The DC-CX was being put on for the first time this year, and we as a team did a really good Job. I think Matt, and Marc deserve allot of the credit. I think if we are invited back we will have an even better race next year. I started the weekend off by helping the team all day Saturday raking, marking, digging the Brick Walk (gwadzilla way). While I was doing this I found out that I would be racing the "B" race not the "C" race because we ran out of numbers and I was the sacrificial lamb. I was kinda bummed cause I wanted to be in the mix of the race, instead of fighting getting dropped. At the same time this was our race that we were putting on so I wasn't really worried about a good result. I was given a good call-up because I spent a while bringing home the Mabra trailer from the Hagerstown race.
I started really well I think I was in the top 10 for the first two laps.
As usual with cyclocross I started to lose my steam after those first two laps. I was riding with Chris Scott for a bit he even gave my butt a push to keep me going. Chris also had a goof up that cost me a couple seconds, where I did a trackstand waiting for people to get moving again.
No worries there I lost plenty of time on my own. As the race wore on I was falling back and back. Bruce started slow and then caught and passed me, I wish I would have riden with him maybe I would have done better. The course was fast and a lot of people liked it. I was proud of myself for how little I used my brakes, almost wrecked one time because of it. I think I only had one bad barrier jump, and I rode the course strong, but my season has been too long, and my knee got aggravated again(started with the IRON CROSS).
My goal was top half of the Mens B field, and to not get bottom third. I placed 19 out of 32 so I just made my not getting in the bottom third. I think cross racing is like when I race expert at the W@W not really what I train for so I end up not doing as well as when the races are longer (12-24 hour relays). Next year I will race Bs for the couple of cross races that I do, but next week I am going to Cs again at the Leesburg Cross race, which favors my power over speed. Well check out the pictures that Jon Janis from Note to Jon fame took of the Men's B Race in the slideshow below. I give some commentary as well. Click on any picture in the slideshow to see hi-res.
The Iron Cross………….. I had heard about this race about three years ago. The longest cyclocross race in America… Well to let you know it is not really a cyclocross race , but a race that is best ridden on a cross bike. The race is framed after the Three Peaks race in England which has been run for over thirty years. I believe the race was canceled this year cause of the scare of hoof and mouth disease. The big interesting thing was the 5 time winner Rob Jebb and podium placing countryman Stuart Bowers of the Three Peaks race in England came to the IronCross V to race the event. The Brits came not to play, but to smack it to the yanks! They got 1st and 3rd I believe.
I had talked to a bunch of people about this race, and last year I was about to do the race with Sid. Sid and I did not do the race, so I vowed to do it in 2007. I have had a long season. I have raced two or three times the amount I have ever raced in a year. So I wasn’t really looking forward to the IronCross, but I said I would do it so I did. I was able to talk Mark into doing the race, after he and I did the West Virginia Logger ride(on our cross bikes) in May
We did the the IC in one day so I had to get up at 4:50am!! We picked up Roger Massi on the way to the race, and he was a good traveling companion, with his knowledge of the race (he has done it 3-4 times) and general friendliness. We got to the start with plenty of time to spare. We got our stuff together, did our drop bags (will do mine better next year) and got ready for the start. The weather was chilly but fine. I wore toe warmers, a vest, arm warmers, and heavier long finger gloves. Mark wasn’t dressed as warm so I gave him my long finger gloves, and I put my lighter gloves in the drop bag.
Mark from my City Bikes team was there as well, so it was cool talking with him and lining up with him at the start. They start you down a gravel road, and I started with slower riders, which I will try not to do next year. The gun goes off and we start off going through the IC lite course that they did the day before. There is a spiral of death they call it in the course. Pretty funny, you basically go round and round for a long time, then over two barriers and you are off to the course.
My ride from what I remember:
So I start out passing a bunch of people, and am riding the road that goes to a walking trail, I am pushing myself but not too much, and I am loosing ground to a lot of people. We are going up this climb that goes a ways, I really pushed it up the climb to the KOM/QOM top with this Hagerstown guy Tim Lung on my back we get to the first trail section and he gets in front of me, but I basically would see him from time to time in front of me with him finishing 3 minutes ahead of me. The first single track I was loving my inline lever on the tops of the handle bar. My mountain biking skills were coming into play as I passed a lot of people in there. There was only one section that I bailed on doing, and I thought I would be faster if I didn’t crash. This went to another road section with some painful long rollers (this would be the case the whole day with the pavement sections). The fire road /trail to the run up I was able to get past several people on the climb with my low gear and power abilities. The run up is no joke! I stopped here and took off my vest/arm warmers. My back was hurting from pushing on the bike, so it was my back that hurt the most for the run up (next year more sit ups!) The run up is long and sucks the life out of you.
After the run up is CP2 (I was 42nd place at this point) where next year I will put a bag to leave extra clothes at. After this part you are doing ridgeline gravel roads and it is pretty scary at times cause you are going over 30mph on the downhills just praying that you don’t hit a pothole, or one of the rocks that has worked its way to the surface of the road. I finally get to CP3, by now I am passing every now and then. I was making time on people by catching them on the down hills, or on the longer climbs especially the trail climbs. At CP3 I was out of fuel, and liquids so I had to get a power bar and refill the camelback. The bad thing was I had to piss, that made me lose like seven spots, or all the people I passed. The next part was a hill that was a doosy! I was in my 34-32 going at times as slow as you can go in that gear. I passed everyone that passed me while I was pissing. One big motivator was passing Steve Wahl from Hagerstown bikes, he beat me at a cyclocross race 2 weeks prior. After the long climb there was a scary downhill that had some tight turns. The course marshalls let you know they were ahead so I took the downhill easy, which was the right move. At CP4 you take a right onto the funniest part of the course, basically double track/single track trail that is totally ridable on a cross bike. I was tired so I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have normally. There was a short run up here, then a hill that I rode up very slowly, but passed three others walking. After this was a pavement downhill to the finish, but there three or four rollers that were just killing your legs that you had to get over before going through the Spiral of death again and then doing two barriers and done. Well no more long races for me this year!!
Some observations of the race:
* The race started really fast to me, I was expecting more of a SM100 kind of feel where people just went their own pace. Here people were trying to stay with people they were around or bridge up to others.
* The field was strong I think at least ¾ of the field were on teams, so most of the people racing the event were strong riders that were shooting for a good time, not to just finish.
* I had fretted over what tire/gears I should use for the event, but my bike worked perfect 38mm WTB interwolfs at 60psi with 50-34, 12-32 in the back. I am a spinner so next year I will go with an 11-34 in back.
* For next year I am going to make sure I do some fast road rides, cause I was not able to ride with people on the road, but was able to pass them on the big climbs.
* The course was a good mix of one really technical trail, easy trails, gravel road, and pavement.
* I think I was 24th place for the second part of the course compared to 43 for the first part of the course. So I think next year if I can improve on the first half and get a <4:30>
Fall has come finally, I did this ride before work at 7:30am. Was cold enough to wear the arm warmers and knee warmers. I wanted to ride the cross bike before doing the Iron Cross to check out my custom 12-32 cassette(a ultegra 12-27 with a 32 cog on it). I put 60 psi in the tires and really just road the bike hard though the Lake Accotink area and the Wakefield XC course. It really beat me up riding without any suspension, or the bigger tires that help deaden the bumps and vibrations. I was sore afterwards but felt good about the bike going into the Iron cross.
Labels: dirt ride
This was the first cross race of the season for me and the only second cross race I have done. This was going to be a long day since I was picking up the race trailer with Kent’s Suburban. The weather was to get hot this weekend highs in the mid 80’s and humid, not really cross racing weather! There was a lot fog in the morning, with a good amount of dew on the grassy course when I did my pre-laps. The course wasn’t totally finished when I pre-road the course. I am very happy that I was able to pre-ride the course it helped me kinda get the feel of the course. I made one change to the tires I let some air out so I was running my WTB interwolfs at 38 lbs. They are a big 35mm tire so I thought I could that low without flatting. I raced the CAT 4 race which was allot bigger then I thought it would be. There was 55+ riders and almost no mt. bikes, boy has cross gotten big. Guys were riding the CAT 4 race with bling, bling carbon wheels and all.
At the start I got there kinda late so I wasn’t going to have the best position, but then the announce was like you can use the whole lane, not just the gravel road. Well we started off, and I was like in the top 6 at the first turn so I kept it going. I think after one lap I was in 3rd place. I got on to Matt’s wheel who rides for capital hill bikes I have ridden with him before so I know his ability. I am riding with him and I find out we are 1,2 so I was pretty stoked. We get on this fast downhill section, and his tire came flying off his wheel. So then I was in 1st place, this was short lived, I then started loosing ground to the other guys and was passed by several people. I then road in no man’s land for the rest of the race, and was able to pull off a 4th place. I was happy with the result considering it was my second cross race, and my pre-race predictions was to finish in the top 1/3 and my goal was a top 10 finish. The course was good in that it had a lot of turns and felt like really riding cross. I also liked that the hill on the course was very ridable compared to some courses where it is maybe ridable, so you have to choose to run or ride. I think the sandpit should have been longer to get the whole chugging though the sand or run through it. I ran the right amount of air pressure cause the tires hooked up well. I have at least 3 more cross races for the season will see how they turn out.
I then went and did a 35-40 mile road ride on the new road bike and that was good but the legs were kinda blown from the race. I got back in time to see most of the Men’s 1,2 race. I was able to support Marc and Chris from the team. It was cool to see Marc do really well, and actually pace himself and past some really fast guys that he doesn’t usually beat. I think Marc was thriving in the heat better then others. All the racers looked haggard, Marc seemed not to get slower as the race progressed, but kept a consistent pace. Marc ended up finishing in 10th place, that being 1st for the masters’ A class. Chris was hanging strong and gave me a couple of smiles so I think that he was at least enjoying himself out there. I think he was able to pass a couple of folks as well.