Monday, January 09, 2006

This is what the race felt like

Race Report: CCCX Cyclocross #6 Final Round

Date: 1/8/06
Course: 80/20 pavement/ dirt setup with 2 barrier sections (logs), one barrier section and 1 run up.
Category: “B” Class
Field: 15 people
Teammate: None
Place: 3rd/ 16 mph avg speed

After doing the Saturday fast group ride (4 hrs out to Pt. Reys). I wasn’t sure how the race might turn out. I felt o.k. but you never know until you turn the pedals in anger. I got a ride down to the race with Brian Rogers (Sycip), we got there around 8:30 and the weather was quite sunny. I was just happy to get to a CCCX race. I heard that they have some good courses and a cool vibe. Well after reg. and a few laps around, I was impressed. The course was really one that played on my strengths. Fast technical single track with a few hard up-hills, a very fast-paved decent (40 mph top speed!) 2 log dismounts and a final 3-barrier section just before the finish line.

The conditions could not have been any better. The rain had packed down what would have been a lot more loose sand and the traction was hooking up so good I was able to 2 wheel drift quite a bit in this race w/o having to dab a foot although there were a few in there….

I lined up and got a 2nd row start just behind Brian. I was really focused on the start. I was concerned about bottlenecking into the first single track and I wanted to get there 1st or in the top 3. I nailed the start and flew into the lead before the single track. Feeling good I wound it up, attacked the pavement and continued pushing the pace into the second dirt section. Over the first big log, around some muddy switchbacks and bunny hopping the second (2) log section, I was feeling like I might be able to run in the front. I looked back wondering if I was holding a gap and it seemed I was. I felt good, so I kept the pace high resting on a few of the decent portions of the course. I managed to stay off the front in the lead until about 1.5 laps into it. After the fast pavement decent, jumping back into the dirt, I looked back to see Tim Granshaw (Lap-Ritchey) trying to bridge. He had won the last event (off the front) and is a Cat1 on the road. I though better to recover for a second and prepare for a battle than to try to run away. The 2 of us swapped the lead for about 2 laps with it apparent Tim was launching numerous attacks and I managed to stick on his wheel. Then Jesse Mayberry (Lap-Ritchey) who normally races the A’s and Tim’s teammate, bridged to us from out of nowhere and I was now outgunned 2-1. I looked back to see the 3 of us had a sizable gap to 4th on down and now prepared for the onslaught of the Ritchey boys.

I had expected them to launch attacks forcing me to chase while the other sat on me, but instead they took turns at the front keeping the pace high but steady. I stayed with them past the bell lap. On the steepest portion of the course trying to ignore the back and leg pain now fairing up, I lost about 10-15 sec after the false flat on the top before the single track. I recovered a bit but I couldn’t attack any more. I set a solid tempo and focused on cutting the time gap to the leaders and 3rd was mine as long I didn’t flat or crash. So I brought it home in 3rd somewhere around 20 +/- few seconds on the lead duo then a solid gap to 4th on down.

This has to be one of, if not the finest race I have had. My handling skills felt razor sharp and I was never really out of breath. I was able to hang with the pace being set by the Ritchey boys and never felt stressed about being out numbered. I had a few plans ready to implement on the final lap but my race fitness (while loads better) is still not quite 100%. Sans the aching back and legs on the last lap I felt I would have been able to challenge for a higher position.

After making all the selections over the climbs in the top 5~, then chopping it up with the Lombardi’s guys (all Cat 1 or 2’s) for the Nacisao town sprint on Sat. (getting 2nd) then Sunday off the front and mixing it up solid, with Tim (Cat1) and Jesse (Iron man Tri-guy). I think I’m on the right track training wise and will continue with what I have planned.

Big thanks to Brian Rogers for the ride down, who finished well and wound up 2nd in the overall. Dave P for the awesome cross porn (bummer about the log incident), Ritchey duo of Tim and Jesse who helped me to see what I’m made of and look forward to next year, last but not least CCCX and the crew for a great event complete with ice cold beer at the finish and a nice shiny medal for 3rd. What a fantastic weekend….Big Up!


Blogger linebrake said...

nice racin' nick. you're welcome for the ride. you left your sweatshirt in the car...

Blogger cyclocrossboy said...

yeah baby!!!!...sorry about my boys beat'n up on yeah. FYI, I passed the word on to Lander to talk to Ming.



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