Wednesday, December 20, 2006

CX Natz Sunday

Sunday at Cyclocross Nationals
35+ B race (196 starters!)
otherwise known as the Million Man Race

Sunday was a good day on the bike. My legs were still pretty cooked and I was tired, but I told myself over and over that I would race aggressively from start to finish. There would be no holding back, saving energy, or conceding a position. I was going to give everything and see what happened.

I joked to Bryan that I would get the hole shot and instead of turning right onto the grass I would go straight to the Compound to drink beer. I did get the hole shot, but I was feeling good so I kept on going. My plan changed to going as hard as I could until I blew up.

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I made it across the off-camber cleanly and I was still on the wheel of 'cross legend Paul Curley.
That guy is strong and very crafty on the bike. I learned a few new tricks when it comes to controlling the riders behind you.

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I was putting a hurting on myself riding near the front, but the cheers and encouragement of friends around the course helped me dig a little deeper. It meant a lot to me to have so much support.

Late in lap one as we came by the Pit I accelerated to the front of the lead group. I've actually got a video of me leading the freaking race for a bit. That's one for the digital scrapbook. I'll find a way to get the footage posted for posterity (my ego).

Attacking at this point was probably a bad idea since I ended up pulling the lead group along the gravel path and road right into a headwind. But I didn't care. This was my moment of glory, my chance to take race aggressively and not worry about the consequences.

Sometime toward the end of lap 2 I paid for my early aggressiveness. I was determined to turn myself inside out to hold onto the leaders, but a moment of inattention (or crosseyed-ness) allowed a small gap to open. I dug hard to close it, but I kept slipping away.

A strong chase group was close behind and they quickly caught me. I wasn't going to let them get away so I got out of the saddle and latched onto them on the upper road section. My buddy Mike Birner was in this group and we hung together for most of the race.

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For the rest of the race we dropped some guys and got passed by other strong dudes (like Dag Selander) that started further back, but we didn't give up much ground. We gave it everything and pushed hard the entire way. With so many racers in the field you couldn't ease up for a second or there would be 10 guys riding past you. We suffered and we hurt, but it felt good!

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This time over the hurdles was clean, but on the last lap I had a tangle with a guy that tried to squeeze me into a tree on the right side. His bike slammed my leg and I pushed back pretty hard with the elbow as we ran. It was intense, aggressive racing and I was loving it. I got around him and rode away.

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I gave it everything on the last lap. Coming onto the road at the finish it was another guy, me, and Mike. When I hit the road my teammates and friends were screaming at me to catch the guy in front of me. The pain went away and I sprinted with everything I had to beat him by a wheel at the line to finish 20th, only 1 minute behind the winner. It was a very satisfying way to end the season.

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Though I've had better placings this was my most rewarding race ever.
I pushed myself from start to finish harder than I ever have before.

20th place might not sound like much, but I feel really good about it.

With that my Nationals weekend came to a close. We loaded up the car, said our goodbyes, and rolled out during the collegiate race. I would have liked to have stayed for the Super Cup and Elite Women's race, but we had a 6+ hour drive home and I really wanted to get home to my family before my son went to bed.

We made it with an hour to spare and the smile on Thor's face when he saw me made my weekend. When I finally got to bed I was exhausted. I slept soundly until 1:30am when I awoke thinking about the race, the weekend, and the season. So many great memories and feelings passed through my brain as I lay there that I couldn't go back to sleep. Needless to say I was pretty wrecked on Monday, but I was still smiling.

4 comments:

Family Bike Shop said...

Congrats on a great race. 20th sounds pretty awesome to me. Way to close out the season.
Jonathan

gwadzilla said...

yes

good job out there

awesome report from an awesome race

a link for you

http://modulate.blogspot.com/

megA said...

dude

you had THE HOLE SHOT!!!!!!!

and 20th is awesome!!! especially condsidering culery and others shouldn't have been allowed to enter your race--he's not a freaking B! how uncool was that?

Miss you, Miss Avalon and EC and the whole B-more crew--hello Sei-bolder. . .

xxo

m

Ryan said...

Big ups Sven-that was a great ride!
Congrats...

-dieter