Wednesday, December 9, 2009

USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships

Day 1 and 2 on the way to the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Chanmpionships were long days indeed. The trip actually started on Monday, when i stuffed two Redlines into a double bike box that i borrowed from my good buddy Tim Leonard. I spent 2 to 3 hours taking apart two bikes and fitting pieces into the box like a jigsaw puzzle before i was able to completely close the lid on the box. It was a tight fit. And i worried about how everything would fare under the hands of the Southwest baggage handlers.

Tuesday Connie and I headed to Albany airport, checked luggage, checked the bikes, and boarded flight 141 to Las Vegas. The connector in Las Vegas was late.... like what else is new, but no matter because that allowed us to have a long and delightful dinner with the White family, also enroute to Natz. Curtis and Emma were excited about the trip but were taking it all in like its just another race. The second leg of the air trip arrived, and we landed in Portland around 11:30 PM local time, 2:30 AM Albany time. We were pooped. We got a behemoth rental vehicle and crashed at a Marriot in Portland, finally settling in at around 12:30 AM local time.

Day2 started crisp, sunny and cold... like 6 degrees farenheit in Portland. The trip to Bend took us over the pass in the shadow of Mount Hood. What a sight.

Bend was a three hour trip from Portland.

We arrived about Noon, another check-in at another Marriott and then i went to work putting together two bikes. I was a bit stressed over the whole bike box trip, baggage handlers at various airports, and whether i packed up the bikes correctly. Low and behold, everything made it perfectly fine. The bikes went together nicely and i was off to the race venue and packet pick-up.

Bend, Oregon is a very cool town, an eclectic downtown area, lots of shops and restaurants, and lots of bikes on roofs. Packet check-in was orderly and rather quiet. I expected bigger crowds. Numbers on the left.

Off to the the race venue which was just across the river from the Old Mill area in Bend and within eye-sight of the check-in. I parked in one of the Event lots and unloaded the bikes to shake them out, make sure everything worked correctly, and maybe even ride the course. I ran into David Goodwin, antother 55+ guy from Northampton Cycling Club. We chatted and compared stories about the trip out. He had already done a couple of laps. After straightening the bars on the pit bike and adjusting the seat height a bit, i rode out onto the course. It was all taped and had maybe several dozen racers pre-riding. It was 90% snow and ice covered. There was a 6 inch wide icy rut as the 'preferred' line and about 3 - 4 inches of powdery snow covering the rest of the lanes. A small section of the course in the grass was free of any snow, but it was a very small stretch. There was a man-made stair case and the standard set of barriers, but other than that, little else to get you off the bike. There were a couple of small, short 'hills' that were very icy and could perhaps cause a dis-mount. I saw Paul Curley and Tom Stevens of Gear Works and also Utah Rob, who called out to me, but i was unable to connect up with Rob as he was heading one way and i the other.

I rode the pit bike first and i did two laps. I took it very easy, just trying to get aquainted with the course. I returned the pit bike and then rode the primary bike a bit to make sure that i had connected all the dots, and i had.... it was working quite nicely with no further adjustments. I was feeling a lot better now that the bikes were all in good working order. I was also liking the ice and snow. I am thinking (today) that the ice maybe a good surface for me, and perhaps it will even out the field a bit... i don't know... we'll see. Check in tomorrow. My race goes off at 1:00 PM.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good luck Dave! You will rock on the ice! Connie - get him to the gate on time. Art.