Racing tales from the great Pacific Northwest

Monday, July 25, 2011

2011 Raleigh's Midsummer Night's Cyclocross Race

I had a little trouble getting in the right frame of mind for this...A CX race in the middle of summer?? I had to scramble to get my tubies glued up in time for this one(Thanks Zac!) and hadn't even tuned out my new CX bike yet. Things were not perfect but I was ready to go. The venue was a crazy little CX oasis deep in the heart of Sundcadia. It was warm, windy and it seemed that rain could hit at any never did. At registration I noticed all the vendors that were setup. It was pretty impressive. Raleigh had a ton of bikes you could demo....Basically everything looked Pro. I jumped on my bike and took a couple of laps on the course. Holy Crap! This couse was setup for a roadie like me.

The start was on a long, newly paved section that led to the interior grass section that had the only technical turns on the course. After a set of barriers there was another short run-up followed by another long, fast section on a dirt road. There was one tricky section on the course just short of the start line. It was a short, steep downhill section that gobbled up a ton of racers including yours truely fallowed by a steep run-up that led back to the fast paved section. Basically, it was a crit on dirt. I was amped.

I was in the Masters 3/40+ field and we took off a minute after the Open Cat 3 field. The gun went off and I sprinted down the paved section but didn't want to be first to the grass. I slowed and let one guy get past me and then I settled in for the 40 minute pain fest. I was feeling really good and soon realized that about five of us had already had a gap half way through the first lap. All was good. The wind and riders were kicking up tons of dust. It looked somewhat like a cattle drive. Mooooo!! On the second lap one guy got a little gap on us but I wasn't worried. I knew all the crits and PR races I'd recently done would help me keep going hard when others started to tire. Soon three of us were trading spots between 2nd and 4th and things were looking good. By the time we hit lap three I was ready to ramp it up and flew by guys on the paved section. I was battling with one other guys and we were closing on the leader. We came into the steep downhill section while catching a slower rider from the Cat 3 field. The guy with me was smart and blew by him just before. I should have waited until the bottom of the hill but.....The slower rider lost his front wheel and veared right into me as we started down. He went left and I, well...did my best to keep things right but soon found myself doing my best superman impression and hit the deck face first. The hecklers were out in force and I caught my share of the jeering/cheering. I bounced right up and was back on the bike. If you start at photo 636 from Dennis Crane's album you can see the sequence of events that let to the face

If you look through the rest of the photos you can see the carnage that the downhill section provided.

As soon as I remounted after the run-up my left calf cramped up in a big way....So I thought. I was still in third and I had a good size lead over the next rider. I jumped on and started pedaling, figuring I would padal through it. It was not go away. A couple of guys passed me but I still was not worried. I was in serious pain but managed to keep going. I got passed by a couple more and was now in 6th but new if I could get rid of this cramp I would still be in contention. I made it though the downhill section but as I dismounted for the run-up I realized it was more than just a cramp. I could not climb the hill. Guys were yelling at me to hurry up but I couldn't go. I dragged my bike over to the side and limped to the top. I remounted and made it to the turn onto the grass and had to drop out. I had torn my calf muscle. I was barely able to make it back to the RV. I was really bummed becasue this seemed like a course that was built for me. That is racing. I watched the rest of the races from a chair....with beer in hand and finally left feeling quite dejected. MFG and Raleigh put on a great race. I hope we can race out there again in the future.

I'm not sure how long I'll be off the bike. I may only miss a few of the last road races but hope to be ready by Masters Nats and for the start of Cross.

1 comment:

  1. I really wanted to do this but my cross bike is not built yet. :( Too bad about your injury - I Hope it is short lived. It did sound like a fun course. And great prizes!