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 : (
A wonderful morning drive to Boone.
Tough to see but 2 dozen turkeys (right in the woods) were around this shack, but they ran when I stopped.
I like the course in Boone, around an old fairgrounds and dirt track. The race starts and almost immediately feature a run up (I hate this one)
With all the rain, the course was a little “snotty”
My races? I was not DFL, but I could see him. I rode hard but just don’t have any speed. But I had a great solo trip, camping, racing with friends and a little hiking.
Another weekend of racing cyclocross in NC. Saturday is on a new venue in Lenior.
The course feature short but steep climbs, a stair run, sand, mud and some pain.
I decided to stay solo in the mountains, so after my race, and cheering some friends, I went waterfall hunting.
And driving dirt roads I could find.
Even some Forest Service roads.
My second hike/water fall was cut short by too many stream crossing and only one pair of shoes.
I camped on the Blue Ridge Parkway on the last night it (campground) was open for the season, between the temps in the 40s and rain, I had the whole campground to myself, never even saw a Ranger. Peaceful night reading and listening to the rain and wind.
In the world of cyclocross, today is always special – the world UCI race is Zonhoven -and it’s famous sand run up.
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!
Day two of NCCX. Here are my race reports:
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.
Day 2 – Last night was much warmer (low of 31)
My race was about the same as yesterday (they did change the course and added a trip through the woods and onto a cow pasture) I started a little closer towards the front, and marked a couple of riders I like racing (Chris, Wayne and David) I managed to stay with Chris, and we passed each other a couple of times. I drafted him to the final uphill sprint, but was cramping and couldn’t come around him…. I guess my pink socks didn’t bring me luck.
Sam and I headed to Asheville for the final weekend of the North Carolina Cyclosross series at the Biltmore Estate. We camped at a small family campground close by. I must of looked at the wrong weather report, because it was 19 degrees when I woke up, frost covered everything, bike and truck related.
the course was challenging with 4 sections where you were forced off the bike. I have not been training much, my injured calf and a busy couple of weeks at work, I think all I had in my legs was a couple 30 minute wind trainer rides in the basement. I felt fine in the race, but was in the back, just could not get going (as expected) but had fun. I finished 34th of the reported 60 plus starters.
After the race Sam and I headed to DuPont State Forest to hike a couple of waterfalls (we did three) The top one Triple Falls and the bottom, High Falls (the third one – Hooker Falls)
After the hike we met friends at Lexington Ave. Brewery – just a quick note, I had the deep friend chicken BBQ sandwich on ranch bread, topped with carrot slaw and pickled okra – it was VERY GOOD!