Tuesday, September 23, 2008

First Cross Race.

The following report is from the tiny portion of my brain that was "racing" this past Saturday while the majority of my brain was still in "Race Organizer" mode.

The week prior to Moose Cross was a blur. I remember feeling really good on the bike on Tuesday when I did a few "opener" intervals prior to the Moose Rubaix road race and I was feeling very, very good in the Moose Rubaix race Wednesday night when I crashed. The most severe side effect of my crash was how it affected my sleep the rest of the week. I simply could not get comfortable at night and did not sleep much at all as a result.

With the course work 95% done, I decided that I better get out and practice a bit on Friday morning. Although I installed the barriers on Tuesday I hadn't ridden them yet. How hard could it be? Our friend and cyclocross nutjob, Tim Kelley, gave me a short personal clinic on the step-through dismount and running re-mount. I thought I was ready...NOT. After a few slow laps and practice sessions on the barriers I let it loose and came into the triple barrier at full speed, failed to unclip while fumbling my step-through, and crashed into the barriers at full speed. So now my left knee resembles my right knee from Wed night's crash. Ha! Ok, enough practice.

Race day was crazy but we were making it happin' captin'! I was so stiff and sore from my crashes and from pounding a million pieces of rebar for course markings that I was 90% sure I wasn't racing. But then cross-fever took over. Everyone was having so much fun. People were muddy, smiling, gasping for air, and the crowd was stoked. With 15 minutes to go before my race I grabbed my bike and did a pseudo warm-up.

Go! I got a decent hole shot and was in the top 8 when we hit the "chicanes" and I instantly forgot about all my aches. At the top of the first run-up I dropped my chain while remounting my bike and about 8 guys passed me. Argh! Ok, time to chase. The legs were actually feeling good and anytime I had a straight section I opened it up. I was conservative through the barriers and stutter-stepped my way safely through each time but I wasn't losing a lot of time there. The final 300 yards of each lap was on paved bike path, straight into a stiff headwind, and I used this section to attack and pass riders. Woohoo...racing is fun!

Finishing my third lap, I caught a rider just as we enterd the paved bike path and I attacked so he couldn't get on my wheel into the headwind. But a rider behind me, my friend Andy Damman, saw what I was doing and he jumped onto my wheel despite my best efforts to shake him off...sneaky little bugger that Andy. So Andy and I are racing now and he gaps me in the chicanes when I bobbled a loose corner.

As I crested the ride-up feature, I saw a huge dust cloud in front of me and Andy rolling around off to the side of the course. Michelle just happened to be there taking pics of the race and saw Andy's crash too. She pulled his bike off of the course and I stopped to help in case it was serious. It looked pretty bad as Andy's helmet was damaged and he was covered in dirt head-to-toe. His slow responses to our questions at first worried me so I pulled the plug on my race to get him back to the start line and get help if necessary. It turns out that he just got his bell rung pretty good and jammed his ring finger but you never know with head injuries so it was a no-brainer (no pun intented) to stop.

So, although I DNF'd my first cross race, I am hooked. It is a good thing we now have our own cross course in Victor. This is just the beginning.

Check the Rev's report over at The Church of the Big Ring. Thanks Brotha!

1 comment:

Ed said...

That's a good DNF.

See you in a couple of days :-)