Sunday, November 9, 2008

Race report: Chicago Cross Cup #7, Northbrook

As we left for the race it was 34 degrees and it didn't get any warmer. Since this one was close, Elora and Tammi came, but we may not do that when its this cold.

The course. Nice wide start area and right into the twisty tech stuff. Opened up and then up the first set of stairs, switchbacks on the way down. I crashed hard on the first one during my first warm-up lap, ringing my bell pretty well. Back into the twisty stuff and then up a second shorter stair run-up. An off camber down and onto some pavement. Up a muddy hill, around some pinwheel things and then up to the start/finish. No barriers, just the 2 stair case run-ups. Lots of turns, little if any power sections. Overall this was a great, great course that made me work hard. But it was very unforgiving, every time I got any speed up, I had to brake. Just about every surface of the course was off camber and slippery; every corner, a test of handling skills. Oh yeah, goose poop... everywhere.

The start. Thermal skinsuit, base layer, wool socks, emrbo. Call up in 5th. Set up far left. Roman started to my left. Big field, over 30. Cold. Go. I'm in 5th or 6th at the first run-up, still in contact. Decided to just run the first 2 turns of the switchbacks and ride the other 2.

The race. You're all probably getting used to this part... but I just have to ride my own race. I held my own. I ran the first 2 switchbacks every lap. Riding them may have been faster, but I didn't get passed there and I felt safer running it. On the 3rd lap I started getting passed in the technical stuff, first Mike and Randy from xXx, then a DICE rider, then James from Turin. I tried to stay with each one, but then I'd have to slow down in a corner. Just too tentative in the corners, wasting massive amounts of energy braking and then having to re-accelerate.

The result. 11th. Just off the group that finished 6-10. I was kind of bummed afterward because I fell from 6th to 11th, but then the more I thought about it: I feel pretty good. If you look at the guys ahead of me, many of them have been racing for years: Boundy, Warren, Dimmick. This is my first whole season and last year my highest finish was 20th. With another whole season of targeted, smart training and losing some weight, who knows where I'll be.

Afterward, the cold started to set in, including not being able to feels my toes. Interesting, because while I was racing, I didn't notice it. When I got back to the car Elora and Tammi where already there, toasty warm. I jumped into the front seat and started to feel that tingly feeling in your toes as the blood starts to flow back in. When I said my toes were frozen, Elora jumped up the passenger seat and said "warm them up like I did" and laid down and put her feet on top of one of the vents.

Roman flatted, but still made 15th in the 40s. Lou got 3rd, behind C. Lombardo and Robbie Ventura in the 30s. Cliff got 13th in the 4as, not sure about Jack or Carolyn. Mike Sherer 1st and Luca 5th(?) in the 1,2,3s.


PONY SHOP said...

Great job Jim! Keep it up! Lou

Velosnaps said...

You were great out there! It was definitely a hard course.

I, too, warmed my toes by putting them on the vent. :)

Eric S. said...

Nice job Jim.....I too was really tentative in the turns after going down many times on the back side of the course (just ask Lou). The goose poop definitely didn't seemed to get permantly stuck to my tires!

Anonymous said...

Jim --

you always have to remember that -- this is your 1st full season of cross w/ no technical experience. You can have the biggest engine but if your technical skills are not there yet,the engine can not take up the slack. The tech. comes w/ experience, it will come.

you are still doing great.