Sunday, October 05, 2008

Hudson CX race report

I love this course! Every year Dag and co. put together a real cyclocross course, and it's always one of the very best of the year. Today was no exception, and as a bonus, we had some soaking rain that stopped just before our race. Perfect!

After a party last night, it was hard to get up this morning, but I sucked it up, picked up T3 and we headed over to Hudson in the pouring rain. I was a bit peeved about paying $25 for a cyclocross race with no chip timing, no pre-reg, no free treats (they had some yum chili for a donation to the Hudson fire dept. though). There was a line for registration too, and the B racers had to wait for all the C racers to register. Those annoyances were forgotten as I pre-rode the course though. Unfortunately I had another annoyance later, as my drivetrain was making some noise because of a loose chainring bolt, which then broke clean off as I tightened it. Guess alloy chainring bolts aren't the best for cyclocross. Duh.

Like last year, we started on a wide, paved section that led to a wide grassy section to allow things to sort out before sending us into anything nasty. Some grassy turns, then into the woods. It wasn't as muddy as expected, but muddy enough. Tight turns, descents, some brief recovery, a short section of packed sand on the beach then back into the woods for a natural log barrier that was bunny-hoppable (not for me though). More twisty turns, then into deep sand for a nice long run along the beach (I was imagining a scene from a cheesy romantic movie, running along the beach). Then back into the grass, a double barrier, and then we started all over again.

After a few laps, I had a good feel for the course, and it became even more fun, as I learned where I could carry some speed, just how fast I could nail the corners, which lines were best, etc. As usual with the lack of summer fitness, I started at the back and didn't have to tangle with anyone, as I settled into a no-man's land near the back. I was with a few riders for a bit but I think they kept falling behind on the long run along the beach (all the running this past tear paid off there!). Toward the end I got a bit cocky and missed a corner, then dropped my chain (still haven't gotten around to put the chain watcher on).

There was a good turnout of spectators making some noise, which made it even more fun. Ray had his cowbell (but no mumu), and there were others making noise in the woods and throughout the course. That's what really makes a course fun for everyone!

The A race was great to watch, as there were plenty of spots to watch cyclocross skills in action. Bjorn bunny-hopped the log with ease (others not so much), Adam Bergman's dismount and remount over the log were positvely fluid, really impressive actually. I got some video later, but people were getting tired and not quite so graceful, but still sweet to watch. There were lots of places for various skills to come into play: running, cornering, barriers, straight up motoring. The winner, therefore, would truly be the best all around cyclocrosser. T3 had family stuff going on, so we left before the A race finished, but we still had time for some chili, chatting and watching the race.

Good times.