This past Saturday before the big storm is set to hit, I headed down to south jersey to compete in the Independence CX race. Being so far from home, about 2+ hours, there was a good reason that I haven't attended in the past. It's kinda hard to justify driving that far and only racing for 1 hour. So be it. Since I am persuing the NJBA cross cup I figured I'd get down there and hope for a great result and get closer to the podium. It's gonna take some big effort down the home stretch of the calendar but who knows. I'll just ride steady and see how it goes.
So I pull up and see yards of tape crossing everywhere. I get turned around just looking at the tape and even more turned around just riding the course. It's not your typical cx course as there's maybe only 50 feet of actual grass there. The rest is nice dirt/sand trails back in the woods. The technical features on the course were the beach run and the amphitheater of pain. The amphitheater is as it sounds with large steps to run up. It did get painful with every sequential lap for sure.
As I toed the line I had a nice front row call up and I hoped to use that to the best of my ability. We went off the line hard and there were some pretty fast guys in the group so I just hoped I could stay steady and get a nice finish. Off the line I was probably 7th or so into the woods. It was a hard start. Redlined off the gun I hope everyone would settle in a little. They kinda did as around one of the first bends a racer goes down tangled with one another and struggled to get going again. I had a clear line around so I just pinned it and didn't look back. That may not have worked to my advantage as I hit the beach and it seemed like I was standing still. I wasn't feeling it and one by one racers started passing me. I knew I was in for a long day if I kept feeling like this.
At this point I was looking for anything as a sign of hope. At one point I was going back and forth with Andrew Logudice and from previous races I know he's a strong rider. I couldn't hold him at one point and had to let him go. A few laps later in sections that he'd been out of sight, I saw him again so it seemed like I was gaining. That's all I needed for extra motivation. I put in some good efforts to close to him and I did. We passed and repassed each other as we had different grooves on the course. I said to him at one point to work together to try and pass the next rider which was Nick from Colavita. I took the climbs and hard corners and Andrew punched it on the flats and soon enough we caught up to Nick. In the second to last lap it was me, Nick, and Andrew hitting the biggest climb on the course. I put in a hard effort to try to get away and I just heard a lot of noise as somehow Nick threw himself on the ground. I hoped he was ok but had to press on to see if I could keep my gap and maybe see the guy ahead. As I hit the last lap I looked at those few sections on the course where you could see the others and there was no one ahead or behind. Somehow I shed Andrew as well.
I put down all I had left to keep my gap and finished with no more place exchanges and a good second half of the race. I was happy to have finished so well with not feeling good at all for the first half. Checking the results later I was 10th of 23 in a pretty good field on a pretty non-traditional course. I'd call it a good day.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Saturday's race went off hot as I got a call-up in the front row and tried to do the best I could with that. I had been getting poor starts all year so far and this was a bit nicer. That was until we hit the first barriers a few hundred feet after the start and when remounting my pedal wouldn't clip in and I almost repeated how I hurt my ankle in practice. 2 or 3 guys shot by and I had to regain position. The race was steady and fast but around another turn the pedal popped out and a few snuck by again. I chased really hard and got through a few but I never really found the groove of this course. It was good but the runup was so tiring that it really gassed me for the rest of the lap and I had a hard time recovering to punch it hard again. So I was in 10th in no mans land but had a few just ahead that I couldn't close the gap to. I tried but it just wasn't happening. Then on the 2nd to last lap I see Dave Wilson closing from behind. Oh man I wasn't feeling that great and now I had to fend him off. So I put the pedals down for that lap and he closed a bit more. I only had one more lap to keep that gap. It was probably only 5 secs or so. I told myself that on the last climb I would put it ALL down and try to open the gap and keep 10th place. I buried myself and went HARD. It worked. I looked back just before the finish line to see my effort had paid off and I kept my 10th place. I had no idea that Freddy was just ahead and finished 11 seconds ahead of me.
10th was a great finish. I know that had I not had the problems I did before the race and the pedal issues during I could have done a little better but I was satisfied. Pulling off 10th place in that really strong group of 24 was not that shabby.
For Sunday's race I did some late night surgery on my pedal to make sure it would not happen again. It worked. I had a solid start and kept the pace high throughout the race. Since the race was run backwards and there was no runup this time I found the groove much better. I was constantly attacking and riding well. At some point I was in 11th and saw a few fading in the middle laps and put the power down to get away from them. Later on I sat in 9th and saw a train of 3 behind me and wanted to make sure they didn't get close. Plus Tommy and Andrew were just ahead so if they made a mistake I wanted to be right there. I put all I could down and I couldn't close the gap to those ahead enough. I was too patient earlier on or I should have been right with Tommy and Andrew at this point. I did in fact open the gap to those behind me though which kept me satisfied. Sunday's race was a 9th place of 24 again. A much better race for me overall as I found the groove but had the heavy legs from Saturday. Really I'm pretty satisfied with how things went this past weekend. Next up, 6 races in 6 weeks. Time to finish up strong and then the end is in sight!
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
I shed two of the riders and one stuck with me for the final two laps. I tried a couple hard lines and hard accelerations but he was right there. We hit the road and I waited for the sprint. It came hard on my left. I reacted but too late and when I did react all my legs wanted to do was cramp. I guess that was a good sign that I left it all out there. I finished in 24th place of 60 or so riders. The results say 46 riders were there but that's BS. There were WAAAAAY more racers out there. A decent result and a fun day.
Thanks to C. Perkins for the awesome shots!!!
Sunday, October 7, 2012
I finished 8th of 25 and was happy to do that well given that I was just coming off of the Vermont 50 the week prior which really kicked my butt. I was extremely happy as well that both of my tires stayed on this week. No bike changes were necessary but my front tire was deflating on me. So that needs attention. Hopefully I can build on this and keep the momentum going into a great cross season.
Thanks to C. Perkins for the awesome shots!!!