Monday, 24 September 2012

Charm City aka Druidia

Lovely Bawlmer, hon. Have a meatloaf sangwidge. Yeah though the Hindus speak of karma, Druid Hill Park is a fantastic venue for a cyclocross. This is a big race for the area, borderline huge. People whose names announcers on the Sporza feeds of big Euro races know, even if they announce with that delightful Flemish "let me clear my throat" accent, show up to race. Both British national champions were there.

I raced Masters "Elite" both days. Elite in quotes because it's a contradiction in terms to refer to any race in which I am allowed to participate as "elite." My start numbers for both days were less than "elite," which didn't help, but after this weekend I've fully committed to not bitching about start position. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad, and having a good one is certainly nice, but you're going to end up - big picture - about where you belong no matter your start position. The first day, Chris Beck start two rows in front of me and got third. Paul dropped his chain and spent the first quarter of a lap behind me, then went on to get tenth* (*the results for both days had some hiccups). The one Cat 4 race I did, I started like 100th and got 5th. You wind up about where you should be - about.

Saturday is "sand first, barriers last." On this course, you're off your bike as often as you're on it. The first lap through the sand pit was a run through because it was a crowded scrum, but the rest of the laps were easy ride throughs. The stairs were kind of a beyotch, and the railroad tie thing just plain sucked. The barriers were higher than MABRA's 16" barriers, which made me thing that one of us was going to yard sale all over the place on them.

I race pretty well Saturday. Not great, but competently. Went from 93rd on the grid to 39th* at the finish (last results I saw had a UFO in about 6th place, which should move everyone behind that up one) - and finished right in among the guys I probably should be right in among. I would rate my bike turning as worlds better than at Tacchino but not as good as late last year, I withstood the draining short violent efforts much better, and I was - dare I say - lithe about the barriers. McKayla would have been very impressed. Unfortunately this race day litheness was not backed up by preparation or flexibility, so I strained my left quad during the race. Fun race.

Sunday was the opposite direction, which I think was a faster way around? Who knows. I'd decided after Saturday that I would go much harder in the early going, whenever traffic permitted and sometimes when it didn't, and try to break through a plateau. Out of the blocks I wasn't as good as Saturday but was okay. The barriers, coming so early in the lap, were a shit show. Everything was going pretty well, I was doubling down whenever I thought I might be settling for the long burn.

Unfortunately, the quad strain from Saturday blew up with I guess 2 or 3 laps to go, and I lost a bunch of spots, ultimately settling in at 49th. The way the races where I start in the back generally go for me (except Tacchino which was a second race of the day for me and in which I started deep, got deeper, and then bounced back a bit) is that the first stage of the race is all passing, with like a 10:1 passing to being passed ratio. The middle part is like maybe a 2:1 passing to being passed ratio, and then the last bit is "just hang on." I think I was generally doing a better job of extending the quality passing content stage on Sunday, but then let two big groups go by when I was limping toward the end.

Lots of massage and compression and all sorts of other shit to try and get close to 100% for Winchester.


Mike. said...

I only raced Saturday...crashed at least 3 times in the 2/3/4 race, and almost had a "Joey's OK!" moment at the barriers my 4th or 5th lap, no idea how I managed to pull that instance off.

Chose 2/3/4 since I got my ass handed to me in the combined Masters last my ass handed to me again this year, so lesson learned is if I can't hang with the old guys, don't even try to hang with the younger guys (even if they are "only" cat 2...)

Ike said...

You sure you didn't torch the quad trying to break out in a Cee Walk?

Chuck Wagon said...

Mike - They're both fast in my experience.

Ike - see, the reason I race masters is to share some time with other people who don't know what the hell a Cee Walk is

Mike. said...

Oh, and historically Sat CC has always been the punchier course, while Sun CC has been the faster/flowy-er course. Though Sat this year was missing a lot of punch, usually from the start road to the sand pit the quads are burning and that little kicker afterwards by the food pavilion would hurt...a lot.

I'm doing the Crystal Derby thing Sat afternoon, and hoping Winchester is much drier than last year...