Sunday, November 23, 2008

nccx uci races

Our big hometown cross races were this weekend. close to hometown as we get since they are down in Hendersonville about 40 miles away. Friday we headed down to recon the course and help set up....nothing like pulling metal barrier fencing off trucks for an hour or so as a pre-race warm-up. With a little cold snap happening the temps were low, but the course was, fast, fast. Some nice little problems, but for the most part a full on speed course.

I watched Cara ride to 5th on saturday, then lined up for the elite race. We had about 30 guys ...and the field was pretty deep...with quite a few traveling from far away to try to grab a couple of uci points before nationals. I had a second row start position, which was fine, except I pulled out of a pedal on the third stroke! Damn, my starts are bad enough without that kind of trouble and I found myself pretty much at the back after the first couple of turns. I obviously missed the front group and struggled to find a group to ride with. I got in with 3 others at about the half way point and we kept a good pace. I felt stronger as the race went on and with 2 to go I started pushing the to go and I dropped all but one of the guys I was with. I was having a great last lap and we closed in on 10th and 11th place and caught them with just a couple hundred meters to go....unfortunately I made a couple of small handling errors and ended up at the back of that group for 13th place at the finish. Fitting as my bib number was 13. Overall I was pleased with my cross season thus far has been less than stellar, but not terrible either considering the lack of specific training....this lack of specific training is for psychological reasons more than anything. I have just had this gut feeling all Fall that if I pushed the specific intensity workouts I would burn out and not want to race the rest of the season.
Today (sunday) was a little warmer and the cast of characters was about the same. Cara had a great ride..and was 4th after dangling behind the front group , then catching, and attacking, dangling again, then catching and attacking again...very fun to watch. I had a much better start than the day before (which is still not great). The winning group of 3 took off on the first lap and there was a big chase group....I was just behind this group for lap after lap...I felt like I could reach out and touch them, but I just could NOT get there. I was with a couple other guys and we passed Johnathan Baker who had flatted. He got a bike change and came back through us. We were still really close to the group ahead and I thought by staying with him I could get there. I dug DEEP. We were just 5 seconds ...maybe even less the back of the group and I made a small bobble and lost contact. I chased hard and then blew up. Unlike yesterday where I went stronger as the race progressed today I used it all trying to get to the group riding for 4th. After I blew I was riding at a steady mediocre pace....and was unable to catch anyone else. I suffered in for 15th place. Actually I was not all that far behind the big group ahead...or even the winner for that matter, but it felt like a million miles. Definitely less happy with my performance today. I should have been able to stick that group on the first lap and stay there...even if I would not have placed much better, it would have been a more pleasant day. After the race we stayed and helped tear down the course. Loading those metal barricades back on the trucks after a hard race is tough.
Only 3 more weeks of cross left! While I have not been training hard...I have still been riding...and I am still really enjoying the racing....and as it is with every season, I will be sad when it is over....but I am already excited about 2009.

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