Cheshire Cross 11/19/11
My first ever race of any kind. Felt a bit intimidated by all the carbon fiber, skin suits and "sponsor" jerseys. Found out 1 lap in, that stuff doesn't mean much, it's all about the motor. Unfortunately, this motor had bronchitis and lack of training time. Legs were strong, lungs were on fire. The "metal bridge of death" was interesting-lets take a perfectly good wooden bridge and lay metal chain mail on it-that will DEFINITELY reduce slippage, and provide a great medium to gash my legs on. Loved the 80m hill, just wish I could have ridden it (slipped off every time). On my last lap, I yelled to the "hill people" that I hope I never see them again. I actually hope I do, they were awesome, especially Santa.
Anyway, even without a carbon fiber bike or a skin suit to show off the 10 pounds I've already gained since Halloween, I finished a respectable 15th/42(?). More than happy with the finish, looking forward to Beer 'Cross in Danielson.
If Andy won't, I will. Slacker! If you can't ride, it run it! lol
Actually that's what I was going to try this year before I got hit on my first CX bike. I'm SO glad that I ended up on a ride with multiple gears. Congrats on your first.
It was a beautiful day for racing! (no really, not "Belgian nice") The skies were clear, and the course was actually dry. Again I rode the Men's 40+ Cat4 only race. Because of my finish last week in the NJBA Championship race, I was one of the ones called up to the front. I was immediately cut off by the rider next to me, but ended up second in the holeshot!
I must have done my preride rituals right, because I felt great (relatively, of course). I was passed by the usual suspects, but was able to hold off most of the others, pass a few and was riding around 6th place when I dropped a chain. There were four riders following me at the time who passed me and I wasn't able to catch back up to them. I still ended up with my best finish at 11th.
The course was mostly flat with sweeping turns and a few hairpins that suited my riding style well. I was able to get in the drops and push it through most of the course. The hills were hard and steep, but promised a fun downhill ride at the end. Even the run-up with barriers straight up the same steep hill wasn't too bad. At least it wasn't like last weekend slogging through the mud!
The crowd favorite was a half barrier set up near the registration area. It seemed easy to bunny-hop, but took many by surprise. There were several who kissed the ground because of it. I chose to run it each time even through my daughter's heckling
I got together with Holden MacNeil who was also there on a 'new' SS frankenbike riding the Men's Cat4 race. It makes me want to straighten my SS's frame and get it going again.
Looking forward to next week at the same place, reportedly run in the opposite direction.
As eddubal stated above, "it was a beautiful day for racing!" I couldn't agree more. This was my second 'cross event, second 11th hour build of a totally different bike, and twice the fun of last event. This course was fast, flowing, encouraged you to discover alternate lines, and rewarded you when you took chances. Unfortunately, my dreams of being competitive on a SS were dashed during the pre-ride when I discovered the 200m+ and 100m straights. I was running 32/18 gearing and didn't have the fitness to hang with the geared crowd. As my wife put it, "you're legs were spinning twice as fast down the back straight but you were going half the speed." Bummer. Despite my gearing handicap, I spent the entire race swapping positions with another racer. We had a great "mini-race" and i eventually came out the loser but had a fantastic time none-the-less. I ended up finishing 25th out of 30 and first of the two SS entries.
eddubal and his family did a great job of cheering and keeping my head in the game. (Thanks ) His performance was nothing short of impressive. He was holding strong at 4th place for several laps and finished ahead of some super-strong riders. Nice job!
I'm waiting on some very specific brake posts for my Serotta Legend Ti Cross build and doubt that they will be here for the next race. That being said, anything can happen and I'll definitely be there this coming Sunday for SCCX#2, new bike or not..
Main problem was being up until midnight working on the bike several nights in the week leading up to the race. Add to that a list of other things that drained me. I knew I had nothing in the tank while I was driving up to the race, but I wasn't about to quit before even seeing how much I could do.
You can (and ought to) still call me a slacker, though!
The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets. Christopher Morley
The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets. Christopher Morley
I just swapped out my front crankset for an Ultegra 6500 with a Salsa 38t ring. Hopefully I can hang on the straights this weekend.
I did my first race today. The 3rd Annual Turkey Shoot CX - Picnic Island , South Tampa Fl put on by Kelby Cross. I had a great time. I'm sure not sure were I finished I learned alot. First bike race I haven't crashed, so that's good. Bike handling skills definitely need improvement.
The second weekend of the SCCX was a beautiful day with clear weather in the mid 60's. With a little more mud than the first weekend, it was fast course basically opposite of the course from the week before. There were a couple of tricky areas on the course. One section had a quick steep downhill into an immediate left-hand, off-camber turn and a slippery uphill hairpin turn which took down many riders. There were also some tough uphills and fun down-hill sections as well as a bunch of flat winding areas. One runup ended with a mudhole about 20 ft long that ended up being a tossup as to ride or run it. Several ran it exclusively, several rode it once. It was too energy sapping and slow to ride.
I had another good start being third from the front to the holeshot. I did well in the initial section of the track and then got snagged behind a rider that fell in the uphill hairpin. I jumped off and cleared him, but in the process dropped my chain, and struggled to get it back on. I dropped to the upper teens in position, and settled in to race a couple of other guys, one of which is a nemesis of mine. I passed one who fell, and then passed my nemesis, who I ended up beating by 15 seconds.
I caught up with a group ahead of us, but couldn't quite get past. I did also pass one guy who evidently took a hard header after trying to bunnyhop a half-barrier and another who bonked on the last lap. All in all, I fought my way back to 12th place of 25 riders.
My front derailleur continues to be problematic, having a hard time shifting into the large ring during the race. I'm thinking of going for a single front ring, but will wait until after my last race of the season this weekend to deal with it. I do like having the larger ring for the initial sprint, but if I can't use it for the rest of the race, it's not really worth having it. I also ordered a chain keeper to prevent a dropped chain for the third week in a row. The disc brakes however, are a great choice allowing me to make up time on downhills where others have to start braking much earlier than me. The weight penalty was tough on the uphill sections, but not insurmountable. Looking forward to the last weekend of the NJBA Series this weekend!
I almost didn't even show up for this race. At 1:00pm my body was going into the "you're starting to get sick funk" and my class went off at 3:25pm, with a 45 min drive to get there... But, against good judgement, I channeled my inner Jens Voigt and went for it anyhow. Glad I did. Pulled up to the fairgrounds just after Eddubal's class started so didn't get a chance to pre-ride ahead of time. I watched his class, tried to pick up as many tips as possible, and attempted to identify the course changes from the prior week. My mind was saying, "eh, how hard could it be to ride last week's course backwards!" How wrong I was.
After watching a few laps, I headed out for a much more involved warm-up throughout the fairgrounds, mixing terrain and effort, in hopes of not bonking as hard as the week before (lesson learned from SCCX#1). Before long we lined up and the race was underway. Had a much better start thanks to a better clip-in and swap to a 38/18 (from 32/18 the week before). By my wife's account I was around 15th (of 35) during the first lap on the only singlespeed to enter the race. Not pre-riding eariler resulted in me almost running someone over coming up to the first barrier! The course was muddy, extremely so during the uphill parts which were an absolute challenge. When standing there was no traction, when seated it took far too much energy to turn the cranks. I was one of the few to ride the mud pit on the first lap but made the decision to run it on future laps.
I made it to the half-way point in the race before bonking really hard. It was definitely a combination of poor nutrition and going out way too hard on the first few laps. My energy came back for the final lap and i squeeked out a 25th place finish. I'm really happy to have finished the race, not DFL, and on the lead lap. Running the singlespeed has been a blast but I just don't have the fitness to be competitive on it this season. All things considered I felt a TON more confident pushing the corner speed through the muddy sections and SCCX #2 was a great learning experience. There are two more races this weekend to finish the season but I may hang up the cleats and focus on a solid winter training program instead.
Thanks again to Eddubal for cheering me on.
Last edited by Holden McNeil; 11-29-11 at 12:31 PM.
Horseshoe Scramble (Day 2)
I couldn't make the Saturday race, but Sunday greeted us with clear skies, temperatures in the 60s and mud, mud, mud. The course was very technical with off-camber, muddy turns, moguls, steep downhills and slick run-ups. The racing was at times fast and fun and other times was just about pure muscle.
I was one of three to take a tight uphill turn three abreast, shoulder to shoulder and even came out on top at that time. The barriers seemed simple this race as I breezed through them with my knee (which has been giving me problems) feeling no pain. I even passed a rider through the barriers, and remember hearing him cursing his luck as I was remounting and pedaling away.
I also had my share of troubles going down twice in the mud and even into a pricker bush! I didn't have any mechanicals this time, but the mud simply sapped my energy and I slowed considerably the third lap, got passed once or twice, but was able to hold off the other competitors on the last lap. I finished 13th of 24 bookending my season and staying consistently in the middle of the pack.
Thanks to all who posted tips, tricks and training methods. They really helped make my first season a good one. I'm already looking forward to next year!
Went to Bilenky Junkyard Cross this past weekend. Great end to my first season, and probably the most fun of all the races. A ridiculous course, going through a junkyard in Philadelphia. Had to ride through broken glass the whole time, run through a broken down van, a leaf pit, a length of mattresses, and a wooden ramp next to a septa line. Free beer with registration (I didn't indulge, but I did a hand-up of some, and a teammate handed me a coke bottle filled with beer while I was racing, which, after sipping, I threw at him lol). Great atmosphere, great course, great fun. Made it into the final round of Men's B, after qualifying in the first heat (I suspect it was because I dropped my chain on the start line, but oh well). Additionally, I didn't feel horrible after doing two races in a day, which it was my first time doing, so that's an improvement. Lots of fun, can't wait for next season, when I may be competitive. If you ever want to try out cyclocross, or introduce a friend to cross, this would be a great race to do. Every sort of bike was represented, and free beer doesn't hurt.
Bilenky is always a blast. Here's the video I shot of the race.
I got my first race of the year in yesterday at David Douglas #1, finishing 21 of 23 among the Clydesdales.
I stuck around to watch the A race as Ryan Trebon and Carl Decker came out to race. You just really can't appreciate how fast guys like this are until you see them decimate the field in a local race like this. One of the really fast local guys got the jump on them at the starting line but took a wrong turn right out of the chute. Trebon is like a machine going over barriers.
rolled my rear tubular first race this season.
preseason felt strong and whipped me into shape but damn, that's not how i wanted to start the year. especially because the four to five laps prior to the roll were FAST. upper half of the open classification fast.
Recap of nittany day 2: walked over and picked up my number after arriving a little after 8 on a beautiful Sunday morning in early fall. Got changed and ready to pre-ride the course for the C race, from just looking over it looked like the typical course nittany. Nice, fast, and dry with some nice twists and turns and quick steep hills and a run up with a log at the top. Was talking with Gary and had a brain fast and missed lining up where I was supposed to and ended up towards the back. Oops. The light turns green and we’re off, no major incidents on the start and right into the bumpy rutted section and people are everywhere. Still a clean race so far with no major crashes or hang ups, until it bottlenecks at the first run up with the log at the top. people are passing me, I’m passing people blah blah blah end up slotting into where I normally am in races. I’m a slow starter so once I’m into the second lap I start making up lost ground and passing people who are burning out. The only section people seemed to be having issues with was the rutted section, people were dropping chains left and right but my chain keeper worked flawlessly and I want afraid of any line through there. All in all a fun first race for the season and ended up 98 out of 114 finishers and the full 130 starting field.
there i am in the pink sweathogs skinsuit right before the log! go sweathogs!
another open ss today and a laarge field. i fell steadily in the field throughout the race but learned a lot of valuable lessons about not getting caught behind lapped traffic. i just need to go full bore when passing, same as i do in the starts. i mean, one should go full bore the whole time but... especially getting around those that will slow you down for any amount of time.
Sacto CX No. 1. I raced the C45+ field. First race on the new SSCX and I'm very pleased with the bike except for one small issue with the rear brakes. My gear is 39x17 which I chose for the reason that it's what was laying around the spare parts bin, but turns out to be a good choice for me. I was forced to dismount and run up the steep hill from the bottom, but I think that served me well since I had no pretense of riding up it and thus did not poop out half way up like a lot of geared guys did.
Had an issue dismounting at the barriers on the second lap (left foot didn't disengage) and when I crashed I managed to tweak my saddle and rear brake. Lost a couple of minutes in the pits but I managed to finish on the lead lap and came in 7th. Pretty pleased, especially since I kept getting faster each lap. It was a really good time.
Here's me crossing the line, totally gassed.
Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!