The Secret Eye Was Upon Me

So, I'm reading Squat Lobster's account of the Cat 4 35/45+ race I was also in this past Sunday and when I got to his video, I enjoyed seeing some of my MRC team mates come and go through the frame of his camera:

At the end of the video, when his camera has fallen off his bike (jelly side up), I couldn't help but wonder if I was one of the guys zipping past. Enter some frame-by-frame analysis and BINGO, there I am!

Race Report: Minuteman Cross, Cat 4 35/45+ - Lancaster, MA

With not much of a warmup (sigh) because I was running around the course photographing the open Cat 4 race, I lined up 6th row, which was closer to the front than I thought I'd be with only one other cycocross race under my belt. Did my best on the first lap to just maintain position, passing some people on that first big climb then being passed later on in the turny bits of the course.

Somewhere in lap 2, Mark Van Lier passed by me (from starting in row 8) and I gave chase. Tried keeping him in sight the rest of the race. Played cat-and-mouse with Sweeney for a while too.

Lap 3, as I exited the last barn turn and approached the copse of trees by the bleachers, I snagged my left brake handle in the tape, stretching out 6 ft or so diagonally across the track - dang stuff broke so easy in the wind but wouldn't when I got caught in it. It slowed some BikeBarn guy down a half-second while I cursed a blue streak and finally freed myself.

Had to do a half dozen foot-plants on turns but was glad I had the instinct to do so, woulda definitely bit it in a few cases if I didn't.

I can hardly remember going up and over the flyover, I guess it wasn't an issue for me.

Last lap, I tried to stick with Scott but couldn't, Van Liere was out of sight but I had some guy on my tail so he would have to do for me to have any last acts of heroism. As we left the corner field before the finishing straight, he was actually breathing louder than I was, so I began to hit the gas. He matched my every move, likely tucked in behind me tight to stay out of the wind.

I kept shifting up and going faster and still I could hear his huffing and puffing behind me and as I hit the line, I practiced throwing my bars "just in case" but I don't think he was coming around.

Result: 34th of 76 overall and 17th of 40 in the 45+.

I'm very pleased with how I did. My ankle/foot did not pose a problem (but did need a bag of ice when I got home) and each lap was faster than the one before (9:19, 9:09, 9:08 and 9:06). My only self-criticism was that even though my remounts went without a hitch, I did flop my ass down on the seat really hard every time - I'm lucky that the barriers were in the forgiving wood chips.

Later, when the results were up, I did not find myself on the print-out so I pestered JD between races and he reviewed the tape, found me and even complemented me on the throw.

The rest of the day, I spent taking shots of the rest of the action. I took so many shots, it required quite a few man-hours of editing to create the gallery I posted online.


Pre-Race Workout

Spent the day doing course setup for our race tomorrow, the CyclocrossRacing.com/Minuteman Road Club CX Race.

7 a.m. start with NO COFFEE. Big mistake, felt kinda logey all day, but soldiered on through staking/taping the course, pruning tree branches, clipping off exposed roots and toting 55 gallon drums. Oh, then there was the hauling of logs, hay bales and walking back and forth along the course dozens of times to move my car and it's load of tools to a more convenient location.

Meanwhile the wind was gusting to 25 mph and threatening to make our racecourse look like either a drunken Christo installation or a field of bedraggled TIbetan prayer flags.

Right around noon, I was pretty cooked and, it being two hours beyond the advertised completion time, quite ready to go. Just then the call comes in that the flyover is on it's way to the site.

Ok, I'll hang around a little longer. What's next?

Unloading the components from the trailer, that's what:


Here, hold this for a minute, would ya?



Ok, once the guys assembling the flyover seem to have things well in hand, I head home and finally swap out my front brake pads (long overdue) and install the shorter handlebar stem I've wanted since I got the XO1 in August. Both operations go quickly and smoothly.

Next I get the car loaded up with my standard race armament PLUS a few extras just for this race (I'll detail these later in my race report). But I keep wondering how the flyover is coming along, so I head back over to sneak another peek:


My those steps look steep! I trotted up... gonna be some sore thighs tomorrow! The crew also added a little skirt to the end of the ramp so descending cyclists can transition back to level ground less abruptly. Nice touch!


Ok, back home, dinner and now let's wrap this post so I can get some proper rest.

EDIT: I forgot that I got this vid-clip of an early test drive:

Minuteman Road Club Flyover - nearly finished! from Russ Campbell on Vimeo.


Providence Cyclocross Festival - Day 1 - October 9, 2010

A beautiful Saturday morning greeted New England 'crossers as they competed on Day 1 of the Providence Cyclocross Festival. I was signed up to race but I was still feeling cautious about my ankle which left me free to photograph the goings on.

Fellow Minuteman Road Club member, John Smith bought himself an upgrade to Cat 3 over the weekend by winning the Cat 4 35/45+ on both days. Chris Pare took 3rd on day 2 in that category.

Doug Kennedy also had a great weekend, placing 4th and 7th on each day. He bumped up to Cat 2 as a result.

I covered the Cat 4, Cat 4 35/45+, Cat 3/4 Women and the U15 Juniors (1-4). Full gallery here.

Competitors make their way past the Temple of Music in Roger Williams Park.

Michael Weiler descends in Roger Williams Park.

Todd Savage leads fellow Minuteman team member John Smith up at the start of the 35/45+ heat on Saturday.

A victorious John Smith (Minuteman) as he wins the Cat 4 35+.


The Night Weasels Cometh - October 6, 2010 - Shrewsbury, MA

Rained like the dickens while we were stringing tape along the course but it eased up in time for the first heat of the evening, the Cat 4 Men. This didn't mean that the course was easy to navigate, there was plenty of slippery messiness to be had.

Since my ankle was still messed up, I was fine with the role of photographer, while the light lasted. One Cat 3 racer who shall remain nameless, remonstrated me for using my flash... it WAS hard to see out there, so I don't blame him. I didn't want to be the cause of anyone's crash so I took more slow shutter speed pan shots and saved most of the flash shots for the finish line.

Colin, Chip, all the volunteers and the crew from Ski Ward all did  a terrific job. Everyone had a great time!

A gallery of photos is viewable here: click for mud

Minuteman Road Club Cat 4 crew after the race
Matt Pierson hurdling a six inch pipe
Peter Goguen, 14 year old Cat 4 winner

MRC Member Rob Bauer shows why his nickname is "Pain Face"

Jonny Bold ripping it up in the P/1/2/3 race


Ankle Update

So it's six days since I sprained my ankle/foot. Two days to go before The Night Weasels Cometh.I had a string of assignments through the weekend so I couldn't stay off my feet at all, but the ankle brace I picked up at CVS did a good job of helping me to function.

Every day, it's been getting a little better.

This morning, I taped it up and got on the trainer for some intervals and it held up really well but the bad news is that when I got off, laced up my running shoes and tried to simply JOG around the block, it was a no-go after 100 yards.

So, if you had to ask me right now, I'd say that I'll be photographing the race Wednesday night, not participating in it.


My Own Worst Enemy?

Short post only to report that I have been finding new ways to maim myself.

Two weeks ago, I unwisely jumped on a BMX bike for the first time at the track in Billerica (I was quite the sight in my roadie bike shorts and jersey), went off course and my right thigh lost a fight with a rather sharp rock as I fell, leaving me with a 5-inch gash that provided me with a nice view of what things look like underneath my skin. (Sorry, no photos)

My wife is becoming an expert at rolling her eyes at me when I come limping back into the house.

Fast forward to this past Tuesday, I'm scheduled to have the stitches removed at 1:30pm but in the morning, I decide to do a little 'cross workout, concentrating on nailing down my remounts. Somehow, I manage to completely miss the saddle and sort of sit down on the rolling rear tire while simultaneously riding over my left foot with my ankle bent to the right at a rather unnatural angle.

Boof! Down I go and instantly I know that the workout is over.

Coupla hours later it's my PCP who's rolling his eyes at me when I ask him if he would check out my ankle after he is done taking out the stitches.

So, I've been hobbling around with a brace on the ankle. It's improved a lot in two and a half days. I'm thinking I might just be alright for the Night Weasels Cometh this coming Wednesday...