Sunday, September 20, 2009

MAC Nittany Lion Cross Race Report

Cross is awesome. I should end this post right now. That's really all that needs to be said.I signed up for the B Race as my first foray ever cyclocross. I figured I had the legs and the technical skills to at least not get embarrassed in the class, but other than that had no idea what to expect. I had heard a lot of things, how the effort was so unlike any other race road or mountain... how the starts were a bit chaotic, how the beer flowed from the heavens post race...
The Race:
Well I started in the 5th row of maybe 10. There were 75 other dudes in my race. The course immediately bottle necked and I laid out my hardcore maximum 600 watt I can't sprint to save my life start.
I made up a few spots, then we started turning I quickly realized most people go into Lemming mode and follow the same line through every corner. I took some not so standard lines relying on good cornering skills and a bit of stupidity and made a killing picking up maybe 30 places on the first lap. I was in 15th and feeling pretty good. My first encounter with the barriers was a bit interesting, I came in flying, thinking, wow, these are WAY taller than the one I made in my lawn to practice... I nearly smacked my bike on the second barrier but made it over and didnt loose any spots. Success, no blood.
I kept a pretty steady pace for the next 35 minutes and kept bridging up to people, eventually attacking them and passing. The last lap I raced a dude named Charlie and had a blast flying around the course with him. I was able to make it past him after the barriers and drilled it to the line for 10th.

The Post Race:
Although the effort was pretty hard, it doesnt leave you in shambles the way a really hard mtb race does. You can do a lot of damage in 45 minutes, but theres something about killing yourself for 2 hours in an mtb race that can leave you too tired to even crawl over to the race promoter to collect your winnings. After the race I felt great. The only gripe I have with cross is the whole "no water bottles" thing. I drink like a fish when I ride, but apparently its not cool to run a cage and bottle on your frame (to aide in shouldering the bike when you have to run). Not drinking for 45 minutes at threshold left a nice paste in my mouth the consistency of Elmer's glue. Luckly I was smart enough to bring some
beverages.
The real reason I like cross is because you race for 45 minutes. 44minutes and 55 seconds of it was fun. This is an extremely high fun to filler ratio. Road racing has tons of filler... sitting in, waiting for a move slowly draining the batteries of your competitors... cross is full gas the entire time... then you stop and drink beer. Hell there was even PBR lining a corner on the course. Post race we hung out with the usual bike race cast of characters and watched some of the other races. Since the race was at Trexlertown, we even got to take in some track racing since there was some masters stuff happening.
My Wife:
Is Awesome. She let me go race my bike on the anniversary of her 25th year of existence. Lauren knows I cry like a little girl (
see last weeks mtb race) when I have a bad day on the bike, thus putting any birthday celebrations at risk. Such was not the case.

4 comments:

Marten said...

Hey congrats, good result for first cross ever. I agree, cross is tons of fun without the "filler" of road racing. I love it, it is a premium sport.

Joey said...

Just found this blog looking for pics of Nittany. I was following you for the 1st half of the race until I rolled a tire. Your pace was perfect. Thanks!

Mike said...

Joey,
Fun racing with you, sorry to hear you had some bad luck with your tires.
Here's a link to the pics my wife took.
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2054185&id=53100431&l=5b7aa1dad6

Cycling captured should have some too.

Joey said...

Nice pics. Thanks!