Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Race Report: Cyclo-X Xilinx

By:  Andy Lueck

Received a front row start and slotted myself just left of center in the 8 lane row. My plan was quite similar to Kirk's for the start. I went out at 80% knowing that the pavement start was longer than a usual start effort could endure. I jumped onto a Cycleton wheel and rounded the first right hander. Halfway up the hill I could hear the familiar clicking of gears to my left, I reacted quick enough to jump on a Boulder Junior's wheel for the rest of the way into the dirt. Over the bridge, through the woods, and past the hecklers we went. Left hander onto more pavement and up we went to the parking lot. I found more gears than the junior in front of me did and continued to lay it down until after the mud pit. 

That first left after the mud and long "single track" got me every time, I could have held more speed but between not trusting my mud coated braking surface and slightly over inflated front tire, I wasn't risking the crash. I glimpsed back and saw what appeared to be at least 10 seconds back to second place. I regrouped my thoughts and started to find that pace that would allow me to at least hold the gap if not build a little on it over the next 40 minutes. My goal at the start was a podium, I saw enough fast juniors present to humble me, and didn't want to get too complacent at the front.

I dug deep on both of the aforementioned pavement sections on the next two laps. The flat sandy section on the other half of the course is where I recovered; getting up to speed as quick as possible after each corner and then backing off until the next turn.

On the third lap, out in those sandy turns, I see something dressed all in black coming up on the Cycleton rider quick. Damn wicked witch of the 35 3s needing an upgrade catching the young bucks. Passing the pits I hear someone yelling "5 seconds Cade." Well shit, here comes a young buck in the Open race with 2 laps to go.

He kicks on the starting pavement and I jump onto his wheel for a tow through the forrest. I stay on and he gaps me on the rocky dirt up to the winding downhill. I allow it - for what reason I don't know. He pits and I'm pack on his wheel after the mud. I stay on not quite sure if I'm playing cat and mouse or if he is. He picks good lines and kicks again at the start of the bell lap, up the hill he goes, and I can't respond. I almost decide 2nd is acceptable; I heard my dog barking (giving me a bit of a kick) and I stand up and pedal just hard enough to nearly regain contact.

The little hill just past the woods and hecklers I kick and Cade doesn't react. I'm glued to his wheel catching my breath, around the right hander and he stays inside. Gut reaction: I go wide and drop all the gears. I swing into the rocky dirt where gaped me last lap and push the 42 11 all the way up. I'm conservative with the brakes on the way down and shoulder clip a couple course markings - letting me know I am efficiently using the whole course. I remember towards the bottom it looked like Cade was on his B bike and yelled something about more PSI at the last exchange. He is going to pit again - opportunity. I open it up before, through, and after the mud. I look back after that nasty corner and there is real estate between us. I gun it out of every corner and over cook a couple on the process; Kirk's right that no one has a perfect race. I hear LG getting excited as we come up to the barriers and he congratulates me on a clean quick transition. I coast up through the left handed 180 onto the finish straight. Head down, mouth agape and I'm clicking through all the gears. Quick glance through the arm and I allow myself to sit up for the final 2 seconds with a Jersey Shore-esque fist pump at the line.

Spun out the legs and scrubbed off the mud leg warmers I developed. Cracked a beer and headed down to climb the podium.

Awesome course, competition, and conditions. The only let down is the treatment of podiums at the Without Limit events.

Great feeling to get upgraded to the Open category (still waiting, not so eagerly, on the email) and a Cat 2 on a win and not a second place. Found the pain cave for you Jon and I'll supply you with directions - I knew at the end I had nothing left in the tank.

A weekend off for me from racing due to travel but I'll be back for Primalpalooza, able to cheer on the team now.

Top of the Open 3's for now:

Foxtrot at the top of the 3's standings as well:

If you made it this far congrats and thanks for reading.

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