Monday, November 7, 2011
This past weekend was the 360/Boulevard Cup CX. These 2 races are some of the best events to attend ever!!!
About 1 1/2 months ago I needed to find a goal so I wouldn't turn into a slob and stop riding altogether. What did I find? This 2 day CX weekend.
When I started "training" for this weekend my fitness was...hmmm...not even just okay...but forge ahead I did. I raced and did my training rides like a man on a mission. With the exception of one, I have toed the line every weekend since the beginning of October with the sole purpose of having a good weekend of racing at the 360/Blvd event.
The week leading up to these races wasn't the week I wanted to have. The weather didn't cooperate, and my MTB was having issues...I did man up and ride the trainer, probably not as much as I should have...oh well...I was "tapering" for the weekend.
Saturday comes and I roll to the venue feeling good, and ready to do battle again. I get registered, change into the riding clothes, which was almost everything I own to stay warm...it was 45 degrees and the wind was howling...IT WAS SUCKIN BAD!!!
I do my inspection of the course, and the one feature that had me a little worried was a long uphill grind, I shrug it off and roll on with my warm up. Finally, the time to race comes.
I have learned my lesson when it comes to lining up. I was there with plenty of time to get a primo spot on the outside of the front row. Anyway, the gun goes off and away we go. I got a decent start and was immediately on the limit, but not feeling to bad yet. We wind our way towards the long climb and when we hit that I knew it was not going to be a good day...
The race progresses and I find a good rhythm...there was a few highlights but mostly just suffering and not having the ride I wanted to have...
I crossed the line in 21st out of 31. I wasn't too bent by my result at the time, but when I got home and reflected on my race, I got mad...so based on that performance, I said F**K IT...I'm not racing on Sunday.
The Boulevard race...
So I wake up on Sunday, and start my morning ritual, pour myself a French Press and start thinking about racing. At 8:00 I'm mad as hell and want redemption for my waaaaaay less than stellar performance on Saturday.
I decided to level the playing for this race and borrow a CX machine from the great Bertonio Swiftinelli. I was feeling mean and I needed to take my aggressions out on the CX track and my fellow competitors. I pack my gear bag, take my pedals and cage off my MTB and head to Bertonio's house to pick up my ride for the day.
I arrive at the venue with plenty of time to sign up and do a proper inspection. Ready to ride now, I make a few adjustments to the bike and roll out to get a feel for the bike and check the course.
After about 100 yards of riding, I make a right turn behind the ball field and drill it...I knew at that point I was gonna have a good day. As I said before, I learned my lesson for the call up. I was the first to toe the line and stood there by myself for about 5 minutes...it was great!!!
GO!! We're off, I get a good start inside the top ten, and not suffering at all. We get to the first twisty section and the guys ahead of me stay upright and life is good, because the farther back in the group you were at this point, the bigger the bottle neck and the longer it took to get up to speed.
Racing along on a ridge the rider ahead of me bobbles and I pass him only to have the front end slide out from under me...I was up quickly and only one racer got by. At this point the leaders are gone and I have no idea what place I'm in and didn't really care at this point anyway.
About the 3rd lap, the guy I was racing with are joined by one more. The chess game has begun. For the next 2 or 3 laps we take turns beating on each other riding in no mans land. Eventually a 50+ rider comes up to us, he manages to get to the front of my little group and starts driving it. I'm sitting 4th wheel at this point and we are on one of the faster sections of the track. I look over 3rd wheels shoulder and see a gap open. I knew this was a good move to go with, I make a move to the right and 3rd wheel drifts over and closes the door...a good size gap of about 40 feet opens...I yell at 3rd wheel to go!! He speeds up and the gap stops growing.
The 3 man chess match has begun.
We get to the backside of the ball field and I hammer past 3rd wheel to close within 10 feet. I'm content with this because we are coming to the sand pit and I didn't want to be on his wheel in case he buried himself in the sand.
I hit the pit, get swapped off my line and more or less come to a stop...all the work I just did was gone. I got going again and couldn't close the gap...now in no mans land, there's 2 laps to go.
I put in 2 great laps and manage to keep the guy I rode around at a good distance...until I came to the sand again. I was thinking just get through the sand without stopping and it's over. Of course I get swapped off my line again...that's what I get for thinking!!! DON'T THINK, JUST PEDAL!!!
A few turns later he is on my wheel again, I turn and say to him, that was a gift...he says I'll take it!! At this point we have one long section around ball field number 2, and of course I let him come around me for this part. This leads to a left/right switch back, then on to a concrete path which led us to the final stretch of grass with the finish line.
I set up the switch backs perfectly and was on the gas before he was. He drills it and I'm in the drops drafting. We hit the grass to the finish line, I look over his shoulder and sprint past him to nail down 5th out of 26.
It wasn't a win, but it felt really good. Especially considering the ass kickin I received the day before. I guess the training worked, the timing was off by a day or two I think, but one good day at the races is better than NO good days at the races!! I think the bike had a lot to do with the result, but I felt really good also and I am totally stoked with the results of my efforts!!