Sunday, July 26, 2009

MASS D&Q Summer Sizzler at GCC and Liberty Criterium Race Report(s)

MASS Danzeisen and Quigly Summer Sizzler at GCC:
This weekend I doubled up and took a shot at two races. First up was the MASS series mountain bike race at Gloucester County College in dirty, dirty South Jersey. I briefly lived not too far from GCC, so I had some experience with the terrain there going in. The pluses were rooty, twisty, low rock count single track. The negative were to udder absence of hills. Like none. At all. That usually works against me. So going into it I didn’t know how I would fair. After warming up, which didn’t take too long considering it was 90 degrees and like 60% humidity. 4 laps, 6 miles a lap.
The race started with two quick turns in around a field and then a short shot up a steep ramp up into the single track. I made it through the field, but literally right as we entered the single track I must have been passed by like 6 people. “Reverse Holeshot Complete”. Crap. I rode the first lap in traffic. I couldn’t move up much with the tight nature of the course. Eventually the riders in front of me bobbled or slowed so I could pick up maybe 6 spots before taking a feed from Lauren at the end of the lap.
Lap 2 I found myself going back and forth with Zack Adams. He suggested with try to blow up the group we were in, and I obliged. Sooner or later I had a nice gap on much of the group I was working with. Two riders started to come up by the end of the lap. Drinking on the course was tough as it was a constant game of turn, sprint, turn, sprint. No time to reach down and grab your bottle. At one point I couldn’t figure out the “chug, breathe, chug”. Yeah I tried to do both at the same time and successfully made Accelerade come out of my nose. I couldn’t believe it didn’t burn like hell.
Lap 3 saw a few attacks come my way. Once on one of the short ramp up hills a rider jumped and got maybe 5 seconds. It took me a while to reel it back in, I was pretty much at the limit of what I could do and not blow up for the last lap. I made it back to the rider, but another rider was still close behind chasing. I was getting tired.
Lap 4 I knew I only had to suffer for a 27 more minutes. I took my final feed from Lauren and upped the pace. It took a few minutes for the food Laur gave me to kick and then I felt awesome. So awesome I had the 3rd fastest last lap... love timing chips...With maybe 15 minutes to go I attacked the rider I was with and got a good gap on him. I kept driving it as my heart rate went into the red. I rode cleanly despite being at red line, I kept driving and could see the Alesio twins riding around some of the switchbacks throughout the course. I was surprised to see them as they are usually podium level riders. I knew I must have been doing pretty well at this point and it pushed me to dig a little deeper. I was flying and I knew it. It’s a nice feeling to have everything clicking, especially when your big races are coming up in a couple weeks. Here is a lovely shot of me finishing up. Note the presence of the euro base layer and jersey fully unzipped.

The course was perfect. Tacky and very rippable. New word. This is what you legs look like post 23 miles of carving.

I ended up 7th/21 riders which is a pretty good placing for me considering some of the talent in the MASS series. I collected my cash and packed up and took Lauren to Canals. Canals is an awesome beer store and judging by this picture you can imagine how long it took us to decide what to get. Ended up with a Cantillon, a Fantom, Grand Cru of the Emporer, Founders Curmugdeon, Ommegang Three Philosephers, and a Cuvee Rene.

Liberty Criterium:
I am good at climbing. I have little to no business at a crit. Except when I go to watch. This was a special race because my wife was making her racing debut. WHOOO.

Yeah so Lauren albeit a strong rider has zero racing experience, and almost as little pack riding skills. She can however hold a line and has gotten more comfortable with me riding next to her and bumping her to be a jerk. When we first started riding she would panic when I rode up beside her. Now she descends faster than me… which is kind of pathetic for me at least. If you were married to me I guess I would try to die on every downhill too. Anyways the racing: girls had a shortened race (18 instead of 20 laps) because a pretty bad crash happened at the end of the Cat 4 race and a rider had to be airlifted out… yeah way to start the day. Lauren being new to racing is a Cat 4. The 4’s and the elites race together at the same time but are scored separately. Lauren had her big girl pants on and hung on to the elites for 12 laps. There was a near crash (not Lauren), a gap formed and the elites accelerated and Lauren got sent off the back. She linked up with a rider from the Sturdy Girls team and rode out the remaining laps. Kudos for not pulling the plug like a few of the girls did and finishing it up. Oh yeah she’s sick again… Mono and possibly Lymes. Time for her to throttle back for a bit… fear not women’s group.

My race followed Laurens and it was my first adventure in Category 3 as I rocked an upgrade last week. I sent in the upgrade request and literally 20 minutes later I got the ok… didn’t expect that. I basically just pack surfed. Did a little work to reel in a break and did not bother to contest the sprint. I knew I would just kind of get in the way of the teams who were doing their best Team Columbia impressions.
Not a victory salute.


Colin R said...

90 degrees + reverse holeshot = kicking asses at the end of the race.

Glad to see it works for you too.

joe said...

I just want to know where the pic of isle of beer is from???

Mike said...

its in deptford nj, its one of the Joe Canals chains. here is the google maps listing.
Joe Canal's Disc Liquor Outlet‎ - more info »
1075 Mantua Pike, West Deptford, NJ‎

Beth said...

I was the Sturdy Girl that finished the race with Lauren. She did great! If she wants to continue racing or join a team, have her get in touch with me. I run the PA Women's Racing group.