Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Foxtrot at Xilinx

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fA2vJXK3vt0]

We had a good showing at Xilinx with Brad, Jon, Kirk, Dave, Ryan and Paul out there throwing down in the dust on Saturday. Here are the reports.

Jon Maule - 51st, SM35+ 4
Pretty fun day all in all. I'm pre-registered for the series in SM4 but my "plan" called for 2.5hrs so with this course being one of the faster ones around (read as fat guy friendly - relatively speaking) I thought I'd double up and race 35+/4 in the morning and then get my ass handed to me by the 13 yr olds later in the day.

I like this course as it's pretty non-technical, pretty flat and even though its cross and there's really only one section where you can recover (heading South on that path), you can meter out your efforts in key places and my middle of the pack self generally ends up gaining more places than I lose. I wonder if we'll ever get to use the volleyball courts again?

I got there somewhat early figuring they'd do call-ups based off of the race number. Well in true 35+/4 fashion, the class was nearly full from the get go and I ended up with essentially # 105. I saw long lost brother Mr. Vogel and we lined up near the back. What a cluster($#&@. The Xilinx course is a pretty long course but with well over 100 racers no matter how stretched out it gets it's never enough. Things were better after a couple of laps. For the first three laps I was about 10-20 seconds down on Dave and was planning to reel him in by the last lap. Between having a couple of people go down in front of me and Dave kicking on the jets, I lost him for the last lap. All in all the race went well given our handicapped start. Probably some foreshadowing but there is a set of double barriers just before a 180 turn that is maybe 200yds from the finish. Well, as I'm "attacking" the barriers and running through the people fumbling the remounts, one of the other dudes inadvertently kicks my rear brake sending it under the rim. I end up going nowhere fast and lose about 5-7 places while I'm fidgeting with that. I ended up finishing 51st out of 110 finishers. 45th would have been better but maybe next time.

It was already pretty darned hot by the time that race finished so I ran home to put a cage on for the 4's. Not a bad idea as my car registered 87 as I pulled in to park. I met up with brother Kirk and we went out to get loosened up. A couple of short efforts let me know that I didn't have very many matches left for this one. No call ups for this race because I sucked so much at Kiddie Prison and Valmont (my last three races have dropped my crossresults score by 80 some odd points). However, pre-registering got me in about the 5th row! Kirk lined up just to my right. At the start I didn't want to run the first 100 yds of dirt like I did earlier that day so I spent a couple matches trying to get in decent position before the only real "technical section" (I ran that little log each time not wanting to wait in line and chance it, anyone else?). The first two laps went well but on that same double barrier near the finish line I went to lift my leg over for a remount and my groin complained. A few years back I had the same damn thing happen on the same damn course and it took about 6 weeks to heal up. I got back on and pedaled another half lap before pulling the plug.

Dave Vogel - 29th, SM35+ 4
It was fun to shake the dust off my bike and legs and bang bars with the 35+ crowd. I ended up 29th on the day. How funny was our start? We had to be in the back 100. What a group.

So, I banged up my knee pretty good when I missed a dismount (rookie move) and won't make tomorrow at Lafayette. The announcer said "And its looks like Dave Vogel is having a little trouble with the barriers"

The race course was pretty good. I think a full suspension MTB would have been the ticket! Since I'm a slacker and really haven't been racing I felt pretty good overall. My big race will be here in Superior at Interlocken and I think a power course will be the ticket. Today’s course was bitchin' but was suited to lungs and guys who can ride bumps. I have lungs of a baby. Newborn baby.

Oh yeah.. I'm a few lbs heavier in my skinsuit and really am pushing the zipper to its limits. Might have to upgrade ;) Is there a stretchy pants option for skinsuits??

Paul Shumate - 10th, SM3
What is up with the small 3s field? All the other categories are pretty thick with racers! I've been pleasantly surprised with my first two cross races. I still corner like poo but I actually was able to ride with someone the whole race which helped keep me motivated and the pace high through out. I almost pulled a "Joey" on the last set of barriers. I clipped my front wheel cause I dismounted real late due the bumpy section so conveniently located right where I would normally begin my dismount. I've been racing without gloves and kinda like it even though my hands get pretty sore and raw. Eventually I hope my hands toughen up. That is all.

Brad Sims - SM Open
So despite me not showing up in the results nor sticking around after to cheer for the 3 or 4s I did try and race again. I've accepted that I'm racing into form this season and the Sept/Oct are going to be a little rough but yesterday didn't go as planned. Somehow in the dusty mess that was the first barrier section I dismounted weird and pulled my left quad pretty badly (guess that is what I get for doing no cross training this season). From there on dismounting, running, and jumping barriers was really painful. I had to do a weird one legged hobble which was pretty slow and probably pretty funny to watch. I felt ok pedaling seated and was determined not to DNF. I kept at it even though the barriers where killing me. I was actually doing ok and holding a couple riders off. Now for some serious TMI (as Dave likes to put it). I started have some serious stomach distress with 3 to go and had to back way off. With 1.5 to go I reached code red and had to evac to the port-o johns (which where a comfortable 150 degrees inside). So anyway I ended up with a DNF and learned to never eat Santiago’s breakfast burritos on race day.

Ryan Taylor - 2nd, SM3
I was so close to winning today!

I a got a front row call up and had a great start in a small field of 26. I've been hesitant to take the early lead in a cross race and blow myself up so, as we approached the transition to dirt, I eased up a little and was in third position as we hit the first technical section. As the race went on I drifted back to fourth at one point but kept my tempo steady and I soon was back into third with first and second in view. I lurked behind them and on one of the middle laps I catch a glimpse of a dust cloud and the two leaders scrambling to get back up. One of them, Spencer Downing (who's 16!), got back on his bike pretty quickly. The other guy was a little slower to recover but was able to get back up and keep going in front of me as I sat on his wheel for a bit. When we hit the last set of barriers he pulled off the course with a mechanical possibly leaving Spencer and I off the front.

Spencer is was putting in little attacks here and there trying to drop me but I kept things steady and he wasn't able to get rid of me. I think the attacks took their toll because before long his pace started to slow and I took the lead which lasted for part of the penultimate lap and all of the last lap. I think that's how long I led anyway, the race is a little fuzzy.

I tried to push the pace as hard as I could but I couldn't shake Spencer and going into the final part of the lap he showed me what good barrier technique can do. As we went over the last set of barriers he passed me, clearly able to carry more speed but I stayed pretty close. After the barriers there was a straight bumpy dirt section with a 180 degree turn onto the pavement followed by the finish. Now that I was behind out sprinting him was my only chance and I thought I probably could do it. I thought I needed to stay in the small ring going into the slow speed 180 turn and then I tried to get into the big ring as we hit the pavement to sprint. Nothing. I couldn't get into the big ring as I watched Spencer pull away. I tried to sprint in my little ring but as soon as that happened it was over. I probably should have shifted before the turn but it's hard to say since it was a tricky, slow speed corner.

It looks like I have a few things to learn but the race was a blast. I'm looking forward to some mud and cooler temperatures.

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