OK, SO I CHEATED…. Not in the race but on the training. My theory was 2 weeks 2 races left, I will skip to the last week of Chris Carmichael’s race training, without the previous 8 weeks behind it. I was in good enough shape I thought, been riding and racing. Should be fine…
So I took the prior weekend off the bike. Monday 70 min including power intervals, Wednesday power intervals then short over under intervals, then Friday longer over under intervals, Saturday mostly easy hour al’a Al painter. Then race day Sunday.
Then came a bad night sleep. Up @ 6 oatmeal coffee and out at 7:30. At the course about 8 get ready to test ride. The “venue” is a huge county rock & gravel storage area. Huge piles of inventoried materials are everywhere.
I head out for lap 1 a long road descent up a packed gravel rise to a deep loose gravel corner. I’m ready to go home, I dont like gravel turns or gravel imbedded in my skin. I press on then a huge 40 foot steep run up. Even the A racers ran it. Around the dike to a similar off camber descent. Through some deep mud ( clear cold am but rained all week) twists turns, thru a tree tunnel whoop de dos, then on to some fast new pavement, back to a horrific 40 foot run up with room for 1.5 riders wide, about 40 feet as well with soft ball sized rocks embedded in the mud, down to some more mud then a 1/4 mile 7% hill to a long flat to the start again.
Lap 2 felt ok do I decided to go for it and go easy on the gravel curve.
Head to the tent to stay warm (it’s 45deg) I ride the trainer for 32 min till 10 min to start time. One last bathroom stop and to the staging area. I am set to start in the middle of the 155 pack, its fine less passing. 30 sec to start guy ahead and 1 over yells out. I’ve got a flat, pulls his front wheel and has his kid watching from the side take off his wheel with a promise to return it onetime for his race. Miracles of miracles he gets the new wheel on before the start. Nice to have pit crew at the start right.
The race starts, and down the hill to the gravel corner we go. as the tent I was at is on that curve I had watched the prior races and noticed that a nice hard pack had developed on the inside of the curve. I head for the inside, in fact I made sure to start on the inside because of this. the first lap goes great for the first 1/2 mile or so. I have been passed by a few but overall the pace is tolerable. then the run up. no-one can ride this thing, too high too steep. at the top I stumble for the pedals, get moving hard left turn past the scoring booth them bam into the barriers. off is fine, go to get on and somehow my foot swinging over gets wedged between the brake straddle cable and the tire. A couple yanks and the foot comes clear, mount again, clip in and notice the 2 straps on the shoe had come wide open. Reach down fold them back down back in business. I also notice a pretty good pain behind my ankle. not sure it I hit it on someting, the pedal or whatever, but I can still pedal. then around the dike and then the steep down hill, a couple guys are running down, and of course they hear the mantra, “its rideable” i ride down no worries, just brake at the bottom.
thru the mud section across the bridge to the whoop d dos and again another guy is off his bike for the last bump. he really hears it. this are 4th grade bumps here, on to the fast road section then the killer closed in run up the rocky one. as I come to the dismount I notice to twist out my right clip hurts that ankle a bit. it comes out ok but not as easliy as it should. on the run up some guy has his bike 45 degrees across the trail so no one can get by him. then down to the mus again, and up the long hill to the second lap.
all is going well. second or third time down the big drop and I gave it a bit too much front brake, and start a slide, let go and it straightens back out. all is well. im in a good place in the middle of the pack with plenty of room a lead on the slower group and a bit behind the faster group. just a few guys here and there ahead to chase and behind to keep away from.
I got passed by a fit looking guy and then rode his wheel, on the long downhill to the gravel curve we are probably going about 20 onto the turn heading for the inside, and he locks up his rear tire and slides out as he slows, of course causing me to sit up and brake and momentum took me right into the deep stuff, off the line. oh well.
now here is where the training comes in. each time up the long up hill Im hanging with the riders near me. and as we get to the top and it flattens out, they have burned the match and cant keep pace, I continue and accelerate through the long flat to the corner, this happens lap after lap. I realize that his is exactly what the Over/Under intervals are training for. continuing on after a big pull or effort. Sweet.
As I head for the run up before the scoring station I head around the hair pin and see the checkered flag. Darn it, literally I can see the last guys that went for the last lap, the were maybe 30 yards, up. Tow others were stopped then me. and of course those behind me.
Cross is a strange thing because you really want to keep going but you really want them to call you off. you are in pain but you want to take the pain as far as you can. So I missed the goal (finish on the leas lap) but there were some bright spots.
I finished 93 out of 155. that puts me at the 60th percent. Best finish yet.
I also realize that my ankle does really hurt, but I figure if it was broken or fractured it would have been all but impossible to make it up all the run ups etc. there is a bruise about 1.5 inches circle, and its raised up about 1/2 inch above the rest of the area. I figure is a severe charlie horse type injury, and time will heal it. I walked around the course taking photos on the later races and it actually feels slightly better with movement. It still hurts today to put pressure on it or to twist the ankle too far, but its not bad, Im gonna hit the trainer in the morning and see how it goes.
my average speed for the race was 13.1 mph. as a comparison the winners of the A race were at 17.5 mph. just crazy.
I ended up ahead of more of my start group than those ahead of me, and I believe I did pretty well considering I am about the middle of my age bracket as well.
Next Sunday’s race is at the Portland International Raceway, on the course that the USGP has used for some time. I can wait to race this PRO UCI course. should be fun.