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 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.
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 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!
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….
The North Carolina Cyclocross Series visited Raleigh for Lion’s Cross. It has never been a great course for me, but I enjoy racing it. I ended up in the second row for the start, and after the uphill spring, hard left turn (banging shoulders with riders as several Master Cat 4/5 riders forgot we don’t get paid to do this) I settled into the top 20. The first lap was hard as I tried to stay with the lead pack and gap the middle of the field. I was successful, at one point in about 16th. By lap 3, I wasn’t catching anyone in front of me, but a small group was catching me…. and passed me, dropping me to 21st. I grabbed their wheels, and passed two more before we started lap 4, gaping them and riding away for 19th. My best of the season and second best ever in this series.
After my race, I played with panning.
NCCX race today in Salisbury. I tried a new warm-up routine and it worked great, got to the start line early and had a strong start. I was about 14th through the first lap, dropping a few spots during the second lap to settle in about 20th. My brake hood had come loose during the first lap, so I was riding in my drops. At this point, I had a nice gap to the middle twentys and felt great, but as I came to the point where the rider is at the bottom of this picture, I burped my front tire while it was fully loaded (in the drops, at the bottom of the hill, and turning) I went down hard and really banged my knee on the bike as I Superman-ed over it. I had to run to the pits carrying the bike, grabbed my pit bike to finish the race. I was passed by 6-7 while running and another couple as my knee was hurting as I rode. I finished 31st out of the 56 starters.
Lessons today. The tubeless tires in CX experiment is over for me. The new warm-up routine seemed to really work (almost an hour of riding/trainer) and no second race for me today since I can hardly walk – just a deep muscle bruise in the quad just above the knee.
My second weekend of racing in the NCCX series. I drove to Boone with visions of a snow race, no snow, but it was cold. Overnight it was 24 degrees, I was warm in my sleeping bag, but the gusting winds kept me up as it battered my rain fly. I raced twice today. First race, I had a bad start, crashed and finished 30th or the 45 or so. the second race was a field of 74 racers, I was tired so I started in the back, racing my way to 46th. A great day of cross! Above is a Screenshot from a quick video from the Boone-Town Throw-Down Cyclecross race. Click picture to see video.
It’s the last day of August – everyone knows what that means – Cyclocross starts! In North Carolina, we can race from Sept to Jan (almost every weekend and sometimes twice in a weekend) So it was time to put the bikes back together: The orange bike is the race bike, a Salsa Las Cruces, this year it is upgraded with Stans wheelset from my mtn bike (if the tubeless set-up holds) and Thompson stem and seat post from my tri bike. The green bike, a Salsa Dos Niner, will be the pit bike if the frame fix I did works. I broke a weld a couple of years ago and can not find a welder who can fix Scandium (a type of aluminum) and Salsa would not honor a design flaw, so I filed a piece of aluminum to fit in the tube at the weld, tapped two holes and bolted it together, it did not hold together when I tested it mountain biking, but I am hoping just jumping on and off will not strip the threads again. The rest of the Dos Niner was assembled using spare parts, including the crank set from my 1993 Trek MTB. At the end of the day, Sam made a cake!