Saturday, December 5, 2009

P'Burg CX in the Books

(Photo courtesy of Viviana Epstein)

The last race of my 2009 season is officially in the books. I know I should be happy and relieved but I'm kinda bleh... I've had a great season and it seemed that I got stronger each race for CX and now it's over. I guess I'll have to use that motivation to push me harder into the 2010 race season. As it is, the calendar is already shaping up and once I have a few more dates it'll all be set. Here's my recap from today. It was a FUN race for sure.

Hehehe...lets just say we had a real day of cross to end the season. I believe I was the only rider there in just shorts and a short sleeve jersey. I needed the mental patient advantage :twisted:

I got to P'burg at 10 to see the C race going on and there were some fun sections. No weather was falling yet but the course was delightfully off camber and greasy from the prior rain. It was really a MTB course. Handling had to be ON! 99.9% rideable except for the STEEP runup. You could basically make it 3/4 of the way up and dismount keeping the momentum and cruise the rest - hoping for traction.

So this time I decided to bring my trainer and had a better warmup which seemed to help. As I was spinning for my warmup I reminded myself of my battle plan. I was thinking of the NJBA Cup the whole time. I needed a LARGE gap(5+ places) on Blake Bedoya for 3rd in the series and I needed to stay at most 7 places behind Sam Fiorino. Of course the snow had already started, so with worsening conditions in mind, I had a good feeling about this. Time to beatup on some roadies :D So with that in mind I lined up and got ready to throw down.

I was in the front row and took off hard. I settled in right behind - you guessed it - Blake and Sam. I wanted to match their every more and try to benefit the best I could. Through the first lap they actually gapped me in the fast stuff, but I stayed steady and waited for the move on the off camber and tight sections. My opportunity came - Blake stuffed it into the tape and blocked Sam so I attacked and tried to gap them. It worked for a bit but Blake was too strong as he dropped Sam and he waited for the road to attack and I got back on his wheel. We battled back and forth like this for a while along with Andrew Logudice. Andrew got in the mix and was using Blake to get around me. I was fine hanging on Blake, but in the back of my mind I'm thinking I need places so at some point I need to go. Patience young grasshoppa... I believe in the 2nd lap I was cranking through the open field starring at the competitors ahead through the rain and sleet, and then it happened. Like a switch was flipped the rain/sleet that was falling in the field popped like popcorn and the snow instantly appeared. It was pretty amazing. Any way through the fast section Blake and Andrew were starting to open a gap again and I did what I could to catch back on which happened when they bobbled in a corner. I cranked through it and got around them taking the hard lines that I worked to my advantage. I pedaled HARD to get and hold that gap as I had some sections that were tricky and the weather was getting worse. I just rode the nasty stuff better. As the course looped back on itself I saw Blake, Andrew, and Sam still working hard to get back to me but were having issues in the conditions. I was loving it. I was drifting all over and using it to my advantage.

So my last two laps I knew I would keep that gap over the three behind and set my sights on the guy in front of me. It was one of those gaps that was just too big to close. I knew I was riding smoothly and closing but there was too little of the course left. The whole time I'm hoping that Blake drifts back and drops far enough that I can sneak my way into 3rd in the cup. I stay solid on the last lap and still charge hard through the greasy turns and keep it upright the entire time. I head into the finishing stretch not being able to catch the guy in front, and looking back to see that Blake had attacked the group behind and would open a gap and finish one place behind me. Crap...he's such a solid rider I knew he'd be close. Andrew was not far behind but couldn't cover Blake's move. Then behind Andrew, Sam tried to ride the entire runup and flatted his tire and DNF'd. That was sad to see as Sam is such a solid rider.

So things went pretty well all in all. There were 22 starters in the B race and I came in in 7th place. Not too bad. I loved the course as it totally played to my strengths. What a great way to end the season. I'm totally stoked for CX 2010. Does that mean I have to start the tubular fund? Dammit...

On the other side of things I did some of the math. I know - I'm a dork... Blake got 3rd overall in the series by 22 points. I settled right in behind for a solid 4th place finish. I wonder what next season will bring if I actually plan and do some training for this stuff. I'm just happy that the season went well and I had a good time. Now it's time for rest - food - BEER!!!

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