Wendy Park was this weekend. It's close enough to home, that I went out Saturday morning and did a cross workout with a buddy. We rode the "course" from last year, as well as I could remember. I got two flats... the best was as we were slowly going around the course for the first time, I said "Watch this edge on the transition to the pavement to the litehouse. Lots of flats here both years... um, just like I just did." Ended up with lots of work in sand. I then stopped at Spin Bike Shop, my team sponsor, and Wendy Park race promoter, to get a new tube, and found out: The course was going the other way, and there would be no beach section. It would be a roadie type course, wide open with lots of twisty bits at the end to aid scoring.
I arrived Saturday morning, and sure enough... it was pretty wide open, went in the opposite direction, had lots of twisty bits... but someone had put in a long beach section. There were two sandy bits, a short one that required left turn, sand, left turn in quick succession. Then over a double barrier, the right turn to a hockey stick shaped beach length. Very long, with a grassy short hill transition back to grass straights.
OK, the secrets. First, I guess I'm pretty good in sand. After last weekends race, I think I can make up some short coming in fitness with technical strengths. I may not have the raw horse power of the group I was racing with, but I was able to finesse the bike through the single track to make up for that. The sand at Wendy proved that even more. Since Cross is about "not loosing time", I could gain on guys that lost time in the sand and make them use energy to bring me back. In fact, I think I was also faster through the twisty bits than the others in my group. And I also used an Ernesto trick... I had a secret line through there that I would only use when the other guys could not see it. Sneaky me.
Lap one, I got a good start, not great but good enough to keep me in the top 20 this time. I was in front of the carnage, bike breakage in the gravel, but should have known enough to run the first two sand sections. I did not, and lost places there when others went down in front of me.
The rest of the race was a blur, eventually I ended up in a group that looked a lot like last week. Except that one of the guys I was fighting with last week was the breakage of bikage in lap one.
I haven't seen the results yet, but I'm guessing we did about 9 laps. I cleaned the sand in 5 of the 9. Lap one was a mess. Later, I was fighting it out with Eric Lesko, and bumped him out of my way as I went between him and the trash can (that was a good lap). A couple laps later, he made the comment "How do you get through the sand so well... ". I smiled... and said "Practice I guess". Of course the next lap I couldn't get out of my own way, with Eric behind me... "Um, Not like that." I also got tied up when lapping another guy. He was apologetic, and I should have been ready or called for space as I came up on him.
I found I was faster through all the technical sections even than the mountain bikers. And no one used my line, except for me. So I didn't want to give it away... and only used it when I needed to make up some ground. I'll keep that on in the jersey pocket for the finish.
So Eric flatted out, and I'm fighting for it with team mate Dave and 2 others. Three laps to go. If I can get to the beach first, I think I can open enough of a gap to take all of them. I'm first into the twisty bits before the start line, and I'm thinking to much about the beach and hit the ground. Crap, I get up fast enough to not loose and spots, but I had to adjust my shoe... and it sucked a little out of me. I go shoulder to shoulder with one guy heading toward the next obstacle, and he backs it off to follow me through.
I get to the beach first, and it's good, when I decide to push it all out! I went to change my hand position... and totally went over the bars. I lost places to the other two guys there... got it going again, with Dave on my wheel. We went in chase.
On the final lap the gap was closing, and I planned on using my secret line to get close enough to sprint for the finish. When Dave came around me right before the last entry. He was going to run it hard to get the next guy but misjudged something, and stacked it right in front of me... or beside me, either way. I was just thinking how far to the left will I have to go to not run his bike over.... I used my line, but there was no way I would make up the ground as the two were working for the sprint also.
I can't blame Dave for my finish spot. Really that one bad lap threw out my chances at those two places. I think I ended in about 16th or so. Still in the mid-pack, but I'm super happy with that result. I finished in front of people I have never beaten before.... for whatever reason. Overall a really good race.
I also decided to run the PowerTap during the race since I did not want to risk expensive tubular tires on Wendy's glassy surfaces. Surprisingly, I did not get any new max power numbers, and in fact thought I smoothed out the efforts overall. I ended up with a lot of 800watt jumps, but the 60min power was only about 250.
Whatever all that means... I don't know. Maybe my power numbers say I should be racing with the B's. Or maybe I can bring them up in two weeks for the Stark Kent State Race.
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