The chain came off early in my masters 35+ cyclocross race in Charlottesville on Sunday, literally. Not a third of the way into the first lap, my chain snapped and I was done (after getting up before dawn and driving 2.5 hours. Ergh!) But I did get watch my teammates Mike, Kevin and Bill battle it out for great placings, 2nd, 4th and 6th, respectively. Mike came from almost last place after throwing his chain early in the first lap!
The course at Darden Towe park was very difficult, mostly grass with three tough climbs, some rolling trail and lots of off-camber turns, and early in the day it was slick from overnight showers. So slick that I slid out on the 180-degree off-camber after the first big drop.
Disheartened, I settled in to watch the day’s races when JB said he had a 9-speed chain in his car, so I could race Bs. At first I didn’t want to, but I quickly warmed to the idea. Kevin and Bill helped me put the chain on, since I’m mechanically inept. I prerode the course again before the C-race, then warmed up for the next half hour on the road.
The B-race went off a minute behind the A-race, which featured none other Jonny Sundt, former Northwest cross stud now residing in C’ville. I actually got a decent start and was in about 8th after the first big climb. By the end of the first lap, I was in a group with two other guys – a Trek factory team guy on a single-speed MTB and Kyle from CRC, chasing 3rd and 4th (including Jimmy D) not too far away. We battled back and forth, and were making headway on pulling them back, but we got separated. Kyle faded and the single-speeder hammered me up the steepest hill every lap until I snapped like a brittle twig. Going into the final lap, hopes of a higher placing fading, I tried to hold off a resurgent Kyle, but he caught me on the long second climb, then attacked on the last downhill. My front wheel slipped out as I tried to follow. He got to the gravel road with about 10 meters on me and I just couldn’t close it down. He also rode the last hill, while I had to dismount and run, giving him a big gap atop the plateau. (I did ride the hill 4 out of the 6 laps.) I looked back to make sure I had enough of a gap on All About Bike’s Lirette and soft-pedaled home in 7th.
I felt real strong through the first four laps of the race, but think I faded a bit in the last lap. My back started tightening up from all the climbing and bouncing around on the grass. Still I was very pleased with my placing. (Special thanks to JB for the chain; and Bill and Kevin for putting it on for me. And thanks to Kevin for the pics.)
With a strong turnout, including first place efforts my juniors Mark and Kyle, Team Tripower also locked up the VACX team championship for the second year in a row. Charlottesville Racing Club put on a great race. Results are here.
I think that’s the end of my cross season. I miss it already. Good luck to Crazy Mike and K-Dawg at Nationals in warm Kansas City.