Monday, December 04, 2006

post-Reston thoughts

Capital 'Cross Classic in Reston, VA

My first ever 'cross race was at Reston and I've always enjoyed racing there.
The course is mostly a fast power course with a couple of technical bits thrown in.

High speed twisty descents are fun.

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The start was interesting. After picking a spot on the second row I must have blacked out. I don't remember an official saying a word. No "You're racing for 45 minutes blah blah blah". No "1 minute to go". No nothing. We're all standing around bullshitting and joking around when a loud whistle sounds.
Some guys started riding. Somebody asked if that was really the start. The official said something to the effect of "of course, you dumbass". I had both feet on the ground. Oh well.

Early on there was a lot of jockeying for position. Much of the course encouraged group racing, but there were a few spots on the course where it paid to be in front. It was always a battle to move up before those spots. It was aggressive racing, but clean and fun.

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I rode pretty well going from mid 20's to moving into 14th when I caught Rob Collins on the last lap. I got in front of him just before the technical descent. I'd ridden it cleanly all race and was telling myself to just ride it smoothly one more time. Once again thinking screwed me up. I was so worried about being conservative that I grabbed a little brake and messed up my line. I caught the transition back onto the paved path at a funky angle and bounced my back end throwing the chain. I also screwed up Rob as he got tangled up with me. I felt bad about that and apologized to him after the race.

I need to figure out a better way to keep the chain on because the inside chain stopper did more harm than good. The chain was wedged underneath the stopper. It took brute force to yank the chain back into position. I went from 14th to 18th pretty quickly. But it was still a good race for me. I'm always happy when I can find an extra gear the last couple of laps and move up late in a race rather than fade and hang on.

I think I'll end up 17th in the series which I'm really happy with. The MAC B's were tough this year. Instead of 1 or 2 guys dominating there were at least 10 guys that could win any given race. There was only double race winner this year and that was Jeremy Dunn in the mud. I think that the depth of the fields pushed the pace and raised everyone's level.

It was nice to do most of the series this year. I only missed HPCX and a bummer too as it sounds like my kind of course. Last year I only did 3 MAC races due to illness and schedule conflicts.

I'm looking forward to focusing on the MAC once again next year. Besides the intense racing, the camaraderie of the MAC (especially within the killer B field) makes the experience rewarding on many levels.

As for my Reston pick...well Evan finished 2nd and Nick Bax would have raced the Elite race if they would have let him. So I had the right idea.

Mayhew did confirm his strength by riding a very powerful race. The guy races smart and tough and always busts out some interesting facial hair. To quote from "The Big Lebowski"..."Worthy fuckin' adversary."

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Now the question is: Will he race the A's next year or go for the B series crown? Come to think of it, since nobody dominated I could see all the top 10 guys back in the B's. Who will we target with the Sandbagger tag? 8-)

At a few races this season I ended up riding warm-up laps with E-Town and fatMarc. This day was no different. They probably think I'm stalking them or trying to spy the good lines, but when you're a hack like me you need every edge you can get. E-Town pointed out the Pete Rose line on the sketchy descent while Marc showed us how to ride the log run-up. Of course, when I tried it I endoed on the uphill. Thanks fellas and great season.

The MAC B fields were full of "worthy fuckin' adversaries"
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Now it's on to Nationals...quality time with the good people of our cyclocross community and some good racing taboot.

photos courtesy of Gina Harshman

6 comments:

Adam said...

oh like you didn't know that would draw me out. haha.

I had zero expectations going into this year, because I had such a miserable summer of riding. I commuted more hours than I rode in June and July. now I have a pretty sweet jersey to ride around in all spring and summer. and though I didn't take the series, through mistakes of my own, I do have enough points to upgrade to a 1!

which scares me.

great season Chris! see you at Nats and in Belgium...

fatmarc said...

you were spying our lines? all this time I thought you were in for the whitty banter. Seriously a great season. The b men was a lot of fun this year, I can't believe is almost over. so much fun.

much respect
m

mail order said...

Dude, you think I'm racing Trebon? You must have drank more bourbon than I did.

Next year will be the killer B's again for me. I always target the jersey although at this point I'd settle for wearing it for a day.

It was a total blast racing with you and the rest of the guys. Man, dumping us in the sand seems a million years ago, doesn't it?

Good luck at natz. Might see you in Belgium.

Chris said...

Ahhh, the sand pit brake check was a classic. How naive I was back then. If I'm ever near you in a race again (like if you flat a couple of times) I'll be better prepared for your bag of tricks. 8-)

gwadzilla said...

no one in the top ten should move up?

I agree that it is a big step from B to A

but....

as fun as it is
if the words were in mountain bike terms of beginner, sport, expert
well...
the top ten guys are way too focused to call it a sport effort

focus on the nationals
forget about who is moving up and who is not
but
do not start justifying people not moving up

they either need to figure out the classes or people need to figure out what class they are supposed to race within

Chris said...

For the MABRA races perhaps those guys should race A's (and many do), but for the UCI races they'd be racing Trebon and many elite/pro guys that are travelling across the country.

For a comparison for the UCI races.
A = pro/semi-pro
B = expert
C = sport/beginner

In some areas there's a D or 'true beginner' race as well.

It's not a perfect system for sure.