Monday, October 06, 2008

Hagerstown Cross

Breast Cancer Awareness Cross in Hagerstown


I like this race.  Yeah, it's bumpy, but the venue is cool and the event has a good vibe and a great cause.

My hands and back are still sore.  I ran the widest tires I own at a low pressure (not quite bottoming out on the harshest bumps).  I guess I should have run them at bottoming out pressure.

My teammates Bad Andy and Norm saved the day for me by getting my bike shifting again before my race.  I am a novice mechanic, proficient enough to do a lot of things right, but also proficient enough to really mess some shit up too.

Working the pit for the 10am B-Masters race is fun.  A lot of my buddies are in that one so I get to heckle and help out as needed.  Not surprisingly there were a lot of flats by people running clinchers and one guy who had Stan's up some clinchers.

Despite an against training program trip to NYC with requisite drinks and no race prep ride on Friday I had a decent race.  The start was pretty easy and I was 2nd wheel to Bernie Shiao heading into the first turn.  Auer came by soon after and put in the accelerations to form the lead group.  Gunnar Shogren also bridged up there before long.  It was very cool to race with Gunnar, even if it was only for a few laps.  He's super strong, super smooth, and a nice guy taboot.

I dug in and hung on the back of the lead group for a few laps.  Well, it was more like I would dangle off the back and fight back on.  A couple of times Kris slowed at the front to assess the situation which allowed me to get back in.  If my legs were really good I would have gone to the front then and there, but they were just ok so I sat on the back and tried to delay the inevitable.

Of course, sitting on the back just means you'll just be the first one spit out the back and that's what happened.  On the bright side, I had held on long enough that we had created some space back to the chasers.  So, I rode around for some laps, content with my spot in the top ten.  

Eventually, I caught up to Mike Birner who was going backwards after riding really strongly up front for most of the race.  I got by him and moved up pretty close to Marc Gwadz.  I had been content with my spot so it was hard to get the fire back and close the gap.  Mentally I just didn't have it.   So, I dangled behind Anthony Van Lierop, happy to stay a few seconds back.  In hindsight, I'm kicking myself for 'settling' and not 'racing' all the way to the finish.

However, I did have to start riding hard the last two laps as Karl Connolly and Barry Holman were dueling it out behind me and starting to close the gap.  The fear of getting caught got me going again.  They were moving.  Good racing.

Considering how I felt Thursday and Friday I'm damn happy with 7th place.  The guys that beat me are super strong and a lot of the guys that I beat are as well.  Gunnar took the win.  Auer was 2nd after mechanical issues sent him to the pit multiple times.  It was great to see him out there riding strongly after last weekend's scary car accident.  He's the guy that makes it happen for our team!  

Moving up to the Elite Masters has been fun and quite a challenge.  Racing against these guys is making me a stronger and smarter bike racer.  I've still got a lot of work to do.  I'm just happy that I've got such a great group of guys to race against and learn from.

No racing for me the next two weekends due to travel so I need to put in some hard training this week and pack the running shoes for the weekend.

6 comments:

Scott T. said...

Thanks for the shouts from the pits. You're rocking the elite masters. Me, still sitting just outside the top 10.

isn't work travel during cross season just the worst.

Jim said...

Good work Chris! I told you, you and Marc were sandbagging bastards last year, didn't I? Just kidding, I know you needed the u/g points, got them, and now you're up with the big boys. I got undone on a bumpy course in NY over the weekend - blew my warmup, had a nasty front flat on a super bumpy downhill in warmups, and just couldn't get my testicles to descend properly after that. Fun race, exhausting, just could have placed a bit better if I could have gotten my mind right. It's not all about legs, having your mind right is part of racing and some days the mind simply isn't up to it.

See you at Grah-no-gy.

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