Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Guy's Neshaminy MASS and the BLP 2209 Crit

Mountain Bike Racing! Despite the injury and the DNF at TSE, I felt it was time to give an proper cross country race a go. This race is one of my favorites, not only for the course that suits me very well, but for the fact that Ciclismo forgets about office park crits and Lancaster road races for a day and comes to ride bikes in the woods. 
The Sport Class wave fared with mixed results. We had Matt Harris win his race, and on the other end of the spectrum we had his brother Jamie basically break his hand and DNF. The rest were somewhere in the middle. 
Since Gorka wasn't there to pick on, I had to resort to pick on Greg "Mechanical" Camia. Greg crashed late in the race (riding my wife's bike) and burped his front tire. He went to hit it with the CO2 cartridge but tried to thread the air chuck on the wrong way. He resorted to running out of the woods and dropped from the top 5 to 7th. Commmmmon Man. 
In the Elite race, I wore the Team TSE pb Notubes.com kit, and my road teammate Chris "Bieber" Newport lined up with me.

 I got a good start, coming into the woods in 7th. I held position until the prolouge loop. and then followed Ron Harding and one of the twins. I did manage to put a nice gash in my leg from the gate on the way out though. Lap 1 was fast and painless. Which leads us to lap two... On lap two I choked down a gel and literally started choking (not to self, swallow, then breath) and had to drink on the descent instead of hold the wheels in front of me. While trying to bridge back up, the twin's drivetrain imploded. I chased Ron but he eventually got away as I started to suffer a bit. 
I remember having that moment you get in every race where you say to yourself "Ok, what the hell are we doing here?" I refocused and kept riding hard but fun.
I made it out one more time, now headed into the last lap. With 2 or 3 miles left, Topher, the bearded Gentleman he is, was trying to beat me. I know Topher is a better mountain bike rider than me pretty much everywhere, so I knew I would have to resort to my magic roadie powers to beat him. What wasn't fair was Toph could beat me by just riding fast and smooth, where I had to try and rip my own legs off to maintain the gap. I drilled the last 2 climbs and maintained the gap and held on for 9th. More importantly I was the only one not to crash. boom. bonus points. (-1 point for bleeding on myself though)
Chris, who had been riding well, suffered some cramps and finished one spot out of the money. 21st...

The Next day after refueling with BBQ, fish and chips and a little beer, I headed out to do a criterium in NJ. Geoff, Newport and I lined up in a small cat 3 race of 30 or so. My legs were heavy and slow to respond warming up, yesterday had dinged us all up pretty bad.
The gun went off and 4 riders attacked from the gun, lead by Bicycle Therapy. I got in my pedals quickly and initially made the move. It hurt. Badly. I had nothing in the legs yet and needed to be gradually pushed into the days race, not dropped from an airplane tied to an anchor, tied to a hippo. I had to let the gap go as I could not hold on to the move. Sucked. 2 laps later my legs were back and I felt better but it was too late.
In hindsight it would have been easier just to stay in the move, as my job for the rest of the day, had I missed my chance at a break, was bridge to the break, and or work for Newport and set up his sprint. Setting up Newport Involved a number of failed bridge attempts, chasing with a number of others failed bridge attempts, and stringing the field out with 2 to go so Chris could maintain his position. It worked, Chris was able to break his 1 out of the money curse and claim 10th. Although frustrating to be smart enough to know the move you were in spawned the win, it was equally cool to work for a teammate and help him take a shot. 
I found some great shots from the mtb race here. I can't paste them in the blog as they are watermarked like whoa... but here are the links...

Camia Zombie face: Link
Newport scared face: link
Matt I'm serious even though my bike is purple face: link
Geoff Zombie face: note me in the background heckling. link
Craig suffering: link
Me bleeding on myself. link

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