Monday, November 9, 2009

Tacchino Ciclocross

As if I needed another obsession........

The Tacchino Ciclocross race changed venues for 2009 and was held at Roseryville State Park.  Wanting to do a "traditional" cross race, I thought "the rose" would be a good place to start. 40 minutes of racing isn't a lot of time and I could get a nice ride in after the race.....was my thought.  So, I loaded up the car with two bikes, a cooler of beer and a shitload of clothes.  The temperature for Sunday was supposed to be nice and warm, but, I didn't know how it was going to be at 10am, the start time for the Masters 3/4 race.  Rolling up to the registration table I knew it was going to be a scorcher (for November) and I elected to go with the summer kit.  An injured Cat4 racer and subsequent medivac delayed our start and the short sleeves were welcome as we baked in the sun waiting for the start.  Jonathan and Joel both received "call ups" and I lined up somewhere in the middle.

From the gun I hit it hard and gained a couple spots on the asphalt.  On the grass I continued to push and passed people when possible and safe(ish).  A rider went down in front of me and I was able to miss the pile-up by bending the tape a little.  A few more guys out of my way and I was having a blast! Most of the first lap was devoted to getting into position and finding my place in the field. By the second lap I was in with a good group of guys that held a solid pace. We were not going to podium, but, the race within the race was forming.

With each lap I became more comfortable with the course and how to race it.  The gear I was running worked perfectly for the steep climb and didn't hinder too much when the course opened up. The organizers threw in enough tight turns to keep the speed in check and that worked in my favor.  The small blocks held the line nicely and I'm becoming more confident in their abilities.  The guys I'm racing have bigger engines, but, I can close the gap when things get tight. They are taking turns wider and slower and I was able to capitalize on this in a couple spots.  The climb was another place where I made up a few places.  While everyone else shifted down, I had to grunt my way up the climb, taking a few spots with each lap.

Going into my 5th lap my throat was dry and a quick splash of water would have been nice.  This is cross, however, and part of the race (I guess) is seeing who can last on what was in the tank from the start. That thick paste forming in my mouth wouldn't see any fluid until the end. With no one behind me and a small pack 10 seconds in front, I save myself a little for lap 6.   Up the gradual hill and past the pavilion I kick it into high for the final lap.  There is a lot of traffic on the road section and I yell up that a racer is on. They look at me with disdain and bewilderment as I fly up the road for my final lap.  Unfortunately, I had just completed the final lap.  The race directors cut our race to 35 minutes due to the time delay from the medivac.  My race was over and I shouldn't have saved anything on that last lap.  You live and you learn I guess.  18th out of 75 for my first Cross race, I'll take that.  40 minutes (well, 35) of hypoxia induced hysteria and I'm hooked.

The In The Crosshairs guy caught the first two laps of our race on video.  Now running two cameras, you can see the action from both ends of the bike. Pretty cool stuff. Unfortunately, I didn't pass him until lap 3, so, I didn't make the video...this time. ;)

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