Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Surf City #1

Howdy All, Simon here, and it's good to be back on the west coast and racing on local soil again. Actually, the soil is a bit dry and loose out here which makes for sketchy traction and slow cornering, at least for me. Some of the heavy hitters who show up for these "local races" don't seem to slow down for anything.

So the cast of characters this weekend consisted of the the Brothers Jacques-Maynes and Barry "the Clown" Wicks. Big Justin Robinson, John Funke and the rest of the central coast usuals were in attendance as well. HRS/Rock Lobster would field just 3 racers in the elite men's race and only one in the elite women's but still managed to make it's presence known. Some of the team were on sick, some were taking a rest week and still others were at locations far away chasing glory and UCI points.

My race would prove to be a strange one indeed. I had not ridden since the second USGP race in Gloucester, Ma. where I stunk it up something fierce. No race report needed there. I had horrible legs, started slow and suffered to thirtysomethingth place. As many of you may know, I have been in the process of moving out of my home and will be living out of my truck for the duration of the cross season. Needless to say, I have been hauling boxes more than hauling ass on the bike and cleaning floors more than cleaning sections of the course. In effect, I had no idea what kind of legs I would have for the weekends race.

I knew who was fast and decided to watch them and stay as close to them for as long as possible. I didn't really feel all that bad and figured if I went hard to stay with Wicks and the JM Twins, I would probably finish up in the top 4 or 5. This was the plan and from the start it was working well. I was sittng on for a lap until right when the pace was about to pick up and then I decided to lay down in the dust for half a second. Bad timing for sure and I jumped up and started chasing Andy JM and when I got within spitting distance of him I rode through a pile of plastic mesh which would disable my machine handily. It was as if Spiderman had fired his "webslinger" into my rear deraileur and cassette. As I tried to pedal through it, my brakes and wheel also became tangled and a couple of riders would roll past me. I tried to "de-web" my bike and continued on a bike which didn't want to stay in gear.

Our mechanic Ryan Bontrager is so on it. He saw that I was not with the group that I was with earlier and he ran to meet me with a new bike. For a first season race mechanic at a local event, his performance was amazing. Many cold Bronsons are coming his way before seasons end. I switched bikes and regained contact with the racers who passed me and did another change half a lap later, back onto my A bike which had been thouroghly de-webbed and was again in good working order. By the middle of the race I was back up with Justin and battling for 4th place.

This is where my race got wierd. Justin and I were in a no-man's land behind Andy JM and ahead of John Funke. I attacked him a couple of times and couldn't shake him. He was content to sit on and I realized I didn't want to tow him around, I couldn't drop him and we weren't going to catch Andy. So I sat up, and looking back I saw that John wasn't closing the gap. The last 3rd of the race we just rolled around. I was anticipating a sprint finale and wondering if I would be able to beat the big man in a two up finish. With half a lap remaining Justin attacked, I followed it and we rolled into the last technical sections of the course. As we were passing a lapped rider, I heard the sound of air escaping a pinched tire and was dissapointed to here Justin admit that he had flatted.

I pretty much coasted to the line. I descended slowly and in control, I rolled around the ball field, trotted up the run-up and rode in the small ring along the finishing straight and across the line. It was rather anti-climactic but not a bad result all things considered. It is 'cross after all and you never know what's going to happen until you cross the finish line.

So that's it for now, I am off to Bishop, Ca. for the weekend and when I get back I will be hitting you up for a couch to surf.


(photo by Mike Holzer)


Olaf Vanderhoot said...

I attacked him a couple of times and couldn't shake him.

... then keep attacking, baby.

keep attacking.

Jeff Patton said...

check out cycling.tv this weekend for UCI#2. ciao, JP