Monday, October 15, 2007

Urban Cross Report: Mandy and a Broken Candy

Teammate Shawn and I traveled up to beautiful Charlottesville to race the Urban Cross at IX. As we drove 3 hours to race :30 minutes, I mentioned how spoiled we were this past road season with so many races in our backyard. Our longest road trip to race was to Richmond. Now we know how those other racers felt having to travel down congested 64 East practically every other weekend to race.
We got there in time to register and get a good warm up. I chose to set up my trainer and watch the women's race and Shawn took an unplanned tour of Charlottesville.
Prior to warming up and the Women's race, I finally got a chance to get a picture taken with an actual Pro Cyclist (ok, well she's "retired" but still kicked butt in the Women's race).

The women's race ended and we had about 15 minutes before our C race. I took 2 moderate runs around the course to get a feel for the course (which was deceptively long and twisty) and tried to figure out how to handle the off-camber right turn towards the back of the course. It also gave the chance to decide whether to run or ride thru the sand box.

Our race started and got clipped in fast but was blocked by several riders so I didn't bother trying to take a shot at the hole shot going into the first turn. I was about 15 riders back when a guy in about 5th or 6th dumps his bike into the very first turn. I watched as the pack slowed to a crawl while the lead guys took off. I was probably sitting in 10 or 12th spot going thru the first lap.
On the second lap I dropped my chain on a downhill after a run-up.
Ditto for the 3rd lap - same spot.
4th lap was dropped-chain-free but I do remember clipping one of the rocks or cinder blocks with my pedal and found it hard to stay clipped in after that. I look down to see this:

5th lap is where it gets fun. I'm riding solo since the other guys I was pacing with were long gone after my chain issues. I get thru the sand pit and get my best remount of the race as I managed keep my speed up. As I'm heading for a grassy uphill section after a fast pavement section, I hit a "hole" or something at the beginning of the grass and did an endo over my bars. I thought for sure my race was done because I figured with the speed I crashed and hit that hole that my front tire would be tacoed or fork broken. I get up and check for broken bones then spin my front wheel. Still as true as day 1 (props to Ksyrium Elites for holding up). Everything else on the bike was fine so I ran up the rest of the uphill section. I remounted and completed the lap but no before dropping my chain again at the very same downhill spot as before.
At this point I have blood dripping from somewhere on my arm, grass stains and blood stains on my skinsuit which gave the announcer at the sand pit plenty of material to talk about as I rode by him on the next and final lap.
I did manage to pass one guy on the last lap but he had a mechanical and was running the course with his bike. My effort was good enough for 16th. Shawn picked up a 10th while Team Traveler Elliot O'Brien (aka Zebra skinsuit guy from the Casey Crit) won his first cross race he entered using a regular road bike.
It was fun to get out there and race but I need to work on my technical bike handling skills. That (and eating dirt and dropping my chain 3x) is where I lost the most time. Give me fast laps around the mulch trail with some run ups and barriers, I'll do fine but throw in some off-camber turns and tight turns and I slow to a crawl.
A pic of the aftermath.

As far as my injuries, it looked worse that it was. Just a few spots of road/grass rash on the arm and hip.
Today, I dropped my 42t single up front in favor of a 50/36 compact so I can spin more thru turns and make climbing a bit easier. I'm looking for a 46 to replace the 50 but if more races are laid out like Urban Cross, I'll never need to get out of my 36.
Next week is Catharpin (I grew up in Prince William county and never heard of Catharpin - we just called the Manassas area Man's Ass) and then Pole Green on Sunday.
Since this race was located next to a news station, it got
some race coverage.



I think "Blood on the Down tube" would make a excellent rock song.

Amos said...

Blood, crashes, mechanicals...sounds like a good race.

Albe said...

I saw that nice bike of yours in the shop. C'mon out this weekend for some fun (blood optional).

Rob said...

That sucks about your pedal-- good thing your wheels held up! I lost a rear derailleur, my back wheel and had to finish the race on Liz's bike last year at that course- I feel for you. Hope to see you guys out at a 'cross race soon.

steven said...

Riding on the track with miss Lakatosh???? That just might happen! She mentioned that I should ride her track...across the street from her house. She's great fun so we'll see if I win this track race. Glad you got to meet Mandy-she's a trip. I will be seeing you soon on Thursday nights and at some races.

Liz Schleeper said...

Good luck with the rest of the series. Yes, cx bikes get so beat up!

David said...

I saw you at the race. You did a great job. I've never done a cyclocross race, just too many mechanical problems. Our team leader Elliott (aka zebra skinsuit guy) had a similar day: Dropped chains, Face plant in the sand and Wheel problems. I stayed around the sand box and got a treasure trove of photos. Thanks for linking to the Team Traveller site.