It's the first big cyclocross race of the season. Spin had some issues with the Wednesday night series... and it was canceled. So that threw a new wrench in the training plans. This was the girls weekend in Columbus, so my son and I got to go to the Columbus Cap City race. He was the team photographer for the day, and I get to race. Here's how it went:
Thurs Night: Mounted the Michelin muds on the Ksyrium elites for race day. Figured I'd take three wheel sets. Muds, Grifo Challenge Tubies, and Ritchey Speedmax.
Fri: Front mud is flat. Can only fit 2 wheel sets... 3 wheels actually. Spare rear for trainer, and one spare set in the vehicle, one set on the bike. Leave the speedmax behind.
Get to hotel and pump up the tubies to take the bike to the room. I ended up doing about 15min on the spin bike, while trying to make this trip at least some fun for my son... who only gets to hang with dad over the two days while everyone else gets to have the planned fun.
Sat: Front tub is totally flat. Find a shop to see if I can pick up some latex to plug the leak. No luck, though the wrench does find the thorn that causes the flat, we decide to leave it in for now.
Get to the venue with an hour to spare. The front tub is totally flat. Looks like I only have a spare rear today. Replace the front tube in the muds so I can race.
Do the uphill half the course warm up before the B race starts, still have to see the single track part. It's relentless course with lots of grass climbs, and some single track. It's all up and then all down with some nice loops and a double entry pit. Sit on the trainer for a bit of warm up then hop on the course (still during the race) to see the rest of the course.
I'm getting into the barriers real nice and smooth, but my remount is pretty hard. I've got to get that dialed a bit more. It seems that I'm jumping to high, and moving to much side to side... so the rear wheel kind of scrunches and scrubs on landing.
Besides the course profile (see the HRM data), features include a single barrier at the bottom of 20m climb to the line. Most people are running this. Another steep 30m run up out of the single track. I guess it's ridable if you have the gear and a clear shot at it. I didn't have the gear. A double barrier after a gravel climb, near the other pit entry. A set of 3 nice off camber up and downs that were real fun when the approach was right... the last was tough to maintain momentum on. Then a down hill sweeping turn that directed you very close to a picnic table (that would be fixed to the ground, steel picnic table) right before the single barrier start finish.
23 A racers including MANY super fast guys. Before I lined up I was thinking top 10.... At the line, I'm second row behind Sean Adams. Bad, BAD choice. At the whistle... we're 10-15 back before he's clipped in. Then I realize this is a DOWNHILL start.... straight to the single track. The organizers could have done so much better starting us on the other side of the pit heading up hill.... jockey for position, I'm on the right side of the field as we go across 2 drainage pipe crossings, the pipes packed in gravel which is not buried. I unweight the rear as we cross the first one, but by the time I enter the single track I know I've got a flat. less than 500m into the race... and I'm flat.
If this was the front, I'd have gone home right then. With the rear, I continue to ride the single track, telling everyone to just get by me... I'm flat. At the run up exit to the single track, I'm the last guy in the field. I try to ride the flat on the grass a bit... but this is a clincher. So I pick the bike up and start running/walking. Then all the ladies (they started a minute back) pass me. I do my best to stay out of the way.
I'm behind everyone. Some guy says "shouldn't you be riding the bike". Thanks for the encouragement. Do a sloppy rear tire change... I do shift the gear into the twelve to get the wheel in and out well, but I neglect to reshift it up... so when I remount on a hill I'm grinding way to big a gear, loosing even more time. As I'm coming out of the pit, the leaders are now a half lap ahead of me... oh look! I never started my HRM.
I try to now just catch as many as I can. One women, a few more, then one guy. Then I get lapped with 5 to go.... out of 9 (I did 8). That totally killed my motivation. It's been a 2 minute race, and now I'm doing a 60+ minute training ride.
Women are doing 45 minutes. I catch all but 2, which I may have been able to catch as well as maybe one or two more guys... if I could have gotten myself motivated to push through everything. Once I wasn't in last place, I just did a hard $20 workout. I was lapped by maybe 10 guys...
HRM data shows the profile... though I started the timer shortly after the place I thought the race should have started. I also missed the start and all my running data. Green lines are elevation, blue are speed, red are the heart rate.
Not the way I wanted to start my cross season. Things I did right are much smaller than the things that I did wrong. Though outside factors also were a part, a big part was my response to them. Seems like DRAMA is my story this year... maybe it's me.
Ask me about the rest of this story sometime. I've only written the low drama part so far...
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