Sunday, October 28, 2012

Independence CX Report

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

Marty's 2 Day CX Race Report

This past weekend was going to be a nice hellish battle with the conditions I thought. With all the torrential rain pouring down I was excited with the mud battle that would ensue on Saturday and Sunday. Much to my dismay, there was no mud on the course. Well nothing of note really. A few slick corners aren't enough to really help the handlers out there so I was a little disappointed. The course was still very hard with a steep runup and lots more elevation than we've seen this season. So with that in mind I set myself up to do the best I could with the roadie course. Well the best I could considering I had some bad GI issues the night before and the Wed prior I really hurt my ankle during cross practice. Me foot unclipped in the middle of a hard pedal stroke and I proceeded to gouge the skin off of the bone on the inside of my ankle with the crank arm. So much so that if it were the slightest bit deeper I probably would have been in the ER getting stitches. The crank arm then dug into my calf creating some really nice colors due to bruising. So given all that happened prior to this weekend, I was happy just to be riding my bike.

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

Cooper River CX Report

Cooper River CX was a bit of a hike...about 1hr 45 mins but they made a great course out of a small piece of real estate. Fun, twisty, and DRY! Well dry was good for the day but I like the races a bit more muddy. It was a good race but still some frustrating parts. Call up...none. Got shafted and dumped in the back of the pack. Off the line I was probably 50th or so of 60 riders. I was in row 7 and not too happy about it. To top it off in the first corner someone blows through/gets wrapped in teh tape and it's on my side and I have to stop and get around the mess. Now I really was in the back of the bus. I can't think that there were many riders behind me if at all at this point. I'd have to fight all of the way through this mess. I did.

I kept it smooth and steady for the entire race. Lap by lap I picked off more and more riders and waited for the tight stuff to be smooth and attack coming out of it. The wide open sections were the worst. High hp was needed and it just hurt. I did well but not moving up as quickly as I would have liked. I was in 30th or so and I saw my teammates up ahead so my goal was to get to them. I worked and through the next few laps I got to Brian and Tommy was just ahead. Brian pulled me a bit and told me to go so I did trying to bridge up to Tommy. At this point though I got in a battle with a group of 4 guys and I spent a lot of my energy shaking these guys and less chasing Tommy.

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

Town Hall CX Report

Driving out to Eastern PA I wasn't sure what to expect for this race. I heard about some hill and knew that earlier in the week it monsooned so it could be quite nasty on the course. As I got there it was obvious the hill that they were talking about. Not super steep but long enough to be painful and switchbacked enough to keep you dizzy while attacking it.

The race went off and it did so without my legs. I put the first couple pedal strokes down and there wasn't much there. I was a little tentative since the last time I did a CX race I was on the pavement in the first 50 feet so maybe that was part of it. Anyway it starts right into the dreaded hill so I just stay steady and try to pick off racers when I could. The climbing was steady and the downhill was sketchy but I made up my time in the mud and the greasy corners. I was able to find lines that others couldn't work and ride past many lap after lap. I got into the flowing knowing this and about 3 laps in my legs started to come around.

By this point I was probably in 10th or 11th of 25 and saw a couple riders not too far in front of me. So I kept it steady and worked my strengths. Uphill was good, downhill was good, but through the mud I attacked and worked my edges and the lines that were hooking up. It worked. I picked off one rider each of the last couple of laps and somehow worked my way up through a few guys I've never beaten before. That made my ride feel really good. I was happy with how I did and really had a solid race.

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!!!