with it! 
We lined up based on Crossresults points, which had me starting in 12th out of 23 guys, but the NEBC crew got the front row call up, literally filling the entire first row. This had me starting in the 3rd row, but I snagged a great spot on the inside of the track. I was right behind Matt Aumiller, and Doug Kennedy; Two nice wheels to desperately try to cling onto for the next 40 minutes. They were going to put in a delay between the men's and women's start, but everyone agreed that would be lame, so we all got the whistle together. I got a solid start, and left the track in 8th position, marking Ben Stephens who had been edging me out by a few places in our races together. 

The top 4 quickly pulled away from the field, with Matt, Ben, and I giving chase. Matt then dropped some watts to bridge up, leaving Ben dragging me around. We eventually closed in on one of the NEBC riders, at about the same time that Ryan White was catching us. "Crap!", I thought to myself, "Ryan White!". I had almost forgotten about my Hobbit Cup challenge, I immediately tried attacking Ben, and was able to come around him, but got caught behind the NEBC rider Scott, as we entered the woods again. I'm not sure what happened to Ben, but by the I got to the run up, I didn't see him behind me. I couldn't shake Ryan though, and he was breathing down my neck as we hit the BMX track.

Two Hobbits chasing an NEBC rider.
The three of us maintained this little group, with Ryan goading me to attack Scott, until I almost lost it on the loose turn before the BMX track, executing a nice power slide. This let Ryan get around me, and using his superior pump track skills he was able to pass Scott as well. I tried to get back onto Scott, but Ryan was gone by the time we entered the track. We got the bell lap seemingly very early, leaving me with little chance of catching Ryan, and Scott dropped some watts gapping me pretty hard. I made chase, but couldn't catch him finishing in 8th. Overall, my best SS performance so far.
Berms, FTW!
All the while we were racing, I kept yelling encouragement at Susan, whenever I would see her. I was also getting plenty of encouragement from my wife, and sister-in-law, and other friends. I made point to rail the berms, and get a little air off the last double every lap. If I can't make the podium, I can at least have fun with my race. This all fits in with the "Safety Third" philosophy taught to me long ago by my friends Bethany and Holly. It states that your priorities should be; #1-Looking good(the 'stache); #2-Having fun(getting rad); and #3-Safety(not dying, while getting rad). 

A happy Susan. I think we have created a new cross addict.

Post race observations
The Good:
-Very strong start.
-Rode the pump track clean.
-Got RAD.
-Curtis gave me one of his podium beers.
-Susan tried cross, and loved it!

The Bad:
-Need to work more on my top end speed.
-Be more aggressive.
-Lost round one of the Hobbit Cup.


  1. Great post Abel. Smiled as I read it thinking of the fun as well. Glad you had a good time and nice work beating on Scotty.

  2. You musn't lose the precious!