Sunday, November 04, 2007

Lessons Learned

These are some things I learned this weekend at Campton park:

1) Dew + Grass = Slippery
2) When you can see your rear wheel in front of you and you're still riding your bike, something's not right. Oh, and look out cuz here comes the ground!
3) If one race is fun, 2 is TWICE as fun!
4) OH MY GOD do I need some hill work.. :(

Chicago 'Cross Cup series race #4 took us to Campton park in St. Charles, IL. I chose to race both the Masters 30+ race and the Cat. 4a this week in an attempt to increase my learning curve.

I was also looking forward to racing in the morning, rather than sitting around all day until the Cat. 4 race at 2pm. I arrived just in time to change, register, and get in a slow preview lap of the course. This one was pretty rowdy.

A not too long starting straight leads to a 180 degree tight corner. Lotsa fun in a 40+ person starting field! Some nice S curves lead to the first double barrier. This is followed by another quick left/right and a ditch that was ridable, but just barely. Into a long straight and the biggest pain of the course, a barrier at the base of the longest climb of the course. Not particularly steep, but with all momentum sapped by the barrier, it was formidable.
The back half of the course was wonderful respite from the "technical" first half. Despite an off camber down-up-down-up, this section was fast. Long straights broken only by the afformentioned off camber and a short steep climb.
The final straight leads to a path through the woods that was a little greasy, and had rail road ties set in the ground perpendicular to the path for water run-off. These were easy to bunny hop and exit the path fast to a short grassy downhill into the final barrier which could be taken with good speed only about 20 yard from the finish line.

About 20 lined up for the Masters 30+ race. My plan for this race was to try to hang on to the back and just get a feel for the course and practie my dismount/mount. The start got off clean and I was sitting mid-pack. Into the climb I'm passed by a few on the way up. On the back half there's a long downhill straight to 90 degree left hand turn. I came in hot and tapped the brakes as I leaned into the turn. SEE LESSON #1. Suddenly I'm Brandon Inge slidding into 3rd! Luckily there was a spectator there to spur me on to get back on the bike and go go GO!! Lap 2 and I'm pretty much in no man's land. I press on working on my barrier technique, and using my gears to save my legs.
Now on the back half, this time entering the straight that took me out in the first lap, again coming in HOT! I tap the rear brake to scrub some speed... SEE LESSON #2. Luckily I went down on my right this time, balancing out the bumps and bruises. The rest of the race went without incident. Well, besides being 10 minutes longer than I had expected. Ugh...

I'll report my Cat. 4 race in a separte entry.. We'll just let this one set in.. :D

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