Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Green Mountain Cyclocross Cat 3 Day 2—2009—VT Verge

I did well in day one of VT Verge. 7th place. With the overnight rain, the abundance of rest, my front row call up and my newly acquired and recently demonstrated bike handling skills, I was confident that I would pull down a good result, perhaps even better than I had done on day one.

The course was degraded but rideable. While the moisture made the going slow, the corners remained mostly tacky. I didn’t figure it out until later, but the rain and the course conditions actually put me at a disadvantage, since it really just required power and little bike handling.

I knew that I was screwed 100 meters after the start. Riders were streaming around me, normally slow starter, Cary came around me inside the 1st 200 meters. I watched the lead group ride away on the first climb. There was nothing that I could do. I was tempted to dump it out to get on the group, but I felt flat, blocked, stuffed…

I fell in behind a known poor bike handler from MRC. He won the cat 4 Fitchburg Stage Race in 2008 despite causing a crash in the circuit race and riding sketchily. I was desperate, so I used his wheel on the easy straight sections. Normally, I don’t ride wheels in cross. Soon enough I remembered why, as we entered a greasy corner, I noted that we were going in too hot; I jammed on the brakes while still in the straight and cut tight on the inside while MRC’s wheels slipped out causing him to flail. His foot kicked one of my front spokes. I stayed up and didn’t lose any momentum or time.

Man was I beat. I wasn’t even half way through the first lap and riders were streaming around me. Tim Young passed me like I was standing still. I was about 25th.

I was scraping the bottom and still people were putting the hurt on me. I was getting pissed.

Instead of pushing harder, I eased back. I concentrated on keeping my momentum up in corners and taking good lines. In the long straight sections, I took it easier. While I was frustrated that I was losing time and position, I figured that if I rode smart, I’d take it back later.

In the second lap, I was alone. My slide was over. I felt recovered, so I began putting in efforts again. My slower lap earlier had helped me dial in the corners, so I didn’t really have to think too much about them. The only corner that I really had to lock up for was the seriously greasy and chewed off camber leading into the whoopties/rideup.

The ride up degraded every lap. It became increasingly difficult to ride. Later in the race, I tried riding different parts of it to gain traction. I found that some of the steeper sections still had grass, so riding the steep part made more sense since you could dig in.

I reeled in the Tim Young group and passed them. It was in 3rd or 4th lap. Tim put in an effort and it took me awhile to grow the gap. He had a group of 5 or 6 riders on his wheel, so I really pushed to get away, since I was fighting for 6 places instead of only one.

Wissell was fading. Or was I surging? Either way, I passed him near the end of the second to last lap. At this point, I had tunnel vision. The snot was flying and I could see nothing other than the mud in front of me.

I saw Evan Huff taking the corner into the descent. There was only about 2 minutes of the race left. I concentrated on descending fast and keeping speed through the sweeping, wet off camber corner at the end. I caught Evan on the straight opposite the finish, leading into the barriers. I attacked as hard as I could going into the barriers and got a small gap. I remounted quickly and sprinted.


Evan caught me on the slight rise and attacked. I dumped everything out to catch him in the rutted straights leading to the finishing stretch. I thought that I put in a decisive effort and closed the door as I entered the finishing sprint. Then I heard cheering. I was flagging and Huff was surging. He got me. 13th and 14th respectively.

While I was disappointed that my 2nd day fitness didn’t seem to be there, I am happy with my recovery. I felt lucky that I was able to hold on.

Even better, I will be starting on the front row of Gloucester next weekend. The whole family is coming out to watch, so I expect a piss poor performance next weekend.

14 comments:

zencycle said...

Hey, you could just use that predictor thingie, show your family how you _would_ have done, bag the race, and take the family out for seafood and beer.

Poor Bike Handler from MRC said...

HAHAHAHA. Yes, Lesson 1- NEVER sit on my wheel, I am a Triathlete. 2- I did not cause that crash at Fitchy I simply was involved. 3- I'm glad I'm "known" for being a poor bike handler, the cat 3s on the road should stay away from me next year. 4- The odds of me crashing on a muddy corner in a 'cross race are about 50%. 5- Luckily for you I flatted right after that so you didn't have to deal with me crashing all race.

RMM said...

MRC:

I hope that you didn't take offense. We all have our strengths and areas for improvement in racing.

Unfortunately, our competitors are taking note of these weaknesses and exploiting them.

Next time, I'll let you know get on my wheel through the tech sections and then I'll draft you on the flats :)

Poor Bike Handler from MRC said...

I'm the first to admit that I am not a great bike handler, but it's hard not to take offense to that after a couple friends pointed it out to me.

I didn't even know who you were and had never talked to you before that race, and yet you spend a paragraph talking about how I cause crashes (that I didn't even cause) and am known for riding sketchy? I have no doubt that you're telling the truth, but did you really need to dump on me like that for no reason? If I were to go around publicly criticizing everyone that I don't know about their weaknesses I certainly wouldn't make many friends.

I certainly have no resentment towards you for the comments and understand them completely. I know I need to work on my handling skills, but did you need to dump on me like that?

Btw, Thanks for giving me credit for winning a race I didn't even win :). I'll make sure I find you mid-race on Sunday so that I can learn how it's done through the turns. Hopefully we can meet each other properly this weekend.

RMM said...

MRC:

Hey, I thought that you won that race. I should fact check better.

I didn't mean to dump on you. I only indicated that you were a known poor bike handler. Which you willingly acknowledge.

Last cross season, I was known as sketchy, people may or may not have pointed it out on the internet.

But it was pointed out to me. That caused me to work on skills. Now I am pretty good at taking corners and I don't cause as many problems as I once did.

If you improve your skills, I would certainly comment on it in a future race report after you smoke me (since you are more fit than me and cornering is what is limiting you in CX).

Shocked said...

What a pompous and offensive comment...all you do is rag on other people: 'sand-bagger', 'poor-bike handler.' Its really sad you lost the beginner's spirit and now eye the amateur cycling scene through such a pretentious and cocky lens. I am surprised, and impressed, at the MRC rider's mature response. This is supposed to be fun, don't ruin it for others

rosey said...

MRC guy, welcome to mccrazy's inner circle. here you will find long race reports that, instead of leaving you with a nice picture of how well mccrazy did or where he might have done better, the reports leave you with an acute awareness of some other person or organization that mccrazy feels it is necessary to publicly criticize.

granted, it is his blog and he can write what he wants, but it would be nice to see a race report that actually focused on him and wasn't ruined by a string of criticism towards someone else.

mccrazy, i thought you learned some humility after that horrible recap of Ryan O'Hara needing to go to the bathroom while in a breakaway. have you forgotten already?

RMM said...

Well now. Last time that I checked, this was the blog where I posted my thoughts about racing bicycle and the greater community.

Sometimes I think that people read this blog just to point out how much of a jerk I am.

Rosey:

Hearing you call me out for calling out sandbaggers is actually humorous. You have been as verbal as me in the past in your dislike of sandbagging. Granted, I state my opinions in print, and you state(d) yours verbally.

So I need to ask, have you changed you tune in this regard? Is sandbagging now OK with you?

Shocked:

I'm sorry that I offended you. I'll probably have some other similar garbage to say Monday morning, so please come back and point out how much I suck next week too.

rosey said...

RMM, I'm calling you out for always ruining your race recaps with some negative comment about someone else's performance. You raced really well last weekend, yet all people are taking away from your reports is that you hate the guy who won b/c he is a sandbagger and you were frustrated by a particular person who you couldn't get past on the next day.

I'm tired of wasting my energy complaining about sandbaggers. Being a notorious complainer makes a person look just as foolish as being a notorious sandbagger. Does sandbagging piss me off? Yes, but at the end of the day it also gives me a reason to sign up for the next race and to train harder. I hope I can improve enough to be called a sandbagger in the 3 field because I will know it means my training and hard work have paid off.

RMM said...

Rosey:

Go reread the report. I only mention the two offending items in short sections.
If people chose to focus on those items and take them away, instead of taking them as the comments and observations that they are, it would seem that they are looking for negative items in my posts and then amplifying them.

Furthermore, this is not even in the same category as what I did to Ryan. For that I will forever be sorry.

Colin R said...

Sounds like I need to trade you some "how to not come off as a douchebag in your blog" tips in exchange for your tubular gluing tips.

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