Archive for September, 2012

menko

2012 CX Season Start

Race Report: 2012 Bay Area Super Prestige #1:

Welcome back to the pain!

Event: BASP #1
Location: Candlestick Point
Date: 9-30-12
Category: 35+ A
Teammates: Murray, Travis, Reto
Place: 22 of 47
Weather: Dry, 80 degrees, Sandy conditions
Tires: Tufo Flexus, 25 psi F/R

Chasing, photo by Tim Westmore

This was my first race of the year and I was carrying a high level of apprehension about my own readiness coming in. To say I’ve been waiting for this day for 11 months is an understatement.  The “off-season” took on a new meaning as I was forced off my bike from complications of my surgery in December 2011.  I had gained 5 pounds, lost muscle and fitness, and generally didn’t recognize myself as a cyclist when I looked in the mirror.

This year has been a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs, and faced with the prospect of racing, an unfamiliar feeling crept over me–fear.  To test oneself against your peers is part of racing, but I knew my fitness and endurance were shaky, and I was ready for the season to unravel in front of me as I was ejected out the back.  Unable to ride much this year, I have been working on my technical skills to see if I could hang.  Race day did reveal a lot about my season, but it proved to have answers to different questions.

Start position as always is critical, and without a call up  I was lined up on the 5th row and in decent position.  I was nearly caught up in a tussle 50 feet after leaving the gate, but luckily I was able to avoid it and found myself sitting about 20th come the first turn.  I was redlining as always, but in the back of my mind I was trying to remind myself that I only had a few minutes of fitness in that zone, and then the race would come crashing down.

Hill was much easier to get up this year.   Photo by Tim Westmore

Through the first half of the course I tried to settle in, pass at every opportunity, but also not be too impatient.  Then Reto stormed past me after the first set of barriers and I was infected with an equal amount of zeal to pass these guys.  This would prove to be my undoing. We hit the first run up the hill and as expected there was chaos and I simply shouldered the bike and ran around the stumbling bits of steel, carbon and flesh.  Picked a few more off and I was sitting about 12th and feeling like I could possibly hang on for the rest of the race if I just settled into a pace I could maintain.  Every corner I was on a wheel I felt I could go faster, and so I kept looking for places to pass.

Unfortunately, on the last little drop before you hit the road on the backside I took an inside line and

attempted to pass another rider.  He suddenly swerved into me, forcing my front wheel into some bushes that decided it was a great time for me to fly off my bike.  Over the bars I went, landed in a tuck and hopped right back on—only to endo in the sand when I realized my chain was off.  I pulled to the side and tried to start rolling my bike, only to have the front wheel suddenly stop.  Apparently it was run over or wrenched, because a section of tire was separating from the rim.  At this point I summoned some mighty curses that made my glad my family was at the start/finish and I shouldered the bike and ran the last section of the course.  I watched as every rider in the field rolled past me and I wondered if I could possibly run it all the way to the pit.  I knew at once, my race would be over.

Navigating the downhill sand snarl. Photo by Tim Westmore

Instead, when I hit the pavement, I put the bike down, pushed the chain catcher out of the way and prayed the tire would hold for the rest of the race.  An eerie silence surrounded me and then I got the pity cry “Go PV!” from a random person on the back stretch, which confirmed I was way behind the rest of the field.  I just channeled the frustration and rode as fast as I could.  In the end I was able to slowly pick off riders and finish the ride in 22nd.  This earned me several nice brews, so life was good.

Thanks to all of my teammates and supporters out there, because I surely would have bagged this one if you weren’t out there shouting me on.  Hopefully next time will work out better.

 

 

LESSONS RE-LEARNED

  1. BE PATIENT: races are long, first lap you don’t have to pass everyone.  Risk vs. benefit
  2. SELF-TALK: keep repeating your race goals.  Race smart.  Keep efforts in check
  3. AREAS TO IMPROVE: 30 second bursts w/repeatability
  4. CROSS IS FUN: the people matter, enjoy the community