Monday, November 19, 2007

Hillsboro Stadium - Cross Crusade #7

Cross Crusade race #7
November 18, 2007
Hillsboro Stadium, OR
Masters 35+ A race

We asked for rain, We.Got.Rain.

The Portland area finally started getting some rain this week so the ground was fully saturated by race time. I woke up early on Sunday to the patter patter of rain on our roof and new it was going to be a race of epic proportions.
After spending the morning playing with the kids I loaded up the car with the bikes and gear. I arrived at the course at about 12:00 for my 2:00 race. It had continued to rain all afternoon and there was little chance that it would let up.

I set up my trainer and tried to hide under the rear door of my Subaru. Thankfully, a neighbor with a pop up tent invited me under their shelter. I gladly obliged. After setting up my bike under their tent I grabbed my Single Speed (pit bike) and rode over to the vendor area for registration and a cup of coffee courtesy of Chris King.

Before heading back to the car, I watched a bit of the B race and at it's completion I decided to do a preride on the course - Because of the conditions, I opted to ride the pit bike. It was a good thing, because it was so muddy, starting with my A bike covered in mud would have been a bit of a disadvantage. At the completion of 1 lap I was covered in mud. A team mate of mine saw me and asked how my race went... I promptly informed him that I had only prerode the course. Epic.

Back to the car and tent. I warmed up for about 15 minutes then decided to race around the parking lot a bit. Not sure if this was a good idea as I was soaked by the time 2:00 rolled around.

The Hillsboro Stadium course has always been mostly flat. The course designers use the parking lot as well as the periphery areas of the stadium to their fullest potential. There were two sets of double barriers — one set placed before a micro hill and another along a wide open section. There were two - I hesitate to call them puddles, maybe bogs is a better term that were only semi rideable depending on your line and the line of the guys a head of you. I managed to ride both of them some of the time. Towards the end of the race I gave up trying to ride the biggest 'bog' and ended up running through the shin deep 'water'. There were portions of the course where I was scared to blink, as every time I shut my eyes I smeared a glaze of mud over my eyeballs... Yes, that feels as bad as it sounds. There were large portions of the course I raced by braile.
I have no idea how I did - Somewhere between 15th and 20th I think. Apparently the officials are having a hard time determining placement as well as all of us were basically indistinguishable mud men by the end of the race.UPDATE: 11/20/07 Looks like the official results are in and I got 17th place out of 46+ riders. I did 6 laps. The top riders (1=9th place did 7 laps). Next year I need to figure out how to bridge to these guys.

I was VERY cold after the race was over. It took me a good 30 minutes to get out of my muddy clothes, rinse my body off, rinse off my bike (sort of) and get into something warm and dry. Driving home I had the heater on full blast, and my toes and fingers weren't truly warm until I took a hot shower at home.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Estacada Cross

Cross Crusade #6 and SSCXWC
Estacada Timberpark
November 11, 2008

A race finish area

I had my best race of the season this past weekend, finishing up at 17th place (broke the top 20). The results themselves don't really do my race justice as they weren't much higher than any of my other ones this season, but my style of racing, my overall strength and my in general overall attitude were all better.

The course at Estacada consisted of a couple of grass bowls, single track, pavement, a run up and a set of barriers. The total course was approximately 2.3 miles long and we (The A+ group) hammered out seven laps.

Going down one of the bowls

Although I wasn't racing at the front of the pack, I was able to hold my own and pick off racers in my 'race within a race'. It felt good and I can't wait for districts this coming weekend in Hillsboro.

Additionally, this was the inaugural weekend of the SSCXWC (Single Speed Cyclocross World Championship) which also took place out at Estacada. I didn't race, but I did spectate. This was great fun and I recommend that any fan of 'cross, single speeds and or beer come next year (hopefully it will be in PDX again). Here's a great write up over at Cyclocross Magazine.

No one really took the SSCXWC too seriously, but it was loaded with talented riders - pro as well as local heros. The highlight was the reverse call up at the beginning of the race which put all the really fast guys at the back of the 100+ pack. As for the winner, Adam Craig (Giant) was just about to win, when he sat up to take a beer hand-up 20 feet from the finish line. He was probably thinking twice about that mandatory tattoo, since he already got one for winning the Single Speed Mountain Bike World Championship a few months ago in Scotland. Former local hero, and now national superstar Barry Wicks (Kona) came by and put his arms up in victory. His winnings include the afformentioned mandatory tattoo, a golden speedo with rainbow stripes sewn on, and a custom Vanilla single speed frame.

Local fast gal (and 2006 Women's 35-39 national cross champion) Wendy Williams (River City Bikes) won the female SS championship and for her troubles got the tattoo, the speedo and a custom Ahearne single speed frameset.

Monday, November 05, 2007

It's suppose to be fun, right?

No Barton for me. I opted yesterday morning to forgo the Barton Park cross race. It sounds like it was a fun and fast race and I probably should have gone, but alas, my heart just wasn't in it. I'm not sure what it was. I had every intention of going. My bike was ready, my bags packed, my afternoon clear. The only thing I needed to do was load up the car and hit the road.

Unfortunately, I just could not get motivated. I'm not sure what it was. I woke up feeling fine, and then as the morning progressed, my enthusiam sort of waned. The kids seemed especially needy and I felt guilty about leaving Meg with the two of them. It wasn't just that though.

It was a beautiful day though and I had a good time at our park playing with the kids. Next week!