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First Race -- Schooled by the B's(8 posts)

First Race -- Schooled by the B'sGripped
Sep 29, 2003 10:47 AM
Cyclocross Race Report

I raced my first competitive cyclocross race on Sunday in Hood River, Oregon. The previous weekend, I went to Bend and raced with the C's (my first cross race ever) -- which consisted of me, two kids too young to get driver's licenses, and a guy who got lost on one of the early laps. I won. On Sunday, I decided that I had better race with the B's lest I be accused of sandbagging.

It was a beautiful day in Hood River, clear with temperatures in the 80's. Mt. Hood to the south and Mt. Adams to the north were both visible from the race course. During the C race, I snuck on to the course during rider gaps to pre-ride. The almost 2 mile course was 5% pavement, 30% grass, 10% dirt, and 55% trail/singletrack. There were 6 (six!) dismounts per lap, three run-ups with a single barrier at the bottom, two sets of double barriers, and one set of triple barriers at the start-finish line. I guess they wanted to slow the racers as they went through the finish area so they would be easier to track. There was also a nasty downhill hairpin turn on a steep slope that I found much faster to run. About a third of the trail segments allowed for reasonable passing. This was not a classic cross course.

I wasn't agressive at the start and quickly found myself toward the back of the field. By the second lap, I started picking off riders. Early in the third lap, I went by a down rider -- one of the women. There were plenty of people already helping and directing traffic so I eased by and continued. On the run-up just before the start-finish, I kept repeating my mantra of, "just three more laps." At the start-finish, they shut us down and tracked rider places for a restart. We were stopped for almost a half hour while they summoned an ambulance. Most riders hid in the shade and used the opportunity to rehydrate.

They rerouted the course and put us in single-file order for the restart. I was a couple or places back of where I should have been but since I was in no danger of placing, I didn't complain. They also put the lead riders who stopped to help in the front of the restart. I was a bit more aggressive on the restart and sprinted past a couple of guys, one of whom (Mr. Yellow) I ended up racing the rest of the way. I stayed in front of him the whole fourth lap until the short pavement sprint to the finish. He passed me and then I passed him right back in a 180 turn and opened a gap through the barriers. Both of us picked off riders through the fifth lap.

Near the beginning of the bell lap, he passed me again. Then a guy on a Colnago Dream passed both of us. We stayed on Mr. Dream's tail through the grass and into the singletrack. Mr. Dream tried to ride the nasty hairpin and got in trouble. Mr. Yellow and I dismounted and sprinted past him and cruised through the rest of the singletrack. At the top of the final run-up was still a bit of a climb and Mr. Yellow faltered and I powered past him. He looked at me as I went past and said, "Not you again." I churned my way through the final sprint without getting passsed by anyone and finished 16th out of 34 riders.

Deconstruction

I should have been more aggressive during the start. On the opening two laps, I got stuck behind some people in the singletrack that I probably should have out-sprinted at the start. Getting stuck won't be so much of a problem on classic cross courses though. I should have been more aggressive about passing riders. I found myself overtaking someone, following them for a while, then passing. I should have passed at the first opportunity. This was my first real race and I was concerned about pacing. Since we had the intermission, I still don't know if I should up my pace. I did suffer out on the course but I still had some legs left at the end.

On a positive note, after the intial shake-out, no one passed me that I didn't subsequently pass. In other words, no one improved their position at my expense.

The first Cross
awesome report! are you also doing CrossCrusade?KonaMan
Sep 29, 2003 12:54 PM
first race is this weekend...

I'm totally not ready... and plan on getting my arse beat, but hey, it'll be fun!
Yes, I'll be at AlpenroseGripped
Sep 29, 2003 3:00 PM
Also clipped from my original post ...

The first Cross Crudade series race is this coming weekend and I guess I'll ride with the B's again. I understand that the B field at Cross Crusade events routinely hits the 60 mark. I just hope that half of those extra riders suck worse than I do since all I hope to be is a middle of the pack B.
re: First Race -- Schooled by the B'sTWD
Sep 29, 2003 1:24 PM
Nice race report.

That's the problem with cross though, as nobody seems to know what category to sign up for. I only did one of the Cross Crusade races in Portland last year, and from what I can tell, there were huge amounts of overlap in abilities and speed between the classes. I saw guys in the Bs that should easily be in As, plenty of that should be in the Cs and even beginner Category. Same thing in the lower categories.

So, how was the course in Bend? I did several races over there last fall, but from what I understand it was a different location this year. Lot's of fun, but low turnout, and lots of nice prizes (especially since the turnout was so low you always finish on the podium and get something). I may try to make it over there for a race or two this year.
BendGripped
Sep 29, 2003 3:08 PM
I liked the course in Bend. There are generally places to pass. Some nice straights. Good corners. Two dismounts per lap -- one run-up and one set of three barriers (around a tight curve). Sandy but no real sand traps. No grass, obviously.

I hear there may be "series" prizes. I think that Brad is just organizing races sans sponsers -- trying to give Bend races a venue without having to travel 3 hours every weekend.
Thanks for the info.TWD
Sep 29, 2003 9:47 PM
Sounds like a pretty good course.

Brad seems like a super nice guy. I'm hoping to make it out to at least one of his races this year.

There was also a twilight series in Bend last year which was cool. I only made it to one of those, but it was cool to race at night under the lights. It was held at a sports complex on the West side of town (don't remember the name of it). Good mix of pavement, grass, gravel, and sandy singletrack, natural runups and man made barriers. The portions of the course on the edge were pretty dark. Then you would drop back in under the lights. Pretty surreal. I was hoping they were going to do those again this year but I guess not.

They had the Twilight race on Friday Night, and Brad held his race on Saturday, so it made it worth the 2 1/2 hour drive over the mountains.
re: First Race -- Schooled by the B'shighcamp
Sep 29, 2003 2:14 PM
Great report. But what is this with the kids and navigationally challeneged in your beginner's group? Send them out my way. God, pleeeease send them out my way. Although CAT 4 isn't necessarily a "beginner" category, it was the lowest CAT i could enter in this past weekend for my second 'cross race ever.... and although they did stick a "girl" in with our CAT, she just happened to be wearing World Champion colors on her collar and sleeve. Needless to say, Miss Dunlap passed me like I was towing a baker's dozen of cinder blocks. So yes, please send my way two juveniles and one blind man for me to race against.... who knows, i just might get in the top 3.
I live a 5 min. bike ride from that course in HR!hrv
Sep 30, 2003 7:50 AM
And I didn't do the race! No excuses. For sure next year.

Thought about doing it on my single speed (42 x 18), but since I just built it up, and hadn't ridden it yet, thought I'd better get a feel for it first. Crazy idea for that course?

Glad you could experience racing in HR.

Thanks for the great report,
hrv