Monday, October 29, 2012

Washington Park Cx

Yay! After a two week hiatus I was back racing cx again this weekend. Two weeks ago the race in the Milwaukee area was cancelled due to storms coming and a concerned parks department. Last week was a secret mountain bike race of which I had to pull out of after a lap and a half because my still healing broken pinky didn't like climbing on a single speed or being slammed into a tree. But this week I was back suffering on the cx bike.

The Washington Park costume race course doesn't change much from year to year and I don't think it should. It is one of the best courses for going all out and hitting your limits and then mixing in technical stuff to catch your breath. Match that up with all the rain we have gotten recently, a sunny day, and a bunch of nuts riding in costumes, and you have a recipe for a great time.

I wavered heavily on what to dress up as this year but landed on something simple yet creepy. With a week old mustache, some Just for Men--Black, a pair of cheap aviators, I was "Undercover Marc." I couldn't wear the aviators all day because they were giving me a headache but the the picture below gives you the idea.
photo courtesy of Kate
It was so creepy that when grabbing dinner with friends after the race people had a hard time looking me in the face!

I had a weak start again, but it wasn't horrible. I made up a lot of spots in the first quarter mile. For the first half of the race I was moving up and going back and forth with a few guys. One guy passed me and after a lap I couldn't hold his wheel. That was frustrating, and it looks like he placed pretty well in the end. 

Eventually Jake caught up to me and for a couple of laps we road together. 
photo courtesy of Kate

At one point, we were working through some lapped traffic and he got a little gap on me but I started to close it down again. That is when my leg cramped a little and decided to stay straight when I needed to bend it to go over the first uphill barrier. My foot caught the barrier and I hit the ground hard. Real hard. I got up and starting going again but with a lap and a half left, my aspirations of catching Jake were over.

At the same time, I think I gave some hope to the guys behind me, so I still did my best to lay down some power for the rest of the race. In the end I was 9th. Not a great placing again, but top ten in a pretty deep field. I have two, maybe three, more races to see if I can get back up to top five. I think I can.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Cross the Domes

Wait, how am I taking a picture of myself while racing? Well, I am not. That is my friend Ryan. He and his wife came to town this weekend to visit and so he took part in his first cx race. Luckily, we are pretty much the same height so he could use one of my bikes and borrow a thermal skinsuit. I have to say it was a little weird seeing a guy out on the course who looked a lot like me.

During his race it was in the low 40's and by the time my race came around it seemed like the temps had dropped even further. Oddly enough I got a call up to the front row for the start, but so did a bunch of other guys. I was in the dead middle and because so many guys were trying to be in the front row, the bars of the guys on both sides of me were jammed up next to mine. I had no idea how I was going to start with people that close.

When the whistle blew I let the guys on both sides of me shoot forward and then I started. It was a bad start. I went from top 8 to 20 something by the time we hit the grass. In the first 1/4 mile I worked hard to get back up near the front. I got close. I must of gotten back up to 11th but I couldn't close the gap to the next group. For a full lap I just hung in limbo, trying to get up to them. Then a guy passed me quick and I didn't react fast enough and he bridged the gap (he also kept moving up).

I had an okay race. I never gave up and tried to track down Angry Andy who was just in front of me but every time I was about to close the gap he would give a little surge too. It isn't the placement I wanted, but the competition is great in the 35+ 1,2,3's this year. What did go great was riding my new bike that Ryan and I finished building Thursday. Check it out here. It rides wonderfully. (the pics don't show that silver Thomson stem is now on the bike) Also, enjoy these videos of the race that Ryan shot.

This is from the 2nd or 3rd lap. Only watch the first 12 seconds. The rest is Ryan trying to get more footage.

This comes from around lap 3 or 4 of 7. I thought the course was awesome, super rough in spots, but the layout was cool. This video has content the full time.