I guess I am supposed to blog. Right.
Saturday I was not going to race, but then I did. Never done Velocross so thought I should check it out. Plus my little foray into the Cat 3′s has been refreshing, and its back to Verge Masters from here on out, soooo.
I got the race with just time for a preride lap. Not ideal but whatever. They called us up by reg order, which was bad for me, but I slid up to 2nd row, though on the outside of the track which was not ideal. Off we go and my usual sprint into the top 7 did not work, as EVERYONE was slaying it. Odd. 3/4 around the track and then onto the infield intestinal tract. I could tell the front was about to CHECK OUT, and Nate Morse was there, and he is fast. And, um, 16. But whatever, he looks very manly.
So I decided to get aggressive and I dove on the inside of every corner and just pedaled my way out of them and move people. It worked pretty well, people seemed inclined to give me room, or whatever, but it worked and I did not have to really move anyone. I even got encouragement from behind, with someone yelling “Way to stick it in there”. Was pretty fun.
I popped out of the chicane and hit the barriers and of course struggled with the clip in up the track, and slotted in somewhere in the top 10. I think I made up 5-10 spots on those corners.
Into the woods and I made a few more passes. Course was fun, velodrome, woods, BMX track, it had it all in a very very short lap. I think we may have done 8 laps! I never looked.
Few laps in I had separated myself and was solo in I think 5th or so. Held that for a lap or two, then a group was dangling behind me with 3 to go. As I went up the steep ride up, I hit 55 lappers and one stalled out and fell ON TOP OF ME pinning me under him while the group of 4 caught and went through me. Argh.
I chased back onto them, got thru three of them, then next lap SAME THING! Had to run again. I chased back up to 3rd in the group, and last time up the hill I had to run yet again. I was fast after the hill but having to run it ruined my speed there and I never closed the gap down. I held of the 4th fellow and got 8th.
Off to Shedd Park for Lowell, one of my favorite races. Lining up by CXresults points was nice too, though they put all the juniors in the front row so I ended third row. Same sort of start, on the track, and me outside line (by choice though, the inside line at Shedd can get messy). I gave it some gas after everyone settled down, and moved up into maybe top 15. We got to the stupid tree turn that is so wide and so easy and of course, even that far up, everyone acts like a cat 3 and pushes someone over followed by every one running into them from behind, rather than attempt to use their brakes and stay on their bikes.
I go tight to tree, cause that is my line, and people fall INTO the corner, right? I had to unclip but I tripod’ed around the tree and launched out and then it was pretty well strung out up the hill and the rabble was still riding headlong into the pile at the tree without braking, hence creating a larger pile up (check the threshold vid’s from the back of the pack – total shit show). I really don’t understand why the 3′s are so eager to get off their bicycles in a bike race, and why they can’t see a pile up and modulate their speed, rather than just RAMMING SPEED right into the fray. Sigh.
Up the bumpy hill and people are already fading. I am on 34 Fangos at 22# and went around the bumpy bogged down crowd smoothly. I rolled up on a nice group into the barriers and felt pretty fresh. I was talking to someone about something, so I know I wasn’t out of breath.
I pretty much stayed on wheels for a couple laps cause it was windy and lots of power sections out there. I felt faster down the hill and around the tennis courts, and up to the sidewalk. The track was tough, I don’t like the loose corner you take to drop onto the track, I don’t know why, so I was not able to half wheel the guy in front of me to mitigate their sprint up to speed, and had to dig pretty hard to get on the wheels and enjoy some draft. I certainly lack the wattage of the front pack of 3′s, no different than Masters, only the 3′s seem to hit it much harder getting up to speed.
I think we caught up to the main chase group for a lap, and the next time thru I lost the wheel up the first ride up. I was feeling that. I feel like my fitness/cardio is up but my wattage is down from a long season of racing only, no rides on the road. I struggled up that, as I did for EIGHT LAPS at Velocross. Boo. So I spent a lap chasing that group, that was 2 to go. Normally I like to rest and race the group I am with on 2 to go, so I can beat them on the last lap. Since I was soooo close and the group behind was 10 seconds or so, I kept digging, thinking if I could close on them in the woods, I would get towed around on the track and then GAME ON. Alas, I did not make it, so when I hit the track I dialed it back so I would have some legs for the climb. I felt I could make more of a difference on the climb than on the track, plus I saw Adam Whitney had come thru the group and gapped them and was chasing solo. I would not consider him a power rider, so thought I could take the track easier and not lose time to him.
He had some gas in the tank and I was dieing a bit on the ride ups and he caught me in the trench of Lowellenburg, and onto the sidewalk. Luckily, he came right around me off the side walk so I didn’t have to make a move to get him to lead. Sweet. I guess having just closed down on me made him think I was dieing. Excellent. I sat right the hell on thru the woods and onto the track, resting. I was pretty excited to have it go down to a sprint, and with a skinny little mountain biker no less! Of anyone in that field, Adam is probably the guy I would pick to sprint with (he is faster than me in M35s, but doesn’t look like a sprinter).
Unfortunately, the track at Lowell is all corner, no straight. I wanted to dive inside him but he shut that down, then I went wide but he slid “up” the track wide as well, his tires and the soft surface pushing both of us wide. I had dropped gears and was waiting to launch, after leading out the last couple sprints and getting owned. So I got up the speed and came around the outside but man we were getting really wide, and it was wet and soft and I was on low pressure and we were in the corner the whole damn time!
The track straightens a touch to the line so I got it back up straight and kept on it and hit him with a strong bike throw, and was pretty sure I had him by a few inches in the throw. But not totally sure. I was on the officials side, heck I was almost in their lap, we went so wide, and that usually favors you (being an official myself). But I had it. Sure enough, results had me in 8th in the 3′s, 9th overall as Nate Morse was 5th, fastest junior. I guess only 1 kid beat me, I’ll take it!
So ends our journey down to the 3′s. Good times. Fun racing at the front that is for sure. Now back to carrying the lunch in the M35s for Sterling and NBX. Then a full week at Nationals, 3 races and 3 TTs (STUPID). Then I will do the double at NEW ENGLAND CHAMPIONSHIPS! They even have single speed! Then I will pack on 10 pounds again and do nothing till April.
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