Saturday, November 28, 2009

Bay State Cyclocross Race

Today was 'Sterling', Race # 11 of the New England Cyclocross Championship Series. The Bay State CX race in Sterling, Mass. Connie and i drove out the night before and made it to the race venue slightly behind schedule due to a whole number of small incidents that just added up to being a little late. I was feeling a bit crappy besides, stomache or nasuea type feelings, nothing to speak of (and i never mentioned it to anyone until now ) and i was trying to ignore it and chalk it up to race jitters. Anyhow, i pre-rode he course. It was pretty much identical to previous years. There was one new chicane section in the side of a small hill that had a quick succession of up down left right combos that was really cool. You could bomb thru them with speed, but the last left hand uphill was slightly tighter and steeper than the previous three turns so you had to be ready for that. I get a real kick out of how i tend to dissect all the CX courses i do. They are all different and all have their quirks or personality or in the case of the Bethlehem Cup... which has a serious atttitude.

So getting back to the Bay State. I had a fair start up the cinder running track. The wind was horrendous, and on the back side of the track, everyone was hunkering down in the drops and sliding in behind wheels. I took a chance and went around a couple guys and set up for the turn to head for the run-up. I didn't want to get hung up in any kind of congestion on that steep mucky hill. I made it up OK and settled into a mediocre first lap. I felt mediocre. I soon got into the race though as the course is interesting one, with the horse jump and all. Its a signature Tom Stevens course with flow. Its all about the flow and this course has it. The Redline was perfoming way better than i. I love that bike!

I was surprised that i was able to get by David Goodwin who has beaten me in all previous Verge races, so i am sitting in about 5th or 6th position which is pretty good. After about 3 laps, another serious foe, Gary Pressler is right on my wheel. Gary also has kicked my butt pretty soundly this year. Well, Gary sucked my wheel for 3 laps! He rode a smart race. He used me to break the wind. I made the mistake of riding into the wind on the right side of the running track, right where the head wind (coming form the right) was the worse. The next lap, i smartened up and rode way to the left up against the tape to provide less shelter for Gary. Didn't work. I kept pushing hard though because i was really worried about Goodwin catching me. So on the last lap, just as i expected, Gary came around me about 150 meters and one left hand turn from the finish. I had my chain on the big ring and was pushing a big gear so i could be ready for a sprint. And sprint we did. I buried it with all i had and Gary conceded. I was feeling good about that finish! Afterwards Gary and i talked at length about how the race unfolded. I told him that i pretty much expected his attack. Even if i lost that sprint, i would have felt just as good about our race that day. It was fun. Gary is a great competitor as is the whole 55+ crew. A great day.