Monday, December 3, 2007

Race report- Hales Corners WI States

Snowed most of Saturday, then rained Saturday night, then got cold so when I went to sleep ice was everywhere. Woke up and the ice was gone and everything was melting. Figured we'd be riding in the slop. Not to be. Roman got to my place at about 6:45, we were on the road by 7:00. Figured this would give us enough time for coffee and any getting lost that might occur getting to the race venue. As we drove north, it looked like WI didn't get as much snow as we did, that is until we got close to the venue. When we got there at about 8:40, there was good 2-3 inches everywhere that was just starting to melt.

The course. I think this was the best course I've been on yet. Nicely set out. However, since we were the first race, very few riders had ridden the whole course, so we were riding in ice covered snow, you know the kind I'm talking about, the kind that is hard on top, but soft underneath: "CRACK" "Shhhlllepppppcccchhht."
A long starting straight into a soft left hand turn, hard right, sandpit then some off camber turns and into the first set of 3 widely spaced barriers, with a run-up immediately afterwards. Then the first pavement section, some quick turns, a short downhill, across the first bridge, some quick turns and then a hill, which for our race was unrideable. Down the same hill, some quick turns and back up the hill, but now with the 2nd set of 3 barriers in the middle, so run up the hill again, then some off camber turns, second bridge and a long finishing straight. With the snow and all of the running, the warm-up lap took 15 minutes! We figured we'd get 2 laps for the 30 minute 40+ cat 4s.

At 9:43 we went to the start and were advised that we'd have about 10 more minutes as part of the course wasn't marked off yet. My shoes and feet were wet and starting to get cold, so I ran back to the car and put some emrbo right on my toes. Thanks for the tip Tony. That did the trick.

Set-up. I ran the Mud 2s instead of the Razes. 40 pds. rear and 38 pds. front. Turned out to be pretty good.

The start. Everyone was joking about how the hole shot would be useless because the snow was so hard to ride through, better off letting the group go and ride some wheels until after the first lap. I lined up in the first row of 19 riders. Roman was to my right. Whistle and I push with my right foot... t h e b i k e g o e s n o w h e r e... rear wheel just spins out. I miss my left pedal and I start to fall onto my right side. This, of course, happens in slow mo. My only thought is to stay upright long enough for Roman to clear my right side, i.e the side that I am falling on. I did not want to take him out too. "Hey, dude, thanks for driving up with me... sorry I took you out at the start!" So with one foot clipped in I leaned the bike as hard to the left in a momentary pause... then down onto the snow.

Anyways, I'm on my side watching the whole field ride away. I jump up and can't get the bike moving as I am now in "unridden on" snow, so I run with the bike, get up some speed and jump on. By this time, the field is into the first turns 200 ft. or so away!

The race. Disaster strikes.. what do you do. You race MF! Anger at one's self can be a great motivator. I sprinted until I caught the last group of riders.

The snow made for a difficult race. If you could keep a straight line, you actually could get up some speed, so anytime the course got straight, I sprinted. Problem was if the front wheel just got little bit off track, it would bit into the snow sending the front end of the bike off kilter.

By the start of the second lap I had caught 5 or 6 riders. Also, I got the hang of riding in the snow. If the front tire did go awry, I got pretty good at pedaling through it. Alot of sitting back and unweighting the front wheel, like riding in sand or on a soft trail climb.

I then caught a group of 3 riders at the second set of barriers and decided to sit at the back and rest a little (if that's possible), wait until after the bridge and then try to sprint for the finish. One guy fell before the bridge and I came around the other 2 at the finish.

Result. 8th out of 19. I would be happy with any top 10 finish, but given my sucky, or to borrow an H. Simpson quote: the suckiest start that ever did suck, I think it was a complete success.

I only wish the race was longer than 2 laps because I only got the hang of the course on the second lap. So, I wouldn't do a 30 minute race again, unless I really had to.

We took advantage of the hot showers. Then went and got some food and coffee and came back to watch the 40+ and then 1/2/3s and 30+. The later races were mud fests as now there was a line that went all the way through the snow.

Well established track for the 1/2/3s. I'm not sure if we or they had better conditions.

So, onto to Montrose and the IL States on the 9th.


Chris said...

Hey man, great job out there! Thanks for the cheering and support, I appreciate it!

Two thoughts for Sunday: 1) be VERY careful with embro on your feet. It draws blood away from your core, and if your feet get wet with embro on them, you will get hypothermia faster than you can say hypothermia. Happened to me at Natz two years ago, very scary until I got into the shower and washed them off!

2) It's OK to "rest" in 'cross races if you need to, but always, ALWAYS be in front at the last obstacle before the finish. It's pretty rare to get a real sprint in a 'cross race, and I've lost bitter fights by letting the other guy lead into the barrier/corner/hill/etc. Attack and kick their a$$ as soon as you can!

Roman said...

Oh yeah, that was fun wasn't it, that is until I blew up in the second lap! Did I just say that? Blew in the second lap, oh man I'm getting old! Now we get to have the young guns (30+) reciprocate and create a nice trail for us to ride through this weekend. 32-39F with snow/rain mix, I can't wait!

Anonymous said...

Man, I heard WI was wet and cold. Sounds I thought I would give it a try on this last race of the series this Sunday at Montrose. Picked up a SS to play on. Race the beginners at 3pm. Hope not to come in last nor have my lung dangling from my mouth.

See ya,


fasterjim said...

Chris- Good tips. I didn't really have achoice about "resting." Passing on the turns with the snow was pretty difficult and I had spent the first 20 mintues just trying to get back on after that horrible start.

Roman- Hell yeah, Sunday is gonna rock!

Dan- Hope to see you out there