Monday, December 8, 2008

Race Report: Chicago Cross Cup #10, Montrose

Last race of the year. Chris and Turin served up a heaping scoop of cross at Montrose: a killer, challenging course.

The Course. Mostly on the beach/lake side of the park. Starting area heading north into 2 tight turns, down under the road, back up, a couple of twists and then up Cricket Hill, right back down, another straight on the gravel, right hander into 2 barriers, a straight , sharp uphill right, barrier at the top, right back down, straightish, then past the pit, sharp down, under the road, sharp up, barrier at the top. Then up to the beach area and into the sand, mostly rideable then some ups and downs, a sidewalk section then into the start/finish. I did 2 laps of the course, but it was pretty spread out, so I didn't get as good of a warm-up as I like. And, it was cold. 10 degrees when we rolled.

The Start. This was probably my worst start of the season despite the front row call-up. Nerves, inexperience, both! ... whistle and I miss my left pedal as it comes around. This proves to be disastrous, because only the top 5 or so riders made it clean through the first turn, the rest of us had to unclip and hoof it around. The first time up the Hill and I'm at maybe 20th.

The Race. Once again, I struggled with the course. On every turn, it felt like either my front or rear tire washed out. Sometimes both in the same turn. You know what that means? Too much pressure. After my first practice lap, I lowered the tire pressure, but didn't really have time to get it as dialed as I would have liked since I was trying just to stay warm. My brakes were squeally on every sharp down. So I've got a squirelly bike with squeaky brakes. Much of the course was tight and with a single track forming in the snow after the second lap or so, any passing had to be well calculated. The ups and downs neede to beridden smoothly with good lines, something that I need to work alot on. I tried to make up as many spots as I could, using the hill as the major effort zone. It was very much a go fast, stop, turn, go fast, repeat kind of course, which is hard for me. When I feel like the bike is out of control, I get tentative. As with every race, you learn and this one taught me alot. So, I raced as hard as I could.

The Result. 13th. Fell out of the top 5 for the series to 6th. Congrats to Brian Conant (my coach!) who won. Also, congrats to everyone I raced against at Montrose and during the season: well done.
Stuck around and watched everything but the 4s. Just got too cold. Although I missed most of the 3s and 50+ trying to change, get warm and check our results. The 1,2s was a great race to watch. Mike Sherer flatted when he had a huge gap. The rest of the top 5 fought it out for most of the race. A few of us basically watched from the road/bridge, running across the road each time to see the riders as they passed underneath and beyond.

Then went home and had pizza with Elora and Tammi.

Photo: Courtesy of velosnaps.

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