Sunday, October 5, 2008

decisions of the day.

It was really really tempting. I'm still wondering if that would have been the better decision. I decided to try Peter's method of racing. In a hung over state at 7:45 am I swore a couple times, filled the travel mug with very strong coffee and put the cross bike on the roof. Destination, the Hillbilly Hustle Cross.

This was my first attempt at cross. I did watch a few clips on youtube a couple days just to get an idea of what I was in for. I'd already decided I'd race in Master 3, knew a few people in this division from O-cup and figured the last thing I needed to hear was sandbagger by racing in beginner.

Thanks to Mark Matthews for babysitting the Molly Monster and grabbing some photos. I was a little later getting to the venue than planned but managed to get a bit of a warm up in. Sitting in the start loop I was very content to start at the back. Before the race I got a few tips about staying with the lead pack because gaps are hard to bridge. Ok no worries, tuck in the group for a lap or two then see how things feel. Great race plans last about 10 seconds in my life.

After a few words of be nice to me I'm new and a few return comments of hope you brought lube since they all planned to hurt me we were off. After the abuse I took from Paul's Dirty Enduro I really didn't want to be abused again. As mentioned my race plan lasted about 10 seconds. Heading up the start climb I'm sitting on first wheel witha gap already spreading to the other riders. Now I thought I rode the whole course in warm up, not even close. We head around the school bus where there was a picnic table full of empties, flashbacks to the night before. We come into a short little singletrack section next thing you know I'm leading.

In through the downhill section I'm now pulling away. Yep there goes the game plan completely. Coming into the uphill barriers and remembering what I saw on tv I continued to spread the gap. I'm thinking hey this is not that bad.

Finished the first lap feeling good, then I blew up. There is no rest in Cyclocross. Usually at this amount of time into a XC race I've hit a couple singletrack sections where I recover, on the road I can tuck in the pack and catch a draft. Not out here. Halfway through the 2nd lap I got caught by a guy from Bikesports. I thought that might be a good thing so I had someone to try and pace off but he rode past me like I was one of the barriers. This lap really hurt but this is also my normal feeling in a race. The next lap and a half I kept a steady pace. I kept looking over my shoulder.

I now realize why you don't see battle cages on most cross bikes, it's impossible to drink. My legs started to come back on the 4th lap and I started to figure out where I can recover on the course. The hurt started to be a fun hurt. The really cool thing about cross is how spectator friendly the course is. People don't have to move far to cheer everyone on in different parts of the course.

Coming into the final lap I pushed as hard as I could. Roughly 10 minutes left and I can fall over and die. One more time up the hill and I'm done. I crossed the line in 2nd place. I was pretty stoked about that. Oh and I'm now hooked on this abusive sport. I'm going to race one more race in M3 just to gain a bit more experience then I'll move up to M2 and see how it goes.

Some of the other highlights of the day. Brett Matthews took 3rd in his first ever cross race. Looks like his Dad will be buying another bike from him. Brett's still representing the MCC but will be riding for JetPower next season also. This kid is getting really fast.

In the Elite division it was a battle of the best. Andrew Watson who is the defending Hillybilly Champion would be defending his title against Mike Garrigan who is the current National Champion. Watching these guys hammer the course was awesome. Mike ended up tweaking a wheel on the 2nd lap when he tried to bunnyhop a barrier, this is when Andrew passed him and never looked back. A bike change for Mike but the damage was done. Andrew continued to put about 30 seconds in Mike every lap and held on to his crown for another year.

Round 2 of the day was the Mountainview Race the Night that turned to a ride the night. It was a disappointment that the event was cancelled. We still have 10 people show for the ride.

Lee explaining the theory on atom splitting???

Are those aliens in the woods?

Greg doing his first ever night ride, I think he is hooked.

I played on the singlespeed for the first time. Lots of fun, kept trying to shift gears on the hills. Today is a day of rest, recovery and maybe that plate of bacon.

More pics from the cross race later.

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