Sunday, October 29, 2006

Canton Cup Race report

My first Cross race was Sunday. On the hour drive down to Canton I was anxious to get it on feeling I hadn't gotten my fix of "competition pain" in a month or two.
Massive wind gusts kept things on the dry side considering that four inches of water fell just 18 hours before the event. Figured the course was going to be a mess so I installed some mud paddles as a secret weapon to combat the chunky wet ooze that I imagined would be everywhere.
Well, got to the race with my 2.2 mud terrain's and to my surprise...No mud. I gotta stop thinking like a mountainbiker. Course was a mix of asphalt and mostly grass on small rolling hills. All the rain that fell the previous day was absorbed deep into the sponge-like turf with not so much as a muddy puddle in sight. Fairly flat, fast, non technical...I was a dead man. Until meeting up with Kerry and she offered me her skinny 1.3 inch wide 26" cross tires for my race after she finished hers. Friends are the best.
I stood at the run-up with Roz cheering on Kerry and the rest of the men and women in the early race. Glad I came down to hang and make the day of it. Half the fun of cross is shouting at people you know to pick up the pace when they're really getting their ass kicked (nice huh?). It really helps to have friends in the crowd at these section to yell at'cha and get you moving a little faster.
It was soon show time for the B-men. Thom P was there racing his pink single speed cross bike. He had concerns about his gear selection being a little slow for the fast course...I think he set-up for more technical and muddy conditions too. Thom, Glenn Cook, and I missed out on the line-up cause we were gabbing during staging and got stuffed three or four rows in the back of the pack. Probably where I belonged being the new-bie to 'cross on a mountain bike.
The start was a drag race. Hell, the whole thing was a drag race. Felt alot like the time trial I did a few months ago but more fun. Early in the first lap while climbing a small grassy hump mother nature smiled on a pack of us and blew a giant gusting tail wind that pushed us up hill, good way to start things. The rest of the time 40mph gusts met square-on knocking everyone around. Must have been most difficult for the people with deep aero wheels and bladed spokes especially on the track portion of the race around the football field in the wide open.
I got into a groove and was enjoying the race from the first lap. I was fairly happy with my pace thinking I couldn't push much harder. Then Thom P slipped by me on his pink machine spinning like crazy. Looking strong as he past me and three guys ahead of me. My mission was now to keep him in sight and try to reel him in. This game gave me reason to reach deep and blow-up if I was going to blow up. <-- Something I try very hard not to do in longer mtb races but since this race was timed at 40 minutes who gives a shit if you blow up... I am slowly seeing the beauty in 'cross. Sorry to say Thom flatted at the end of the third lap, after he was gone I tried to keep the same inensity but had no one to chase down. Kept on pace and it was soon over. Good to have this one under my belt, learned a lot. Ended up coming in 25th.
Bummed to miss the Elite Women...I tried to listen to the announcer on the loud speaker to catch what was happening while I was back at my car getting changed and recovering from my race.
Did however see the elite men rip it up. The leaders made little work of the run-up...was more of a ride-up for a few of them.
Most impressive were the top three over the high barriers. Taking a huge risk jumping the 20 inch planks at race pace, and Anthony (3rd over) blazed through so fast that it almost looked like his legs past through the solid wood hurdles.
Man, I need a better camera with sound.


wraith said...

hats off to the guy J hoppin the barriers. That would be difficult on an igleheart!

rick said...

wow! Hopping the barriers is cool and all but damn that other guy kept up while dismounting and remounting. Freaking fast.

jeff said...

when's mtbike race season start?

IF Chicks said...

great video clip..
they make it look easy !