Tuesday, November 21, 2006

they hung him from a 'cross......






The pacific northwest always provides drama and contrast to the hot,dry and dusty races here in the bay area. The first race was at Steiliacoom, Wa.( What the heck is a Steiliacoom , anyway? .....my guess is that it is Eskimo for world's longest and lossest runup.) Saturday's race had no rain.....not even any mud pits so it was insanely fast and suited those with some serious road legs.The paved start was unnerving and actually a bit scary as the transfer ont the dirt was an abrupt righthand turn. I got a front row callup, a real waste as I knew I would go right to the back in the first two minutes of the race. Our teamate who you'll get your first look at this year, Alan T. Ott was in the row in back of me. I tried to give him a leadout but I was pathetic. Anyway, the race progressed and Alan moved along well and finished 18th out of 37 starters. I was lucky to hold on to 28th. Our man Snead got a really miserable 5th row starting position but moved up steadily and finished 31st out of at least 90 starters. The next day saw rain starting at 7:00 a.m. and continuing off aond on all day. The Sunday event was at Hillsborough stadium, a venue I had never been to. Since it was a Portland race and the 'Cross Crusade and Crank Bro's USGP finale, they pulled out all the stops. The drum corps were there for the elite races and Sacha White ( Vanilla bikes) had set up a hot tub on the muddy hill in the middle of the course. This was a slog in some of the nastiest mud I had seen in two years. My race was at 8:00 a.m. so it was barely daylight when I started. I didn't wear my glasses so some of the turns on pavement were a little hard to read at first. Oddy enough, I found I had a lot more power this day and had a pretty strong start, maybe 15th wheel going into the first mud bog. At this point it was obvious that a lot of the guys around me were not having much luck keeping upright in the slippery conditions so I found it pretty easy to pick off a few flailing riders in front of me. When we got to the smoother sections the race really strung out and I felt that I was stuck too far behind the field to catch and far enough ahead of anyone else that I could probably hold them off. With two laps to go I saw that I was slowly getting closer to another rider so I made a supreme effort to catch him. When I caught him I blazed by and got a little gap. This was short lived as I got tangled between my bike and the course barrier and my bike on a runup and was fullt stopped for about 15-20 seconds. My rival ran right around me and got about 20 quick seconds on me. I figured if I caught him once I could do it again. In a minute I was back with him and attacked him on a section of stadium stairs. I went as hard as I could for the last lap and held him off, inspite of dumping it once in the deep mud. Alan's race was next and he got a last row callup, approx. 117th out of 123 starter. Alan is a very experienced rider and steadily moved up as people were falling left and right all around him. He was able to move up to 67th place and was not lapped by the leader, Dale Knapp. Our man Snead got a third row start, better than the day before. On the first lap he came by in 15th place, an incredible position. It was a supremely hard race as the course steadily deteriorated and rideable sections became unrideable . Small puddles became giant wheel-eating pits that sent many a rider over the bars into the muck. Midway through the race it was hard to tell who was who . Even the race numbers were becoming unreadable with a thick covering of mud. As the race progressed some of the top riders began moving forward and Josh had a tough time holding his spot. I am not sure where he wound up but I figure it was in the top 30, an amazing result considering the conditions and the quality of the field, not to mention the importance of the race. All in all, it was an epic 'cross race that will be talked about for many years to come.

1 comment:

Brent Chapman said...

damn. i always miss the good ones.