Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Kerlin Report- Gloucester races

Last Thursday, Matt and I headed out on our third trip of the cross
season, this time to Gloucester for the second stop in the North
American Cyclocross Trophy Series. Our hosts, the de Leon family, had
dinner ready and a comfy guest room. Staying with the de Leons was
one of the highlights of this trip for us - there was always
something delicious in the kitchen and they took good care of us.

On Friday we headed out to meet Josie and Andy Jacques Maynes at the
venue. They rolled up with their 45 foot trailer RV - it's their home
for the next several months as they tour the east coast and midwest
cross races. It's a great set up, with room for 8 bikes and a
mechanic's sleeping area. They parked with a view of the Atlantic
ocean, right above the start line.

The Gloucester course is very fast, and rarely changes from year to
year. There is a short uphill run with barriers, and a sand pit. The
rest is fast and dry grass, with a paved hill to the finish. Starting
position is very important on this course, and you can't let up at
all. On Sunday they added a new feature to the course - a steep loose
dirt run up. Matt and I really liked the run, it just begged to be
sprinted up.

Matt was called up in the very last row of 100 men in the Master's
event - not sure how that happened since he wasn't last to register,
though we do know being from NorCal doesn't earn you any fans when
racing in New England. On Saturday, Matt rode very well and moved up
to finish 50th, showing he is gaining those road legs after all. Matt
woke up Sunday with a sinus infection. He decided to give his race a
try, and ended up finishing further back but still put in a good
effort. He ran up the steep hill so fast, people started cheering "Go

Saturday my race started out well, by the second lap I was in the
lead since everyone else at the front of the race has crashed
themselves out. I rode steady since I knew a chase group was coming
up behind me, and with the wind coming off the Atlantic being in the
front alone was risky. Eventually Amy D caught back on, and we rode
together for a lap. 25 minutes into the race, I still had not seen
lap cards and I was starting to fade. I had misjudged how much gel I
needed to eat pre-race, and my blood sugar was dropping fast. In the
last 2 laps a number of riders came up and passed me, and I finished
in 5th.

For Sunday, I made sure I toook in some pre race calories and started
out conservatively. Amy D. went to the front right away, and in the
first series of turns she opened a little gap. I was riding in 4th or
5th in a chase group of 8, but the first lap pace was too slow. On
the second lap I attacked and came within 5 seconds of Amy, and
within another lap 2 more riders had caught back up to me. We never
got any closer to Amy, but the three of us rode together, with one
rider doing the bulk of the work for 1 1/2 laps. Finally, she got
tired of that and pulled her brakes to force someone else to lead.
The third rider in our group had not taken any pulls, but she pulled
her brakes too. I yelled at them to stop playing games, and jumped to
front to keep the chase going. At this point there was only a lap and
half to go. For the final lap I had just Mo Bruno-Roy glued to my
wheel. I kept the pressure on through all of the transitions and
before we got to the finishing hill I had a few seconds gap on her. I
rolled in for second place, still about 10 seconds behind Amy who had
a great solo ride off the front.

I was glad I made it into the top 3, since the podium ceremony was
great - complete with a giant glass of Erdinger Hefeweizen, a very
refreshing drink after a hard race. I'm in 4th now for the NACT
series, though the 2nd and 3rd place riders have only done 2 of the 4
races. I hope next year the point spread between the top 5 places at
each event makes the overall tally more fair.

We'll be home for a few weeks before our next trip. We are looking
forward to hanging with the team at our local races!

Sarah and Matt

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