Thursday, January 3, 2013

End of Season: Bubble CX, Sussex CX, and Horseshoe CX

The last 3 races on my calendar were all really good and tough races but really varied courses. And in 2 of the 3 I suffered mechanicals that I fought through to finish well but as always leaves me wondering what if...

Bubble CX - This was a great race as it was on my home turf and I was ready for the sand...and there was a whole lot of it! I got a great start and headed up the main hill of the course and let a few cruise by as I was just settling in. I figured I'd get a couple back in the twists and turns but everyone was quite solid and it was very tough if possible at all. So we made our way around the upper field maze, around the back gazebo, and then to the beach. The beach was tough but totally rideable. I made it, albeit slow with traffic and had a great back section that was MTB friendly and gave the roadies a nice pucker factor. I was feeling great for the first laps and the rest to follow would be good as well. But then the proverbial poop hit the fan. I lifted my bike on one lap and felt the rear wheel loose when I set it down. So I had to stop and tighten the skewer. It then happened two laps later as I powered up a hill and wondered how long that would last until it came loose again. Luckily it didn't. I lost enough time dealing with the wheel that I really didn't want to have to stop one more time. But that wasn't the end of the bad luck. For some odd reason my pedals weren't working with me. There was a very short section after the step runup that you had to mount and take on the long sand stretch and for the life of me I could not get the pedals to clip in before the sand making me lose time on at least 3 laps. It was very frustrating as I was riding well and knew I could be in the top 10 at least or maybe even top 5. But with all the mishaps I was happy to finish where I finally ended up in the 10th spot of 20 or so guys that were really solid racers. I had 7th locked up until one of the laps where my wheel came loose but then there just wasn't enough time to chase back on. C'est la vie...

Sussex CX - This race was one of my favorites of the season. Not because the course was my favorite but because I feel like I was being attacked by a pride of lions and came out on top. The course was a cold windy day and I was feeling pretty good and did all I could on the first lap. I had a good start and was riding with Andrew and Eric and having a really good time. I could tell they were feeling good as on one section they got a gap and I was fighting very hard to get back to them but just couldn't close. This is where the battle began as I was in no-man's land. Fighting for every inch of the course by myself and then I looked back to see the lions waiting to eat me. It was a really solid group of my coach Brian, with Dave, and David who were looking really strong and I know there is a lot of experience in that group. Each lap I looked back knowing full well that they were working together and just waiting to reel me in and eat me up. Each lap I dug deeper and deeper to stay away from them and for the time being it was working. Lap after lap I was still alone but somehow keeping my distance to each group and with a little gaining or losing either way that's how it stuck. I held the really strong group off and had a super solid ride with no mechanicals on a course that would expose any of my flaws. Even though I have a affinity for the hard, tight twisty courses, this one faired pretty well and was really a favorite of the season.

Horseshoe CX - This was a tough race. Since it was towards the end the season I was on the downswing and just trying really hard to hold onto the fitness that I've been carrying but it's been tough. The race was really muddy and just what I was asking for, but ended up being more than I wanted. The course was tough. Deep mud and a really long hill that was just greased up beyond belief... It was super hard and lap by lap it was getting worse and worse. So bad that the final lap the derailleur snagged my wheel and snapped off and ended the race bike. So I had to hike to the pit and get my backup bike to finish and only lost one place. It was a tough race but still a good one and a nice reminder of how hard some of these races can be. Time to plan ahead to the 2013 season.

Stoudt's CX Update

For those that read of the incident below at Stoudt's I do have some info to update. Thanks to the post below, Dan, the manager of Bicycle Therapy, got in contact with me and we had a discussion of the incident and it ended pretty favorably. He reassured me that it was totally an unfortunate accident and that Brendan is truly and deeply sorry for what he did, and that it still troubles him as to what happened that day. It still troubles me as well. As I said, I just didn't want the incident swept under the rug but I didn't want to report it to USAC either. I know it was a mistake. If it was malicious, there is no question that I would have reported it. So with that extra apology and the sincere concern for my well being I have moved on hoping that no one ever gets to have this experience. His team and shop are well aware of what happened and that's all I really wanted from this exchange. Some accountability and a little extra sincerity made me feel much better about the incident.

At the end of it all Dan extended the offer to replace my helmet that was broken when I got hit. It was not what I was looking to get from the incident but that offer goes a long way towards the sentiment and trying to make things right. For that I really do appreciate the effort.

Next up I'm working on my end of season recap...