Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Hillsburrito - 'Cross styling in the mud

Since I'm not doing the 'cross thing this year I gave my bike to a dude outta Corvallis to rock on. Here's how his first race went:


A story doesn’t exist until it’s been told. So with that little deep thought in mind (I made that one up all by myself too), I have a little ditty to tell about my adventure last Sunday. It just so happens that I don’t think any of you were there!

My story has a little background to it. Brian Marcroft approached me recently about riding his custom built Ti cross bike during this fall to get the name out for Marcroft Cycles. Considering that I was riding on a large, heavy Kona Jake I immediate said heck yea! I started training on the Marcroft ‘cross bike just before my trip to Raleigh, NC last week. I returned to Oregon last Thursday and took the Marcroft bike out for some intervals and ‘cross skills in Avery Park (Corvallis) last Friday and peeled the Tufo tubular clincher cross tires off twice! This was very concerning – I didn’t want this to happen in a race. So I bought a new pair of Hutchison cross clinchers and put them on the bike Saturday night. Not good planning to have new equipment that I’ve never tested before, but considering the risks of continuing on the Tufos I decided to go for it.

Race day dawned a beautifully gray morning in a full down pour. I looked like excellent Oregon ‘cross weather and I couldn’t be happier to be headed out to play in the mud. The down side of the rain was the cold wind that was whipping along the race course. I was able to get to the race (whole family in tow) early enough to preview the course with one lap after the C’s finished their race. The course was very slippery and there was a beautiful section where the sadistic course designers decided to send the race through the 25m long mulch pile with ankle to calf deep of lose chipped mulch. It was still raining during the Master’s B/Junior race so I kept moving to warm-up doing laps around the stadium. About 25 min before my race start I decided to do some mount/dismounts and the saddle seemed to slip back so the nose was pointed in the air. I found a couple of teammates near by and borrowed an Allen wrench. I adjusted the saddle to level, tested it and it slipped again. I did this three times total before I realized race time was just too close so I’d have to just go for it and hope for the best.

I staged about 15min before my race and was mixed in the back of a large mob of SS and B’s shivering in the rain. I was able to see my daughter Kate do her first ever bike race in the kiddie kross group riding her trike with her mom to help. Apparently they sent the kids over the six pack too, what a trooper. Back to my race – they flipped a coin and the B’s would start first. So I pushed my way through the SS and rolled up to the start line and staged about 3rd deep. The line had about 20 people wide and about 5 deep total. We then shivered for the next 10+ minutes in the rain. Eventually we started and most of the group didn’t realize that the whistle was going to blow which added to some confusion. At the first corner (about 100m in to the race) someone ahead of me in my line crashed taking down about three other riders. I went to the left through the ditch to avoid the carnage and looked around to realize I was dead last, about 85th position! Well the racing games began and I quickly passed lots of people who were rolling around in the mud on their backs (literally!). There were also a couple of flat gravelly sections where I punched it and flew past people 2 and 5 at a time.

More drama ensued about half way through the race when I dropped my chain coming into the six pack of barriers at the finish. I ran the barriers and then put the chain back on. When I went to remount the bike there was a load crack from the saddle and now it was cocked up in the air and sideways. I decided that the saddle wasn’t going anywhere so I rode it and was very careful mounting the bike again after that. It didn’t feel too good to ride like that but I only lost about 5 more places and finished 45th. I also dropped the chain one more time, and it turns out that the lower rail of the seat post clamp broke off completely. On the positive note the new tires worked great and I never lost traction anywhere, nor did I slide out or crash anywhere on the course.

In the end I’m listed as 45th – I passed about 40 people in the race. …so if I could pass 45 people next time and I started in 50th position I’d be fighting for a spot on the front of the race!

So that’s my story. Next up for me is that I’m planning on racing at the Flying M Ranch October 29th.

Ben

1 comment:

Omer said...

whatever....