Monday, October 10, 2011

My front wheel – a CX love story…

While this will be a brief SCX #2 race report I’d be remiss to not kick it off without a call out to my front wheel/tire. Just like dating hot women there are pros and cons to riding tubulars. In the first couple months of the road season I flatted 6 times racing on tubulars that has to be a record, and a serious con! I hung in there though, sleek, lightweight, ride like a dream, all pros! For Cross season I picked up a pair of older Zipp 404 tubulars, the promise of lightweight, no pinch flats, and low tire pressure turned me on. Let’s quickly flash back to Labor day. Half way into my fist warmup lap I started a sharp left hand turn that I didn’t finish. Halfway through I was rudely introduced to the ground, WTF I thought? Ah, rolled my front tire off the rim, sweet. After racing back to my car and jacking up the air pressure I started the race, I made it 1.5 laps before I again kissed the grass, rolled tubie – con! Flash forward to MFG#3 in North Bend. My tire and wheel have a new layer of glue holding them together. I made it through my warm up A-OK, I even made it .5 laps in the race before now for a third time in two races I was on the ground, I knew exactly why this time. I finished off that race (Cat4 35+) and the following Cat4 race on a pit clincher. The clincher got me to the finish line (pro) but I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel yet on my tubulars. The amount of glue I used to secure my front tire this week left no doubt in my mind that it would hold. I have nothing funny to say, I really did use damn near a tube of glue.
SCX # 2 Steilacoom:

Cat4 35+
Chris and I were the only 9:15am Apex racers this week.  Chris raced the open Cat4 and I did the Cat4 35+. Chris is super fit but new to CX racing this year, I am less fit and also a newbie this year. This course was much more interesting then Mountain Meadows the week before. There were 2 short climbs that separated out fitness levels quickly. The top 24 riders from the previous SCX race were “called up” to the front. This is a big advantage in a Cross race because it can often be challenging to pass on the course. Rows were 8 across and several riders were absent, I was able to get a good spot in the 3rd row. I had an OK start probably hitting the turn onto the grass in 25th place or so.
Before the top of the first climb I had already started catching some of the slower Cat4′s, from here on it was hard to tell the “old guys” from the “kids”. I guess it didn’t really matter though, I tried to pass everyone in sight. As I would have guessed on the uphill sections I passed riders easily, more of a surprise however was the fact that I didn’t lose much ground on the technical sections and downhills. I felt much more confident then even the week before. On the 2nd climb of the second lap I was pinned behind a pack of riders 3 across, I managed to hop up onto the field above the “road” and pick off 4-5 riders. As I came by the Start/Finish line I heard the bell ringing, one lap to go. Damn, we were told 4-5 laps, longer the better for me. I went deep up the first hill catching a couple more guys in my field, on the 2nd climb things got spicy. I had 2 Motofish riders in my sights, I knew one of them had been finishing well in previous races and if I didn’t get him on the climb I wouldn’t get him at all. I channeled my inner GOAT and dropped the hammer, it hurt but I wanted these guys. As I approached I yelled “on your left” so naturally dude goes left to cut me off. Without missing a beat I went right, he didn’t like this and leaned into me pretty good, hmm, OK dude whatever. Once wasn’t enough for this fella though, he comes back into me again? I had already nosed ahead of him and he hooked his bars somewhere on my bike and down he went. This pumped me up even more and I made sure I went past his buddy hard as we crested the climb. There is a fair amount of contact in cyclocross but this guy was not playing fair. Anyway, I finished off the lap and the race without further incident.
My goal coming into the race was top 10, I finished 8th. For my second CX race I am really pleased with the result. I should get a call up next week, this will help with early positioning.
My front tire stayed on the whole race! Major pro! I ran 35psi and had very little slippage. I was SO excited that I left my damn wheel at the race! It was on the side of my car when I was getting changed, totally forgot about it until I got home to clean it off. Love story over? Nah, this is a happy PG rated report. I quickly called Cemanski who was racing later in the day. After some work on his part my wheel was found slumming it in some other teams pit. She will be coming home to me Tuesday night.

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