Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Race Report: Cross of the North Day 3

By:  Jon Maule (@jonmaule)

For a bunch of reasons, I really dig the idea of having multiple races at ONE location.  Having said that, I don't think either Saturday or Sunday rank amongst the most interesting courses I've ever done.  They're probably somewhere in the middle of the road though.  Much better than Jeffco Fairgrounds, probably Boulder Res among others but not quite as creative or ruthless as Flatirons or the recent ass-kicking version of Valmont.  Despite my nitpicking, those guys and girls up North really put some effort into this past weekend and it shows.  I'll go back next season if for no other reason than they're really trying to make for a great experience.

Saturday didn't quite go to plan (broken chain and lots of running) but I ended up satisfied with my effort (19th of ~40 and roughly 10sec back of 15th).

For Sunday, I made it up there ~2hrs before my 11am start.  Got in two easy-ish laps to make sure I understood the relatively minor course changes and then tried to keep warm.  Despite my car thermometer reading mid-50's, the 10+ (?) mph wind added a considerable amount of chill.  Glad I decided to wear what Brad calls the "Mariachi" skinsuit. probably not the best pic but...

back to the course, you can see what was left of the muddy section here.  Aside from being able to ride the mud, they changed one of the descents on the west course into about 10 yards of  very off-camber hillside that didn't really transition into the sharp lefthand turn needed to continue.  It was pretty easily the biggest potential bottleneck on the course.  My initial thought was to swap bikes each lap so that I could ride around the mud and with Andy having decided to drive up and it was nice to have that as a possibility.

Thankfully I got a second row callup, 

did my best not to blow up at the whistle and settled in around 5th.  Made it through to the run up without incident, drew even and then passed one guy on the run up (Alison has encouraged me to really attack on the running sections) and another guy on a single speed who just couldn't accelerate fast enough before the off camber part.  I felt like I rode that reasonably well albeit slightly out of control by the bottom.  anyhow, I never had an incident there although the surface was grippy enough that the momentum coupled with the immediate right hand turn caused some separation between my base tape and tire.

Back to the race, I was now in 3rd.  WTF.  Dude in 1st was gone but at that point, 2nd was in sight.  Right about when Kirk drove up I eased back knowing I generally don't have much left at the end as it is.  4th to start the second of 5 laps, 5th, after the run-up eventually settling in at what what would be 9th.  Right behind two BCS dorks (actually really good guys but I still have to make fun of them).  I'd hoped to be able to pin it (as much as possible) on the 2nd to last lap after the pit but I kept having trouble in two spots.  

One was that slalom like descent to second pit entrance where I just couldn't seem to get the right line or didn't really trust my front tire at that speed with my "mass" behind it.  Probably a little of both.  The second place was two sharp right hand turns in that blue fencing.  I had my front fold twice on separate occasions both of which caused me to go down momentarily - one dropped chain from being in the small ring that was easily remedied.

Back to the chase, I'd close in on BCS dork#1 on the running sections but he was able to gap me slightly on the climbing sections.  I never was able to make that gap up coming in 9th on the day (out of ~30 people) about 20 sec behind both BCS dorks and ~two and a half minutes off the leader who was much faster than anyone else all weekend.

Misc Data:

Front tire - FMB Grippo @ 26#  probably could have used another pound or two
Rear tire - PDX @ 28#  Right now I don't have any other faster rear tire.  Probably could have gotten away with the Fango but I'm really digging the velcro of the pdx

The good
  • Callups - sure as hell makes it easier to get in a good spot to start the race
  • Tires - both of these are awesome.  I'll be getting another grippo for next year as I'm losing some of the knobs but that rubber is SUPER grippy (my understanding is it's basically a racing ralph tread but with softer rubber).  Anyhow, i like.
  • Teamies - Freaking awesome having people scream at you and be able to help should you need it (Kirk and Andy) or leaving me hanging for a mid-race high five (Andy).  I'm not so focused (for better or worse) that I don't hear you and I really appreciate it.
The Bad
  • Tires - I have a roughly 6 inch section on my FMB where the base tape separated from the casing.  It's full of dirt so I'm not sure I could glue it together enough to trust it.  I'm pretty sure this is the section I felt multiple times throughout the day.
  • Running - I need to ride more barriers.  My right achilles is separating from my heel again - I can't remember what she called it but basically that means I'm done for the year.  Half a season over 3yrs isn't too bad :(
  • Rushing off without really needing to - We were supposed to have a late-lunch with another couple on Sunday but  on my way home, they cancelled.  Would have been neat to stick around for Kirk and Brad.  maybe I could have helped keep the tent from blowing away.

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