Monday, October 3, 2011

Cross Crusades: Race #1 Alpenrose

Adam and Jarod getting ready for the Beginner Men race.
So for the first Cross Crusades race was this last weekend.  And as usual it did not disappoint. The racers and spectators were out in droves. I was looking at the results for the race on the OBRA website this morning and the Men's Category B 35+  field had more than 200 (!) participants! In one race! Holy cross Batman! (Why am I using so many exclamation points!?) That is absolutely incredible. To watch the waves of riders pass by was just amazing. I can now really understand why and how the Cross Crusades series is the largest cyclocross series in the WORLD . No joke. We apparently are that cycling crazy here in the Pacific Northwest. Isn't it great!?

Please note that Jarod from Capitol Velo also did awesome with a 5th place.

Besides my first race of the year this was also my boy Brison's first cyclocross race ever. So I was super excited to see how he would do. I had a great feeling that he would be kicking butt and taking names in cross just because it combines everything that he's good at in the cycling world. Mud, good. Bike handling, good. Going fast, good. And boy did he not disappoint. He ended up 4th!!! Which to anyone who knows him shouldn't be surprised. But what made it even more impressive is that he started at least 2/3 of the way back in the field of a 134 starters. Lets repeat that. A 134 starters. Couldn't be more proud of him. And with that finish I believe he gets a call up to the start for the next race. So that should change his race quite a bit. Instead of being the chaser. He may be the chasie... It will be fun to watch what happens regardless.

Adam was also in the race and unfortunately his race didn't go quite as well as Jarod's or Brison's. He went down a  really slippery 180 degree corner on the asphalt and rung his bell pretty good. Cracked his helmet and gave himself a little chin music just for good measure. But I Adam was a trooper and finished.  I've always said that for me the rules of racing are as follows...

1. Don't wreck
2. Finish the race
3. Place as high as I can

Well, he may not have followed rule #1. But he still finished and had an above middle of the pack finish.  Good job Adam!

As for myself. Well like I said in the last post. This was my first race as a Clydesdale. And I must say Aaron Coker and those other Cat 1/2 guys are no joke. The last time I saw them was when we first hit the dirt. And I didn't see them for the rest of the race. I was told by the end that he had 30 seconds on the next closest guy by the end. Pretty damn impressive.

After the first lap or so everyone had pretty much sorted themselves out into which ever ability range that happened to be in. One of the real beauties of cross actually. You are always competitive with someone. Anyway, I was feeling pretty good. The legs were doing well and my practice on the barriers was showing. Because if I ever passed anyone it was always there or on the one flat(ish) section on the course. Everywhere else I was just maintaining. The one place where I was struggling is the one place you would think I would have excelled at. And that was on the downhill section. I'm usually a pretty good descender on the road. But this cow path that they had us going down was so bumpy it was jarring my fillings loose. And towards the end of the race my lower back was  absolutely screaming at me. I think mostly from that stupid thing. Hopefully that doesn't happen next weekend at Rainer. Because that course has a crazy long descent. I guess we will find out...

So on the 3rd lap I was going around the very 180 degree corner that Adam biffed it on. And I ended up crashing right before the stairs run up because my cleat had become clogged with mud and I didn't get it released in time. I slipped and fell on my left side and ass. I used a pair of new shoes this raced and I don't think they shed mud near as well as my old shoes. 

See what I mean... Not the most stellar quality to have in a really muddy sport like cyclocross. To be fair the dirt at Alpenrose is very tacky. As Adam put it, "Cakey". But I still may do a little whittling on the area around the cleat to see if I can get it to shed that crap a bit better.

So just to add to the injury of an injury I ended up having a a mechanical (Dropped chain.)  that cost me at least another few more places in the race. But I guess ultimately that is to be expected. You screw up and it should cost you. If it doesn't then what the point really!?

I ended up in almost square in the middle of the results.


I can't say that ultimately I'm happy about that. But it at least gives me a starting point to improve from.

I was talking to my lovely wife last night about the race and she brought up an excellent point. Every time I do well in a race I concentrate on picking off the next guy up the course and just keep doing that the whole time. When I don't, I seem to think to much about everything else. So I'm going to do my best for the next race or so to turn off my brain and see how that treats me.

I must admit that I am very glad to have cross season here finally. It's such a fun sport and maybe a little less chess game and a little more go like hell. Which I think that I probably need.

Until next time....

Rubber side down,

Big E

PS~ I tried to put down the two small videos that I took of the beginners race. But I am having a bitch of a time getting them to upload to the blog correctly. Hopefully I'll get that squared away and have them up tomorrow.

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