Tuesday, September 26, 2006

C3 CX Men's B report

Charm City 'Cross

For me this race started the day after last year's race. There was a lot of planning and hard work by a lot of people to make the race happen. I'm really proud of the work we did and the spirit in which we did it. It was a total team effort. To have the day come together the way it did was really cool.

After hours of work on Saturday prepping the course and little sleep that night I was up at 4:30 Sunday morning. Despite the lack of sleep I was jacked up on adrenaline from the minute I rolled out of bed. I made a quick stop at Dunkin for coffee and food for our volunteers and made it to the Park at 5:30.

We got to work setting up the registration area and then started setting up the course in the dark. That was fun! Thankfully the sun came up quickly making our job a little bit easier.

The course came together almost effortlessly (except for all the stakes, tape, & getting on our knees to pick up glass!). We had spent a lot of time tweaking the course to get the right balance and proper lap times. The hardest part was working the turns to assure that they were technical, but still fast if you rode them properly. I think the course had a nice balance and plenty of flow...but I'm biased. 8-)

I raced in the huge killer B field. I think we had 88 starters. As expected it got crazy at the start. Mike O'Hara zoomed out of the gate to take the whole shot, but he overcooked the first grassy off-camber left bend and went into the tape.

The start (Brewer is already up front)
c3cx dens start

A pile-up ensued and I was momentarily stuck behind it. I had just put my foot down when a small gap opened up in the middle of the carnage. I squeezed through and got moving trying to close the gap to the leaders. It was jail-break city and everyone was scrambling to close gaps.

Georgia Gould came by at some point and I followed her for a while passing a handful of guys. Eventually she pulled away from me. She is fast & super nice taboot!

I ended up following fastMarc Vettori for a while too. He was riding a fast pace and was very smooth through the technical stuff so he was an excellent wheel to follow.

Following fastmarc

He dropped me after a while. I was trying avoid blowing up and fading late in the race like I tend to do sometimes. My legs had felt horrible warming up, but I seemed to have good power during the race. I never felt great, but I never felt the power disappear.

At the end of one of the early laps Morgan passed me like I was standing still...and he didn't even have the decency to give me a push! 8-) He had a huge ride to make the podium...he's 14 years old. wow.

I had a minor crisis when I saw that we had 4 laps to go. I was guessing that I'd see 2 to go so that was tough on me mentally. I briefly dealt with some negative thoughts, but shook them off and got back to business.

I rode by myself for a while pushing myself to stay on the gas. The lead group was not far ahead and there were a bunch of chasers just in front of me. I was dangling around 12th place.

I was definitely better on the technical parts of the course and just tried to survive on the fitness parts. I figured out where I could push it and where I could recover. I tried to hit the shorter hills out of the saddle and rode a steady grind on the long grassy sections.

This was my first race on the Dugast Rhino 34's and they were wonderful. I was running them pretty low (mid 30's I'd guess) and they were hooking up on all of the turns. I was able to carry most of my momentum out of the curves. They also rolled really well on the bumpy grass.

solo in the sand. The new skinsuits look hot & ARE hot when it's 80 degrees!

Gradually I started to pick off guys in front of me. I don't think I was riding any faster. It seemed like they were paying for earlier efforts. As I passed I dug deep and tried to put in a quick gap before they recovered. I know from experience on the other end that this is a psychological blow.

I got by E-Town, Jared Nieters, Steve Fife, and Eric Linder late in the race. I was suffering and worried that they'd re-pass me so I did a really hard lap with 2 to go. On the last lap I was pretty sure that nobody would catch me if I could keep it together.

Evan Fader was just in front of me, but I couldn't quite catch him before we hit the field. With his engine he pulled away from me and had a few seconds on me as we crossed back over the road for the last part of the lap. There was no way I was going to close the gap on my own but he bounced his bike after the last set of hurdles and dropped his chain.

I jumped by and drilled it to the turn wanting to have a good gap before hitting the finishing road section. I kept the gap and rolled across the line in 7th, happy to be done and happier that I had done a good ride.

Due to promoter-legs I had set low expectations for this race. I just wanted to get in a good workout and have fun. I think that course knowledge & adrenaline made up for tired legs. Whatever it was I was smiling.

John Brewer won a hard fought battle with Georgia and Todd Hesel to take a well deserved win. We knew he had the engine & now he's got the skills to match. He has a nice report up on his blog.

Many other people had great rides, including Marc V, Morgan, Zach & Todd. Nick Bax could have won if he hadn't had to work through so much traffic. Georgia really animated the race and attacked constantly. There were plney of other strong dudes in the race as well. One thing is for sure, it's going to be a fun & competitive season!

The rest of the day was a blat as well. Dieter & Sean G. added some drama to the Elite Men's race with an awesome battle most of the way. We were very thankful that so many people came out to support our race and make the day one to remember.

Results are up at BikeReg.

We'll be back next year better than ever.

Next up is Ed Sander 'Cross on Sunday. See ya there!


***Thanks to Gina Harshman and Dennis Smith for the photos!


Zach said...

hey chris,
that was a fantastic race, such a wonderful course. A spectacular job by you and the rest of your crew. Thanks. you had a great ride. i look forward to duking it out with you guys on a regular basis, and can't wait until sunday.

Jim said...

Chris, mad props to you and your pals for putting on a class event. It was my first 'cross race, as you know from my account of the C race, and I couldn't have asked for a better experience.