Monday, October 02, 2006

Ed Sanders - MABRA Round Deux

Yesterday was the Ed Sanders 'cross race in Buckeystown put on by NCVC, just south of Frederick and the second race of the MABRA 'cross series. As is the weekend ritual, I was up early loading Special Sauce with all of the implements of my destruction for the day.

On the way up 70 we passed Secret Sean, you just couldn't let those pre-reg $$ go to waste!

When we arrived I immediately noticed a change in the course. I haven't done this race since 2004 so most of it would be new. After taking care of the usual pre-race formalities such as registration and saying hello to everyone I haven't seen in a week, it was time to get down to business.

Fortunately I remembered my trainer this week and could get a solid warm-up in before heading out for a pre-race lap to survey the course. This was another tough course, pimarily due to the fact that you were constantly grinding the pedals. There was only on small respite returning from the backside but since it was also a good place to hammer it to either close a gap or open up a gap, I saw little rest here.

What made this course fun was the mud left from the prior 2 days of thunderstorms. After last week, it would help to separate the 'crossers from the roadies.

I managed an almost 2nd row start and didn't squander it this week. Unfortunately for Mike O'Hare who was adjacent to me, he had some difficulites as he's ususally at the front hitting the rough. I was in the top 10 and managed to stay up there for most of the first lap despite almost eating the barriers earlier on. Mike eventually made it past me on the gravel road and finished a strong 6th, another come from behind week for him. He'll be winning here soon.

Second lap I was in a chase group but as I made my way around to the barriers I managed to pull the blunder of the day. Realizing I went in too hot the first lap, I dismounted prior to the left hand turn into the barrier section. As I balanced on the left side of my bike making a left hand turn realizing I was dismounting way too early, I pulled the bars a bit too much to line it up and ended up dumping it. Gina just happened to be there and snap a series of photos as I get untangled from my bike and have to switch my bike from left to right as I'm crossing the barriers. Maybe I need to learn to remount from the right. I managed to lose alot of positions here and in the next couple of yards while I got myself back together.

Lap 2 just continued to trouble me. On the backside after the big U-turn there was a run-up that was rideable, but someone decided after lap 1 to move the course tape in making it an S-turn. Well, I didn't get the memo and as I made the left hander wide to keep up speed, I was met with the tape. 2 or 3 more positions gone.

The rest of the race I spent jockeying with a guy from NCVC. I caught Ethan Townsend from FSV and realized he was cooked so I got passed him through the ponds and tried to get back to the NCVC guy but on the backside I just ran out of gas on the couple of uphills. 18th sucks, but that's what a few mistakes will get you in a 'cross race. It's all about being smooth, and I wasn't as smooth yesterday as the week before.

More photos...
Attack of the Killer B's

I have to say I was impressed at how well the Dugast hooked up in the mud. I ran about 30psi both ends and never lost traction.

Although the gravel road gave me a scare a few times bottoming out.

A little better...

I love the mud.


Anonymous said...

The barrier sequence is great. If only Gina had gotten the spill too. How the heck did you switch sides on the bike ~while~ you were running over the hurdles? Impressive.

Fun race, though with so many sections where drafting was helpful you couldn't afford to bobble and lose a group. Mistakes & time gaps were magnified, but I guess that's 'cross.

You'll be back up front where you belong soon enough!

Chris Harshman said...

I ran over the first barrier with the bike to my left, then in between them I threw it around front of me grabbing the saddle to get it on my right.

Not pretty, defintely not smooth.