Archive for October, 2010

Altoona CX Racing

I have raced my bike more this year than the last few years combined.  Go me.  It is fun going out there with a diy screenprinted 30th Century Bicycle Rapha jersey to represent the shop.  Yesterday I raced in Altoona.  I had raced there a couple of years ago and the course and the weather (and the results) were about the same.

photos: S.Fuller

Here I am contemplating the first climb at the start of the Masters 35/45+ with juniors thrown in for good measure.  We had about 30 people and as usual I did not know who was who anymore.  They said go and off we went.  I found myself at the front and over the first barriers we had a little separation and as I recall there were three of us away just like that.  I hung out through some twists and turns and when we got to the first grass hill I pushed it a bit and was alone.  I rode by myself for a lap or so, one guy chasing.

I could not decide if I should give it a big dig and try to make a big initial gap or if I should just let the guy on.  While I was busy not deciding he was busy catching me.  He was singlespeed and I felt really good so I thought to just stick with him for a while and see what developed.  We had a big gap back to the next rider.

So we rode around, the course is super fun, lots of corners, 180’s, climbs, a fun little run up.  Kyle was the rider I was with, he lost his chain a couple of times and I kept rolling, he caught up both times right quick.  I got my glove trapped in my STI lever once and hammered my bike into a barrier, caught a pedal once and slid out, but we both came back together and went into the last lap together.

Now it was true that early in the race I was not sure what to do but because he was on the single and I had gears I decided on a simple plan.  Ride his wheel to the last corner – shift & win!  I was with him until about 3 corners to go where I again clipped a pedal and kicked my rear wheel out.  He got a tiny gap and I could not close it before the finish so I sprinted in second just behind him.  Shifting is overrated…

But wait, there is a still a race to report!  This one won’t take so long…  I lined up for the Open Race, too.  I was feeling the effort of the first race but figured what the heck.

I lined up second row, it was a good sized field for Iowa standards and the field was “stacked” like a rider into a barrier.  Off we went and I had a good start, hit the first barriers in the top 10 and settled in to my spot through the narrow twisty part.  When we hit that grassy climb I got out of the saddle and my legs told me I was in trouble, but I was not yet sure how much.

I lost a spot here and there, but for the first 2 laps I was still riding well and was getting back into the rythm even though my back was killing me.  I did lose some spots, though, and when I was about 15th or so I felt my rear tire start to squish around on one or two of the sharp corners.  I could not tell if I was imagining it so I just kept on.

Halfway through the race I was rolling the short gravel road section, hit a rock, the rear tire went Pwhoosh(!) -fhwhap – fhwap – fhwap and it was all over for me.  A flat tire and an honorable DNF!

Another fine day of cross racing, I got a 6 pack of beer. Another 666 word post – is this getting creepy?

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