Whew! Second CX event in the bag today! And I did two races today which actually helped me greatly with confidence and knowledge. But boy are my legs toast!
LA Cyclocross at the Greek Theatre in Griffith Park.
The course was short, and it was either up or down, and all turns seemed to be off camber. Lots of crashes and event the pros were hitting tape and stakes and crashing etc. It was definitely more technical a course and as some said, it "had no flow, no rhythm". Lots of hairpin turns and very bumpy potholed ground.
Anyhow, the course was dry with mainly grass and sandy dirt with areas of deeper soft dirt. There was a sand pit, one stair run up, one barrier and even a jump off a curb to execute while in a full speed asphault turn.
On my first race, CX4 the field was 62 or so. Uphill start brought us all to a hairpin where we waited to go around and then we waited again a bit later as we all filed through the sand pit. After that it started to spread out a little more. I was about 6 from last and I started picking off riders in front of me. I was slowly moving up the field when I botched/fell on a few turns and had to gain back a few spots. frustrating because I started realizing i was rushing, taking stupid chances and causing my own problems by putting myself in the wrong spots.
Then I slid out on a loose dirt off camber downhill hairpin (see how I put all the excuses in there?) and "Schlecked my chain"! While I struggled with it the whole rest of the field went by. I suppose gentlemen's rules don't apply in Le Tour or 'cross either ;)
I had to fight my way back through the entire pack again! I proceeded to crap up some more corners, and drop my chain no less than 3 more times (I NEED a chainwatcher) but they didn't hurt me as much as the first lap.
While it was tough I felt hindered by my techical skills, not my cardio or strength. Not that I'm fast or anything but I kept feeling I'd recover and have more for later. I past many people on the pavement stretch and any open straights. Some sections of the course were so slow with switchbacks I recovered but nobody could really pass due to the turns. I had to let some of the leaders by at the end of my last lap so I crossed the line, lapped, with the 6th place finisher or something
After all the time I spent on the ground and fixing my chain I managed to get 46th out of 56 with 7 or so DNF.
Oh well, would have liked to know what I could have done if I kept my chain on and stayed off the ground but hey, that's racing.
Overall I learned I was rushing, riding sort of risky and frantic which is why I was in the position to make so many mistakes. SLOW DOWN TO GO FASTER was the lesson of the day. Where I kept trying to hammer and get one more pedal revolution or come in to a corner hot I should have been smooth and picking lines and going slow in fast out of the corners.
I had an hour between races and initially I was tempted to bail on the second but glad I didn't. I hydrated with Gatorade, ate some fruit and had a shot block sample. felt good after a bit but had to get warmed up again but didn't know if I'd be toasted so i was careful and just did some spinning around.
I raced 35+ cat 3/4 race and it was grouped with the 35+ 1/2/3 or something like that. We started 1 min after the first wave of cat 1/2/3.
I started off and was in about 3rd from last and the field of us back-riders was much faster (it seemed). I got into a pace and focused on making nice smooth arcs around the turns, and was doing much better. I passed a few people and my stamina felt good once I was in rhythm. I went slower into turns and did better, I was finally learning how to survive some of the tricky spots. I passed and gapped several guys on the uphill pavement. No dropped chains but I did get hung up on a stake once and the guy behind me caught and passed me right on the few open straights. I was in the chase again and it was hard to gain time on him but I got fairly close right before the pavement.
I was confidently visualizing myself jumping tot he 53t and stomping past him when. . .
the USA cycling judge calls us both off the course because we are less than 80% of the leader's lap time. Game over right in the heat of battle!
I understand certain things but here's what irked us: We were 35+3/4 class riders grouped with Masters 35+1/2/3 and non-UCI Men 1/2/3. Of course we'd be 80% of their times... we're not cat 1/2/3!
I feel they should have left us in there as we certainly had our own 3/4 battles going on.
That was most annoying because I was feeling pretty good about the race so far and I still felt I could have chased down 1 or two more guys. Oh well, it was a $5 add on race... (should have got $2 back though)
Overall a fun day! I have a lot to work on, too bad I have to wait till December to do another :(
Thanks for the report. Bummer on getting pulled. In the few races I've been to this year, I've only seen it in the actual UCI elite race.
Did they mention the rule at the start? Or say that you would finish on the leader's lap like you did in the 4's?
They mentioned it at the starting line, but we thought it may be for those of us in our CLASS. But they went with whoever the leader was in masters cat 1, so us 4s were doomed because we raced at the same time.
In the regular cat 4 race there was no mention of it but they'd been behind all day so I guess they determined it'd be a 4 lap race, not a 40 minute race. The course was smaller so it ended up with the leader finishing in 31min. They could have easily made it 5 laps.
But i've heard some comments from people saying these officials don't seem to care too much for the cat3/4 stuff, like they'd prefer to just do elite races. Of course, then they'd be out of a job because the lower ranks feed the upper and around here there are few true "spectators" who show up just to watch. Most race in some cat and their families/friends make up the rest.
This weekend was a frustrating one. I did Fair Hill and Tacchino – both excellent venues with good crowds, really well designed courses and perfect cross weather.
My bike handling is getting better, my mid-week power numbers are higher than they’ve ever been, but come race day I’m absolutely spend after 2 laps. And it’s not gradual. I had good laps at both Fair Hill and Tacchino today, but then it was nada – the legs just disappeared. Ahhh. Hopefully it’s just a bad weekend.
Still, even with all that, it was a beautiful day at Tacchino and it was a pleasure to be out there.
How'd you do? I got 35/90 finishers, and then 100+ starters I guess. I hate when they don't list starters.
By lap 4 I was walking the big hill, then on the last lap 4 guys were behind me so I sprinted up it, jumped on, and managed to keep my placing until the end.
I'm guessing you'd have been closer to 50th if you didn't hit the ground at all -- at least that's what your description of the off-cambers make me think. If I make it through a race without hitting the ground, I feel like I was being too cautious.
Originally Posted by thenomad
Could be true, you have to be right on the edge, I just needed to be better at knowing where the edge even is.
Its annoying to watch your hard work roll back in front of you and off into the distance.
Nothing to do but HTFU and take it all back.
It sure was fun though.
Cross Crusade #7, Hillsboro -- almost...
The course today was excellently muddy and absurdly flat. It had one stair-step run-up (freshly constructed) that dropped back down immediately, and one stretch about 100 yards long that skirted along an off-camber ledge. By midway through the first race that was looking too torn up to ride. About 35% of the racers were falling and another 35% were running it. I saw two guys ride the whole thing cleanly. There was a short run through a pile of soft sawdust. Everything else was flat mud, grass, gravel and pavement.
The feature that I was very excited to see was the 6-pack. Here's a pic from the last time the 6-pack made an appearance, in 2008:
Ever since, I've been waiting to see this again, and today it was there.
Unfortunately, I didn't get to race! :cry:
I've been nursing a strained calf for a couple of weeks now. It had been improving, but when I tested it out this morning, it twinged a bit when I tried to run. The worst part is that I'm aggravating it when I try to jump off my left foot to remount the bike. I did a slow pre-ride lap and didn't have any problems, but trying a second lap closer to race speed, the 6-pack did me in. I made it over four of the barriers before the pain buckled my knee.
I hung around and watched the beginners, trying to convince myself that I could do my race in spite of the injury, but I was kidding myself. This thing clearly needs rest.
So, I'm going to take a week or two off from everything that might stress the calf. This probably spells the end of the season for me. I could theoretically do the USGP race in Portland in Decemeber or one of the Eugene races, but I'm probably better off just starting to think about next year. :(
Those barricades look like hell, and I'm sure they feel like it by lap 3.
That hill was the pitts. Managed my way up it every lap, but the last time was an absolute crawl.
Originally Posted by mzeffex
I loved the course and venue. Great atmosphere. The "tacchinio man" was an absolute riot. I believe I finished in the 19-23 range. About on par with my results this season.
I actually love them, but if you can't run they're no fun at all. Last time around I tried to suitcase my bike on the first lap and took an Eggbeater to the thigh, but in general I really like barriers and in sixes they really magnify the advantage or disadvantage you'd normally have.
Originally Posted by mzeffex
Nice, it was a good race. Hard course, but I liked it. I had issues finding a good line on the downhill before the big uphill. I kept starting on the right and ending up on the far left, nearly going into the woods.
Originally Posted by Britishbane
I'm happy with top 3rd anyway.
Here is my report from CX-LA Live at the Greek Day 2 - Sunday 11-7-10
I raced in the CX 4 race and right off the bat was gapped. The start was uphill and I found it tough. I caught the back of the pack at the first U-turn at the end of the opening straight and a few turns later as they bunched up at the sandpit. That was the last I would really be in contact with anyone on my way to another DFL. 54 out of 54 finishers with 6 DNF's. I was lapped by all but three finishers and lapped twice by just over half the field.
This course was my hardest so far, all hills; with a lot of off-camber turns with sliding dirt/sand. The grass was very bumpy and gopher holey as well. The whole thing was laid out up and down a canyon with two sections into side canyons. There was a stair runup, a set of barriers on a uphill slope and a sandpit that had one semi-rideable line. On my second lap, I tried to push it a bit faster as I was near getting lapped already. I didn't make it halfway thru the lap when the leaders caught me. I ended up crashing three times on this lap. One time taking out three plastic poles and about 20 feet of yellow caution tape in my rear derailleur. All the crashes were my own fault, even though two guys lapping me managed to take out my front tire when they did.
I continued on, taking it a little mellower on my next laps and finished very exhausted. My lower back was really tight and hurt quite a bit on the longer uphills. My time was only 38 minutes, so I was a bit bummed that they made our race less than the 40 minutes. Another lap, even though painful, makes my $35 feel better earned. The winner was under 36 on a short course; with leader laps of about 6 minutes.
I had given thought to trying a second race as it's only $5 more, but wasn't feeling it right when I finished. I hydrated and ate and thought about it and rode around for a bit. What the heck, it's only $5, right?
So, I watched a couple of races and then entered the 35+ 3/4. We were in a big wave of non-UCI 1/2/3; 35+ 1/2/3 and 35+3/4. (I don't get it, so 3's can choose to either sandbag or get their asses handed to them?) On Saturday; they started these groups one minute apart and then enforced lapping rules and pulled riders who were 4's getting lapped by 1's. Today, they decided to start us all together, just stage each group about 10 yards apart. A lot of guys didn't understand at first. They wanted to race with their groups, but when they understood that less chance of getting pulled was the benefit; they agreed to it.
At the start, I was sizing up some of the back of the pack competition; hoping I could find someone to beat. There was one woman, and a couple of fatty's like me that looked like potential targets. At the start, everyone gapped me again. It's not that I don't have a hole shot, it's that I don't have any speed whatsoever - especially with the start a long uphill straight. Again there was a pileup in the first turn and at the sandpit. I almost caught a few people - and then they were gone. The lone woman was a good gap in front of me and a good gap in front of her to the field. I kept plugging away, but it looked like that woman was getting farther away. When I got to the straight at the bottom of the finish the crowd was cheering for me. They were saying "Catch Her!". Kinda emabarassing that my glory would be in catching the only woman in our men's field. I looked up the straight and saw her about 10 seconds or so ahead of me. I kept pushing, but didn't really have more than I was giving.
These hills seemed a lot slower in my second race of the day. About halfway thru the second lap I did pass the one woman on a uphill and managed to keep her behind me. On the next lap I saw her in the pits. Don't know if she had a mechanical or just DNF'd. At this point, I was being lapped again. A few of these guys had to pass me twice, as they couldn't make it stick through some of the turns. I think it was a mix of me speeding up as they passed and actually handling the lines in the turns better. I even heckled one about making his passes stick and he agreed with me.
In this race I kept losing the line in the sandpit. I was forced to dismount a couple of times and on the third lap couldn't clip out in time and fell into the mesh fence on the side. This is when I discovered that the sandpit was bordered by a 2"x 6" and I got bruised, bloodied and scraped up on the wood. On my fourth lap, I just ran it (well not much faster than walking).
In this race I am listed as finishing ahead of the woman, so I'm not technically DFL. But I don't get it. They have her listed as 1 lap and 2 of the DNF's had 2 laps. I did 4, the leaders 6, and 8 guys managed 5. So, once again; the entire field lapped me and most of them twice. Still feels like a DFL to me.
My time in the second race (both 4 laps) was actually 23 seconds faster than my first race. My fastest lap in the first race was 24 seconds faster than my fastest in the second race. I didn't understand it - I knew I was slower up the long hills, at least it felt it. Maybe I was more warmed up? Maybe I nailed the turns better? Then I remembered, pulling 20 feet of tape out of my derailleur and crashing more in the first race was the difference.
All in all; doing two in a day wasn't all that bad. I was seriously tired, and my upper body hurt a lot more than doing just one. But, with a couple of hours in between it was doable for me. Based upon best lap times, I would have beat only one woman and one 55+ man the whole day. And, I might have made the podiums in the girls junior races, but not won.
After my race, I stuck around and watched the elite races. It was actually encouraging to see the elites struggle and even crash on an off camber turn that most people struggled with all day. Chris Horner from Radio Shack was the big news of the day. He had finished 9th the day before, so some guys had bragging rights on beating a Pro Tour rider in an off discipline. Sid Taberlay is the local elite elite and he showed up on a new ride to this race. (Since summer I've seen him with a custom screened Ford Transit) Not his bike, but his 500cc scooter with racks for two bikes. That must be a quite a handful riding two up as he was with a bike.
After the first lap and a half or so, Sid was battling for second with a Rabobank rider and Horner was in a pack battling for 6th to 10th or so. As the barriers were on an uphill and in some soft dirt , I was wondering if Sid would bunny hop them as he has been in other races. Turns out he was. It was more of a struggle and not sure if it was helping him or not. About halfway thru the race Horner had his chain wheelsuck on the descent before the barriers. He really struggled with fixing it and lost a lot of time and places. I yelled that he should run it out. Don't know if he heard me or cared, It would have been a real long run. He removed the rear wheel, seemed to fix it and got going. About 200 yards later, he stopped and disconnected the rear brake. (Maybe he's used to having a team mechanic around at all times?) On the next lap, I presume he got pulled from the course. Before and after that the officials were pulling the slower riders off the course. Only 18 out of 41 completed all the laps; they were pulling guys early and often. I didn't actually see Horner get pulled; but I imagine he hasn't been pulled off a race course by officials all that often. That gave him 25th, so even more people can brag about beating a Pro Tour rider in an off discipline.
Taberlay seemed to fade in the race as others seemed to get stronger, especially the winner; Adam Craig. He moved from third to first in the second half of the race. The top five placers were all the same as the day before, in the same order.
I'll put a few pics in the race pic thread.
Hey man, way to soldier up and bang out two races! Earlier you were saying you didn't have a chance of doing two and here you've already done it. You never quit, you pushed hard the whole time and even got to heckle other guys while out there.
A lot of what you wrote was spot on with my experience too. My second race I was a little smarter around some turns and lost far less time from being on my butt or tangled in the tape lines too. As one other competitor put it "go slow to go fast". Sounds like you made that adjustment in the second race too.
Yeah, I heard a lot of guys warming up and talking about the course saying to go slow.
I think most of the races don't give enough of a break to pull off two in a day.
If I did the 45+'s and the 35+'s I'd have just about an hour. If I did the CX4, I'd have to do one of those back to back or try SS (no SS bike) for an hour with the elites.
Those options don't look too good.
OK, my next race.
Urban CX in Long Beach at Shoreline Village on 11-14
This is a different promoter than the other races I've done and it was very different.
Registration and awards were to be at a sponsoring restaurant about a quarter mile from the course.
I drove there first and saw no registration happening. So, drove back to the course area.
This is in a pay parking area with centralized meters for the numbered spaces. $6 for 2 hours with no option of purchasing more than that. I went and checked on a lot across the street that was $8 all day and parked over there. A bit later, a cop drove by and said they wouldn't enforce the parking foir the racers. Wish the promoter had the parking sorted out ahead of time.
So, I got registerd and went to warm up. I did not like the course. The park was long and narrow. The course started with essentially three long straightaways. Then, the last stretch was essentially a bunch of switchbacks back towards the start. It was 99% grass and had two single barriers. No runups or stairs and very flat overall.
Race time and we staged. No callups and they put my CX4 together with all of the SS 4's as well, a grand total of 9 of us. As per usual, I was gapped right off the start. There were two that were the class of the field, six relatively together, and me.
So it went. After two laps I was lapped by the two leaders, one of them SS. I ended up getting 4 laps in. On the last 1/4 of my last lap I was lapped by another SS'er - I really wanted to hold him off! Just after I finished another guy came in, declaring he would have caught me if he had 100 more yards. Might have been right as I'd kinda shut it down after the last deflating lapping; but I did see that I had enough on him.
This circuit really seems to be the JR circuit around here. The biggest field all day was maybe 20 riders, and that was with 3 classes in it.
This might be a circuit for people to pick up some $ or swag. With such small fields and awards to 6-8 places; a lot of people could go hpome with something.
In the elite race there was a $450 retail bike tool box on the line. Only two guys were in that field, brothers at that!
I never saw any of the awards as I was watching races and they were relatively distant.
I'm planning on riding the last race in this series as it fits my schedule - I'll try to position myself for some $ or swag.
One kinda funny sight, one of the officials was wearing a hat from the other circuit - wonder if the promoter noted the little sleight?
Hard to believe with prizes like that the fields are so small.
19/67 at Rockburn CX today. Good race.
3rd place...out of 5. Second race on the singlespeed. Fun, fast course. very cold. I was the only person in the 4s who raced both days this weekend. yesterday was so miserable I can't blame them. Feel pretty good because the two people who beat me are pretty much the fastest fours in the state and were duking it out for the championship. And they both had gears, though ss didn't actually feel like much of a disadvantage.
Rockburn for me today. Was not my best race. Late registration put me in the back of the field (apparently not a good excuse, the eventual winner started right in front of me). I pressed early to make up for my poor starting position, resulting in a couple of miscues. Definitely the worst I've ridden the bike this year even if it wasn't my worst finish. This race was my sixth of the year, and probably my last. I'm hooked. Loved every race regardless of my finishing position (usually just inside the top 25% of starters). Next year I plan on at least doubling my race attendance. A poor performance today should provide motivation for increased training next year.
edit: You can see one of my "miscues" on Joe Mallis' website. My apologies to the Bike Lane racer who took my rear wheel to the chest as I endo'd in the sand.
Brit - gotta do Taneytown next week. It's pretty flat. As long as it doesn't rain like it did last year, it should be a pretty straight forward course.
Had a decent ride today at Rockburn, although a youngin almost took 2 of us out at the start by sweeping our front wheels. I think he's more clueless than anything else (on the way home I remembered that I'd done a few crits with him and seen similar handling). Spend the day going back and forth with a different youngin. Oh to be young and have all the recovery capacity in the world and none of the body fat. I eventually got by him, but I think that was old man crankiness, not talent.
I think I've been spoiled by the great number of races in close proximity to the DC Metro area, but with a drive time closing in on the 2hr mark I dont know that Taneytown is in the cards. Would love the chance to redeem myself......we'll have to see.
Originally Posted by SpongeDad
Was that me? NCVC kit, blue Ridley? I don't remember doing anything like that but I think I was near you (orange Bianchi?)
Originally Posted by SpongeDad
Definitely not you.
Originally Posted by mzeffex
Decent race for me at Rockburn in the CAT 3/4 35+/45+ (43rd out of 80). 4th race in 3 weekends and I'm definitely hooked on this CX racing. I'm probably going to sign up for the season closer in Taneytown. I know I'll regret it all winter if I don't! I'm already thinking about next year. I really need to sign up earlier to get the better start. Starting near the back of the pack definitely makes it that much harder to finish in the top 25% or even 50%. Not impossible as Brit pointed out with the CAT 4 race.
Good to see you out there SpongeDad. Looks like we'll be going head to head in the race on Sunday. If I sign up this morning I'll be in the same row as you. I promise not to (at least intentionally) sweep your wheel.