Monday, October 18, 2010

MAC Granogue CX Day 1

Granogue offers something many of the other cross venues just can't offer. First off its on an estate. Estates by definition are more baller than town parks, dumps, velodromes, even fair grounds. That doesn't mean awesome races cant be held at the aforementioned locations... its just that you can generally go to Granogue and ride. 
New for 2010, two back to back, days of MAC series racing. I love this pace. Last year it was my first proper cross race. I say that because it was 42 and raining. This year it was sunny and nearly 60, but not without 20 mph winds. The course was tacky, which was nice because the off camber sections were everywhere. Splendid.
The highlight of the course was the run up. We'll get to that in a bit, but it goes straight up the fall line of the big hill all the way to the tower. Yes. That tower.
Lauren raced the womens race and had her first bad day of racing ever. She's pretty new to all of this still so the realization to having no legs was a harsh one for her to stomach. She toughed it out, did not drop out and spent the day practicing the art of sliding around on off camber turns. Even though she finished maybe 10 or so spots back from her expected finish, she completed the day and continued to hone her skills.
Sometimes no matter the preparation the legs just don't cooperate. I told her the beauty of cyclocross is that if you suck on Saturday, you only have to wait 24 hours for redemption.


I raced the Mens B 2/3/4 race. My start was, lacking. The sprint to the holeshot seemed to go on forever. FOOORRREEEVVVVVEEERRR. I faded a bit and went into the woods in 10th or 11th. We hit the sand pit and people started crashing. I was forced to dismount and a gap opened between the leaders and my crash group. 
I really hadn't planned on giving up 10 seconds to the leaders 2 minutes into the race but that was how it played out. 

I took a gamble on lap 1 and attempted to ride the run up, in traffic, bunny hopping the two stairs and diving for the non rutted line at the tape. I had done it 2x in warmups and figured it might grab me a few seconds. I tried to ignore what would happen if I botched it. I made it over the stairs as other started their dismounts on both sides of me. I had a clear path to the grassy line on the tape side, as went for it, a rider running pushed me out of the way. I was struggled to find grip in a less than ideal line but stayed upright and made it up.
Photo Credit: Eloy Anzola

While everyone else was remounting, I blasted through my cassette and accelerated over the top picking up a few spots.
I found a good group and got some draft on the long windy start section. I made a quick pass and lead the group into the run up. I successfully rode it again. On the way up some jackass yells "Bad Decision" at me. Maybe I looked like I was dying or something. At the top, I had 20 feet on my group. Fred caught me by the time we hit the road. I drafted behind him for a few and then sensed if I launched I could make contact with the group ahead. I made the bridge and was now in the top 5 with lots of racing left. 

I made a couple of positioning passes and hit the run up again. This time people not only my wife had taken notice of my strategy.
video
I continued my assault on the what was technically a chase group, as Don Green was off the front with Gerry. 
With 2 to go, I saw Gerry coming back really quickly. While focusing on him ahead of me, trying to estimate his speed, I almost forgot about the barriers... I looked down and saw a big yellow thing blocking my path. I pretty much nearly died. The people watching got a good laugh at my panic face I am sure. This is not my panic face...

I caught Gerry on the road and was now chasing Don for the win on the bell lap. I had company however. Fred and Steven were right there in my sliptstream. I played some games to put them in the wind a bit, utilizing the futile dart to the other side of the road move... I was challenged a few times for the lead as we lead towards the run up. I knew that if I rode the run up one last time the gap I would make at the top would be enough to hold them off. I fought to keep my lead position and hit the hill one last time. I was a little nervous this time as failing meant going from 2nd to 5th, and to be honest I was fatigued from the previous surges. I made it up, left the hill with a 20 foot gap and kept attacking. I reached the road section with 50 feet and sprinted just hard enough to hold off Fred and Steven who were sprinting for 3rd.
Captain Lawrence Recovery Drinks... and then getting ready for day 2...
And for th geeks, Here is a Suunto FIle.

1 comment:

Colin R said...

Hypothesis: CHICKS DIG THE HOP.

HYPOTHESIS CONFIRMED.