Tuesday, October 23, 2007

(Man's)Ass and a Pole

Since the family is out of town, I did not require the mandatory hall pass to travel to this weekend's cross races in Catharpin (Manassas, aka Man's Ass) and Pole Green.
Having grown up just down the road from this area and not having been back to Man's Ass since my childhood days, it was great to see that Catharpin did not end up like the rest of N. VA - overcrowded with suburban houses. It was still horse country protected by the historic battlefields.

Saturday's Recap:
Superior Paving Cross Race in Catharpin was held on a private farm with beautiful rolling hills and surrounded by large oak trees.

The morning dew was still on the grass for the warmup and first race at 10am.

2 of my nephews who came to watch me race. The taller one is 6'4 and only 14 with mean low-post and ball-handling skills.

The course was layed out for a fast race. On the grassy downhill, it was easy to hit in the hi 20s.

The backside after the downhill had some tough climbs.

The top section had some turns, barriers and a "mulch" pit.

The Master's 35+/45+ had a field of a combined almost 30 racers with the majority in the my race (35+). The race started off on pavement and turned onto a grassy section with 2 180 degree turns around large oak trees. 30 bikes trying to manuever around those turns at once was ugly. Then it went to a downhill section to the backside where there were several climbs.
The race quickly spread out with a lead group 5-8. Being my first race over 30 minutes, I started off slowly and tried to pace myself. I was afraid if I redlined too early, it would make for a long suffering race.
I marked several riders infront of me for the majority of the race just keeping their pace but not sitting in. I knew there were several guys on my wheel but until I saw the pics at the end of the race I didn't realize that I pulled 1-2 riders the entire time. One guy even thanked me (lazy bastard).
After 7 laps (6-7 min laps), I get lapped by the lead rider within the last 100 yards of the course. Fortunately, this was his final lap and I got out of riding around the course the extra lap. Meanwhile, one of the guys I was pulling tried to make a move and I held him off on the final stretch to pick up a 12th in the 35+. I think I was 18 or 19th overal (combined 35/45 start).

The C race had about 26 in the field. There were a mixture of bikes ranging from 29'rs, mountain bikes, one full carbon Specialized S-Work with Zipp 303 to the boys from Bike Rack DC on their single speed.

I started off on the back and I think was last going thru the turns to the downhill. I didn't know how my legs would hold up after my first race and figured I could pick off riders as they tired.
The race was uneventful except for my 2 hishaps around the oak trees. The same turn caught me twice, one lap after another. I lost my front wheel to some soft mulch.
From my last place start I ended up passing most of the field during the race to get a 15th. I had plenty of energy left and the race seemed so much shorter than the first that I wished I had gone from the gun to get a better placing. Once again, I pulled around another guy for the final last laps.

It was a great layout and location. It gave me time to spend some time with family and get a home cooked meal (after 8 years of marriage, I forgot how to cook for myself).

Sunday's Recap:
Cobblestone Race at Pole Green Elementary.
Once again I registerd for 2 races today - 35+ and C. Good to see the 757 crew make the drive up. I counted 14 from Tripower, VA Beach Wheelmen, All About Bikes and Coastal Racing.
One again, this was my kind of course. Fast, flat and nothing technical. It had some short and steep climbs that were managed easily with the right line (and a 27 tooth cog for me). Some loose gravely section, long fast, big ring, tailwind aided straight away and the mandatory barriers. The barriers seemed low and widely spaced (that's my excuse for wasting too much energy going too high on the jumps).

Photo courtesy of the Stick Man.

Master's 35+/45+ had about 25 in the field. The race started off fast as expected and I searched for a wheel to pace. I never found one the entire race but managed to keep Marc and Chris in sight.

The race was nothing too eventful except for being lapped by the lead group from both age grades including the dynamic duo of Bill and Tim of Tripower. Luckily Shawn and Amos showed up during the race to hand me a bottle. It was dry and dusty and cottonmouth set in within the first 15 minutes of the 45 minute race.

I ended up with an 11th in the race. I'll take the points.

The C race had 21 in the field and had a teammate Amos to work with. I finally got a good start and managed to keep it throughout the race. I knew this was my last race of the weekend so I was going to try to leave it all out today. Amos and I took turns pulling through the race. With the long fast straight-away, that really helped.

Photo courtesy of Shawn.

With about 3 laps left, I managed to bridge the 2 riders ahead of me - Creed and a PVC rider who I raced with the day before. I sat in for one lap then decided to attack on the straight. My attack just resulted in a fast pull for the other two riders. On the bell lap, the PCV rider attacked on the climbs and pulled away. I sat on Creed's wheel then fell off by 20 meters. At the barriers I decided I would gas it and catch him on the turns but couldn't find my left cleat and lost some time. I ended up finishing by 1/2 bike length at the end for a 7th - my best finish in a cross race so far. Amos was 2 spots behind - great job for his first ever cross race.

Hit the mandatory Lightfoot stop on the way back for some Pierce's Q with Shawn and Amos.

Pic courtesy of Shawn.

Find more pics of the races:
Catharpin Cross
My Picasa Web Album
Gerald Nino (coming soon)
L2R (coming soon)

Same M.O. for this upcoming weekend. 4 races in Richmond for the Chimborazo on Saturday and Ciclismo on Sunday with a Halloween party inbetween. A few weeks off then Tripower's Trashmore Race.

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