Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Battle at Barlow

October 8th, 2006
Sam Barlow High School
Gresham, Oregon

This past weekend was a break in the Crusade schedule, but a cross race at an old Crusade location----dubbed the 'Battle at Barlow'. It was a really nicely put on race by Veloce Bicycles albeit not quite as large as some of the Cross Crusade races have become.

I started the race out on the wrong foot so to speak. I was at the finish line watching the Master Bs come in and trying to get warmed up. I had assumed that the start line was there and I would just jump into the line whenever they announced the B line up. At about 10 minutes to race start I started getting nervous since I seemed to be the only "B" racer that was around, I finally asked a couple of juniors where the start was and they directed me to a spot way far away...

Anyway, I got to the start/staging area and of course got a horrible start location (no first or second line up for Dan). I tried to wiggle my way in as much as I could (though I always feel like a jerk about doing it). Luckily, the guys at the back are not all that serious so it wasn't that big of a deal to weasel in.

The race started quick as possible. Each lap consisted of a stretch alongside an athletic field, a couple of switch backs, a long paved downhill with a sharp 90 degree turn to an uphill and then some artificial switch backs before the first barrier (Joy - dismounting on pavement at speed is fun, isn't it). From there, we went around another athletic field and dropped down into some actual single track which then led to the biggest challenge of the day... a barrier, bridge run up combo (see pic below). I tried the stairs once and used the dirt trail to the right from there on out.

The organizers let you pick whether to go left or right (wasn't that nice?)

After the run up was some more single track weaving in through the trees, another pair of barriers and the lap was completed. I clocked my first lap at 5.7 minutes, so this was a FAST course. At the end of the 45 minute race (which actually turned out to be around 50 minutes, I had completed 8 laps and 11 miles. (so for those of you with out calculators at home, each lap was 1.37 miles long).

The first 2 or so laps were dryish. The ground was moist and the pavement dry. It started raining on the 2nd lap and got progressively wetter and more slippery as the race progressed. The stretches through the parking lots were the most sketchy.

I finished the race at 12 place - I'm much happier about this finish then my previous weeks finish, granted, the field was smaller (60 or so guys instead of 87). Regardless, I raced smarter, faster and stronger and I can't wait until the next one at Hillsboro Stadium (Oct 15th).

On a side note, this was my first race on my rebuilt race wheels - I'm running Chris King Hubs built on Stan's ZTR 355 29'r rim and Michelin Mud Tires. This is a tubeless NoTubes system and it works great. The rims wheels are actually lighter than my previous build of King hubs, DT RR rims and Hutchinson Clinchers. Gotta love the Stans. I really think this is going to be the wave of the future - All the advantages of tubulars without the cost and maintenance - and you can run whatever tire you want. I'm gonna be converting my mountain bike the first chance I get.

No iPod change this week: Early Man, Audioslave, NIN... However on a side note, if you spend time in front of a computer and you like music - check out Pandora. This free site builds you a personalized radio station based on music that you like - sort of a personal DJ. I wish I could take it on the go.

It's late and I need to sleep!

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