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  1. #51
    Riding like its 1990 thenomad's Avatar
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    on your middle - that's just classic!
    Sounds like some real racing going on there!
    My blog about rides, bikes and builds: ridesgoneby.blogspot.com

  2. #52
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Yeah, those C's don't mess around.

    Results are up now. I managed to scratch out 71 out of 77, with 4 DNFs (which did include my nemesis).

  3. #53
    Senior Member mzeffex's Avatar
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    Hyattsville CX.

    Not my kind of course, I like technical stuff, hills, run ups, etc. This was a really fast power course.

    Cat 4: 44/82, that's the top 56%, last time in the 4s I got top 60%, so it was at least an improvement. I was in the first row, dropped my chain down in the first 50 feet. I don't really think that explains the finish, but it is at least an excuse.

    Juniors: 4th out of.. 7. Disappointed, but I was completely and utterly gassed. I was holding a little for the last lap to pass 3rd who was just in front of me when they ended it early. Grr.

    It was also weird, the prologue to the course gets closed off so people don't make a wrong turn, but we started 1 minute after the 3/4 race, and the guy didn't get the memo. We got stopped by some nice red tape in our race. He apologized, I was in first, I unclipped, couldn't clip back in, and I was then in last and had to chase. Grr.

    I won a $25 gift card from my 4th place to a bike shop out that way. I couldn't find much for that, so I just got some fizik tape.
    Quote Originally Posted by rjones28 View Post
    Are they talking about spectators feeding the cyclists? You know, like don't feed the bears?

  4. #54
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Cross Crusade #2 at Rainier High School

    The course was fairly technical to begin with, but two days of solid rain made it just ridiculous with mud. I pre-rode before the first race and found good traction everywhere, but by the time my race started (third of the day), there was peanut butter mud everywhere.

    After starting behind 200 or so people last week (call up based on number), I got to line up near the front today -- just behind the people who finished in the points last week. I'm generally a back-of-the-pack level rider, but I was anxious to see what I could do with a good starting position. After the gravel road starting chute, we turned and climbed a decent hill before going into a technical descent. I descend pretty well, so I figured if I really went for it on the climb, I could get about a five minute head start ahead of all the people who got backed up behind bottlenecks on the technical section. That part of the plan went off great. I nearly busted a lung, but I held my position reasonably well for the first half lap.

    As we got into the woods on the back of the course it just all fell apart. There was an extended section that was unrideable with that many people bunched together (and maybe even if you had space) so everyone ended up running for a couple hundred feet. I'm a terrible runner and this blew my heart rate through the roof trying to keep up. As we came out of the woods and got back on our bikes, I hit a root on a sharp descent and bit it hard.

    No problem. I got back on the bike and got right back into the flow of things. The lap ended with a gut busting steep climb that led into the moderately hard climb I mentioned at the start. For the first time since my very first lap of cyclocross racing, I considered quitting. Fortunately, just at that moment my friend Thom caught up to me and gave me a few words of support and rode along with me to the top of the climb.

    I managed to catch my breath on the descent and was feeling good about things again. I made an outstanding run across the barriers and turned to make a short ascent to the top of a narrow path along the football field. I forgot that I couldn't get traction there on the first lap and so repeated my experience of spinning the wheel just a few feet short of the top and having to dismount.

    Probably while I was churning the mud something went badly wrong. I got about 25 feet along the fence before hearing an ominous snap and finding my chain was no longer propelling me forward. First, I thought I threw the chain. Then I thought maybe I broke the chain. If only.... No. I had snapped my rear derailleur in two places and bent the dropout and hanger.

    In all honesty, though, I really felt like my bike had mercy on me.

  5. #55
    Riding like its 1990 thenomad's Avatar
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    Do you know how the heck it happened? brushed the fence? Or did you bend it earlier and then the chain sucked it in?
    Sorry to hear about your mechanical, that is even worse than a hard effort that you cant handle.
    My blog about rides, bikes and builds: ridesgoneby.blogspot.com

  6. #56
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    I'm really not sure. Two of my spokes are bent. I'm sure that is what snapped the derailleur. Nothing else generates that kind of force. But I don't know how the derailleur got into the spokes. I don't think I had just shifted, and when I crashed, I fell on the other side.

    I had to use a screw driver to pry the crazy thing out of the cassette.

  7. #57
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    Another hot CX race in SoCal. Velocity Cross at Prado. About 95 or so at race time. Lovely smell of the nearby dairies, prisons and sewage plants in the morning. Reassuring sound from the two local *** ranges all day as well.
    The course itself was a lot of slow grass with some occasional slow mud. The mud just sapped me, not wet at all; just sticky.
    I started at the back and stayed there. I had two targets that I could maybe catch - to no avail. The only ride I got in this weel was last nite. We had some rain in the week that kept me from getting any pedal time. I also worked hard all day on Saturday helping mu kids 4H club with tearing down a few small barns and a bunch of livestock pens on the ranch where we lost our lease. It was quite a hot work day that beat me up pretty good.
    Back to the raxe - out of a field of 45 or so, I was the DFL by about two minutes. Everyone lapping me was very nice and encouraging as they passed me. Not so sure why as I really suck. Maybe those mid pack guys like having someone to lap.
    Oh well, still mostly having fun; next race probably in two or three weeks.
    Oh yeah, Sid Taberlay bunny hopped the barriers every time again and used it to form a gap on the penultimate lap and win.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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  8. #58
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    I've found that other racers are consistently encouraging toward slow racers. The reason, I suspect, is that they remember a time when they were slow too. I was talking to a guy today who told me it takes about three seasons of CX racing to really get the feel for the handling, to say nothing of the fitness required.

  9. #59
    cycle-dog spot DinoShepherd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
    As we got into the woods on the back of the course it just all fell apart.
    The least fun I have ever had in a race. All I could think of was, "I am CERTAIN all these other guys are suffering almost as much as i am."

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
    steep climb that led into the moderately hard climb I mentioned at the start.
    The only place I was really able to make any time. Not sure if you mentioned that the race ended there, but I was quite certain that I was going to barf up a lung on the final sprint.

    See you in Sherwood...!

    -Z

  10. #60
    all-weather commuter
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    Report of my first race (of any sort)

    I stupidly entered a local cat 4 race before getting my bike ready. 42/17 is too high, so I ordered a 20 tooth freewheel. The shop accidentally ordered a 1/8" freewheel instead of 3/32". (One guy wrote down my order, another guy who has the same bike as I do put it in. His bike uses 1/8" but mine, which is a few years newer, uses 3/32", and he thought mine was a 1/8". Understandable mistake.) So I had to buy a 1/8" chain too. Then I could not get the old freewheel off; it was rusted on. A shop couldn't get it off either. They said they could take the freewheel apart and heat it up and get it off, but it would take a few hours and I would have to pay for the labor. The wheel is not worth it, and I plan on getting a new wheel anyway, so I declined, and decided to ride my 29er single speed instead. It was 32/20, which is too low for the course, but better than 42/17. Then I remembered I still had the 1/8" 17 tooth cog that came with the rear wheel on the 29er (and I now had a 1/8" chain!), so I set it up 32/17, which turned out to be perfect.

    Registration started at 8:30, I got there at 8:15 and was the first person to sign in. I got number 222 (the digits individually in base 10 are 10 10 10 and the date was 10/10/10. I took that as a good omen.) They were still putting up the tape on the course, so I started walking it, and got drafted to help put up tape for a while. I was glad to help, and got to chat with a few other guys for a while instead of standing around by myself waiting for the race. If I do another race, I'll volunteer to show up early and help set up. Then I rode the course twice and waited for the start.

    I was nervous about my first race, and had no idea how fast the field was going to be. Based on the race I watched a few weeks ago, my hope was to not be the last rider who finished, and my optimistic hope was to finish somewhere in the middle.

    This being my first race, I lined up right at the back of the 30 rider field. The first half of the first lap was slow going and chaotic as everybody tried to sort themselves out. We went two and three wide for the first half of the lap, and I switched lines a few times and passed a handful of people. I got to a steep section and rode it, passing a few people who were walking up the side, but right at the top one of the walkers moved to the center on his remount and I clipped a tree avoiding him and went down. It was probably my fault for not telling him I was coming up behind. Thankfully, I did not take anybody else out, and I got up quickly and did not lose any places.

    The next lap and a half were a blur. I pretty much just stayed in line for most of the course, and passed people on the big uphill. You simply cannot go as slow on a single speed as you can on a geared bike. There was one section through the woods with rocks and roots for which the mountain bike was a huge advantage. As riders on cross bikes picked their way through the rocks and roots, I turned off the lockout my fork and just rolled straight over everything, never having to pedal, using the time to catch my breath. I was then able to hammer on the following flat section and pass a few people. My wife, kids, and parents were all at that section cheering, which gave me an added rush.

    At the end of the second lap (three to go) I was right behind two other riders with large gaps in front of and behind our little group. I focused on staying on the wheel of the guy in front of me, knowing that if I lost his wheel I would lose my will to push myself. They got a gap on me once, but then the guy in front of me crashed. I caught him just as he was getting moving, and we then caught the other guy again.

    The last lap was pain. I gritted my teeth and pushed as hard as I could to keep with them. I passed the guy in front of me on the big hill, about 2/3 of the way through the lap, and was right behind the other guy at the top. He nailed it at the top and I spun out trying in vain to keep up. I came in about 7 seconds (wild guess) behind him, and the guy behind me came in shortly thereafter.

    Afterward, I chatted with the guy who finished behind me (who was also wearing a Twin Six jersey). He said he thought we finished somewhere between 10th and 15th, which we were both extremely pleased with.

    There was one other single speed rider in the field, on a proper cross bike, and I passed him on the second lap, so I guess if there was a cat 4 single speed division, I would have won it.

    Then they posted the results.

    5th!!!!!!!

    So I passed 25 people and never got passed. I missed the podium by about 15 or 20 seconds, so if I started on the front I may have gotten on the podium. (The winner was over a minute faster than me, so there is no way I could have won.)

    All in all, it was a blast, and I am very glad I did it. Before next year I will get a new rear wheel on my cross bike (which is my commuter) and do two or three races. I should probably push myself in the cat 3/4 race instead of trying to podium in the cat 4 race.

  11. #61
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertFrapples View Post
    I got number 222 (the digits individually in base 10 are 10 10 10 and the date was 10/10/10.
    So you're representing the base in binary? Of course, we both know that there are 10 kinds of people in the world...right?

    Quote Originally Posted by RobertFrapples View Post
    There was one section through the woods with rocks and roots for which the mountain bike was a huge advantage. As riders on cross bikes picked their way through the rocks and roots, I turned off the lockout my fork and just rolled straight over everything, never having to pedal, using the time to catch my breath.
    You can really kill a beginner field this way. Even on a CX bike in the Master C field, I can bridge massive gaps on technical descents. Part of it is that I'm heavy enough that gravity befriends me, but most of it is that the other guys use their brakes.


    Quote Originally Posted by RobertFrapples View Post
    I should probably push myself in the cat 3/4 race instead of trying to podium in the cat 4 race.
    It's refreshing to hear this. It seems like every field around here has guys who stick around until they get a mandatory upgrade after a several podium finishes.

    Congrats on your nice finish.

  12. #62
    all-weather commuter
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
    So you're representing the base in binary? Of course, we both know that there are 10 kinds of people in the world...right?
    I, um, meant to do that?

  13. #63
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    I raced all three races in the Cinncy Cyclo Cross Festival that included UCI Pro races. I raced in the Cat 4 Masters 45+ races. Our race was conducted with the Open Cat 4's and 35+ Cat 4's making up fields of 120 or so riders. All three races were started together with the Open race staged in rows of 8 first, then the 35+ race and finally ours. Getting a good start from the back of that large field was very important. The courses were dry, hard and dusty due to a draught in the past month.

    I ended up 2nd in Friday's race, 5th in Saturday's race (blew 3rd place with 1/2 lap to go when I crashed head first into the last set of barriers) and DNF'd Sundays race. On Sunday I quit at 20 minutes into the race even though I was in 3rd place. I was just done. After a great start there was no power or recovery left in my olden body.

    It was a great weekend over all. We camped in my brother in law's 5th wheel palace. Our group of 7 earned 4 podiums over the weekend. My brother in law got a podium finishing 2nd in Sunday's 45+ race, my son took 3rd in Friday's Cat 2/3 race with over 90 riders in his group and my son’s buddy got 2nd in Sunday’s Cat 4 Open race (his 3rd cross race ever).
    oldschool areodynamic brick

  14. #64
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Blind Date #3

    I got there in plenty of time this week and got a good warm-up in before the race. I didn't notice until lining up for the start that the organizers changed the course again. This week they made it a lot more twisty than it had been in recent weeks. There were about a dozen 180 degree turns in 1.4 miles. The berm at the top of the gravel hill also seemed 2 to 3 feet higher.

    I tried to line up with a good starting position, but I did a poor job navigating the usual chaos surrounding call-ups and two groups starting a minute apart. Even so, I ended up in about the middle of the pack. I went hard out of the gate, but I was really slow and timid through the turns and ended up finding my way into last within half a lap. This wasn't even my usual fitness-induced last. The turns were so frequent, and I was getting through them so slowly that I was barely losing my breath.

    As the race went on, I started getting the hang of things and was a lot more confortable (and hence faster) in the turns. The race started 5 minutes after sunset, and by the last lap it was getting fairly dark. I almost missed two turns on the last lap.

    As usual, I found someone to be my nemesis over the course of the race. I passed a bunch of people on the second lap, but one guy fought back and overtook me. I stuck with him and regained the advantage late in the third lap. I crossed the line on that lap just ahead of the leaders, and I could see the race official hesitating about what to do as she left the lap counter at 2 to go, but rang the bell for the final lap anyway. So, with one lap to go, I buckled down to be sure not to lose my advantage. Just like last week, my nemesis disappeared. I thought I saw him catching up to me on the grassy section leading up to the barriers just before the finish, so I went into the barriers as fast as I could get the bike going after a tight turn. It was a little faster than I could run and I ended up executing something like a 2-1-8 step pattern (really fast, but horribly graceless) as I flew over the barriers but nearly fell on my face. I managed to get back on the bike just in time for the next turn and even put some distance on the rider behind me. It turned out not to be my nemesis, but rather one of his team mates who was (almost!) a lap ahead of me. My nemesis did finish, but significantly behind me.

    I placed 62 of 68, and I beat two guys who had beaten me at the last two Blind Dates (one of whom was my nemesis above). I think if I hadn't been so slow on the first lap I would have done really well.

  15. #65
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Blind Date #4

    The course was a lot like last week, but they put a loop around the velodrome back in.

    Before my race, I stopped to watch a corner where the course made a U-turn from pavement onto grass with a slight gravel transition. I wasn't watching 30 seconds before I saw one of the B-women wash out on the transition and break her wrist. Ouch!

    The lesson I learned last week was to be more aggressive in the tight turns. The wipe-out I witnessed notwithstanding, I was determined to do this. Unfortunately, I discovered that I still lack the confidence to bump other racers in a turn, so I had mixed results early before the race spread out.

    Once I had some space, I think I was doing pretty well, but I flatted out around the end of the second lap, progressively draining into the third lap. I was going to run it out, but the bulk of the other riders was about to overtake me just as I got to a technical section through the trees, and it seemed like a bad idea to run that in the midst of them.

  16. #66
    Junior cyclist faire_du_velo's Avatar
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    Ok so today i did my first cross race and I have to say that first and for most, it was a Blast!
    The race coordinators scheduled 15min. between each race so when the race before mine finished I got onto the course proceeded to pre-ride the course. Well somehow, and i am still not sure how this happened, I missed the start. What i thought was the start/finish line turned out to be the finish line only and so as i rolled up prepared and excited to start the race the race director tells me that i missed the start and to follow another rider who was 100 yards ahead of me who had done so as well. So i thought to myself, ****, there goes my first race as i proceeded to go hard so i could try to catch the field who were already half way through the first lap.

    During the first two laps i felt pretty good and manage to catch 1 guy in the middle of the 2nd lap or so. Then i caught a few more guys on lap 3 and 4, passing a total of 4. I never did manage to catch the field and on the 5th lap i got lapped by the leaders. On the 5th lap and bell lap i started to give up a little and stopped giving it 100%. I also wish i had someone to give me water in the feed zone. Even though the races was only 30min. my mouth became so dry my saliva pretty much turned to glue, i couldn't have spit 2in. if i had wanted to. considering the circumstances and it being my first race i think I did OK.

    One of the more scary parts of the course, which once i got used to it was pretty fun, was a 12ft. high wooden run up which almost immediately went back down again. The course was also very sandy, and my tires definately were not suited for the sand. This was especially annoying in all the off camber turns where i had to slow down dramatically to not lose control. Couple times i thought i was going to go down.
    I handled the barriers pretty well, and my grandpa who was watching said my dismounts and remounts were pretty good compared to the other cx4 men.

    At first i was kind of bummed that i did not do so well but in retrospect it was a lot of fun and next time i will make sure that i know where the start is and make sure that i get to the start on time.

    I am definitely hooked now!

  17. #67
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Cross Crusade #4 at Portland International Raceway

    We had just over an inch of rain yesterday, and it continued raining through the night and most of the morning. The sun broke through during the race before mine, but when mine started it was raining again. Within a few minutes it was raining so hard it hurt. If you look at the PIR course map on Google Maps, you'll see something labeled "Mud Slough" right next to the race course. We had some lovely filth on the course too.

    During my slow pre-ride lap, while cruising up to a set of barriers, I snagged the crotch of my pants on the nose of my saddle and went down hard on the pavement. Not a good omen, but I came out of it with just a scrape on the elbow.

    My digit group got called up in fifth, so I started in the middle of a 200-something group, but since I'm a bottom 20% kind of rider, that just meant I spent most of the first lap being passed. That's not so bad, as I also got to find my proper place while seeing how the course felt in racing conditions. Two laps in, I felt like I was doing pretty well, but then near the end of the third lap, I dropped my chain and took a really long time to get it back on.

    That took the air out my sails for a while, but I got my head back in the race just in time for the barriers/run-up. Nobody seemed to be chasing me, so I thought about taking it easy on the run-up, but I decided instead to really go for it and see if I could catch the guy in front of me. I almost did, but just between the barriers I felt something snap in my left calf. I HATE hill running!

    This was probably going to be my last lap anyway, and I was about 3/4 of the way through the lap. I really didn't want to collect my third DNF in four races. I had a similar injury that took me out of a race last year, and the thing I learned then was that you can ride a bike with a pretty bad calf strain. So, I hobbled up the hill, got back on the bike and gingerly rode on. There was one more running section (off-camber with peanut-butter mud), but I managed to hop through that and finish the race.

    I haven't seen the results yet, but I think there's a chance I wasn't last.

    The calf injury isn't as bad as last year's. I'll probably have to skip the Blind Date this Wednesday, but I can't see it keeping me away from next weekend's two-day mudfest in Astoria.

  18. #68
    Senior Member mzeffex's Avatar
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    DCCX C men

    41/110 or so. 125 registered, I figure 15 didn't show, and I know 85 finished as that's what was post. So that's just a guess for how many starters.

    Pretty hard course, but I liked it. Ended up being 50 minutes instead of 40, so I was dead and couldn't do the 15-18 I was signed up for in an hour. And so it goes.
    Quote Originally Posted by rjones28 View Post
    Are they talking about spectators feeding the cyclists? You know, like don't feed the bears?

  19. #69
    Senior Member SalsaPodio's Avatar
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    Won my cat 4 race. Later raced the 1,2,3 Open race with a friend on a tandem and came in 3rd.
    Road: Cat 2|Cross: Cat 2

  20. #70
    bulletproof tiger ok_commuter's Avatar
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    Cross Crusade @ PIR

    Great report, Andy.

    Today's Cross Crusade @ PIR was my first cross race ever. I moved up here from Austin in April and planned to do the whole series, but work and illness kept me out until this weekend. I think I picked a good one to start with!

    I don't have enough miles in my legs for racing, as moving cross country meant I missed the road racing season both in Austin and here. I've been riding, but lots of junk miles and commuting, not enough intervals and power stuff. (More climbing than I've ever done before though, which seems to be helping.)

    The course was indeed an epic mud pit, and the very slick off-camber stuff was ridiculous. The run down mudslide was responsible for 2 of my funnly little crashes, and that slick 180 at the top of the hill right before it was responsible for my 3rd. Luckily, they were all at very low speeds, and the ground i hit was very soft to say the least.

    My race number put me with the "3" group, which had the good fortune to be dead last in the callup today. (Members of my group all got a free 6 pack of Deschutes, so it ain't all bad.) Given where I started, I was pretty happy with my 90th place finish. A good friend who has been doing pretty well in the series got 46th, so I felt even better about my result. Then again, another "3" - a neighbor and new friend of mine - started right beside me and got 9th. So much for excuses...

    Like you, I thought there had to be 200 starting that race. The results sheet I saw showed 125 finishers.

    My verdict: cyclocross - the racing, the bikes, the culture and scene - is about as much fun as you can have on a bike. I'm going to try to get out to the last Blind Date on Wednesday night and pick up a few more races before the season ends this year. As sad as I am to have left my team and the Austin cycling scene, I couldn't be more excited about what lies ahead for me on a bike up here in the PNW. Good times.

    P.S. Hi everybody. I haven't posted or even lurked in ages. Just trying to spend more time on a bike and less time staring at a screen. Now that the rains have begun, you may see more of me.


    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
    Cross Crusade #4 at Portland International Raceway

    We had just over an inch of rain yesterday, and it continued raining through the night and most of the morning. The sun broke through during the race before mine, but when mine started it was raining again. Within a few minutes it was raining so hard it hurt. If you look at the PIR course map on Google Maps, you'll see something labeled "Mud Slough" right next to the race course. We had some lovely filth on the course too.

    During my slow pre-ride lap, while cruising up to a set of barriers, I snagged the crotch of my pants on the nose of my saddle and went down hard on the pavement. Not a good omen, but I came out of it with just a scrape on the elbow.

    My digit group got called up in fifth, so I started in the middle of a 200-something group, but since I'm a bottom 20% kind of rider, that just meant I spent most of the first lap being passed. That's not so bad, as I also got to find my proper place while seeing how the course felt in racing conditions. Two laps in, I felt like I was doing pretty well, but then near the end of the third lap, I dropped my chain and took a really long time to get it back on.

    That took the air out my sails for a while, but I got my head back in the race just in time for the barriers/run-up. Nobody seemed to be chasing me, so I thought about taking it easy on the run-up, but I decided instead to really go for it and see if I could catch the guy in front of me. I almost did, but just between the barriers I felt something snap in my left calf. I HATE hill running!

    This was probably going to be my last lap anyway, and I was about 3/4 of the way through the lap. I really didn't want to collect my third DNF in four races. I had a similar injury that took me out of a race last year, and the thing I learned then was that you can ride a bike with a pretty bad calf strain. So, I hobbled up the hill, got back on the bike and gingerly rode on. There was one more running section (off-camber with peanut-butter mud), but I managed to hop through that and finish the race.

    I haven't seen the results yet, but I think there's a chance I wasn't last.

    The calf injury isn't as bad as last year's. I'll probably have to skip the Blind Date this Wednesday, but I can't see it keeping me away from next weekend's two-day mudfest in Astoria.
    sic

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    Welcome to the wonderful world of Cross Crusade, ok!

    I did the Master C race, and we had 203 starters. Preliminary results show me finishing 177 out of 191. It turns out I was doing really, really well before my mishaps. The guy I had just passed before dropping my chain finished 138, and I'm certain I could have held him off for another two laps.

    Even with my troubles, I finished just behind my crossresults.com nemesis, who beat me for only the second time in six tries this year, after taking 3 of 4 in previous match-ups.

    You should really try to make it out to Astoria, at least for Sunday's race. It's a little less serious, and a lot more fun (as this pic from last year indicates).

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    no astoria for me

    Was Master C the 2nd race, with Clydes? Is that 203 starters *just* Master C?! Wow! I was in men's beginners. I have no idea how you guys rode that course after we rutted it up for you. I watched a little bit of that race and saw a bunch of nasty crashes in that 180 after the rundown, before the driveway. Nice!

    (Should I be racing Masters instead of beginners? I am old enough, lord knows.)

    I am truly bummed I can't go to Astoria. (I keep hearing the coast is beautiful this time of year, too!) We are wall to wall both Sat and Sun with Halloween stuff at the kids' school, etc. I know at least a few people that are going. I'm sure it will be tons of fun. I might see you Wednesday night if you make it out to Blind Date.

    Best of luck to you! Post a picture in whatever costume you come up with.



    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
    Welcome to the wonderful world of Cross Crusade, ok!

    I did the Master C race, and we had 203 starters. Preliminary results show me finishing 177 out of 191. It turns out I was doing really, really well before my mishaps. The guy I had just passed before dropping my chain finished 138, and I'm certain I could have held him off for another two laps.

    Even with my troubles, I finished just behind my crossresults.com nemesis, who beat me for only the second time in six tries this year, after taking 3 of 4 in previous match-ups.

    You should really try to make it out to Astoria, at least for Sunday's race. It's a little less serious, and a lot more fun (as this pic from last year indicates).
    sic

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    Master C is the third race, and, yes, that 203 is just the Master C's. By the time we got out there the ground was more mush than rut, so it was just a matter of churning the pedals and watching where the bike wanted to go.

    It's a lot of fun slogging around with such a big group, but you should definitely feel free to keep racing beginner. It's a good way to get used to the big groups. I think all the other races have more people on the course at a time.

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    My overly verbose post from my team site:

    Psycho Cross 2011 was held at the Dick Lane Velodrome in East Point on Saturday the 30th of October. This year conditions were much drier than last year but we enough to provide for a little mud and loose soil.

    The juniors had 5-6 riders and the crowd seemed smaller than last year. The highlight of the juniors was a 9 year old girl showing great tenacity at finishing the race despite being at an age disadvantage to the rest of the class by at least 4 years.

    As the juniors wound down the C class started to gravitate to the starting chute. The announcement was made that there were 46 riders this year. Last year there were 35.

    I positioned myself in the middle of the second row behind a man in a banana outfit. We were also graced by two "Waldos", a "weiner", a "redneck" in an overall-beerbelly prosthetic, and a few other less notable Halloween costumes.

    As the whistle I had a decent start clipping in without delay and getting to the top of the starting hill in about 7th, right behind the banana. The 5 riders ahead of him opened a gap and I couldn't get around in the first section of turns or the technical woods section. I made a pass on the velodrome surface and knew the riders behind him would be held up just a bit.

    I hit the "bus stop" style chicanes, which were on the banked back straight of the track, at speed. No need for braking on the first bus stop, but the second one was just tight enough to require braking to make the turn back onto the straight before the 3rd turn. Back up to speed and lining up to make the 90 degree right hander into the infield that starts the approach to the barriers.

    Not having ridden much in the past month I had no endurance -- that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. I was passed on the approach to the barriers by some faster riders but managed to jump the barriers pretty well. Then I watched the faster guys motor away from me while I struggled to maintain 300 watts for the 2 minutes of remaining infield work. Gotta work on that.

    The last part of the lap is the runup. After several inward spiraling circuits of the infield you are led to the cement infield area next to the scoring tower. Then a 90 degree right hander that puts you on the mud section right next to the grandstand. What seemed like a wall of sheer mud was probably only 10 feet high and at a 35 degree angle.

    To my knowledge nobody has ridden up it, and I certainly didn't try.

    The rest of the race was pretty much the same. I attempted my best to maintain position, passed a few lappers and felt good overall.

    One stronger rider kept having chain issues which allowed me to pass him with two to go. Another rider behind me caught up and those two were able to gap me on the last lap. Coming into the infield start finish I was determined to catch those two on the final lap and make a race of it.

    As I was expecting the bell a rider passed my at the line with his arms up. The winner. No bell for me. *&%&%^*(&. My plans were dashed, my race was over, and I was mad.

    Later when the results were posted there were only 12 riders scored. I guess that makes me the first unscored rider and puts me in 13th. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong on this.

    Last year I finished 27th out of 35. This year 13th? out of 46. One year of racing under my belt and an improvement I'm happy with.

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    Special two-race expanded report
    (i.e. even more long winded than my usual)

    Cross Crusade #5 and #6, Clatsop County Fairgrounds


    This weekend I added a tent and every pair of wool socks I own to my usual cross racing gear and headed to Astoria for a weekend of racing. I got there early Friday and the skies were clear and stayed that way through the night. Whoever was responsible for the weather wasn't meeting expectations, but Astoria is always wet so we still had a decent amount of mud waiting Saturday morning.

    Between setting up camp and walking the course, I didn't get a decent dinner Friday night, so I overcompensated with a nice plate of bacon, eggs, hash browns and biscuits which I inhaled less than an hour before my race. I had some idea at the time that it was a really bad idea, but I didn't quite appreciate how bad. I've also been nursing a calf strain all week and was taking the Cross Check out for the first time since re-assembling it from its derailleur explosion at Rainier, so I had a full complement of excuses at the ready. I needed them all.

    Being far from the friendly confines of Portland, the Master C group was much more humble in size than usual, only 78 racers. My digit group got called up fifth, but I think I somehow managed to fall to dead last within then first 200 yards. I don't know what happened, but I was dragging worse than the race I did with the front brake applied the whole time. I kept the guy in penultimate place in sight for about a lap and a half, but gradually he even pulled away.

    I had decided to use the Cross Check because the course had a couple of steep climbs and I wanted the lower gearing. Unfortunately, I had overinflated my tires and kept spinning out. I managed to struggle up the lesser hill, but had to give up and run the steeper hill, which really sucked in light of my calf strain (note my exemplary use of excuses). By the time I got to the big hill on lap three I was having trouble breathing and had a bad pain in my side (here I'm blaming the breakfast). The leaders were also about to overtake me at this point, so I decided that was enough and pulled out of the race -- my third DNF in my last five races! Knowing I had another chance the next day made it easier.

    On the plus side, it was nice being able to hang out and watch the rest of the days' races. Here's a verbal exchange I witnessed that you can file in the "Only in Oregon" category:

    Little Girl: Daddy, why is that my riding a bike with no clothes on?
    Father: I don't know. I guess that's just his style.

    Here's a link to a picture, but I warn you this may cause retina damage: link


    Day 2
    --------
    Sunday was the official costume race, which is always a lot of fun. I dressed as a monk (every crusade needs monks) -- not the most imaginative, but it kept me from getting heckled. The floor length robe presented a bit of a challenge, but I kept it tucked pretty deep in the back of my shorts and only had to stop once to adjust it.

    I think there were a few more racers than on Saturday, but still under 100, I think. My digit group resumed its usual bad start position, being called up eighth. That actually suits me well as 20th percentile is about the best I can manage.

    The course was completely different from the day before. It had only one climb, which was long but not terribly steep, so I rode my Kona Jake. There were no run-ups, but a tricky descent followed by a sticky stretch of mud presented a section where running was useful.

    The rain was relentless throughout the night (by morning my tent was floating), but throughout the day we had constant sunshine. The course was muddy, but the aforementioned running section was the only place where the mud presented a substantial obstacle.

    I felt like I did really well in this race, relative to my skills and fitness. It turns out that as bad a climber as I am, climbing is actually a strength for me relative to several of the people who typically place near me and that really helped in this race.

    I was more aggressive than usual in the turns, finally convincing mysef that hanging a foot in ready for a crash is better (and I must say: much, much better) than using the brakes. I only paid for it one time, when the guy in front of me went down in a turn and I ended up wiping out fantastically, tumbling head-over-heels and having to run back up a hill to get my bike.

    The costume race is even harder to score than our usual mud fests. The officials said they weren't going to score anyone whose number was obscured by their costume, but they're either complete softies or congenitally incapable of doing a less-than-completely thorough job (possibly both) so results aren't posted yet. I don't even want to think about how many hours they're putting into this.

    Anyway, I'm guessing that I finished somewhere around 85 out of 100.

    UPDATE: I finally found the results. I finished 71 of 77 + 4 DNF, so I was wrong about the total number of racers but very close on my relative standing. The really good news is that for the first time since I moved up to Master C, I managed not to get lapped. I thought I had heard the race announcer declare the winner just after I got the bell, but I wasn't sure.
    Last edited by Andy_K; 11-01-10 at 04:09 PM. Reason: Results

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