Friday, November 16, 2012

Same Old

This is not going to end well for Paul
Not much new going on here. Kind of in that lull part of the season. Still a ton of races and racing and riding including the weekly CX practice we do on Tuesday nights, but now we are plunged into the deep darkness that is late fall just south of the 45th parallel. Well, actually we are a ways south, more like 42.49 degrees north to be precise. Anyhow, my point is that it gets dark frickin' early these days and as such, most riding is done in said darkness. In fact, it's basically dark when I get out of work and it won't be long before it's still dark as I'm going to work. Tough time of year round these parts, not to mention parts further north.

Race wise, there have been a whole host that we have attended. Orchardcross was the last SSCX race and that was a great time, despite the fairly miserable weather all day. After that was the weekend of bigger races at Northampton. Without going into to much detail, day one went pretty well. Despite not feeling all that great I managed to get away early with Paul R. and we rode the race together, getting a little breathing room on the field. I tried a few digs but couldn't get away from Paul and he cleaned my clock in the sprint at the finish.

Cathy had an incredible day though and spent a bunch of time leading until a wheel overlap put her on the ground and back a bunch. She chased he way steadily back though for a solid finish.

The mud run-up by which all others will now be judged
Sunday was a different story. Going into the race I thought that I was feeling pretty good. Legs felt OK and I was motivated. As soon as we started though, I could tell I'd been mistaken. I just didn't have the same punch that I'd had the day before and despite numerous attempts I just couldn't open a gap. The course changed a bit and apparently those little changes changed the flow entirely. I found that the only place to really gain ground was on the run-up, so that is what I did. I'd attack on it to try and whittle the group down. It worked transforming a train of about ten to five and then four and eventually two, Marky G. and I. We rode it hard that lap, which was the next to last lap and made some ground. Unfortunately I rode a little too aggressively and rolled the rear tire. Fortunately I got it back on and limped to the pit, which wasn't that far away, but I lost about 30 seconds and the lead group and also went from 1st to about 12th. On the final lap I went as hard as I could. That got me as far as 7th, which I had to sprint like mad for.

One interesting note, going from a SRAM equipped disc brake bike with a Fizik saddle to a Shimano equipped rim brake bike with carbon wheels and a Selle Flite saddle felt very, very odd. So much so that I'll never do it again. There is something to be said for having identical bikes. Wish that I could justify a matched pair.

Last weekend we decided that we would only race one day, Saturday. This would leave a weekend day entirely devoid of bike racing for the first time since Labor Day. On Saturday we headed down for day one of the Plymouth cyclocross weekend. The course was changed from years past and instead of starting at Plymouth South HS it started at the grade school behind. Though similar to past courses, some dramatic changes were added. A ton of side-hill ride-ups were added with lots of sweeping turns. There was also a calf deep mud section with a steep mud climb from Hell. I chose to race the elite race, assuming nobody was going to show up. Should have known though that a whole bunch of folks would show up. The start was a bit chaotic as the young kids really like to race aggressively. Guess they haven't learned that crashing is expensive both to the gear and oneself. Regardless, I had a respectable race finishing strongly in the top ten, the top 45+ racer and the second masters racer overall. Not expected but very pleased. I must admit though, the extra 20 minutes of racing hurt like heck. Cathy had another good race as well finishing strong and riding hard, as always.

Sunday started with a good breakfast and then Cathy built a monster lasagna and I cut of and piled the remainder of the trees that we lost during the Sandy storm. That consisted of a big spruce tree and a monster maple trunk. My legs and back were already a tad sore from the previous day's activity and that manual labor compounded it somewhat. From there we had organized a nice social group road ride with a bunch of friends including Cathy, Kyle, Ben, Matt, Mike, John and Michael. The ride was great and it was good to be on the bike for more than an hour at a time for a change. This time of year, what with cyclocross racing and training, long rides don't really happen all that often. The first 3 hours felt great. The last hour however, was torture. It turned into a full blown death march. We finished though and got in about 80 miles at a respectable pace. A lasagna feast awaited us. It was a great day for sure.

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