Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Southampton, # 2

Thanks to the good will of fellow 'crosser Matt "cyclo" Kraus, Josh and myself are chilling in Arlington, MA. We are crashing on the floor but best of all, our Rock Lobsters are happily stashed in the basement along with our bike boxes, spare wheels and miscellaneous gear. We are really lucky to have been taken in as we really didn't secure the housing for this week until sunday after the last race. Today we were taken on a sweet 2.5 hour loop that rolled through lush woods and wetlands and across a couple historic battle grounds. In the evening we rode the bus to Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA met with some of Josh's family and had a great home cooked meal, it sure was nice to have a salad.

Well I guess I should give a report about Southampton #2, which took place last Sunday. As you all know, I have no points and start in the back of the pack. By the time we hit the first hill, I looked back to see only 4 guys behind me. Not to worry, I decided to stick with my plan which is to sprint out of every corner and keep moving up as much as possible. The course had improved in my eyes because it rained steadily the night before. The off camber downhills became much more exciting and as the grass wore away it exposed a grid of plastic which was designed to keep the turf in place. Once wet, it excelled at dumping you on your ass. The yellow tape around the more exciting sections of the course would be up one lap, down the next and then up a lap later. At least the course marshalls had something to do all day.

I linked up with Wyandt early on and kind of waited for things to settle a bit before punching it. We started moving ahead, and I was hoping that some team work would happen. What really happened was that I felt really good and got really anxious to push hard. I put the hammer down and decided to wait for no one. I would catch a group and just keep rolling through. I passed a lot of dudes before I realed in Snead. We worked together for a while and started giving Ryan Leech the 1-2. It was perfect team work for a lap and a half and then, I got anxious again. I was really powering one section before the run-up and I thought I had the speed and power to pass Josh and apply some pressure that might have shed Ryan once and for all. I actually didn't and I snaked inside of Josh right at this little gully and stuffed him really bad. He rolled his front tire and while he was able to pop it back on to the rim, I really messed up his ride. Sorry, Snead.

For about 10 seconds I felt bad, but then I realized I still had to get on with the job at hand and I was still moving forward and applying the pressure. I was also a little low on pressure in the rear tire and was starting to get a bit loose as I picked up the pace and as I got a bit tired. I was really close to making contact with Matt Kraus when I did a complete 180 at speed and skidded about 20 feet looking at Ryan who was charging right at me. I didn't hit the deck but I lost my momentum and of course that was when Ryan attacked. I would spend the next 2 laps catching him. When I did, I attacked straight away and tried to ride him off my wheel again. He stuck and on the last lap he attacked me on the final section of single track and looked to have made the move to beat me. But you just never know what can happen and with two turns to go, Ryan stuffed his front wheel into a corner so hard that he tacoed it. I would slip right past him and roll safely to 11th place, my best result in a UCI race for sure. While I am psyched with my result, I realize that one or two mistakes cost me those few seconds that would have gotten me some points again.

So we will train and rest and take in some sights before the first round of the CrankBros US Grand Prix of Cyclocross in Gloucester, MA. next weekend. I will keep you posted.


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