Saturday, October 20, 2007

Catamount Cross Weekend - Day 1

I made sure to secure my outer spot at the line, even in the front row this time, but a guy squeezed in next to me - no big deal. Whistle blows and I got a good start along the gradual grass uphill. No real hole shot on this course, just a sweeping left hand 180 turn. I cut into a line of guys on the turn and settled into 4th place. Nice! We were cruising along.

At the first set of barriers, a 180 down and up routine similar to Gloucester-except followed by a short run up. I quickly realized that if these guys were going to hold this pace, I was going to blow up. I figured - first lap, its gonna hurt, it's supposed to hurt, let's ride it out.

The course carved around some good sweeping grass turns, nothing too terribly off camber, and most of it had a dirt track down the middle about 4 inches wide. The second run-up posed a bit more of a problem for me. It was a 90 degree right hand turn into a barrier, then about an 80-100 ft run up, with three large birch trees across the trail. The course wound down through similar turns as the majority of the rest of the course into a quick downhill on a fire road. After a very tight set of S turns, the course hit the muddy section (I'll be getting some clear eye protection for tomorrow) the course wound into the set of triple barriers, made a few more turns and come through the lap.

Somewhere at the beginning of the 2nd lap I was passed by a GMBC guy and was sitting in fifth. The lead 4 started to pull away (Damn roadies who race beginner races) and I began my two laps in the pain cave in no-mans land. I was having a hard time getting my breathing under control, but I was still able to push on the false flats and try to keep my distance from the group behind me. With 2 to go I got passed on the run up by another GMBC guy (these guys are everywhere). After the technical S turns another GMBC guy got around me but I grabbed his wheel and held him through the mud. In a moment of true cross glory I passed him on the triple barriers, hit a perfect remount, found the pedals, clipped, and blasted away.

Ok. Sixth place isn't bad, I can't get greedy, need to hold my own and not blow up. As I come through for 1 to go the uphill is noticeably slower, and my legs are burning. I'm wobbling all over the bike, looking like a mess. I'm not sure when he got around me, but he did, so I was back in 7th. 7th is ok... I mean, there was merch for top 5 and I was just in 6th so I wasn't getting that anyway. So I decided to hold in and not risk blowing it and losing places to the two guys about 15 seconds back.

At least that was my plan. As I came down the fire road for the last time I noticed a woman's racer who I was about to lap. Somehow in my paranoia about hitting her or passing or something, I missed my line through this small rocky section, and got all messed up going through the S turn. As I set my bike down to remount, I noticed it felt a little weird. Pinch Flat. Dammit.

Since there really wasn't a pit, and I was quite far away from the place that it wasn't at, I just decided to roll on it. I was pretty impressed actually - I kept my speed up, with the exception of the corners. The two guys behind me got around me, and I was tempted to run the last 50 feet to look badass, but decided to save it for tomorrow. So i rolled through the line in 9th place.

Some Photo's Below:

Living in No Man's Land

S Turns

Getting Chased Down

Flat Tire Fun

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