Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Blood, skin lost, lost traction and a flat

And I still had a blast-how about that?? Dave Steiner takes me for a lap of last weeks course at Zak Dieringer's Edgewater park practice race. This is our warm-up and I go to say-to me it feels like a freakin mountain bike race or an adventure ride. Down a narrow path into the woods and then a short steep descent with a 90 degree turn at the bottom on dirt and some rocks. I am not wired for this stuff, but hey I am game-I just know I have a better than 90% chance of eating it-hey-I know myself when offroad, not good.

I wont bore you with the details of this weeks course, but to me its technical enough with some short steep hills to go down and up and one long run-up and that dreaded section through the woods. Its short too so 7 laps are called. We start and my goal is to find somewhere in the pack to settle in and get some experience and watch more experienced riders. You know blend..

Well that lasted all of a half a lap because as we go I am feeling good and weve already gapped a good portion of the 20+ guys who showed up. Its Matt Weeks and Brett davis, Dave Steiner then me(maybe others) and I am flying into the barriers and making up a lot of ground, clipping out with my right and swinging it in front of my left foot like you see the pros do!! But I got to tell you, my barrier running is like an aircraft carrier landing, a controlled crash!!

Because of the single track section I lose a lot of time and on lap 3 I try to make it up down the gravel road by the shore and the 90 degree turn to the long run-up. I take the corner fast and just like that I am down on the ground and my knee and left arm are scraped up and bleeding and its quite a knock. I get up and try and close the gap on Dave who I believe is running around 3rd with Matt Weeks and someone else just anothrt 10 or seconds ahead.

I am surprisingly still pretty close to Dave still because we see each other at one end as I go down a fun descent hes coming up the other side. I should mention Ive already made two blunders. First I ran a section I could have ridden much faster and of course my crash. Daves damn good at cross if you ask me.

Well I am in chase mode as it should be on a cross race and I am starting to hit the barriers with dbl vision. I start to do a normal dismount, but later I decide I need to hit them with my right foot ready to run because it feels better to me. I come up to a barrier, do the unclip thing, I put my right foot down in front of my left foot which is still clipped in and my left foot does NOT unclip. BAM baby-I am down again!! Body blow, body blow, body blow (remember that arcade boxing game??).

Well I think its about now that I decide that I am pretty banged up and bloody and this is my first freaking Cross race. So now I am going 70% up to the barriers and still taking it really easy in the technical sections. I surrender another spot and Dave has increased his lead on me by quite a bit. Farther than I care to dig for. I am in cruise mode and stop taking the barriers so fast and hey-I stop crashing. I am lapping some guys too so I am doing alright.

I also practice shouldering the bike up the long run up and thats kind of cool. Later I learn I could have ridden half way then dismounted or all the way up. I make some sloppy dismounts and mounts too and once the bikes chainring bites me in the right leg too. I also hit a manhole cover in the grass and pinch flatted my tire. Its getting squishy, but not flat, but by the time the race is over its flat!!

So what do I think of cross? Well- I could do without all the scrapes and gouge in my knee and the mystery welts on my back right side!! I am gonna be mega sore tomorrow and even worse Friday!! I still suck at singletrack and sharp descents, but all in all I kept the leaders reasonably close considering the deficit I put myself in by all my mistakes and times deathgripping the brakes when i know everyone in front of me was just letting er fly. Hey-I put a lot of thought into it and it was almost exactly as I expected. I knew I'd crash and I figured my fitness would keep me pretty close and its as much fun as I expected. Also-it turns out HEY, I run about as fast as a snail on teflon so I better try riding up most hills.

Bring on Kirtland Park and no scary descents!!


Gary said...

Nice job for your 1st time out. I wish I'd been there to see it (especially since I was having no fun at last night's meeting for work).

Kirtland has some interesting switchback/descents through the ampitheater portion. I think I almost rolled my front tire (clincher) off in that portion while doing last year's race. (there was a rather large bunch of grass stuck between my tire and rim)

Just remember to keep your wheels down and you'll do fine.

Rick said...

welcome to our world of pain, fun ain't it?
I was riding on wood at the velodrome in detroit.....big fun!!!!!
See you at Kirtland!

Ray Huang said...

Pain I am full of today (Friday). And none from crashing. Its all from running up that hill and probably the jumping off for the barriers.