Monday, September 28, 2009

raccoon township 'cross

I have to qualify this post by saying that racing 'cross on a fixed gear is so much frigging fun. It really is. I had a blast. If you've ever ridden an old cruiser with a coaster brake and locked it up around a turn, you'll understand why I enjoyed it so much.

The course at Raccoon Township Park yesterday was very well laid out. Laps were about two miles long, plenty of turns, one dirt (mud after the first lap) section, and multiple off camber corners. There were only two places per lap that forced a dismount; one set of barriers, and one muddy set of log steps.

We had a solid day of rain on Saturday and through Sunday morning, so I knew it was going to get muddy. I rolled into the race early enough to take some practice laps, and the course was already soggy. I knew that it would probably be a better idea to race my mountain bike, but I really wanted to do a race on the Poo Poo Thunder II, and since I'm already out of the running for the month of mud overall, (I missed the first race because of Coopers Rock) I figured I might as well do it.

From Drop Box
The race started without much warning, and I got caught in the back. I spent the first flat section futzing with my watch and trying to get the timer to start. That was probably a mistake. Oh wells.
From Drop Box

For half of the first lap, we stayed in a pretty tight pack. But around the first set of muddy steps, things started to thin out and I became a little more comfortable.
From Drop Box

From Drop Box
I had to lock the back wheel up and skid down this muddy slope. I'm pleased to say that I made it without crashing everytime.

From Drop Box
(this pour soul was not so lucky)

The only way for me to slow down was to skid my back wheel. I would lock it up into and around a corner, sprint out, skid at the next corner, and so on. For the first 4 laps, it was fine. But when I came in for that 4th one and saw that there were still 4 more to go, I could have died. The course was becoming muddier, and it was taking more concentration (when I had less to give) to keep my bike upright.

All the skid/sprinting was taking its toll on me. Eventually I stopped skidding through the corners and started to just peddle slowly through them, which was certainly slower.

Before long my goal shifted from having a good finish to not getting lapped by the leaders.

When I crossed the line and started my last lap, I saw the lead pack a few turns behind me.
From Drop Box

From Drop Box
(I made it over the barriers every lap but one. On the forth or fifth time I was so tired that I skidded right into it. Running into the barrier is not the most effective way to cross it.)

I really started to push again, and I finished the lap with a few minutes to spare.
From Drop Box

I skidded across the line totally spent. Cross' really is hard. And I was not expecting the race to take over an hour. I figured that I finished very well into the back of the pack. But I was still going to call the day a success, because I didn't crash, I didn't touch my front brake, and I beat a few people.

I was cleaning up the Thunder and getting ready to pack it into the Grumbler when one of the volunteers came by and handed me a single speed third place envelope. "Huh? I was third?" I said in astonishment.
"Yep. Did you think you were lapped?"
"No definitely did not get lapped."
"Well then congrats." he said

I have no idea how I came in third, but hells, I'll take it. Yesterday was a good day. The next cross race is next weekend at Grove City, and I'll be on the fixed thunder again. Can't wait.

1 comment:

TakeWrning said...

about how many ladies raced? I'm thinking about checking it out this weekend?