Sunday, September 13, 2009

Race Report: Quad Cross 2009--CB Brought the Pain in Three Events: 3/4 35+, Women's 3/4 and Men's 4

As an intro, Quad Cross (had a different name) 2007 വാസ് my second cyclocross race. I broke my shoulder in a high speed fall in a fast corner. It ruined my season and put me in PT for the entire winter of 2007/2008. I was careful in that corner this year.

Quad Cross is a great little race, local to Boston in Bedford. In fact it is so close that I drove out the evening before the race to preride the course while doing my prerace openers. There had been a steady rain, so the course which features tall grass and became a mud bog last year, had become treacherous. Newly cut damp grass clogged my drivetrain and got caught in my brake pads. The Course felt slow, as there was hay stuck in and wrapped around all the moving parts on my bicycle.

I should mention that Quad did a great job with routing the course. The barriers were challenging offered you the option of remounting before a hairpin or after, which was then followed by a run/rideup. If your game was on, you could easily gap less skilled riders who were more fit than you. The "S" turns were tight, but routed so that line selection was important. If you hit turns properly and connected your turns well, you kept your momentum, if you bobbled or took a bad line, you squandered your speed and had to sprint. There were some off cambers thrown in to unsettle you.

The sun came out for the race. In fact, it was downright hot on the starting line. I only took one preride of the course before my race. Most of the corners were in similar condition as they had been and the run/ride up was still rideable.

I only had aggressive mud tires (Tufo Cubus), so I actually raised the pressure in order to decrease their considerable rolling resistance. I didn't notice any downside.

I shouldered my way into a front row starting position. Shamelessly separating 2 MRC teammates who had left enough room for me to squeeze in. I was lightly heckled, but I brushed it off. I was feeling fit and rested, so I planned on making good use of the front row start.

I got tired of registering for races with a normal team name. So I registered for a bunch of races with "CB/Igleheart Will be bringing the pain" as my team. I didn't think that anyone would even notice. They did. They poked fun. Even Diane Fortini got in on it by raising her eyebrows when it was brought to her attention.

The opening sprint was tame. I held back and went into turn one in 3rd. I moved up in turn 2, which I had practiced 12+ times the day before. Basically, I attacked right after the second corner, as I had taken the inside line and turned on a tighter radius than my competitors, which left me an open course.

As I rode out in front, I realized the folly of my attack. I was burning it hard right there in the beginning of lap one.

I didn't open up a gap right away; 2 or 3 dudes stayed on my wheel for the next half lap. I made sure to punch it extra hard out of the corners to open gaps. If these guys were going to ride my wheel, they were going to have to work hard to stay there. Also, my cornering was at least as good as the guy on my wheel, if not better, so after a turny section, I often had a 2 or 3 second gap, which I enhanced by putting the gas down.

I got away. At one point I had 10 seconds on second place. Even though it was the second lap, I thought that I was gone. I was riding well and not bobbling. My team mates and friends lined the course and enthusiastically cheered, jeered and heckled me as I passed. I even found the energy to heckle Matt Aumiller who was announcing. High Fives were slapped. Foolishness.

Mortals can't just ride away from a field. If I could do that, I'd be pro. Or at least someone would pay my race fees. Or at the very least, I'd have better results than I have been posting for the last year.

I didn't implode, but I definitely crumbled a little. Especially when I saw that we had 4 to go. I knew that I was done then. In fact, I wanted to quit. And vomit. My stomach was in rebellion. In fact it was so imminent that I was drooling and slobbering as my mouth prepared to spew.

My rival from Palmer, Sebastien Dumont of Cape Cod caught me with about 3 to go. I knew it was him even before he came around me. I had been stink-eying him on every straight away as he steadily reeled me in. It was a classic case of going out too hard.

I rode well and hung on for second. Sebastien dangled about 10 seconds up the road. I could have closed the gap, but I felt that if I put in the effort to catch him (or stay with him) that I would overdraw my account, which would cause me to slide out of 2nd and...who knows where I'd land if I detonated entirely.

It was heartbreaking. I made the pragmatic decision not sprint up to him. I don't regret it, but it was a hard decision to live with at the time. Obviously my team mates and friends heckled me mercilessly. I'm sure that the haters had their say too, but I didn't hear them.

In that situation, what would you do? Sprint up to the leader and risk blowing up and losing your second place or settle for second?

In speaking to Sebastien after the race, he explained that I was the only one that he was watching, which I took to be a huge compliment. I genuinely and heartily congratulated him on riding a great race. I have the feeling that Sebastien have kicked off a great rivalry. I look forward to seeing him at Sucker Brook.

In other CB news, Natalia Gardiol won the women's 3/4 race

and Nick Mashburn got second in the well attended men's cat 4 race. I think that 3 podiums in one day equals bringing the pain. So despite people's ribbing, my prediction proved correct. We brought the pain.

Also I partially announced the elite women's race as I recovered and ate. And I announced the men's elite race. I wasn't very good at it.

I feel like I would have been better if I had someone to converse with, like another announcer. Either way, I threw some stupid random heckles out at the pros. I have a new found respect for Dick Ring and Richard Fries.

I was happy with the race and with the venue. My only complaint would be to have only one 3/4 race instead of splitting us by age (Under 35 and 35+). While I realize that I wouldn't have podiumed in such a race, I really enjoy racing with my younger friends.


n-o-s said...

you definitely win at blogging

RMM said...

I win simply because I have no other life.

zencycle said...

who took the pictures?

gus c said...

hey mcrzy,

nice job on this one. although usually long-winded, this one was entertaining. good job on both ends: writing and racing.


KC said...

I kind of wish you had gone for it because it might have made for even better reading. Congrats to you and the rest of your team on the great results. Natalia was impressive in her race.

RMM said...


As always, the photos are courtesy of my lovely wife, Natasha. I am having trouble editing right now, so there is no live link in the post. Her website is:

Brishen said...

Congratulations, and great post. Random question: are you still working on the Wednesday night training series in the Boston area? If so, do you have any details you could share?

rosey said...

mcrazy, nice work out there. if you're not careful will start outing CB racing!

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