Monday, November 5, 2012

Sunny and Sixty

Again a big thanks to Fred Jordan
 for the awesome photos

This past weekend was the start for the West
Pennsylginia cyclocross season, with Kick Off Cross in Point Marion being the first in the ABRA cyclocross series, and Month of Mud's cyclocross race in North Park.. After a hard fought couple days in Baltimore For Charm City cross I was hoping for some better results locally, now that I have had some time to do some cross specific drills and training.

As I was loading up the car to head to Kick Off Cross I noticed that the thermometer in car read 27 degrees, and was thinking to my self now this is 'cross weather.  After I arrived at the park, I grab a bite to eat, and head over to pick up my numbers and sign in. from registration I see my team-mate Jeff's truck and head over to find Jeff and Rick Plowman adjusting the saddles on the tandem JR was lending them, thinking this will be interesting to watch them try to race this with no practice. I watch the first lap of the cat 4 race then remembered I had to get a move on as i was going to be racing the single speed class which was up next.
 As with last year on the nice day and where the course wasn't mud I brought out the gorilla suit and raced in it, it seemed pretty early to break it out but with such a nice day and a dry course I wasn't sure when I would get to next. I got back to the car suited up and spun around on my 36 year old bike which i had converted to single speed last season. in the gorilla suit I rolled down to my team mate's Derek and Anne to see if she is ready for her first 'cross race, Anne will be racing the same time as me since the single speeds, start with the women. In gorilla suit I manage to freak out a few dogs.  I get back to the course to see the finish of the cat 4 field, a little while after the first few riders finished and the course opened up I go spin around the course and try to familiarise myself with it.  At this point it was about 60 degrees or so and in the suit I was already sweating a good bit and dreading having to go the full 45 in it but I was committed to finish the race in the suit. 
I lined up at the Back of the field after call ups figuring a repeat of last time wearing it and being lapped by almost everyone. At the back of the field with the cat 4 women telling them they shouldn't lose to a gorilla,  after the whistle blow we were off and I was content just to go along at a easy pace and not push to hard with a second race later on in the day. I got a little carried away the first lap and started moving up through the back of the field a little bit. after the first couple laps I eventually caught Greta's wheel and she was setting a comfortable pace for me and I sat there for a while, while just trying to keep up I could here some spectators telling her that she had a monkey on her back (that made it all worth it to race in the suit). I eventfully passed Greta on the run up and started to catch the next woman in front of me which was wearing a Pathfinder Kit, unsure at the time who I was actually following but she had a bit more of a kick coming out of the turns then Greta did and I had to push a little harder to keep up but I sat on her wheel for a while just trying not to over cook myself before the next race. I got around the Pathfinder rider and saw that just ahead was another ride so I pushed a little hard to try and catch them but not long after I started gaining some ground the strap holding the goggles in the mask in place snapped I had to stop and remove the mask since it was becoming a hazard since I couldn't see. as I was stopped both the Pathfinder rider and Greta passed me back up. I got lapped on my last lap by the top 8 riders in the single speed class, a lot less than I had thought would.

The 3/4 race I was a little anxious since it was my first time racing the higher category and wasn't sure how it would end up. We got going I started within the last couple rows of the field but made it up to the top 50% by the time the dust settled. About half way through the race I was leading a group of 3-8 riders I realised this when I clipped a gas line marker and was launched from my bike, my bike went to the outside of the tape on the inside of the turn and I had landed and rolled outside the tape on the outside of the turn, saving me from being ran over. As I laid there trying to catch my breath and focus on trying to get back into the race, I scrambled to my bike dodging riders diving through the turn and hurried up the run up. I had landed on my hip harder than I had thought, it made running a pain. I was soon at the back of the field only a couple of people behind me and was trying to keep the behind me and work on the riders slipping away. I soon realised that this was futile and couldn't find the motivation to put the power down, and just settled into a rhythm to finish the race.