Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Was a little worried after hearing that the sled hill would not be part of the course that the course wouldn't be very good. In the end I was wrong about that and in the end everyone races the same course, right, so who cares? Although, to be honest every time I rode past it, a little part of my said "what a waste." Great course, no recovery anywhere, some tricky off camber stuff, thick mushy grass, about what you would expect from a cross course in November. Cool start area, with 2 really wide turns and long straights ebfore going into the trees. 2 sand pits, 1 right after the other.
The kicker was the weather! What a great day for racing. There's nothing like racing in the short sleeved skinsuit in November!
Lined up second row, behind the top 10 with the call-ups. Whistle and I'm good, top 10. Coach Brian was in this race, so he's right in front of me and is yelling for me to stay with him. I'm on his wheel through the start, the big wide turns before the woods (a very nice touch, I might add) and through the first barrier/ditch/run-up. On to the pavement, around the turn. Brian in front of me, Wayne Simon on my wheel. We hit the grass and take the sharp up right and down left and into the first tricky off camber section. I realize I'm going much faster than I should. Everyone else is taking the low line, i decide its open on top and go for it. I hit the brakes slightly and my rear time locks and slides out and I'm on the ground. Some thing crashes into my helmet and back, hard and Wayne's now in front of me, but without his bike. He grabs his bike and goes. It takes a few seconds or so for me to get my head clear and I'm up and running, but I've slid pretty far back from my good start.
Raced hard for the rest of the race. But, no room for mistakes on this course. Everything was slippery. I ran 28-30 PSI and still was losing traction in the wet stuff, but was hitting RIM on transition areas and the lips of the 2 sand pits. The sand pits were easy enough, just thick and well, sandy. Sand make the drievetrain crispy! I moved up, passed where I could and then raced 2 or 3 guys for the high teens, ended up 18/42. Not too bad. After the crash, it took me a lap or so just to clear my head. Then I just raced as hard as I could, trying not to make mistakes.
That's cross. One mistake, you go down and that's it. You finish where you finish. That is simultaneously why I love cross and why it can be so frustrating.
In my quest for as many raaces as possible this cross season, I'm doubling up when I can. So this was race #14 so far. I like doing the 3s because after the 40s race, I have no expectations. Just go out have some fun, beat myself up a little more, good training. In the hour between the end of the 40s and the start of the 3s, the course had changed alot. Alot drier and a bit smoother. Line up, second row, decent start, but after the first race, I've only got so, so legs, but not alot of kick. End up 30/44.
Kudos to the Cup, Chris Henning, the Northbrook Garner Bicycle Club, Flatlandia, and the town of Northbrook. Nice course, great race.