The end of road season? Cyclocross starts soon, despite my lack of fitness I pulled my cross bike out, changed the bar tape, and added slicks and did my long ride on it.
Back to ‘cross. The season is half over and this was only my 3rd race. The first two showed I had no speed, but today was better. I love the course at Salisbury and after starting next to the last row, I climbed through the field to finish 30th of the 49. With the talented racers in my field, I was happy, had a great battle with several guys I used to race around, and even caught and passed the jerk (work friendly term) that rammed into me on the first lap.
The day started before dawn for the drive to Lenoir and the first race of the 2016-17 North Carolina Cyclocross Series. Turns out tennis does not help one bit for cycling – I finished about 5 from dead last, but this picture from Sam captures the moment… this is the last lap and coming out of the last turn, the lap before I had caught this guy but took a beer hand-up (illegal, but it’s ‘cross) and had to work to catch him again, as I started my sprint, the chain slipped (why I am about to go over the bars) so no fun sprint to the line for us.
Then Sam and I visited Henry River Mill Village (it’s own post) and headed for a hike a part of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail to the Upper and Lower Gragg Prong Waterfalls and Hunt-Fish Falls. We got a late start, and I decided to turn around before it got dark, as it was it was after 5:30 when we got back to the truck.
Cruising along dirt roads in the mountains
Finally we got on the foggy Blue Ridge Parkway and headed for a campground for the night.
Dinner, a small fire, a quick card game and off to bed!
The final race of the cyclocross season. A muddy course at Tanglewood Park.
This mud hole was after the asphalt road climb. Left was the way to go, right was a lot deeper.
Why do you read your camera owners manual? To find out it can do 20 frames per second as a motor drive.
So I did some mud splash details.
One of the great traditions of ‘cross is heckling. North Carolina is a southern state, so everyone is nice…. good thing I moved back. Normally when I heckle Wes Richards he glares at me (he is normally leading/winning his race) but today I got a smile….
Race #13 of the North Carolina Cyclo-Cross was in Charlotte. As always, the course featured mud, sand, a big run up and a lot of fun. I played around with off camera flash and panning. My race was OK, after spending all week on the couch with my back, I laid back at the start and tried to pick off as many as I could…. finished 38th of the 46 finishers. I am still not racing as well as last year : (
In North Carolina we have a race at Sand Hills Community College and it’s long sand pits. (The only race I stayed for after my race was the juniors, had plans in the afternoon) – My race? Started slow and my legs were dead – too much truck waxing yesterday and on again/off again sleep waiting till 2:30am for Sam to get home (another story)? But I finished strong picking off 5 riders to finish 39thof the 60ish starters. I am still not in race shape, but I had fun!
Race 1 – Clemmons. A mountain bike course on CX bikes. I have spent the summer camping, kayaking, playing tennis and not biking. As you can imagine, I am not in bike race shape and it showed. My start was OK, fell into mid-pack and then started to go backwards after the first lap. Finished 55th of the almost 70 starters. Not a good day.
Race 2 – Winston-Salem. A course that suits me better and always a fast course. The pre-ride was frost covered as a morning CX race should be. The course was in great shape and my start was good, I was not too aggressive after yesterday’s finish and hiking and didn’t really pass many folks and was not passed a bunch. The fun part was after being trailed the whole last lap by a rider, he came around on the last climb. I kicked it to stay on his wheel and took him in a sprint finish for 35th.
I thought my POD was done…. while working in the yard, I heard the screech of tires and a loud crash, I ran down the 1/4 mile driveway and couldn’t find a crash…. what? Then I found the skid marks, (the water is from the fire trucks) the car was deep in the woods, I helped the driver out and calmed her as much as anyone could, lucky driver, she is OK, the car is not. A simple mistake, she reached behind her to scratch her back, went off the right side of the road (where cyclists are!) over corrected, spun and backed into the woods (the lucky part)
Today was the Statesville stop in the North Carolina Cyclocross Series. It was held at a new venue and was a little tight.
Shawn Moore (from my old days of riding in Fayetteville) tries a new line around the same tree.
The Masters Cat. 4 race: I had a great start and entered the woods in the top 10! I stayed with the group through the first half and we developed a nice gap. I thought I was going to have a great day. I was wrong! I started to drop a few positions, but still in the top 20 when I had a crisis of faith…. in my tires/handling. It was muddy is some sections and slid off the course and into a spruce tree. It took a while to believe the bike would hold a line as I continued to drop like a rock…. I never felt “strong” – nothing was wrong, I just didn’t go? I finished 31st of the 50 starters. My friend from Boone, David, beat me badly, taking my 20th spot. I can’t have that – I was disappointed after 2 weeks ago and a 19th place and a great start today.
The Open Cat. 4 race: I lined up with the 80 starters – EIGHTY? I started in the far back (70s) and used it as a training race. The start was fun (see pictures above) and as we snaked through the trees, some smart ass 13 year old boy racing with us (behind me) is yelling “it’s not a charity race” and rides through several people…. literally THROUGH them. This kid was over his head, can not hold a line and chopped several riders at the start, including me. I decide no matter what I will beat him or bury myself trying. He got around me by chopping my line and rather than wreck him, I braked and let him go, he then proceeded to do the same thing to a girl in front of me (not sure why a female was in the Men’s Cat. 4, but I have seen her before) and the kid starts yelling at her… I was done with this kid and told him to calm down and then passed him ; )
Karma is a bitch and he crashed and I think mechanic-aled out soon after that…. good thing, my quads were killing me and would cramp on the climbs after the first lap…. I have no idea where I finished (read deep in the field) but Chris and Wayne beat me, two long time racing foes – and I can’t have that….