Monday, March 29, 2010

(Not the) King of Burlingame

Imagine that... race report season is back again already. After a lost cross season which left me little to talk about other than how much I sucked, you'd think I'd be just overflowing with things to say about the first race of the season. Well you may end up being right, but let's see how this goes as I start rambling...

Charlestown is one of those places that I know is far, but I can never seem to remember if it's just shy of 90 minutes or just over 90. I split the difference and figured I'd leave 3 hours before the Sport group started and leave myself 90 to get ready and warm up. I had a little panic moment when the GPS told me I'd arrive in 95 minutes and I still had to make a stop or two, but I figured I'd be fine seeing that it was early and I could potentially drive a little recklessly to get there. Sure enough I cut it down to 85 minutes with a DnD stop so we were in business. Got some prime parking next to some car full of pro-type people and thus began the banter about the conditions. Comments were made to the effect of "Oh, you race at 10, maybe it will warm up by then" and "Some sections will have too much water to be muddy". Now for the record, even at 8:30 I didn't think it was that cold and it warmed up a few degrees by 10. Knee warmers, long sleeve jersey, sleeveless base layer, regular cap was perfectly fine. This does not however mean that the standing water on the course was warm and my feet were in fact numb by the finish.

Good warmup mostly on the roads and then headed over to the start area. Riders went at 30 second intervals and I was heading out lucky 13 so not too much time to wait. Yet another reminder of the conditions was the mud puddle about 5 feet into the trail head where you started. There were plenty of jokes about who was going to eat it right there, but unfortunately I didn't see any. 3... 2... 1... Have a good ride big man! (The starter was a funny bastard). I knew from past years that there were some technical sections early and if I made those mostly clean, or at least fast, I'd be in ok shape. Well, I felt fast enough, but I was far from clean and that was capped off by a foot long 1" diameter stick lodging in my rear wheel/crank and sending me over the bike, fortunately at low speed. I was better after that, but not perfect. I have a really awful habit of getting very stiff and putting on a handlebar deathgrip when I start to go "into the pain cave" as they say and since this was a TT, that's where you belong. The fast sections I felt pretty fast, but I was marginal at best on the rooty and/or technical sections that pop up here and there throughout the course. One (barely) shining moment was at the log about 1/4 of the way in which is just big enough to make you (me) question riding or running it and I hit a perfect full speed cross dismount/remount to actually make up ground on a guy and then pass him.

The rest of the course was more of the same... good solid power where you could use it including a satisfying catch and pass going up the long drag from the pond, suspect bike handling when you needed some that wasn't. In the very last section up to the finish I spotted 2 guys up the trail and gunned for them, getting one in the final mud puddle and the other guy just saying ahead. Overall I think I passed 5 or 6 and I was passed by 2, but both were so early on that they had to have started very close behind me and been frickin flying. I didn't have a watch so I don't know my time yet. If I saw correctly when I looked over the lady's shoulder at the results I was 7th in the Sport 19-39. More or less as soon as I knew I wasn't top 5 and getting a wiffle ball bat or a tire off the prize table I blew out of there and didn't hang around to hear times. I'll withold final judgment until I see the times, but I can't say I was thrilled. I easily lost 30 seconds, probably more, to poor technical riding. I have to find me some of those bike handling skills I hear so much about.

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