10.23.2009

ya know.... I never wrote a race report for the 2009 Kelly Acres Cyclocross Race

it has been weeks since the Kelly Acres Cyclocross race
and
ya know.... I never wrote a race report for the 2009 Kelly Acres Cyclocross Race
which is weird... because it was a exciting day on the bike

I hope that there are some memories that rise to surface
some words are already down
lets see what else comes to surface

since that race I have not ridden my cyclocross bike once
well... correction...
since the Kelly Acres Cyclocross Race I have not ridden my cyclocross race bike
while I have done a few rides on my Jamis Nova with its rear wheel of resistance training
but none of that racing has been cyclocross specific

there has been "training"
there have been no "cyclocross practices"

in fact... I have forgotten the buzz that is cyclocross

this weekend is DCCX... I worked on the course with a cast of characters from DCMTB
tomorrow we tighten things up
SUNDAY WE RACE!

the bike and body are rough
while others are getting stronger looking to peak I have been tappering
or actually.... I have let things totally drop off
not intentionally... just life is getting in the way

hopefully this weekend re-invigorates me and makes me shuffle my priorities and regain some cycling energy and focus

so... I started this report... although all ideas are forgotten I can still look to throw down a few more words or at least try to group the ones I have already thrown down

here we go....



RACE REPORT: The 2009 Kelly Acres Cyclocross Race

2009 Kelly Acres Cyclocross Race... their second year of hosting a cyclocross race... their first year as part of the MABRA Series

people loved the race/race course last year
so the little tweaks that they made only aided to make things better
the most obvious new addition was the FLY OVER! yes... the FLY OVER... a piece of Europe in the woods of Western Maryland


there had been talk of the FLY OVER...

there was build up... there was anticipation... and sure enough... there was a FLY OVER
THE FLY OVER was awesome
The FLY OVER did not make the course... but is was an excellent ad
ditive

going into the day I kept hearing that Kelly Acres is
"a mountain biker's" course
when I arrived I saw that the course did involve some aspects of cycling that were more woods-like than most cyclocross u
rban cyclocross courses... as in the use of logs for barriers and the use of climbing up a path between trees and a bee keeper's hives and some swooping downhills on grass slopes

while really it had elements of classic cross with lots of turns
yes... lots of turns and lots of doubling back... all sorts of
years ago I remember that there were three basic types of cyclocross; urban cross, jung
le cross, and grassy park with no other variables cross
this course would be much similar to jungle cross than urban cross
there were no cobble stone roads
but there was an asphalt sprint section and the wooden stair run up of THE FLY OVER

there were also a multitude of climbs... yes there were descents... but there were also climbs
this may be the cyclocross race with the greatest change in elevation that I ha
ve ever experienced
the climbs killed me
I loved the flowing descents... but the climbs worked me
I hated that climb on the back side

each time I tried to attack that climb
each lap I lost ground due to that climb

each lap I lost strength and stamina due to that climb
it is that climb that kicked me out of the top ten
okay... it was the faster riders that passed me that kicked me out of the top ten

for many of the riders the logs were a riddle of how to approach things...
I left the cross dismount to just before THE FLY OVER stairs and rode over the logs... both sets
attacking the same right side on each and
every lap
not knowing if it was faster

yet feeling it expended less energy than dismounting and remounting

the riser bars made the log pyramid a simple task
had I had drop bars I may have resorted to the classic cyclocross approach

the race approached with the classic pre-race anxiety
my body had been sore from the muddy day racing at the NCVC Cyclocross race at Lilypons

then running mid-week reminded me of some soreness to my Achilles heel that I had acquired on Sunday
ice through the week seemed to be helping
ice on the drive up seemed to help as well

I almost missed the line up because I testing my skills on the first set of log barriers a few times after my one pre-ride/one lap warm up
when I got to the line up I had missed the call up I had earned by finishing 15th (15/100) the week prior
at Ed Sanders
yet I managed to get in line at the front of general population

for those that do not know... a good starting position is vital
a good starting position factors into the first lap as well as the chance for a strong finishing position

the official was friendly and informative
in a casual almost did not see it coming he pulled out his cap gun pistol

at the sound of the gun we were off
there was hardly any time for any additional pre race anxiety to be tagged onto the day

at my fifth row starting position I pedaled vigorously thinking that I would like to try to get to the log barriers before the general population starts piling up on them
it only takes one miss-step and the pack of racers can fall like dominoes
I followed the lead of the rider lined up in front of me

not trying to blow up in the first ten seconds of the race
while still hammering pretty hot out of the gate

on the initial sprint I took to the grass along side the pavement to try and pass some of the racers line up in front of me
then when I saw a chance I jumped on the pavement
which worked out well... things started to move faster and thin out as soon as we touched the grass and slowed down into the first turn

onto the grass and I was already breathing hard and already feeling tired
it was madness around me
my one lap pre-ride did nothing to inform me what was approaching

I was able to attack the log pyramids on the right hand side of the course right hand side of the course and was able to lift the front wheel kissing the log pile at its highest point then picked up the rear wheel with a lift of the hips tapping with a second kiss
up and over... flowing in style

like mountain biking at Schaffer Farms!

racers were hustling around me
not far ahead of me Jonathan Seibold of
The Family Bike Shop took the number one position on his single speed cross bike with flat bars

I decided that I would see if I could take a closer look at his shadow
no dice rock slice
I may have found myself in the top five
and maybe top three after a two man crash
but I was no where near Jonathan Seibold

no one was near Jonathan Seibold

he was riding like he stole it

I never did get into Jonathan's shadow

trying to race smart I worked hard on the climbs and tried not to get to silly on the descents
it is tough to find a balance of how hard to work and how fast to let yourself go
a crash can have a catastrophic effect on placement in a cyclocross race... even if the crash is not serious

shamefully my chain started to skip on the climbs
I cursed my mechanic... I am my mechanic!
under tork my chain would pop
never did the chain fully drop... but it was dancing an ugly dance
the pop between gears was disconcerting and broke my rhythm as well as robbing me of some of my power

the following laps are a blur to me now
actually... the laps were a blur to me then
yet I will try to pull this together

at some point in the second lap I was joined by Pooch of DCMTB
a very odd combo of DCMTB riders... my standing at 6'4" and Brian... well... shorter... maybe a foot shorter
equally as hair challenged but smaller
like a dcmtb mini-me

although he does not complete me

Brian and I did some cat and mouse... Brian pulled away... I caught Brian... then I pulled away... we rode sections with each other... and then I pulled ahead
there was cheering and rooting
but there were no team tactics
I am not sure if either of us know team tactics
I am pretty sure I do not know any cycling team tactics
either way we tried to inspire the other

during this time there was an occasional intruder

a stranger would pass through our little DCMTB Tea Party

then it happened
not sure when... but I think it was it was late in the race
I had feared it... I had anticipated

a long patient line of cyclists make their attack
it may have been two laps to go on the climb on the back side

they passed and I am not sure I had what it would take to fight them

one... two... three... four... maybe six unstoppable spots

the climb was my weakness
it was a good place to attack
my tank was running on empty
climbing is not my strength


the last laps involved some awkward ugliness
it may have been fatigue

it could have been an over aggressiveness
it could have been over cooking the turns
it could have been braking too hard in the rear
it could have been my over sized rear end
no matter the cause... it was ugly and it was repeated


on some faster sections where I cornered fast after the downhill I felt my rear wheel
skid out
in my mind's eye I saw what I believed to be my clincher buckling and twisting nearly pulling from my rim
I could feel it... I could not see it... but I know it was ugly
no style points earned here

just some wild out of control bullshit!


on the pavement and heading into the last lap I decided I would throw down the hammer
well... a little absence of strength on my side and a similar last lap strategy of the pack in front of me prevented me from taking action
I tried to ride smart and strong
apparently the people in front of me were riding smart as well and a tad stronger

across the line a spot in front of Brian

it felt like 11th or 12
I was really wanted to be in the top ten...

then word of mouth told me that I was 15th or 16th

Fifteenth or Sixteenth? I could hang with that

it was a good day of racing and I was satisfied with my efforts
of course I would have loved to have finished further up
of course I would to have loved to have held off the chase behind me

do I have my excuses?
of course I have my excuses! Cyclocross comes preloaded with excuses

but honestly... it was a good day on the bike
good racing on a glorious day
a fun and challenging course that offered some roller coaster thrills!

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