Monday, February 28

Po Dee Uhm

Although I started the day ready for some fun...

photo cred: Mark Duffus

In a rash moment before the start I let my true emotional state creep in...

photo cred: Mark Duffus

I wasn't too sure about my "plan", but it was all I had, and I was going ahead with it. I made sure to get to the start line early since we were headed into an off camber festival of grass from the start, and I didn't want to get stuck behind too many "can't stop, won't stoppers."

photo cred: Mark Duffus

That's me lowering my front tire pressure due to what else? Peer pressure.

Southern Cross promoter Eddie O'dea stood just at the outermost point of earshot and announced...


"something unintelligible..."

And people started rolling down the hill. No one seemed to be sure if he said "go," "set," or "praise Jesus," but it was obvious the race was on, and there was no getting it back. I rolled down the hill, and jumped into the first corner in second place overall. Once we hit the first grassy climb I was shot back through the field a few places, but whenever the course went back down I was able to blow past the cross bike riders as they dragged their canti brakes hoping to not fly through the course tape.

By the time we hit the first major run-up I could see that Gerry "The Pflug" Pflug had already opened a sizable gap on the rest of the world. No worries for me since he decided to leave his SS at home that day. Once we hit the pavement out of the Montaluce Winery the real race was on.

I saw two single speed riders (Jimmy Deane and anon) get past me as they drafted our geared counterparts. I can not draft very well on the open road, and I just sat in waiting for a climb fight to break out. Once the road turned towards the sky I quickly reeled in the anon single speeder and made my way back up into the field until I could see Jimmy. He was riding with Todd Henne who was giving him the Dicky Primer 101.

"He's gonna sit back there and wait until he feels it, and then he'll go off."

Jimmy looked back down the road for me, and when I saw his head turned I gave him a polite wave back. I was feeling pretty good... in a relative manner.

When the pitch got super steep I saw Jimmy pop off the bike and start walking, so I chose this moment to go. My 38X19 was proving a bit much, but it was not the time to let it show. As I passed Jimmy less than one hour after the start I realized that with a field of 20 or so single speeders I did not want the lead so early in the race. It's just not how I ever do things... at least when I do them right.

photo cred: Mark Duffus

Towards the top of the first major climb the road was getting super steep. I couldn't see anybody riding ahead of me. Everybody was walking up the road, and as determined as I was to ride the whole course (minus the CX run-ups), I bailed. When I was almost at the top of the climb I was able to remount, but moments later single speeder John Karrasch came past me. Meh.

I had to stop at the first aid station since I was way out of liquids. About ten minutes earlier I had unscrewed the lid of my bottle in order to pour the remaining contents down my mouth. It was obvious that my single bottle between aid stations was going to have me running on the lean side all day. After I just missed the aid station, I swung back around to it and stopped to look for my drop bag. John continued on, and he kept his gap back to me around twenty seconds... until the first big descent of the day.

I decided it was time to play. Even though the there was no point, I gassed it when I could in order to close the gap down. When I saw my opening I took the inside line and passed him to let him know I was back in the race, and he and I went back and forth all the way down the mountain. We wuz racing.

When we got to the bottom we pulled along side of each other, and John introduced himself. He didn't seem to know we were at the front, so I didn't bother to make that public knowledge. I asked him if we should be all smart and stuff and work a paceline, but neither he nor I liked doing that "racer thing" all that much on gravel, and trying to keep a paceline working with two single speed riders with different gears is just annoying anyways. Although we drafted at times we spent much of our time between the two bumps on the course profile riding side by side.

Unbeknownst to us, Kelly Klett came into the first aid station slightly behind us. When he was informed that he was in third, he got a nice mental boost from that nugget of happy. He started his gallant chase, his unabashed pursuit of the two guys riding at a semi-conversational pace to the base of the next climb... doh.

Once the second major climb commenced John left me behind. I emptied my bottle again, and I worried a bit about the possibility of cramping as I chased after him. This time I went closer to twenty minutes with an empty bottle before I rolled back into an aid station. John had to stop this time, so we would be leaving the aid station around the same time. That is, until I saw the cans of Pringles....

I grabbed a can of Pringles and poured out a three inch stack of compressed potato sawdust as I watched John roll back out onto the course. Seconds later I saw the inspired Kelly round the corner with no intentions of stopping at the aid station at all. First became second became third in the blink of an eye.

I ate my stack of Pringles like a sandwich, and moved up on the RPM's to make chase. My legs weren't having it. I had no idea I would need that much liquid to avoid cramps on such a short course. I never anticipated the demands of the higher effort, and of course I left my mustard and electrolytes safe on the shelf at home. Exlax.

My calf would have none of this silliness. Any real effort and it would lock up immediately. I stopped looking ahead and started looking over my shoulder for pursuing riders while I tried to catch up on my hydration. I felt like I was nearing the finish, but I came up to a course marshal who informed me that I was still six miles from the end. I was out of liquid again, and I knew unless Kelly or John were having similar issues, third was as good as it would get.

When I finally got back to the winery I knew Eddie was gonna bagel punch us with another cyclocross course, complete with calf ripping run-ups. He did not disappoint, and I wanted to punch him in the balls as soon as I saw him at the finish line.

So anyways...

Kelly managed to catch John and take the "W." John rolled in for second, and I tumbled off my high horse all the way back to third.

More tomorrow.

Shit. I almost forgot to mention...

Today is the last day to register for the Trans-Sylvania Epic before the price increase. The TSE Registration Incentive Package is still around as well... until it's not.


John said...

bitchin race. i think my neck is sore from looking over my shoulder every 2 minutes.

my version:

Andrea said...

Take me off the Metamucil list or I'm gonna tell everyone what bike you're getting.

Anonymous said...

Hell, most of us have already seen pictures of it if you google correctly.

Good job on hitting the podium.

SS29er said...

Sounds like it was a great race! Way to go on the podium finish.

Anonymous said...

This week's prediction:
New frame will have both bike stopping toe strike and rear tire clearance so small it's difficult to fit a cross tire.