Friday, October 23, 2009

Race Report: Providence Cyclocross race day 2: Master’s Cat 4

The day started w/ getting pulled over by the police not four blocks from my home.

I was of course running late, and was seriously speeding through the neighborhood without ever checking to see if there happened to be a cop around…since there normally isn’t! “Driver’s license and registration please”. At least he used please. Last month when I got pulled over, the cop used the F word a LOT and was sputtering and spitting he was so furious (that‘s a different story). “…you know you just went through two stop signs and were speeding don’t you?....U have a race?” I was in my full kit already. “yes officer, I was trying to make it for the start time in Roger William’s park” He took off w/ my paperwork and I was certain that was going to delay me too much for my first CX race. Yet he was back w/in minutes handing me my license, insurance, and registration. “you got a speeding ticket last month didn’t you? Where?” “In East Providence sir” “you know this ticket would cost you over three hundred dollars? But since this is the first time you get pulled over in this town, I’ll let you off w/ just a warning! Good luck on your race!” “Thank you officer, have a nice day!” What a nice bunch of guys our local cops!!!!

Since this was my first cross race, or even attendance, I had no idea what to expect. My USA license is good for cross…what da ya know… More expensive than mtb though. At the race I quickly found some team mates who are avid/dedicated/obsessive CX guys (like me w/ mtb). The advice was to practice remounting while running. A couple of tries showed me I needed to make sure I kept track of where my pedals were before jumping back on the bike. Also landing on my upper thigh on the saddle instead of the general taint area would most likely save me some serious pain. Obvious stuff but not a given. I did not get much of warm up and heard on the PA, this was the “last call” for my group. Crap! I was actually on the other side of the park still warming up. Made it just in time and since I was the last person to register, got called up last. The group looked big, and I was the only guy on an mtb.

Since I was having a pretty good mtb season, I had been told I would do quite well in cat 4 Master’s. Ugh, that was not pressure I needed, especially since I was now hanging w/ the roadies/cx guys on the team and had to show that my mtb results were no fluke or a sign that mtbers are not as fast as roadies. It’s already bad enough that cat "2" mtb is only really equal to cat "4" road.  40+ years old and crap like that was still going through my head… Anyways, I was looking to win this one (since I was expected to) and starting all the way in the back was not helping my pre race jitters. “Get to the front as fast as you can” came a seasoned team mate’s advice…

Off we went and a sea of cx guys was flooding the way. People were bumping into each other and cutting each other off. The start at mtb racing can also get a little hectic but there just are never this many racers vying for the hole shot. Also I am always lined up at the front getting the hole shot! As we cleared the pavement and funneled into the double track, people were crashing into each other and wiping out. Slowly I elbowed my way through the pack but was already completely red lining. Racing on my mtb was giving a little bit of an edge on the tight turns though as I could take the lines over the tree roots everyone was avoiding, and allowed me to pass a couple of racers. By the beginning of the second lap racers were starting to thin out and I felt like I had made up some good ground on the front. Sadly though, I had given it all that I had and had nothing more to give. There were a couple of guys in front of me, but I had lost contact w/ pole position. As we hit the pavement the second time around, I got dropped pretty quickly but fought my way back once back on the grass. At the start of the third lap, it was still the same three guys and I switching positions. Any time we hit anything straight they would pass but as soon as we entered the twistier track I would pass again. Eventually I was able to hold a slight lead to those guys but had no idea how many more racers were in front. I knew there were quite a few and that they were un-catch-able as the PA would announce them lapping while I was still quite far from the start/finish area. By the end of the second lap I was so far in the red that I could see through the fog that was forming in my brain, my team mate cheering me on, but could not register what he was saying. That was most likely a good thing cause I am sure he was hurling some insults to try to motivate me. In the end I was able to hold of those three guys and ended up placing 8th out of 58. Not first but not too bad for my first cross race.

My heart rate monitor showed that I hit 190 bpm 10 seconds into the race and never came down below that for the rest of the 34 mins race time. Most of the time it was hovering around 195! That is pretty intense and I definitely need to warm up a lot more next time…if there is a next time. I had a lot of fun, no doubt! It was a super twisty course that had some really good flow and was challenging. From that perspective, I would love to do another CX race. Yet on the other hand I am done w/ cycling for a while. It has been a long and hard mtb season, I am ready to spend some time sitting on the couch doing nothing or playing the wow 10 day demo I am downloading. Maybe even put on a couple of pounds…

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Racing Results and Standing for 2009 Season.

3rd Place Finish: King of Burlingame, Charlestown, RI; MTB Time Trials, Cat 2, Age 40 to 49, on 3/5/2009.

8th Place Finish: Bunny Hopbrook Dam Mtn. Bike Race, CT; Root 66 MTB Race Series, Cat 2, Age 40 to 49, on 4/11/2009.

3rd Place Finish: Fat Tire Classic, Winding Trails, Farmington, CT;  Root 66 MTB Race Series, Cat 2, Age 40 to 49, on 4/26/2009.

1st Place Finish: Winsted Woods MTB, Winsted, CT; Root 66 MTB Race Series, Cat 2, Age 40 to 49, on 5/17/2009.

1st  Place Finish: Putney/West Hill Mtn. Bike Race, Putney VT; Root 66 MTB Race Series, Cat 2, Age 40 to 49, on 6/28/2009.

1st  Place Finish: Domnarski Farm Race, Ware, MA; Root 66 MTB Race Series, Cat 2, Age 40 to 49, on 7/5/2009.

2nd  Place Finish: Root 66 Racing at Mt. Snow, Dover, VT;  Root 66 MTB Race Series, Cat 2, Age 40 to 49, on 7/26/2009.

1st  Place Finish: Annual Hodges Village Dam, Oxford, MA;  Root 66 MTB Race Series, Cat 2, Age 40 to 49, on 8/2/2009.

1st  Place Finish: U.S. Cup/Snow Shootout, Mt. Snow, Dover, VT; Root 66 MTB Race Series, Cat 2, Age 40 to 49, on 8/6/2009.

1st Place Finish: Bikes for Bovines, Keene, NH; Root 66 MTB Race Series, Cat 2, Age 40 to 49, on 8/23/2009.  Also full category win.

1st Place Finish: Norcross Scurry, Ashford, CT; Root 66 MTB Race Series, Cat 2, Age 40 to 49, on 8/29/2009.

1st Place Finish: Mt Snow, Trail of Two Lakes, West Dover, VT; Root 66 MTB Race Series, Cat 2, Age 40 to 49, on 9/20/2009.

2009 Series Winner for the Root 66 MTB Race Series for Cat 2, Age 40 to 49.

National Rank by USA Cycling for Master’s Cat 2: 8th (out of 1200