Sunday, November 16, 2008

State CX championship race report

I decided to ride up to Crystal, since most of the route would be on the way to my previous work site, and I'd get a good warm up in. It turned out to be a pleasant ride once warmed up a bit: chain of lakes to Wirth and Victory Memorial, over at 40th Ave. skirting along Crystal Lake, and across Hwy. 100 via a pedestian bridge. It took less time than I expected, and rode the course even before the C race started.

Wow, what a completely different course than years past! Much much much longer with the addition of a lot of straight cruising along in the grass. The only 'crossy parts were the stairs (there would be mutiny if those were removed!), and the addition of a sand pit, which was a great addition. I heard the course was over two miles long! The C race only did three laps!

When my race finally rolled around, I lined up at the back as usual. After things settled down, I was basically towing two other guys around the course. It was good being in a group, because I was actually racing. Racing not to be last, but still racing! This meant powering through all the grassy stuff, and trying to open a gap through the stairs and sandpit. I got passed a couple of times, but then I'd go to the front to be first into the singletrack, or pass the guy on the mountain bike because, well, he was on a mountain bike.

We were dangling behind a group in front of us and make up time occasionally when they played cat and mouse on a paved section - apparently no one wanted to be the sucker blocking the wind. Eventually we picked off one guy from the group, I think it was Skibby, although he wasn't on the Axis of Evil so I'm not 100% sure. Apparently he joined up with the little group I was towing around, because on the second to last lap, he got my bike in his face as I shouldered it into the sand pit.

The sand pit was fun each lap, as the BMC tent was set up there and I had teammates cheering for me, and a Silver Cycling guy I was towing would always ride the pit while I ran it. I was always a contest to see which method would be faster. In the end it was the same, but left me fresher out of the pit (that or he just didn't want to be in the front at all). I missed a vodka handup one time through. On the second to last time through, Skibby(?), who hadn't been with our group until we caught him, must not have expected me to run it or something, because he was right behind me where the bike goes when shouldering. We both tumbled into the sand pit, and must have made quite the scene, because the BMC tent was roaring. I checked to make sure everyone was all right a couple of times, and we made it through okay.

The bike, however, wasn't so fortunate, and I was left with the smallest gear, plus the smallest gear in the big chainring, as the front shifter was still working. This meant I had to spin like crazy for the rest of the race, and most of my little group easily passed me on the last lap. I wasn't DFL, though, as the mountain bike guy was still behind me, and I spun my little gear as fast as I could to the finish. I don't remember the Silver guy passing me, so I don't know if he gave up or also has issues from the sand pit.

All that powering through the grass really left my legs burning like no race had done so far this year! I think it was more due to really trying at this race than anything else though. I enjoyed it, and in addition to cheers at the sand pit there was the usual crowd making noise at the stairs, which was awesome.

The A race was exciting, with Dewey and Patty Cakes duking it out on the front, shedding Dan Swanson, Aric Hareland and some guy from Milwaukee. Pat eventually got a gap on Dewey in the last lap and took the championship! The kid's only 21, and he held of the veterans. I'm sure that was due in large part to the non-'crossy nature of the course, but it showed how strong he is. I expect more big things from him on the road next year. I caught glimpses of the Lindas duking it out during my race, a repeat of the Linda vs. Linda battles from last year. Linda Sone ended up taking the win again.

Thanks to Meow's Taxi Service for providing a ride home. Riding with two gears and race-pressure tires would not have been much fun, if my legs could even have gotten me home. Thanks also to everyone who came out to watch and cheer!