Sunday, November 15, 2009

USGP Mercer Cup. Domination from the last row.

I made the decision to do the USGP race on Wednesday. This was a tad late to sign up being that start order was assigned by order of registration and people has signed up in... August. I got lucky number 87. Oh well the cream rises the top... unless the cream curdles or something then it just gets dumped down the drain. It poured a bit thanks to that skank Ida, so conditions were muddy. This sparked a lot of people crying on the interwebs about not having fun ripping off derailleurs, and riding bikes that weigh 2x as much as they should through pea soup. I like riding through the slop so I was ok with all of this.
I have had the luxury of some pretty nice call ups in the MAC series so tail gunning was not something I have done since the first race of the year. While warming up I couldn't help but feel there was going to be a crash on the start stretch. It was wide, wet, and had a slight bend to it. Wait a minute perhaps I have said too much. The start finish area you sickos... whatever. I just knew somebody was going to crash. Well I was right because maybe 10 people went down in 2 separate pile ups, all within the first minute of my race. I was near the first one but made it out with only some minor brake checking. Onward to racing.
Just because I was off the asphalt didn't mean I was in the clear just yet. In the below shot you can see my getting put into the tape for trying to steal ride the inside line and pass.

Despite some sketchy moments of almost getting my front wheel knocked out from under me (going straight) I had made it from 87th into the top 15 in one lap. The bad news was my heart rate was in the mid 190's and I was side stitching. I chilled out for a second and recovered a bit.
Lap two put me into maybe 1oth. My goal for the race was to top 10, so I was pumped to have made it through the field so quickly. While navigating one of the sets of switchbacks my rear tire pretty much just fell off my wheel. I was hardly even turning. I did learn however that I only roll tubular tires basically the farthest possible point from the pit. I without hesitation started running, then started doing some quick math. I realized my chances of having a heart attack were going to sky rocket from 5 to 1 to maybe as bad as 'even money' if I forced myself to run all the way back to the pit. I stopped to attempt to roll the tire back on and had success thanks to some spectators yelling at me when I rolled it back only partially and started to try and ride with a tire 1/8 off the wheel. Thanks guys. I lost like 5 spots instantly throughout the ordeal. Onward...
I passed Lauren shortly thereafter. I feel the need to explain to Lauren why I suddenly drop a handful of spots for some reason.

I debated taking a pit to replace the wheel but figured I would lose more time than if I just rode like a wuss around every single corner so they tire would stay on. I made it through the last 2 laps without error. I got back all the spots I lost, but left 9th and 8th right in front of me. I simply couldn't stay with them in the corners knowing my rear wheel was basically not attached to the wheel anymore. bummer. After I finished I was relieved I didn't pit as my rear brake was completely stuck shut with the small swamp I had accumulated in the crevices of my bike.

Post race we stuck around, depleted many a supply of beer and yelled at the other races. I had a boss sausage, peppers, and onions that I offered out as a hand up briefly.
I elected not to race Sunday and instead go on the coffee ride with Lauren. The coffee ride consists of an hour ride, coffee at Steel City, and another hour home. 70 degrees in November made it a nice one. Lauren murdered Devon State Road on the way home which was good stuff.

Lauren's pictures from USGP day 1 can be found here.
Next weekend Double header in the Hamptons? Debating on going... I need to race my wheels again after spending 2 hours pulling all the old glue off of them...

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