Tuesday, October 13, 2009

NOW it's Cross season...

Sunday's Boulder Cyclocross Series #2 race at Interlocken Business Park DID turn into the return of "real" cross for the Colorado season.  Even though the overnight low was about 10 degrees warmer than forecast,  it was still quite "chilly" on Sunday,  never warmed up that much,  and the light dusting of snow was just enough to slime things up a bit.  The foggy,  sleet filled drive down to Broomfield after picking up Kirk meant we were at least not going to be "dusty" this time.

EARLY start,  as we were on tap to help Brian H and Boulder Racing with this race.  6:00 am at the venue is quite the way to make sure you are very awake come race time.    Got the course marked and going pretty quick,  but had to delay the start of the 1st junior race until a run to the store was done for a bunch of ice-melt.  All the sidewalks had a nice glaze of ice early,  and was taking both junior riders "warming up" and many of the course setters down regularly.  My only "crash" of the day ended up being from walking across the sidewalk with an arm full of fence posts.  After spreading a bunch of ice-melt around,  the races got off and we could get to race prep.

I have to put out my thanks to Brian & Boulder racing for the series and particularly this venue.  Racing on the green grass is such a treat,  and makes for one of my favorite,  and most "cross-ish" courses of the season.  Always a fun race there.  I also have to mention how impressed I am with the SM Open winner.  Not only can Matt Pacociha WIN the Open race,  he can do it after being out at the race at 6:00 AM,  working set-up,  Racing,  then tear down too.  A bit of a mutant there,  and you can tell he really enjoys the sport at the same time.

So,  after running around all morning in about 20 layers of clothes,  was time to kit up & get ready.  First problem was just what to wear.  Not quite used to the art of dressing to race in the cold yet this year,  and it took a couple of adjustments as we warmed up and dialed in on the course.  Hands & feet were the usual issue in the damp,  breezy cold.   After a few clothing and glove changes,  it was time to see how it was going to go.  Matt kept his #1 callup spot again,  and in spite of slipping down the BCR standings from my poor showing at Frisco,  my strategic early season race selection allowed me to get called up into the 2nd row,  right behind Matt.  Having Been feeling like I was on the verge of getting sick the previous couple of days,  I had NO expectations,  and was in "see what happens mode".  This actually makes for a much less stressful pre-race experience than my normal angst.  The cold seemed to just HELP turnout,  as we lined up with 96 of our closest friends for the weekly Beer-Drinking-Dad's League

Off we went.

I immediately squandered my callup (again) with a lousy start,  dropping back into the 20s up the first little rise.  Half a lap in,  and in spite of the cold temps & the way I'd been feeling,  I was hanging in and even moving up a bit.    Felt pretty good,  and from the "position reports" from Kirk (and looking back at the Video..) was staying right near that top 20 for a few laps.  Ended up right in the middle of the front "clump",  along with Chris & Armin.   Went back & forth the entire race with both those 2 and a bunch of others in the clump.  It felt like a Wednesday lunch "race" going at it with Chris & Armin so much.   With a Couple to go,  started a slow fade (again...),  and was getting passed on the backside double by a couple of guys each time.   Losing a few spots,  getting a few less back.  Stayed up all race in spite of all the damp,  off-camber grass.

Did get to see 3 riders slide out on an off camber turn in a nice 1,2,3 sequence right in front of me. Fun.   Going into the last lap,  Armin got by me but then crashed,  Chris also got by me,  then hit me on the last sidewalk with an acceleration I had NO answer to.  By then I had faded to the very back of what was left of the front clump for 34th place.  Not too bad,  but am a bit disappointed about not being able to hold on to that 20-ish spot I was up to mid-race.   I am going to have to work on being more "fade-resistant" in the next weeks.

All in all a fun,  but long day.  racing that course always leaves me with a smile.  Fun to get out and really race with most of the Wednesday "lunch race" crowd finally this year.   So far,  everyone I talked too went home happy,  no matter where they placed.  Matt again went from Hole-shot to an ALMOST win.  a couple of late race crashes blew a good gap,  and he ended up 2nd (again).  Matt looks to be on the express train up to the 35+ opens with Sunday's upgrade points.  Congratulations to him!

Lap to Lap video's from the first 4 laps in the 35+ cat 4 race are below (bit of an auto focus issue from time to time on some shots). Also put some music to most of this batch, easier on the ears than the nonstop cowbells & heckling.

Photos by E. Settje
Video by L. Robinson

Lap 1 start... the herd sets off...  96 starters makes for a long line

Boulder CX #2 - SM35+ Cat 4 - Lap 1 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

Lap 2 in the "Sandpit-Bowl":

Boulder CX#2 - SM35+ Cat 4 - Lap 2 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

Lap 3 (can really see the gap from 1st/2nd to the field here....):

Boulder CX # 2 - SM35+ cat 4 - Lap 3 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

Lap 4 (then it gets so confusing from lapped riders it makes little sense.....)

Boulder CX #2 - SM35+ Cat 4 - Lap 4 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.


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