Archive for November, 2011

Race Report: BASP #2 Sierra Point Night Race

Date: November 12, 2011
Category: 35+ A
Teammates: Murray (2nd)
Placing: 7th
Tires: Tufo Flexus Cubus 32c, 27r/26.5f
Data: 216w, 185/190HR avg/max, 40:53/10.0 mi http://app.strava.com/rides/2310062

Awesome Aerial Footage of the race course

Course (in daylight): http://vimeo.com/32094005

 

Every Dog has his day

Plowing my way through the corners, photo by Tom Feix

I don’t even know where to start the story of this race.  The whole day encapsulated why I love racing with the team; friendship, support, camaraderie, great beer, and family fun.  Not to mention, racing!

I arrived a few hours to support Jeromy in his first cross race (since I have been pushing him to try it for a year) and play parent to his daughter Skylar during Jeromy’s race.  I was rather unprepared for how “enthusiastically” we would be cheering ALL over the race course.  Bystanders were laughing as I was running after her, carrying her, or doing my best impression of a bucking bronco all over the racecourse.  It was a blast, and we cheered for all the PV riders in the B’s race.

Getting back to the tent, my mind was more focused on kicking back and having a beer than getting mentally amped for the race.  Sierra Point was memorable for all that sucked about it last year: brutally bumpy, flat, and long sections of road where I was trounced last year. Luckily, the will to not waste my entry fee was stronger than my will be to be lazy, so I got suited up.

Dressing in the dark was not part of my plan, so I was rooting around in the darkness for my skinsuit, gloves and other black warmup gear, in my black bag, in the dark.  Finally, with 20 minutes to go, I got my first warmup lap around the course and slid my way into the assembling field of riders, squeezing up the barricades to get as far up as possible.  I lined up next to Chad Rosser, a guy from SJBC that I had ridden behind last and soundly beaten me last weekend, so I hoped to stay glued to his wheel this time around.

Fortunately, my hard work at Candlestick paid off as they went for 3 rows of 6 for the call-ups, and my 14thplace just squeaked me into the pre-race staging.  The lights

Hanging on to the chase group, photo by Tom Feix

were blazing and the nerves started firing, and we got the final countdown.  Blasting from the start I got a good clip-in and was able to squeeze past a few riders before the off-camber, curb-hop, high speed left hander that funnels into the bumpy sections of the course.  I had to stand through this whole section last year but thankfully the rain had softened it up a bit and it was not torturous.  The usual chaos ensued through the first few turns until we hit a plywood sheet that covers the transition from dirt to sidewalk and someone went down.  The wood had become moist as the sun went down, and it was not to be trifled with!  I was able to thread my way around a few people there and then we hit the road section I call the “dreaded drag strip.”  I should clarify—most riders I talk to look forward to this portion of the course: a set of 3 200m straight sections connected by 180 degree turns—but I find it absolutely horrid as the pure power riders just uncork a can of whoop ass on me and I struggle to not yield too many positions.

I know I got passed by a few guys, but was confident enough not to stay in the single file line and went up the side and braked later into the turn (thank you TRP CX-9s!) and would win a few places back.  Only to repeat the process two more times.

Meanwhile, as I was riding away in about 12th position, Murray was tearing it up at the front and stayed there the rest of the race.  I really would not have performed as well as I did if it weren’t for him, as Bruce Hildebrand’s constant commentary and race updates on Murray duking it out for the race lead kept me totally distracted from whatever pain I was feeling in the field behind.

Briefly on the hunt for 6th place, but it was not to be, photo by Tom Feix

As the laps started to tick by, I found myself on the tail end of a group vying for 6th-12th positions.  Don Myrah and Eric Bustos and a few other guys I didn’t know.  I was on the tail end of the group, and this is when I finally knew I have matured as a cross racer—I sat in.  I just kept an eye on each rider in front of me, waiting for them to miss a line through a corner enabling me to pass.  I made a conscious effort not to over extend myself, and I found that even though each of these guys were stronger than I was, I was able to brake just a little bit later and less, and thus carry more speed into the corners.  It was a great feeling.

I can’t recall much else about the race.  I picked off several guys until it was just Don Myrah, myself and guy who I can’t say I ever saw, but heard his damn brakes squeaking around every corner.  Myrah is a just a monster, and he basically came out of every corner out of the saddle and full gas, and I really struggled to prevent a gap from opening.  When we hit the road section, we gapped the last guy and I just hung on for dear life.  With 2 to go, it was just us, and I started to look for a place to try and pass him.  I knew I stood little chance in a 2-up sprint, but I’d rather place 2nd in that then let the guys behind us catch up.

I passed him a few times and defended a few advances where he tried to sneak through on my inside.  He succeeded in passing on the straight aways, and I tucked in right behind him waiting for my chance.  Unfortunately, he laid it out into one of the bumpy right hand turns and I was so close behind him I ended riding right over the top of him and endoing.  With both of us on the ground, we scrambled to get back up and riding as there was only half a lap left and our chasers were now breathing down our necks.  As I remounted my tire was hitting my brakes badly and my heart sank—my wheel looked to be bent up real nice, and my saddle had taken on a nasty tilt with the nose pointing up about 20 degrees.  Although the pit was just ahead, stopping would mean getting passed by too many people, so I just decided to keep riding it and suffer the consequences later.  Don passed me again coming into the barriers and ‘ol squeaky was back right behind us.

I passed him back one more time as he missed the line on the sharp right heading up into the hill section and somehow my wheel magically straightened itself out (I then realized that what had really happened was a partial separation of my tubular, but I decided not to think about that as I took the last several sharp turns!).  In the end I led the charge to the last corner and got passed

Sprint for 7th place, photo by Tom Feix

in the sprint by Myrah, but held everyone else off to get 7th place.  Murray having long since finished ended up 2nd and we both high-fived each other and the end.

This race was simply awesome because of all the cheering and support at all parts of the course.  I could only vaguely pick out voices (Paul, Ken, Clark, Tom and others) and I thank you all for your help during the race.  I may not have been able to take my eyes off the course for even a second to see you, but your cheers were immensely helpful especially on the long straight by the tents.  It was an awesome day for many PV riders, and I felt proud before, during and after to part of such a great group of people.

Race Report: CCCX #6 Manzanita Park

Date: November 6, 2011
Category: 35+ B/35+ A
Teammates: None
Placing: 1st, dead/last or both
Tires: Tufo Flexus Cubus 32c, 22.5f/22.5r
Data:
35B (181w, 184HR avg, 38:50/10.1 mi) http://app.strava.com/rides/2242663
35A (157w, 184HR avg, 50:16/12.3 mi) http://app.strava.com/rides/2242666

Crossing the line, photo by Gary Hudson

Yet another return to Manzanita Park for CCCX #6—this is my third time this season as I’ve missed all the other CCCX races.  Keith Defibre did another outstanding job on a new course.  The

weather was calling for rain and w

e arrived expecting mud and slop, but were pleasantly surprised by relatively dry conditions with some sections

of mud.  It had it all—steep run ups, infield twists and turns, uphills, downhills, and a healthy dose of suffering.   Having just glued up my new Tufo Cubus mud tires, I decided

to give them a ride even if they weren’t totally necessary.  This course wasn’t as technical as previous courses this season, but it required a constant foot on the gas and the course claimed many victims.

With little training in my legs and sore muscles from a foolhardy assault on Windy Hill yesterday afternoon, I shuffled my way to the front row of the start line determined to make the first 30 seconds up the hill count.  We started about half way up, and were

avoiding roots and chasing them down, photo copyright Steve Anderson

funneled into a 180 and then into a barrier with singletrack and a muddy run up—ie: tailor made for traffic congestion and mishaps.  I hit the first corner in the top 3 or 4, and cleaned the first two sections and passed two more riders.  I jumped hard and passed the lead rider by taking an alternative line and focused on putting power to the pedals.

I led everyone around the climb, descent and into the infield, and was passed just before we hit a series of 180 degree turns.  I’m still not strong enough to hold my own on the flat sections, so I made sure I put a lot of

Muddy rise, the Cubus tires stuck perfectly. Photo by Gary Hudson

pressure on the leader through the turns.  Sure enough he slid out around one of the corners, and I passed him back.

We completed lap one with him breathing over my shoulder through the start finish line sticking on me like a fly on feces.

He was there for quite a while through the second lap, but after a few technical sections I didn’t hear the sounds of

wheels cutting up the dirt behind me.  I started to catch the tail end of the B’s race ahead of me, so I had to weave my way through the chaos and avoid getting held up as the rest of the 35s field roared up behind me.  Thankfully, all the B’s gave me room to pass and I motored on.

Fast forward a few more laps and I found myself chasing the leaders of the Bs race.  They saw me and sprinted like crazy to hold me off and I finished a few seconds behind them, feeling pretty wasted and not particularly happy to be racing again in 10 minutes.

Remounting after the first barrier, photo by Gary Hudson

The As race could simply be summed up as “The Trouble with Doubles.”  The first jump up the hill elicited a silent scream from my legs that

sounded like a

gaggle of 10-year-old Justin Bieber fans.   That was simply a preview of things to come as I hung tight for about 2 laps, and then started losing ground on…you guessed it, the climbs and flats!  Still I felt reasonably good and maintained position around 10th, but with 2 laps to go an atomic bomb incinerated all the strength left in my legs, and I struggled to put out even 150 watts on the climbs.   Going backwards isn ‘t really conducive to racing, and I watched helplessly and many 45+ riders caught and passed me.  I must have looked like roadkill because he offered me a waterbottle on the last ascent, and even said “take all of it if you want, man!”  In my head I replied “do you have anything else with something more potent, like perhaps cocaine?”  But that would have required energy, and I didn’t want to waste it.

John Kammeyer passed in the infield and I was m

ore than happy to slow his chasers down as I willed my rubber legs to turn the pedals over.  I made my legs a promise that I wouldn’t eat and more ice cream in 2011 if they would just deliver me to the line.  The final ascent to the start/finish felt like hitting Everest without oxygen, but I was treated to a killer duel between two 45+ guys that were killing it to the line.  It was a nice distraction from my own suffering.

Overall, while I didn’t perform physically as well as I would have liked, I rode a technically clean race and lost no time to bobbles.  While I wasn’t hopping the barricades like Mr. Coats, I executed a good race on dirt.

Thankfully, I was treated to the PV post-trackday BBQ and forgot all about the dismal finish.  More training is clearly needed!  Until next time!