Monday, October 08, 2007

Alpenrose Cross Crusade

Here's Chris Cross' race report:

It was a good race and a bad race today at Alpenrose. I lined up
front and center. It's nice to race Masters A since the field size
isn't crazy huge and we lined up only 10 minutes before the start.
I got a good fast start and headed into the first dirt in a
comfortable 5th. I lost some places during the first lap, but was in
the lead group in the top 10 after the first lap. Things went well
for a while. I was gaining time climbing out of the parking lot, but
losing time going to the bottom of the parking lot. Gotta work on

Somewhere in the middle of the race (25 minutes?) while descending
behind the velodrome, an angry bee decided to land on my left thigh
and start stinging. I was in full speed descend mode so there was no
way I was going to let go of the bars to swat the bee so I had to
rely on cussing and trying to blow the bee off. Neither worked. I
wasn't able to get rid of the bee until just before the pits.

Later while railing down the off camber left hand corner before the
big runup, I washed out and flew over the bars. I landed hard on my
head and shoulder then flipped and slid off the course. It took a
little bit to take inventory of myself to make sure I wasn't
injured. I was sore and shaken, but ready to go on. My bike was
not. I rolled the front Tufo off the rim. (overdue for a regluing
job that was already scheduled to start tomorrow). I didn't have a
rolling bike and was 50' PAST the pit. I shouldered the bike and ran
all the way through the velodrome, past the 6pack, behind the
buildings and down the descent to get back to the pit. Running with
a bike on pavement in Sidis is not recommended. It's way slower than
riding. I got lapped in that time.

At the pit, I got the new bike and was happy to be pedaling again
after all that running. The next time I rolled up to the bottom of
the runup I washed the front wheel out AGAIN and flipped over the
bars. No damage this time so I got back on and kept going. The
last time I rolled past this section I was much more tentative and
had no issues. I ended up much closer to the back of the field than
the front.

After the race, I took inventory and here is the damage: Forehead –
Bruised and scraped. Left thigh – swollen with bee venom. Atmos
helmet – destroyed. Tufo flexus – off the rim. A bike shifters –
twisted. A bike front brake – cable damaged. B bike shifters –
twisted. B bike handlebars – twisted. Nothing that can't be fixed
by next week!

All said it was a terrible finish after a good solid start. When I
put it together, I'll do well. Hopefully top 10.

It was cool to see so many Cyclisme and Yakima guys out there. The
crowd was huge. I heard something like 985 riders signed up when I
was warming up.


And here's Brotha Corndog's:

Brotha Corndog's race report does not involve any dangerous creatures nor over-the-bar excursions.

Rolling around before the race I'm concerned that my 2:1 gear ratio on the single speed will be too low on a fast and tacky course. After a false start we're off in a cloud of dust. OK, OK no dust as it was on pavement but there was mental "dust" from the lovely smell of cow excrement on the back side of the course. I went fast there because of the stink. I cheered GreGobrian at every turn where he would be coming towards me on a section where the route loops back on itself. He felt to be "in range" yet the distance wasn't perceptively closing. We played cat & mouse over a few laps and ran the six pack side-by-side which was pretty cool. Shortly thereafter we split on the steps as we were essentially still side by side. OK he was ahead but I was happy to let him pull. I chose the right steps while Greg went left. In front of me was a tiny junior carrying his bike rather slowly. I had little choice but to wait calmly as he summited the mountain. The day I barge some little kid is the day I stop racing. Now Greg is long gone and I get to cheer him on again as he is around the next switchback as I approach it. Coming into the velodrome I try the move where you pop onto the banked track for a better line heading to the infield. Swell idea until I eat it on the cement. Nothing big but I'm certainly not rolling forward. I spring up and remount, losing perhaps one place.

It's not easy to suffer for one lap and yet it *is* easy to suffer for one lap & I turn on what gas I have left. After the long downhill there's a gently arcing right hand uphill that has a really good line if you stay right. I come up on GoBrian at that spot and hit it passing him and one other guy. It was a spot that felt smooth and good and essentially is the kind of moment that makes me like cyclocross. I looked forward to this section every lap. So much of cyclocross is kind of binary where it's either dead easy ridable or just not. And then there are sections that are so slippery and tight that it seems like there's little speed difference between someone with basic bike handling skills and pro-level technique given equal horsepower.

Then the only thought left was, "Dude [yes I duded myself], in five minutes the suffering ends." so I just buried it to the line.

It was a clean fun race. So clean, I put the bike away & did nothing to it. The traction was tasty and the usual bumpy crap section next to the parking lot was muted due to the soft earth. I'm usually don't really groove on this venue but it was really great today.

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