Saturday, October 30, 2004

Evolution Cyclocross

Evolution Cyclocross
Saturday, October 30, 2004
Ida Lee Park, Leesburg, VA
B Race, 45 minutes

The Course
95% Grass 5% dirt trail
Decent amout of climbing with several short, steep ups.
Handful of very tricky off-camber slick turns.
One set of double barriers that you could hit at decent speed.

The Race
35 Starters in the B's
I got the whole shot and led into the first technical section.
During the Masters race one of the steep ride up's had become a run-up.
Of course, first lap I tried to ride it since I was in the lead and could pick the line.
I made it most of the way up before losing traction. In the process of scurrying the rest of the way up I dropped my chain and jammed it up pretty good. While I spent a good 30 seconds fixing my bike the entire field came past me.
Once back on I tried to pass as many people as possible, but I was still a bit spastic from the chain incident.
I bobbled a couple of easy sections and had to tell myself to calm down.

I spent a few laps working my way up to Sean, who had dropped the guys riding with him. He was making good progress through the field. When we connected I was pretty spent and told him not to wait for me if I got gapped. He just told me to get on his wheel and that he would pull the rest of the lap. This was a huge help as I was able to recover just enough to keep pushing. We worked together very well. Though this was not a course that provided much opportunity for drafting or group racing we were able to motivate each other to keep the pace high. This is pretty important because usually about halfway through a cross race you start to fade and ease off the gas.

We kept the pace high and and caught and passed a number of riders in front of us. We also had a nice cheering section on the climb before the start/finish. They gave us a nice boost with encouraging words and even doing "The Wave" once. It's not easy to smile when you're about to puke, but they got us grinning for sure and gave us the impetus to pick up the pace yet again.

On the last couple of laps we started to feel stronger as we could smell the finish. We really hammered the last lap, knowing that the pain would be over in a few short minutes. We were able to pass two more guys and really give it full speed the final time around the course. It's a nice feeling when you still have some kick in the legs on the final lap.

I crossed the line 8th and Sean came in 10th. We were pretty happy to have worked our way through the field on a tough course to score top 10's. I think we got enough points to protect our positions in the series standings for now.

Though I made a bad decision to ride the run-up first lap I gained a lot of confidence from being able to regain my composure and come from the back of the field into 8th place. This was a big effort both mentally and physically, but I tried to just focus on passing one guy at a time and maintain a steady pace, ramping it up at certain points on the course. If I can get my bike dialed in and my early race nerves settled down I might be able to stay with the leaders the whole race.

I'm gaining experience every race and I'm having a blast in the process.

Next Saturday is another UCI race in PA.

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