Monday, December 10, 2007

W.E. Steadman Grand Prix of Cross

This weekend marked the end of my first season of cyclocross. For once, the weather bordered on Belgian, with an Alberta clipper rolling through and dropping some serious cold weather precipitation across New England.

The prospect of two 630 am departures was enough to make me fork out the dough for some plush accommodations at the Best Western in West Greenwich, which, along with the Super 8 that occupies the same terribly named road, win the prize for being situated on New England's worst-named roadway - Nooseneck Hill Road.

I digress.

I arrived to cold weather and snow on the ground. I settled into my usual pre race panic routine of getting from parking lot to start line in 45 minutes. CB was on the ball (trolling the net) for the pre-registration, so Erik, Nick, and myself were able to line up in the front row. The usual pre race nervous chit chat gave way to the minute of silence, or rather, minute of Richard Fries babbling about some nonsense, before the whistle. I had a good jump, was clicked in, and began working the gears on the extremely long uphill paved start. The pace gradually increased as I worked around a few riders and settled into the front group.

This idea of "racing" wore of rather quickly as most everyone decided that the big ring was off limits. So I was faced with a decision. Sitting there in the draft this was far too painless for a cross start. I drifted a bit out of the draft to test the wind. Yep, that has the potential to hurt.

So I went for it.

I came around the left hand side of the group as another rider came around the right. He and I hit the hole neck and neck. I wasn't about to let some snot nosed cat 4 brat steal my glory. After all, this was the ultimate goal - the Verge Hole Shot. I made one move to cut the kid off on the first turn.

There I was - leading the race.

This oddity lasted about 2 minutes, long enough for me to assert some sort of dominance on the field, but not so long as to put any real gap on the field.

Soon enough I fell to the back of the group of the top 4. I held the group for a while until a few guys, including CB teammate Erik, got past me, leaving me in 7th. On the last lap the sand pit decide to swallow my front wheel during my dismount, effectively pile driving me into the ground, and eliminating my hopes of reclaiming any places.

The good news? I got a point! 7th place gets me my first upgrade point (finally) of the season. 30 seconds off of first ain't bad either.

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