Sunday, November 18, 2007

USGPCX #4 - Trenton, NJ

Here is the Velo Bella - Kona Team after the race. That is my only excuse for wearing my hat the way I am - this is right AFTER the race. What a ding dong I am! I was still delirious I think.

Today it was almost the same course but just a different day. They changed a few things up making things a bit shorter with more turns than on Saturday. The big difference was that we actually had CX weather with rain, temps in the 30's and a bit of wind just to top off any coldness that you were feeling. This also meant that the dry ground that we once knew on Saturday was no longer and now suddenly both tactics and now technical savviness was the name of the game as the ground was slick in many and most spots.

For warming up (which actually works in this kind of weather despite what you may think!) I started with four layers of clothing on top, ski gloves, fleece hat, shoe covers and anything else I could dig out of my sweet yellow and black Pedro's gear bag.

It was a tad chilly you could say and by the time we got to the start line conveniently located next to the lake at the Marina the winds were whipping up right across the lake. Burr!!

Then it was time to get stripped down to just your bitty one layered long sleeved Louis Garneau skin suit and pull your wool socks as high as they could possibly go. By the time you accomplished all this, you were numbing up already. Sorry muss - culls!! Was all that warming up for nothing? Eyes about to find out........but not right away unfortunately.

When the gun went off I had something happen to me that hasn't happened in so dang long.......... I guess first off would be that I had an even worse call up than the day before (how does that happen!?!) and was on the last row. Then right off the bat for the first 15 seconds I got boxed in. One girl in front of me was going nowhere in a hurry, the other girl on my right was going at the same pace as the gal in front and left side was sluggish. There was a gap opening up huge on the RIGHT in front of me and I was chomping at the bit to get there- but couldn't because I was blocked! I was tempted to slam on my brakes - heck, no one was behind me right? - and go around the back of the girl on my right but I waited patiently and then snuck my tire in right as the gal to my right fell off the back. NOW the race had started - good lord.

And how oh so convenient that the Top 30 gals were already strung out and way up there as we headed into the first turn of the 40 minute sufferfest. Once in that turn myself I managed to pass a ton of ladies on an outside line and just went for it. That is what racing is about right - not hanging out in a line of gals to take the "proper and good line". You have got to suck it up and take lines that will potentially put you in the fence (hmmm???? a ever so brief recollection of me knocking almost my entire right rib cage out of joint in June 07 comes to mind).

Anyway, you know the drill from here. Suffer, pass, be passed, draft, attack, up chuck (not kidding) dismount, run sections that were totally ridable yesterday that were now faster to run, play cat and mouse, etc. There was also this section with these S turns that you could smell brakes on every time because you would hit it coming in so "hot"and need to slam them on. That was nasty smelling in the middle of the the race I will tell you but my Reynolds wheels with my brakes make it seem like I am running disc brakes making life easy through corners like that.

I also had a first today. I had my very first bike exchange!! How exciting is that? It IS exciting! There was nothing wrong with my bike except that it was getting muddy and bogging me down a bit and you never know what to expect next like bad shifting and why wonder and wait when you have a brand new bike ready for your use? What a great feeling mentally that is to get on a "fresh" bike mid race. That was cool. But its funny to how tactics plays a large roll in if and when you should go in for the exchange. If you are drafting someone and they don't head into the tech zone, you may want to consider drafting still and forgoing the bike exchange if possible. Sometimes even, the tech zone is in such a spot that it sets you up better for the next corner and it MAY be to your advantage to head in there and get a bike exchange JUST for that reason alone. Hmmm??? This sport really gets you thinking that is for sure! After it was all said and done I crossed the line in 15th.

Here is a picture of the flyover with me hauling my bike up it for the ump-teenth time:

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