Yesterday morning could not have been more perfect for bike racing: sunny, temp in the high 50's, rain-soaked ground dried to merely slightly damp and only 1.4 miles to drive to the race.
|This field would soon be wall-to-wall cars, bikes and cyclists.|
Yes, I drove: wanted to have my full armory of tools/parts/comfort items available just in case.
At registration, my waiver sheet had no number stapled to it so as the guy handing my case started to look for advice about what to do, I jokingly asked for a low number. He returned and with a shrug, tore off the number attached to the sheet below mine. I assumed he knew what he was doing.
I got #109, a front row start! Sure beats row 4 where I would have been based on the race predictor (25th).
I ambled back to my car to prep the bike and myself and as I did, I could hear the distant sound of the paint ball battlefield way on the other side of the gun club property: shouting and constant "automatic gunfire". I suppose it was no worse than racing bikes on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
After Ted Packard of QuadCycles led us in a moment of silence to recognize the anniversary, we were lined up, and ready to go.
Got a good start and held my position all the way up to the fire road and that's where the attrition began. Lucky for me the field was already strung out pretty far so it took the whole 6 laps for me to drift back to finish at 26th. Always looking for silver lining, I found it when I checked last year's QuadCross results: I came in 41st then.
Turns out they swapped my number for the guy who's sheet was below mine - results showed me as 11th and him as 26th. There was no denying the fact that many more than one person passed me during the race.
Not wanting to screw the other guy out of a good start position down the line, I told everyone I could (officials, scorer, QuadCross folks) about the problem. As of today, no resolution. I've done enough squawking about it, its up to the other guy to follow up now if it's an issue to him.
|Before "the line" was established.|
- Terrific course laid out very well to use the best features the land had to offer. I liked in particular the tight turns and off-camber sections right after the Newbury Comics double-barriers
- Good bike handling skills due to much MTB action this summer and the Meyerson clinic
- At two separate times, two different guys dumped in front of me in the twisty section after the double barriers. I was very nimble in dodging them. BTW, that was the best laid out part of the course
- Ran a Michelin Mud2 up front pumped to the low 30's and a Jet (chevron) 40psi (due to roots/rocks) in the back for the first time. Worked great.
- The smiles I got as I cheered/photographed the Pro and single speed race. Pretty much lost my voice though.
- Met at least 3 online-only acquaintances in person for the first time. NECX is such a friendly community!
- Fitness: I need to get more training in at the level of intensity of a race.
- Should be registering for Cat 4 45+ masters races when available from now on, damn kids are killing me!
- At the top of the last 180 after the barriers (by the corner of the clubhouse), I needed to do a tiny dab, could not get out of my pedal and flopped over like a fish.
- Whacked my rear wheel on the small barrier below the run-up hard enough to knock it out of line. Had to reposition it at the top, losing a couple places in the process.
- Sore lower back this morning
|Gotta love smiling through the pain.|
Right after the start of the Pro race, I walked up to the pit area to start going "upstream" on the course for a different vantage point for photos when a huge pickup truck loaded with paintballers in the back comes DRIVING UP THE RACE COURSE from the woods.
A moment of panic and some yelling ensues but then me and another guy pull up some stakes to let the truck through because, you know, THE PROS ARE COMING ANY MOMENT NOW!
Just as we get the stakes and tape back in place ANOTHER CAR COMES! Crap, there's no arguing with the people inside, we have to clear the course before the cyclists come by. And they do come barreling by, just a minute later.
I made my way down to where the two vehicles got onto the course, helped repair the tape and stayed there, turning back three more vehicles until the end of the Pro race when finally some "official" officials came and relieved me.
|Why IS there a trash can here?|
|Jeremy Katz of QuadCycles rails a turn in the SS race.|
|Doug Kennedy on his way to 3rd in the Single Speed race.|