Thursday, September 4, 2014

Race Report: Back to Basics CX #1

By:  Kirk Groves (@LSVLKirk) 

When I think of "Kiddy Prison CX" several things come to mind:  loose corners, bumpy mowed native grass surrounding the narrow burned in line. It's a course I find it really hard to pass on. Yesterday reinforced my impressions of the course. 

Wednesday Dana did some last minute work on my bike running new cables and housing for both the rear brake and rear derailleur -- thanks Dana, it was a huge improvement!! 

I arrived late and didn't get in anywhere near enough of a warm-up. Fortunately I was so late that the registration line was short. While doing a recon lap with Andy I looked at the time -- it was 5:53 - shizzz. I generally don't care where I start in a road race or crit. The start in a CX race is critical.  By the time we made it down to the start area call-ups were complete.  We both lined up at the back of a rather big group of B's -- 83 men and then a smaller group of A women started a minute later. I had a mediocre start and was probably around 50th at the first choke point. The first two laps my cornering was piss poor - I was slipping all over to the place and fighting the bike. I was really having to push hard on the straights hold position and make up for the poor bike handling. The heat (~90) and the bleeding from your eyeballs intensity of a CX race was a shock to my system. I held my own while in the pain cave, made some opportune passes and started to feel better as the race progressed -- both fitness-wise and technically. I was riding significantly  better on the final lap and gained 4 or 5 spots, which was encouraging. I had one final pass planned in the sprint to the line but my foot popped out of the pedal but I somehow avoided crashing. 

My overarching goal for the evening was to get a race under my belt before the first 'real' race on Sunday. It was a great workout and a quick reminder of CX race conditions.  My bike functioned really well (thanks again Dana), and I avoided the major mishap/crash. I'm sure I'll benefit from the experience at Castle Rock. On  a positive note, my mounts/dismounts and carries were improved as a result of the CX camp I did with Jon recently. Getting 34th out of 76 finishers wasn't great but I'm okay with it given the start. I'm having to re-calibrate my expectations after upgrading last December.  

In case you didn't already know it, Andy is a damn good CX racer. To start from the back and get 6th is super impressive!!

Afterwards Andy and I stopped for a couple recovery beverages at Cannonball Creek Brewing in Golden -- yum.  

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