Sunday, October 18, 2009

MAC Granogue and Wissahickon Cross Race Report(s)

As you can see I have
raced cross a couple times this season, having covered the dry end of the course spectrum, it was time for low temps and large amounts of precipitation I had heard that this sport was all about. Granogue was up first. Held at the DuPont Estate, the venue was a pretty cool one. The weather was ridiculous. 42 degrees, pouring, windy. The course was even worse. The only firm part was the paved road on the start, everywhere else was destroyed. Pre race I struggled to stay warm, slathered in embrocation, and hoped for the best. 129 of us lined up for the 12pm start. I got a second row call up which was super nice. The gun went off and I slipped back a bit. I entered the muck in maybe 20th. I slowly started to move up during the first lap and quickly found myself into the top 5.
The run up hill on the tower was BRUTAL. It was so steep.
Since I am pretty new to cross, I am certainly still learning. For example the rule where if you ride through the pit, you have to actually pit (stop). Well first lap I was following 3rd place trying to keep contact and accidentally wandered into the pit. The official yelled something but I had no idea what he said. For the next 11 minutes I battled back and forth with the rider in 3rd until we hit the pit again. He went in to grab a new bike and I stupidly just following his wheel went in. boom. The UCI police stopped me and gave me a 30 second penalty for entering the pit and not pitting. Seems obvious but I was unaware. I pleaded with the guy for all 30 seconds of my penalty. Finally I was off on my way, but in the time I spent socializing in the pit I dropped back to 5th.

I gunned it and rode my way back into 4th. With less than a lap to go I found the 3rd place rider with a mechanical. I was back in 3rd. This is where things started going wrong. Somebody was coming up from behind strong, and I was just about to catch 2nd. So what happens, I drop my chain, or what looked like my chain a I couldnt even see if covered in all of the mud. The surging rider behind me passes. I'm back in 4th.
I fix the chain, and get back on gunning it. By the time we get out to the road for the 1/4 mile wind up to the finish line I have set up behind 2nd and 3rd for the sprint. I figured since I suck at sprinting, I better go early and go first. I shifted down and mounted an attack on the left side and got a good gap. I felt one of the riders coming up on the left side. I tried to stay straight and suddenly I felt his front wheel bump into my frame. Next thing I heard was him hitting the pavement at speed. ouch. I threw my hand up in a WTF moment of confusion.
I won the "wacky" sprint as the announcer called it and finished up 2nd. The next race was to recover from the effort, not freeze to death cleaning my bike and repair anything that needed to be fixed before...
I woke up hurting. Things were sore. My knee, shoulder, hands etc. were all dead. The weather was as bad as yesterday, with less rain but more wind. I replicated the previous days preparation as best I could. 123 of us lined up. I got a good call up again and was in the second row. I started much better this time, making it into the top ten by the time the course tightened up. I promptly crashed into the course tape having to stop and unwrap (read rip) it from my leg. I lost maybe 20 spots. I spent the next 2 laps charging and begging my very tired legs to catch the person in front of me. I did so until I broke into the top 5. The course was much much more ridable than Granogue featuring less climbing and an awesome sand section through a dressage ring. The circle of death was very slick requiring dismount at the direction change. The barrier hill was also a mess. I won the last preem spot sponsored by Liberty Sports Magazine. Thanks for being awesome guys.
Ok back to the race. Lap 3 of 4, I'm in 4th. sweet. I promptly roll my front tubular tire an 1/8 th of the way off the rim. I had to stop, undo the brake and force it back on with my hand. I was so far from the pit that if I hand not been able to get it going again my day would have been over. I got going and again started charging.
I had 1 lap left to work with and managed to get all the way back to 5th to take the last podium spot by catching Dan from Kissena in the final minutes. Bad luck but still a good result.
I used some good products this weekend and I want to take a second to blurb on them.
Mad Alchemy Embrocation. Keeps your legs nice and tingly. great stuff.

Revolution Wheelworks Rev 50x. I ranted and raved about these last weekend, but even in the terrible conditions the breaking with swiss stop yellow pads was on point. They also cut through the mud and sand with ease. Love it. Andy and Johnathan are good guys too.

Lauren is not a product but she continues to be awesome. Waiting around in the rain for me as I race is crucial to my prep. Thank you.
Lauren's pictures from Granogue are here.
Lauren's Wiss pictures are here.

1 comment:

Dan Lavelle said...

Dan here from Liberty Sports Mag, glad we could hook you up with the prime! Enjoy the stuff, give me a shout if you want to write a blog for our new site (or if you need some more embro! haha)

Assoc Publisher
Liberty Sports Magazine