Monday, 15 October 2012

Race Report - Moncton Double Header 13/14 October

First race(s) of the season, and I'm very happy with the results.

It was a double header in Moncton, NB with the first race taking place at a cycling park at dusk, with the next happening the next day across town at noon.

Muddy Wheels - Saturday 13 October

Course:  Mix of grass with short wet sections and sections of gravel hiking trail.  Fast rolling sections with swooping turns, uphill barriers, and tight twisty sections.

Weather:  8-10 degrees, moderate winds, clear skies.

Bike Setup:  XG tubulars 26 psi front / 28 psi rear.

The race:  I was a little sore from a fall during the warmup.  I started 3 or 4 rows back.  Very good start.  My downfall last year was trying to clip in while I hammered away at the start.  I could never find the pedal and lose 5-10 positions while my cleat searched for the pedal.  This year, took the extra 1/2 second to confirm clipping in, then took off.  A good start in 'cross is critical.   This course especially, since about 30 second into the race, there was a dismounted bottleneck followed by a technical section.  To be stuck mid-pack in that mess would have been bad.  This was my kind of course.  I really enjoy faster sections where you carry speed into the corners, putting trust in your tires.  This is where the tubulars shine.  I managed 8th place and finishing on the lead lap.  Felt great at the end, which is a bad thing.  I could have given more on the last lap and maybe gained another position.  I didn't win a draw prize.  Boo.  0/1.

Centennial Park - Sunday 14 October

Course:  Wet grass, gravel fire road, single track with lots of roots, dismounted stair climb.

Weather:  2-4 degrees, cloudy, mist and drizzle.

Bike Setup:  XG tubulars 26 psi front / 28 psi rear.

The race:  Still sore from the day before.  Started 3 rows back.  Start was good again with a solid clip in.  However, the first turn was a hard 120 degree hairpin and I chickened out.  I let up early which allowed 5-6 rides so scream up the inside for the turn.  The bottleneck then came at the technical section  about 30 seconds later - single track with roots - lots of roots.  I lost a lot of time here as I suck at technical riding (mental note - buy mountain bike in the spring).  Later in the first lap, I crashed.  There was a sand pile, approx 2-3 feet tall.  During the warmup, I could ride over it....but by the time the race happened, there was a huge groove down the centre.  My crank/bottom bracket got stuck and I went over the handlebars.  I sliced my knee open and twisted it.  I didn't know how bad until the drive home (more on that later).  After the fall, I dismounted and ran over the sand pile - which was also bad, as it gummed up my cleats and I couldn't clip back in quickly enough - sometimes still fumbling as I reached the next section of turns - not good.  By the end of the race I was tired.  I could no longer do the remount I had so happily been doing the night before...back to the mini-skip and jump.  My leg was sore, I was cold - not having much fun by the end.  I still managed 15th, but could have done better had I not lost so much time from crashing and pedal searching.  I didn't win any draw prizes - 0/2.

Some miscellaneous points:

1)  Love the embrocation.  It totally works.  My legs felt great (except for the knee).  The only downfall, it collects dirt and you really need to scrub after a race.  That and my legs were on fire in the hotel room after the 1st race.  I may have used too much :)  I'll never go back to leg warmers - they feel too constrictive.

2)  Tubulars rock.  The Boyd carbons were bulletproof.  I was bouncing off those roots like no tomorrow, but the rims held up.  I love the traction in the corners - although I'm still learning their traction limits, so I was timid to really push it in some sections.  The Vittoria XG's did well in mixed conditions, although I probably would have benefited with a true mud tire on Sunday.

3)  My technical riding sucks.  I really need to learn how to navigate ridable obstacles better.  The more often you get off your bike, the more chance you have of gumming up your cleats, which loses time as you try to clip in.

4)  Use the big ring when you can.  On Saturday, I was in the big ring the whole race.  I could really put the power down, especially in the faster sections.  On Sunday, I stayed in small ring.  I probably would have benefited from going to the big ring in the faster sections.

The knee:  Its pretty slashed up, not sure how I did that.  Maybe caught it on a brake arm, or some rocks on the ground.  I also twisted it a bit - as I went over the bars and the bike came with me - my feet  didn't unclip.  Pretty swollen now with a bit of fluid in there.  Ice on and off for the rest of the week with maybe a spin on the rollers Tues or Wed to loosen it up.

All in all, a very fun weekend.  I'm very happy with my finishes in the top category.  7 more weekends to go.  Next weekend is Woolastook.  Its a fun venue - another fast one - but with some sand pits put in the mix.  Can't wait.

Some photos from Saturday Evening - courtesy of Don Ricker - he does awesome work (and he let me try out his Surley Pugsley- freaking amazing bike - I want one!!)

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