Monday, December 11, 2006

Thank goodness for sand

Yesterday was the Verge cross series finale in Warwick, RI and I headed down for a final tuneup before the Nationals beat down. Speaking of, the Masters 30+ field is one of the smallest there so I'm feeling good about that. Anywho, when I got there for the race (after a minor detour due to crappy directions on the race flyer) and headed over to reg I had a minor panic attack as I could see that a large chunk of the course was on dead flat ground weaving through the woods. While a 36x17 gear is good for most cross courses, dead flat ones mean everyone else will be in their big rings and I'll just be going backwards. Figured if nothing else the workout would be good and set about getting ready. Hopped on for a few warmup laps and found that the course was very twisty so there wouldn't be a lot of sections for most guys to really open it up, plus there was a long beach run. They were still taping the course so I kept getting to one section and losing where I was supposed to go. I guessed and kind just kept looping around the same sections that 1) had no barriers, and 2) had no clear start/finish. Finally on my last trip around before the start, they cleared it up and I realized I had missed a whole section of the course with another long beach run and some uphill barriers. Unfortunately I also realized the the start was on a long dowhill stretch of pavement. This meant I'd be pretty close to last by the time we hit the sand no matter how fast I could spin.

We all line up in the staging area and got to chat up the SS bike with some guys. It's amazing how much talk a <$500 bike gets. I'm wearing #378 and I registered like 10 days ago so I'm figuring I'll be way back. They start callups and they started with 350... Woo hoo! Ended up starting in the second row which was a big relief. Whistle blows and it's a mad dash down the hill and of course I'm going from second row to about 40th because I've got no big gear. Held on for dear life and then we hit the sand and I must have passed 20 guys. A couple of general notes here: there were 2 paved 180 turns at the bottom of the hill and I found out that C cross racers cannot take turns at speed. I'm by no means great but I still made up huge chunks on groups just going through the 2 turns kinda well. Secondly, my remounts were uncharacteristically good yesterday which was huge. Moving on, I felt like I held position well throughout the race and not too many masters caught me. I did get to ride a short while with Gewilli who I also got to chat with after the race, but then I went down on probably one of the easier corners just because I did something dumb. I seemed like just a fall over crash, but my knee and hip are pretty stiff today. I was able to get back up quick and not lose too many spots. Rest of the race was uneventful and I kept feeling like I rode pretty well and I was blasting guys on the sand runs. Had no idea which position I was in so when I found a hand scribbled list of numbers taped to the window inside, I was thrilled to find I got 18th. Best placing this season and I was <2 min down to the winner so I'll take it. Nationals in 4 days...

In non-biking news, we took the kids to a Xmas thing at Gilette yesterday which they really enjoyed and then the older 2 had skating last night. Final class of this session and both of them got medals so they were thrilled. That and some positive words from the teacher I think convinced the oldest to go for more lessons even though he claimed he didn't want to. It's amazing that when they started the oldest couldn't really skate and the younger could barely stand up steady. Yesterday before class they were running around playing tag in their skates and then were playing tag with the teachers on the ice. I miss having the brain to learn things that fast :)

Ok, I should do some work... or something.


Anonymous said...

You and your bike....geesh. Must be nice! I'd kill for 15 minutes away from my ball and chain...let alone jumping on a bike for a ride.

trackrich said...

You're welcome to join me for a race... sadly the season ends this coming weekend and I don't think you want to jump into the national championships for your first one :) Maybe next year.