Sunday, October 5, 2008

De Kalb

Where do I even start with this race today. What a blast we had, from the miserable conditions that greeted us to the sunny skies when we left. I think every one of us had a good time, even those that fell. Upon arriving at the course I was a bit confused as to why we drove almost 75 miles to ride around some tennis courts, but once the cars were unpacked and the bikes put together we were pleasantly surprised by the course that unfolded before our eyes.

At this point in the day the rain started to come down a bit harder as we tried to get a good look at the course and see what kind of tires and pressures would work best. As the races went on a clear line was developing through most of the corners, however that line consisted of mostly greasy mud. We took a few warm up laps then headed over to the hill to watch the Cuttin' Crew heckle any and all, especially those that fell on the tight off-camber left hander. As race time approached we made our way over to the start finish where tire pressures were adjusted for a final time and we stood and waited for instructions.

Pleasantries were exchanged on the line with a few other riders, and then it was go time. Tony and myself were wise enough to secure a front row position as there was an 180 degree turn about 150 yards into the race. Off the start Tony snagged his shorts on the nose of his saddle and leaned on me for what seemed like the first 100 yards of the race. I was just hoping not to go down in the first 15 seconds like I did at Montrose last year. I led around the first corner for the team around 10th-15th or so with Tony, Jim, Patrick and Elvis just behind. As we swept through the second corner I could already begin to hear the sound of front tires meeting rear derailleurs at the bottle neck.

Through the first few turns I played it safe, just trying to keep my wheels underneath me, not knowing what kind of damage had been done behind . As the course looped back on itself I could see that we were all safe and charging hard. Across the pavement and onto the run-up and I was quickly off the bike and hoofing it up the hill, down the hill, back up again and Tony comes flying past me! Now the chase was on in earnest. Tony got on the gas and passed a few riders immediately, with myself not far behind. On such a technical course, and all of the mud present, there were not a lot of places to recover on the course. Over the single barrier and into the slippery, uphill singletrack that sucked the energy right out of your legs before putting you onto an asphalt section that rose ever so slightly. As we rolled back into the grass I could count the leaders and saw that Tony was about 13th and I was just 3 back from him. Sweet!

Still no major problems as we started the second lap and the leaders were just within reach, or so I hoped. I began to get aggressive and sprint out of each corner up and out of the saddle trying to keep the leaders and Tony in sight. Onto the last lap and Tony realizes that I am quickly gaining ground and he turns it up a bit, maybe a bit too much. As we head towards the run-up he goes down at the base of the hill, actually sliding uphill! I make my pass and shout encouragement for him to keep working hard. By this time a few riders make it past him while I keep the pressure on the pedals to maintain my position. Through the barrier a final time and I make my last pass of the race, but try desperately to latch onto the group ahead. A few more turns and my race is over, Tony just a few riders back goes down again coming out of the off-camber section. In the A race, Elvis and I are the only ones able to stay upright as Jim, Tony and Patrick all went down at least once.

The B race was next and Jorge and Bob were ready to represent with a first and second row starting position. Off the start and into the first corner and Bob sits 7th and Jorge at 16th. Bob hangs in the top ten for most of the first lap even after crashing once, then comes into the start/finish chute and goes down again. Jorge enters the gauntlet of hecklers at the run-up with 3 other riders ahead of him, scrambles past them on the climb, remounts and perhaps rides the most perfect line through the off camber section I saw all day. He was literally smiling as he threw down the hammer and quickly opened up a 100 yard gap. However, on the back half of the course he managaed to make a wrong turn and got briefly off course. He quickly realized his mistake and the chase was on.

Meanwhile Bob was getting a handle on the course and his bike and kept it upright for the remainder of the race picking off riders as we yelled encouragement. Jorge was never able to make back the positions he lost but finished strong and capped off a break out race for himself. Bob never lost focus despite coming off the bike several times and finished strong. If we can get him on a dry course his ability to generate huge wattage from time trials will surely pay dividends with a top ten finish.

Results for the team were:

Mens 4A
Damon 15th
Tony 19th
Patrick 23rd
Elvis 24th
Jim 25th

Mens 4B
Jorge 15th-I think
Bob 24th

With a bit of practice needed for foul weather racing we were all pretty happy with our finishes. After Tony dug the turf out of his helmet and shifter, he was still smiling. Elvis, Patrick and Jim all rode good strong races. Jorge is on the brink of finishing top 5 or ten and Bob is just an animal having finshed 24th after being on the ground 5 times! Can't wait till next week.


Anonymous said...

Nice result guys.

morgan said...

If Elvis was 24th, than i was 23rd.

Anonymous said...

nice job guys, a great blog damon, it felst like i was there.

Unknown said...

great job guys and yes i was 15th