Monday, December 10, 2007

synchronized mudding

I'm too lazy to conjure up the prose so the Rockburn 'Cross Masters 3/4 race report will go down like a family photo album...which is fitting since the team feels like family.

Marc and I got a good start as we wanted to lead through the first few turns of the prologue. After the initial acceleration we kept it steady and rode conservatively to stay upright and settle into a good tempo. A quick glance back revealed that we had a 5 second gap almost immediately. We planned on waiting for the race to develop before making a move, but we couldn't pass up this opportunity. Here I am leading for the last time all race. This was roughly 1 minute into the 45 minute event.

From there we just rolled it. For a while Bernie was in 3rd and making his way up to us, but mechanical issues set him back and ended his race.

Picking clean lines through the slippery mud, maintaining a steady effort on the flats, and drilling it up the punchy climbs. We had the course dialed in (with the exception of the last turn in the sand). A Dugast Rhino 34 up front and Challenge Grifo 34 in the rear hooked up all race long. The bike would slip around in the mud but the treads always found some bite for traction. Good tires at the right pressure (low as you dare to go) are confidence inspiring and make a big difference in the slippery, wet conditions we had yesterday.

Yup. Marc's still out front and I'm just trying to hang onto his wheel. Same story all race. I clipped my helmet on this tree a few times even though my thoughtful teammate was warning me about it each lap.

Out of the saddle on all the little climbs was how we rode all race. We had a decent gap, but Karl Konnelly from LSV was chasing hard so we couldn't afford to let up. My Mom is in this shot offering encouraging words. I was very happy that a good chunk of my family came into town (with cowbells) to watch me race.

We were talking to each other most of the race pointing out good lines, bad lines, and offering encouragement as back pains and cramps started to surface. Racing with a teammate is a great motivator. No way I would have gone as fast if I wasn't riding with Marc.

The entire race was like synchronized swimming as we stuck together throughout. Marc was even kind enough to slow down for me as I got gapped on a couple of the climbs. Many hours of practice went into rehearsing this finish line maneuver, the 'end game' to our race. I was worried that I would crash and take us down, but it worked out. I made sure that my wheel didn't cross the line first. Marc ended a fine season just like it began, with a win.

One more podium to close out the season. An upgrade is already in process so next year it'll be back to those mid-pack battles that I love. It was nice to have one season of glory after putting in a lot of hard work learning how to race my bike. I truly feel lucky to race with such a great, supportive team.

Congrats to LSV for putting on an excellent race at an awesome venue (almost literally in my backyard). I hope that Rockburn 'Cross continues for years to come.

photos courtesy of John Scott from LSV.


matt said...

Great race (and season) for the both of you! Congrats!

Elaine said...

That was a FUN course. Congrats!

JAA said...

Nice job - you should have pipped Marc at the line though - dispensing w/ the hand holding. I guess no one got you guys blowing kisses to the adoring fans. 8^) I have no doubt your mid pack battles will be more top ten battles for won't go back in fitness. I am just glad I'll be in the 55+ cat when you hit 45+ cat. Have a great holiday season and off season....Will drop you a note re: hitting Patapsco at some point.

gwadzilla said...


but what about the glory of sandbagging?

I know that saying Just Kidding after saying something means that those words should not be said
but you know I am kidding
so it is okay

great season!

you are making your kids proud!

good job dad!

riderx said...

Good job guys. Nice finish line photo! And I love the podium boots!

Josh said...

that race was totally awesome. nice to hear that you did well.