Saturday, September 29, 2007

Hudson race report

I almost didn't go to this race because I was annoyed about the $25 fee, the fact that there was no prize money for any of the women, and I wasn't crazy about the way the course was laid out last year. However, in the end I'm glad I raced. The course was changed up a bit this year, deleting the drop onto the beach and a runup in the grassy part of the course, and adding an extra section of sand, some natural log barriers, and more technical twisting through singletrack.

It was raining as Morgan (with his new Lemond) and I rolled into Hudson, which was getting me excited for some real cyclocross conditions! Sections of the wooded areas turned into mud pits, and the roots were very slippery. I was hoping to do well on this much more technical course, but I was still taking it pretty lightly as this was one of my first B races.

After checking out the course, I watched the C race. Our own T3 made his debut and rode impressively. He's a tall guy, and it seems like tall guys to well in 'cross: Ryan Trebon, Barry Wicks, Geoff Kabush, etc. Must be the added leverage at the cranks! Allan from Cat6 was doing his first race too, and there was a good turnout overall, including a strong LGR contingent.

I lined up first row for the B race start, knowing that there would be little opportunity to pass (or be passed!) once we got into the technical stuff. Things got sorted out, and I settled in at the back of the lead group, and we had a nice gap to the next group. I was feeling strong, although I think it was more cyclocross skill than strength that kept me in this group. Unfortunately my luck ran out after a couple of laps, as I slipped on a root and went down. Not a big deal, except that the chain dropped, and it took FOREVER to get it back on, since the chain watcher did a good job of preventing the chain from getting back ON the chainring! By the time I got it on it felt like the whole field had passed me! :(

Annoyed, I settled into a sub-LT effort and played leapfrog with a group that included new CXer Frye. He was doing really well through the mud bog, and riding strong in his first B race, and 2nd cyclocross racer ever. I'd pass them through the technical parts, they'd pass me through the grassy sections. I'm not afraid of running, and that helped me a lot on the final lap. I chose to run both sandy sections as well as the few meters in between when everyone else was getting on the bike and then immediately getting off. I passed the group at the end of this section as people were getting on the bike again, kept the gap through the double barriers and was able to hold them off until the finish. A minor triumph after botching the race earlier!

The main thing I got out of the race was encouragement that, given a technical race, I'm able to hang on with the stronger B racers. This was worth the entry fee right there! The course layout was good, kinda Euro and kinda Pacific Northwest, good chili after the race, and friendly volunteers. Great race!

(Picture stolen from T3)