Makes me think that if people are winning on mountain bikes, perhaps the course needs some tweaking. But then I don't even have a mountain bike so I've got no clue.
Makes me think that if people are winning on mountain bikes, perhaps the course needs some tweaking. But then I don't even have a mountain bike so I've got no clue.
I had my second race of the year today: Psycho Cross #1 at Camp Harlow. For the first time since my racing debut in 2008 I finished in the top 10. I also finished last among those who finished in my category (as I did in my other top 10 finish) -- 8 of 9 with one DNF. :thumb:
I was expecting to take this weekend off, but Friday at work I was really jonesin' for a race (the early season does this to me), so I decided to make the drive to Eugene. It hasn't rained here since about the middle of July so it doesn't really feel like Oregon CX yet, but this was a pretty fun race. Having done most of my races with 100-200 other people last year, it was a refreshing change to have only 8 other people in my category and only about 20 on the course.
The course was a great mix of very fast sections (pavement + firm, dry grass) and tricky, for me at least, technical sections with singletrack, roots, rocks, gravel and very loose dirt. There were also some nice windy bits, a few barriers and a short stair run-up. For the first time I can remember, my astonishingly poor aerobic fitness wasn't my limiter. My also astonishingly poor bike handling skills slowed me down enough for most of the course that I was actually able to really hammer on the fast sections, but I think my ultimate limiter was actually my shoulder strength. I ran my tire pressure somewhat high (~40 psi) because of the fast sections and the bumps really pounded me. By about half way through my shoulders were aching so much that I was trying to figure out a way to pedal hard without putting any weight on the handlebar. My wrists didn't get sore, so I don't think I was stiff-arming. The course just punished me.
Anyway, Pscyho Cross was definitely fun. I'm hoping to make it back down there for a few more races later in the year. That course should be a lot of fun once it gets muddy.
Central Coast CX. Broke my collar bone. Made a ballsy move at a bad part on the course. Even with the accident, I had the time of my life. I can't wait to get back out there in six weeks and try again.
nittany cx on the first day(UCI) was suuuuper muddy. this same course/race last season was very dry and hot that by the time the elites were racing there was a dust cloud following behind them. this time there were about 3 sections of standing water/mud in the worst drainage areas. the 2 on the top half of the course were short and rideable but that longest was 2 turns before the start/finish and i think only a few people were able to ride it. over all i finished 86th out of over 100 racers, not sure how many DNF'd and my younger brother finished 33rd in the same race(his first). all in all a good start to my 4th cross season.
Cross Vegas was awesome to watch.
It rained the morning of the race and the day before - so the course was pretty greasy.
It's held in a storm retention basin/park so a little rerouting had to be done.
Watching people bunny hop barriers to an uphill ride/runup was cool. As was watching some also bunny hop up the staired section.
If any pics came out, I'll try to post some.
And, some of the best pros got beat by a 20 year old.
Survived my first cross race yesterday... this was my first competitive cycling event ever, so I was somewhat apprehensive beforehand. The venue was Wendy Park right on Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland. It was mainly dry grass, with a ~75 yard beach, a ride out to the abandoned USCG station at the end of the pier and back, a section of gravel road, and a single mud hole.
The start went OK by my definition; it was straight for probably 200yards which gave time to spread out. I started near the back and just tried to stay clean. A bunch of people passed me, I think I caught a few as they got tangled up in traffic.
Middle of the race I'm slightly fuzzy on what was happening. I kind of went into survival mode and just focused on keeping moving, tried not to do anything too spectacularly stupid. I think I passed a few riders here and there; somehow managed to avoid crashing into a woman who dumped it in the mudhole. I think she was leading her race, so I let her get back on the bike in front of me (which also gave me another second to try and get some air). Dropped my chain twice during the race but I was able to get going again.
On the bell lap, I was maybe 50 yards behind another rider. I managed to get on his wheel on the switchbacks in the grass, but then he totally dropped me on the pavement. Figured I'd never see him again, but somehow I caught back up at the mudhole, and worked to stay near him. Then I managed to run by him on a set of low barriers, got back on the bike and made it across the line ahead of him. Took me about ten minutes to be able to talk again afterwards. No idea about results, and for all I know this guy was an A rider out warming up or something who decided to torment me...
Surprisingly no one even heckled me, maybe I looked close enough to passing out they decided it was better to encourage than heckle? I don't think I got lapped, but it could have happened in the middle of the race and I just don't remember.
Anyway, I'm definitely going back for more punishment next weekend. I had a blast, met some very cool people (one of which convinced me to actually go register), and got some free beer.
I raced Hood River Double Cross #1 on Saturday. There's a definite pattern emerging in my finishing position: 53, 8, 41 (DFL, DFL, DFL). I finished DFL in my first race back in 2008, but then prior to this year the only other time I'd done it was in a race where my front brake was clamping onto my wheel and I suffered through to the end anyway. Now this year I'm three for three. On the upside, the two guys who finished right ahead of me Saturday were ahead of me in all but one race last year, so I'm telling myself the really slow guys just haven't started coming out yet.
The course was a blast to ride - my favorite of the year so far. There were three run-ups, plus a close pair of uphill switchbacks that were, for me at least, faster to run and a deep sand corner that had to be run. Happily, all of the run-ups were short. The deep sand corner was preceded by a twisty bit on loose sand over hard-packed dirt that I did pretty well on and followed by an off-camber stretch of loose sand over hard dirt that was ridable for everyone but me. There were also two stretches of very fun singletrack. The first was fast enough that I actually managed to get my tubby 200 pound mass airbourne a fews of times. ("You ever take it off any sweet jumps?") That section culminated in a downhill 180 degree turn that put my brakes to the test. Good fun.
During the last two and a half laps I kept thinking I was going to be able to catch the guy in front of me. Each of the last two laps I was close enough to spit on him at the end of the sand section, but then we went into the woods and by the time we came out of the run-up at the other end he was 200 yards ahead of me again. I crashed on the turn just before the run-up on the last lap and still ended up only finishing 31 seconds back. I've taken down his number, and I will get him before the season is over. Or not. Either way, I have a goal.
Hi All -Posting here as there's not much (from what I can find) of an on-line CX community here in the UK
Report from the first race of my season below:
After cutting my teeth over five rounds of last seasons league I was relishing the prospect of another cold and muddy winter, although having spent the previous two weeks on holiday sampling a variety of Greek wines and spirits I could have done with a couple more weeks to become fully adjusted before racing again, but with the off-season over it was time to get back on the bike.
The course followed much the same route as last seasons mixing technical singletrack through the trees with longer sections of fast paced stretches around the boundary of the field, the over night rain was more than welcome producing a tricky mud surface throughout the lap.
After a couple of spins around of the opposing playing field and a quick reconnaissance of the circuit we were warmed up and under way, an all out 250m sprint into an off camber bottle neck kicked things off, with elbows rubbing to gain space up and around and into the second open straight.
Last seasons trend of 'start as fast as possible then get faster' seems to have proved a hit, and maintains a large following at this early season race at least, my own tit-for-tat battles for a mediocre finish were run for the full 50 minutes, over-taking, nearly falling off in front of the feller you'd just shouted 'ON YOUR LEFT!' at,
then spending the whole of the next lap trying to re-secure that all important position a single place higher up the leader board.
After 45 minutes of mud, sweat and struggling the bell rang out for the final lap, with no sign of the flag being held aloft I crossed the line for my final lap and had a quick glance behind to check what space I had over the following rider, the following rider had stopped. I'd missed the flag by 10 seconds. I went back out for a very lonely final lap, crossing the line last to finish that number of laps, but more importantly, also last in the queue for the bike wash.
Ended up 27/75 well pleased with that, our CX is not cat graded, all the road cats in the mix together, the guy who finished ahead was a good cat2, I've only just got my Cat3 license, another bonus I 'spose
Sacto CX No.1. Raced my singlespeed in the C 35+. Was sitting 3d and thinking of a podium when I flatted on the 3d lap. D'oh! Well, at least I got my running in.... :)
I actually flatted on a practice lap. Didn't trust the Stan's to seal the tube so I opted to borrow a front wheel for the race. Because of that I started at the back of the open B field. I was suprised by the turnout of about 35-40 as only 5 pre-reg'd. Anyway, I moved up a bit the first two laps. Strong roadies were falling everywhere. I thought I had an edge until I went down on the loose right hairpin near the finish line on lap 4. I washed out on the front wheel that I borrowed (that would have never happened with my wheel!!). So much for the bike handling advantage. I jumped back up dirty, but otherwise unscathed. Lost a few spots but took a few more due to other guys getting flats, mechanicals, etc. Suprisingly I finish 9th (unofficial). Good times and fun course. Can't wait for the next one!
BTW, the Stan's sealed my puncture fine. Just took a little time to block it up.
Good job !That was a fun course. I would have wanted a few more barriers, but the bmx section was pretty cool. I have a half bottle of Stan's sitting in my garage but never got around to doing my CX tires. Next time...
SacCX #1 - two races and 3 flats. I had to use both my bikes in both races. My arms are sore from that chattery return section. I'm cooked. Fun day.
I was really intimidated by the bmx section when I first saw it, but it was really a lot of fun. And I'm pleased that I never threw a chain on the backside. I think all I need now is a little Stan's in my tubes, and I'm golden.
Sac CX #1. I raced B-45s today. My tubular rear started losing air on the 3rd lap. It was somewhat rideable but very squirelly on the corners. I finished on it; idiot me left the spares in the trunk of the car. Mid-pack finish, not bad for me. Crazy course today. Kinda like a groomed out Prairie City with a BMX track.
Here are Jeff's photos from the day. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jn56/co...7627752895666/
Brookside Cross CAT4 35+
The course features two longish (for cross) paved climbs and a run up over two flights of old stone stairs. Light rain kept this slick and interesting.
Started outside third row but after the whistle I had moved up to 6th by the time we hit the grass at the top of the hill. A crash behind me provided some seperation and it became a matter of knocking off those in front of me one by one. By the time I was second wheel we were pretty much alone out front. After the second lap, I saw my teammate was sitting third wheel about 15-20 seconds back with a comfortable gap of his own so I totally sucked the other guys wheel, staying firmly in second place. I focused on putting pressure on him, trying to force mistakes since I wasn't worried about getting caught. Final lap, I attacked a couple of times, only to be caught again. After the last set of barriers he had the lead but after a hard 90 back onto a pavement finish I was able to outsprint him to the end. My first cross win, and my team mate in 3rd!
Battle at Barlow: I finally lost my iron grip on last place. I had last place firmly in my grasp, but two guys flatted out on the final lap and ran it in. So, on this day at least, correct tire pressure was good for two places in the standings. (For the record, I weighed myself at 200 pounds in the morning and ran my tires at 32 psi. The course had a lot of really hard ruts and some unavoidable roots, including a few on a very fast descent.)
I also discovered in this race that one of the guys who crossresults.com has been listing as a top nemesis is actually much faster than me but apparently has terrible luck mechanically but refuses to DNF. I beat him once last year, but I don't know the circumstances. Two weeks ago, he caught me from behind two laps into the race when I was sure I had been in last place already. I thought maybe he missed the start or something. That day I held his wheel for about a lap before he dropped me. This week, at Barlow, I saw him trying to fix a dropped chain on the first full lap. Two laps later, he blew by me on a completely different bike (an old singlespeed Bianchi), so I guess he ran half a lap to the pit and got a bike change. He ended up beating me by over two minutes.
Anyway, Barlow is one of my favorite courses. It's known for its railroad tie run-up and off-camber sections, and it did not disappoint. During the first race of the day somebody put his foot through the wooden bridge at the bottom of the run-up. The organizers put a make-shift patch on it, but I took note and avoided that side of the bridge. By the end of my race, the hole was back. For the first time in three years I successfully rode all of the off-camber sections. This was, in part, due to the organzers having mercy on us and not routing the course up and down the hill around telephone poles on the steepest section as they had in years past. The forecast called for rain, but it didn't materialize until after I was finished and even then it was too light to amount to anything. Maybe next week....
Blind Date at the Dairy #1 -- it was great to be back at Alpenrose. This was my 10th time racing there, on top of about 10 more skills clinics, so I really know the grounds. Finally, as I approached the finish line on the last lap I got to hear the race announcer say, "And here comes the winner of the Master C race...." He was right behind me. I finished 75 of 85, but I was very happy not to get lapped. I saw the leaders closing in on me with about half a lap to go and it took everything I had to hold them off. I feel like I'm starting to get my mojo back!
The course was mostly flat with a lot of hard packed dirt and a good amount of pavement but very little grass. There was one long but very gradual ascent, one long but not too steep run-up and three or four 180 degree turns.
At the start I was determined not to let myself fall off the back like I have been in the previous races I've done this year. I did a pretty good job with that, but most of these guys are simply much faster than me. By the end of the first lap, I was on the wheel of a shockingly fit 68-year old racer, so he got to be the guy I was going to chase. He got a bit of a gap on me in the second lap as he went around a slower racer from the C group that started a minute ahead of us, but by the third lap I managed to catch back up to him. The lap counter said 2 as we went by the finish line, but I saw them flip it just after I passed. When we got to the long climb, I reached into my reserves and made my move. From there, 75th place was all mine!
Local photographer Sage Brown managed to catch this shot of me in action:
The disembodied leg on the Kona is mine. That's my nemesis in blue, so this must have been from the second lap.
Had a blast at Alpenrose today in Portland. The Cross Crusade series is huge! The results haven't been posted yet, but I started at the back of the pack and didn't make up a ton of ground. The course necked down to single file about half a mile into the course, and spread out the field considerable. It's frustrating being fresh at the beginning of a race and not being able to go anywhere because there is nowhere to go.
I had a blast regardless. Here is a shot of me with a smile on my face:
Here's another action shot during the same run up. I think I got a two-for-one on BF member photos.