Wednesday, December 20, 2006

CX Natz Friday

Cyclocross Nationals Masters 35-39 (146 starters)
Friday, December 15, 2006

I'm disappointed with how I raced on Friday.

My legs felt good.
I had the course dialed in.
I got a great start.
I suffered, but had good power all the way through.

What did me in was that I was not aggressive enough. In a race of this caliber with 146 starters you have to get angry and fight for position. Hesitation is punished immediately. It looks like I was bit too mellow on the start line.

At the top of the starting stretch of road a few of the front guys slowed a bit before the curb bunnyhop onto the grass. I had a lane on the outside to keep accelerating, but I coasted and stayed on the wheel in front of me. Once I conceded that lane it was filled with a line of riders flying past me.

Onto the grass guys were throwing shoulders and chopping wheels to move up. I meekly allowed guys to move me off my line.

Once we made the tight turn next to the pit I snapped out of it and began asserting my position, but by this point I had been shuffled pretty far back.

I rode for a while with fatMarc in a pretty big group.

photo by Gina Harshman

It was good to have a friendly face in the group, but neither one of us was pleased with where we were in the race.

photo by Gina Harshman

Marc got the front of the group and I got tailed off the back. I was stuck solo with this group of about 12 dangling in front with another group of 10+ hovering just a few seconds behind me. I don't know where my head was, but I wasn't doing what is needed to stick with a group, much less ride through them.

Marc kept drilling it at the front of this group and I was pretty sure he was going to drop them all. My goal and motivation became keeping the group behind from catching me.

I started to feel better on the last two laps and was picking off a few guys from the group in front of me. Near the end Marc crashed and drifted back to me. I was bummed for him, but we still had racing to do. I got by him on the final run-up and hit the road 2nd wheel in our group.

I followed the intial sprint easily, but I hesitated when the front guy slowed. Marc came blasting around us with an impressive sprint. It was another moment of hesitation for me, but as fast as Marc was sprinting I wouldn't have been able to hold him off. I still got second in the group for a less than stellar 62nd place finish.

My cool-down consisted of riding back to the car, changing clothes, and running to the Pit to work for Harshman and Butts in the 30-34 race.

This race was amazing and erased any negative vibes from the day. Chris and Bryan rode well, although untimely crashes cost them some spots. Neither one needed a bike change, but I yelled myself hoarse everytime they came by the Pit. Teammate Dusty Labarr also rocked it to finish a very respectable 28th. He started 88th.

The highlight of the day was seeing Ryan "DVdV" Leech put in an inspiring ride to win the 30-34 National Championship with a puke-inducing sprint to the line. Wes Schempf also rode a brilliant race to finish 9th after a first lap bike tangle at the hurdles.

At the end of the day I was exhausted and hungry. After a shower it was off to a Thai/pan-Asian place called Lemongrass (i think) for a very good dinner.

After dinner we hung out at E-Town (check his racing mullet in photo #9) and D-Dub's suite drinking Belgian beers and socializing with the DCC of D. Katie Compton was in the house, relaxed and confident. That's the first time I've met her and she is very cool. I hope she puts on a show at Worlds.

After a few beers it was time for some much needed sleep.

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