A rough day in Leroy Township yesterday. Chagrin River Cycling put on the second annual Leroy Township Cyclocross race. Last year, I felt I did pretty well, and I was hoping for a nice repeat.
Warm ups went smooth. I was bunny hopping the barrier because it was only three inches high, they fixed that before the start of the A race though, and I was able to ride the whole course. The rains had moistened everything, the puddles were cold, and mud was found. I figured it would be another power course... which was fine with me, if I brought my power legs along.
30 or so lined up for the A race, with 8 from Spin, and Aussie Rob from the multisport team. I seem to be lining up second row pretty regularly... which I guess is silly, because I'm giving up all control of my start to the guy in front of me. It would be fine if I chose better, but I seem to not be that wise. Ray already posted about his start, and I was on his wheel. So, that put me WAY back... heading into the single track section (which probably could be classified as double track if I had nerve), the whole field was standing still as guys picked their way into the woods... hindsite says I should have dismounted and shouldered the bike across the ravine to get into the woods... I'm getting pretty good at that hindsite for the first lap also.
By the time I exited the woods, and could see the front of the race, they were 45seconds+ up the road. Not good. Then I started going backwards... as the power guys took off. Place by place, I think I lost 10 or more places in the course of two laps... then finally started to get things working again. Ten places is tough to make up, especially when some of them are 1/4 to 1/3 of a lap ahead of you when you actually start moving forward.
I was able to picked up three of those place, plus a couple of others as guys blew up from the effort. In the end I figured out how to ride the course reasonably well with 4 to go, though the entry to single track and the best way to handle the barrier/ditch crossing were puzzles that cost me time every lap. The barrier/ditch was the worst since I had it cold in warm up... and only cleared it the way I wanted in 1 of the 7 laps.
I got lapped with 2 and a half to go by the leading trio of Weeks, Adams and Martin, but held off the everyone else over the course of the remaining lap. Dropping 10 places and only getting back 5 really hurt. I'm still shocked I made the top 20 (in 19th place). Still far away from the personal goal of a top 10. Maybe if we go back to the days of A fields of only 15 guys...
...and worse yet... my legs are not sore today. Even when climbing my little commute hills. Am I sandbagging on myself?
I need to figure out how to ride my bike faster. How to decode those nasty technical puzzles so I don't loose huge time every lap. And mostly, how to ride to my potential so I am totally thrashed at the end of a race.
I'm not going to Cinci... which really hurts... so next up is the
Cross My Heart and Hope to Die Willoughby Cyclocross Spectacular on October 17th! Time to get some resolve going for that one.
Book Review: The Elite Bicycle
11 hours ago