Sunday, November 13, 2011

Gran Prix HPT

A pic from the Boulevard Cup

Another CX race has come and gone. The weather was good...again...Although, Mother Nature did finally allow the water to flow. That was early this past week, so again, the racing was in "good conditions" albeit a little soft here and there.

The week leading up to this race I didn't get as much saddle time as I would have liked, so I was a little worried about how I was gonna ride. Oh well...I know you get out what you put in and I wasn't going to complain about getting my ass handed to me...I decided to give it my best and see what happened. That's all I can do.

I get to Heartland Park with plenty of time to get signed up and give the course a proper inspection. One of the best parts of this particular track was the use of a dirt track, which was dry but really soft during my inspection. I tried a few different lines and came to the realization that the established race line will be the way to go. The race line on the dirt track got faster and faster as the night wore on. There was also a couple sets of stairs in place of traditional CX barriers. A few short power climbs to keep everyone honest. I thought it was a good track.

Fast forward to the race...I get to the start line early so I can line up in the front. As it turns out, I didn't need to worry about it, due to the points I earned in the series last weekend, I was called up to the front row...that was nice.

GO!! I get a decent start and we drag race along a gravel road for about an 1/8th mile into the first turn. At this point I'm in 5th. We wind our way around to the dirt track and the pace goes to warp speed. A small gap opened in front of me that I managed to close before a left hand downhill off camber sweeper. At this point I was eating a ton of roost...I was totally not expecting to eat roost in a CX race...I've never even eaten roost in a MTB race!!! This caught me off guard to say the least.

We are winding our way around to the infield of the dirt track and 2 guys make moves from the back to the front group. At this point I'm in 8th...I think...

Anyway, the front group starts riding away leaving me in no mans land for the next 2 laps. Towards the end of lap 2 in no mans land, I take a quick look back and the 2 guys I raced with last week are chasing hard. I get to the steps with about a 5 second gap, which was quickly gobbled up when I make a mistake in a slow uphill switchback...oh well, I needed a break anyway.

So now it's Jeff from slimenundgrossen, Roger from Lawrence, and me. We stay this way until the last part of the dirt track which led out to the rest of the course. Jeff pulls over and Roger and I pull through. We race our way around to the power climb and I hear Jeff say "I'm in the wrong gear"!! A gap was opened, Roger was on the front driving it. Jeff never closed the gap, so now it's Roger and me. We roll through the start/finish in that order and I think there was 3 to go at this point.

I follow Roger around to the dirt track. I'm feeling pretty good again and decide to attack Roger to give a solo run to the line a go. I go blasting by him on the first straight of the dirt track, I get a small gap. At this point I am haulin the mail!!! I set myself up for the left hand downhill off camber turn, I realize that I'm going too fast for a feet up turn, I stick my left leg out and lean in. This helps the shoulder knobs bite really well, which they did!! I guess I got the tire pressure right for the track, because I railed around this turn with a hint of a 2 wheel drift without sliding out. This move alone doubled the gap I had, I nail the pedal coming out of the turn and drill it again to the infield section.

At this point I'm still feeling good and riding well. At times, Roger closes the gap a little, but in other parts of the track I would take that time back. He got close but never close enough for me to really worry. I give Roger props for keeping me honest. He NEVER stopped chasing, until it was out of reach...which was on the last section leading to the start/finish. He was about 30 yards behind when I turned onto the start/finish straight, I pedal hard a few times give a quick look back and realize I can finally rest...I cruise across the line in 8th.

I'm pretty happy with that result considering I might have gotten 2 hours of saddle time last week. There's at least one more race for me to do...maybe 2...we will see after that. I'm thinkin it's time for a break this week though. I'm ready for it!!


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