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Zaphod
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Posted: 03 October 2004 at 23:50 | IP Logged Quote Zaphod

How was it? Did you crash? Tell the tales. 
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k7fle
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Posted: 04 October 2004 at 15:05 | IP Logged Quote k7fle

"How was it? Did you crash? Tell the tales.  "

Hard! Yes.

OK, this was my first cross race, and I raced the beginner class. We got to Blue Lake plenty early, and I made a slow circuit of the course. Well, that was the plan anyway; I ended up speeding up a bit. It was chilly so I was wearing tights and a fleece sweater. Back at the car to re-hydrate, I removed the fleece and did another slow lap.

Just before the race, I spent some time practicing dismounts and got rid of the tights. I still had arm warmers on, but pushed them down sometime during the actual race. I got a fair start, and passed some people early on. My weakness is endurance (and running). I've only been riding seriously since January, I'm an ex-smoker, and I'm a forty-something desk jockey so I tend to run out of breath. I can sprint, and do Century's but extended full bore and I run out of breath faster than you can say "McTarnihans Six Pack". Because of this, I tried to pace myself, as I really wanted to finish.

The second lap, I took a spill on the second run-up (next to the lake). I'd ridden up it on the first lap and in practice, but this time I was in too high a gear and stalled almost to the top. The "Artie Johnson" dismount caused the top tube to slam into my left knee, causing it to go numb for a moment, like a 'funny bone' hit. Damn it hurt! At first, I wasn't sure I could peddle at all, and I briefly thought of abandoning, but I decided to try and spin it out. There was a straight run next, then a fun little whoop-de-whoop that let me rest my knee for a moment. The next little run-up I'd been riding, but I dismounted this one lap. By the end of the lap, the knee hurt but was working pretty well.

I could never find a fast way through the two-track "road" at the back of the course. It was very rough and 'bouncy' and I was slower than molasses in January back there. I finally ended up clear to the right out of the ruts in the grass; not much faster, but at least a little less bouncy.

By lap 3, the sand trap was killing me. I'd do OK through the first half, then drag through the second. I ran up where I'd crashed the last lap, but by the 4th was back to riding up. Lap 4 I don't remember: I think I may have been hallucinating. Finally, the bell lap. I played cat and mouse with a couple other riders, passing them on the smooth fast stuff, and falling behind on the 'technical' stuff: basically anything I where I had to get off the bike. All the practiced dismounts where out the window, it was struggle off, grunt the bike up and run at a walking speed through the sand, up the hills, over the barriers. Finally the three of them passed me again after my nemeses 2-track at the back, and I did not have the energy - or heart - to chase them back down, knowing I had another run up and more barriers to go.

I did know I was going to make my goal of finishing, which kept me going. Over the last double barrier I trudged, with a corner worker cheering me on. Thank you whoever you were; it helps! By the final six-pack I found my last burst and made it through fairly quickly. My son was at the final corner cheering me on and I sprinted to the finish. 57th out of 77 in Beginner, but most importantly a finisher!

Next week, I'm shooting for a top 50 finish.

Oh, and my son managed an AWESOME 4th in Junior. Not bad for an unattached kid on an old mountain bike. <insert proud dad look here>

Ken

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BWitty
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Posted: 04 October 2004 at 23:24 | IP Logged Quote BWitty

Great report Ken!  I could read these all day....I hope more people post.  As one of the promoters, these race reports remind me of what 'cross is all about- makes me want to go outside and race right now.  thanks Ken.

Cheers All

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DanH
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Posted: 05 October 2004 at 00:20 | IP Logged Quote DanH

S/S irony:  After lamenting the fact I had broken my S-S/fixy bike and blown my bike budget on a new multi speed bike, I get my new trick ride to the first (for me) event at Blue Lake and go to check out the course before the race.  (see "what are you racing") About 1/4 of the way around the course, I touched the brake on a particularly slippery corner and the bike goes out from under me faster than I can put a foot out and something goes "snap".  Brian Witty is standing there and says: "was that a bad noise?"  I looked over the bike and discovered the Ergo brake lever sticking out at an odd angle.  The body had broken in half  disabling the shifting and front brake simultaniously effectively turning my cool new, as yet un raced 9 speed into a single speed with no front brake.  I thought about doing the single speed race but decided the course was flat enough that 1 speed would not be much of a liability.  I managed to finish the master "B"s race on the lead lap although Terri the official has me a lap down but has not yet responded to my correction email so I don't know exactly how I placed.  I have now robbed the Ergo shifter off my road bike and followed some great advice Sorin Suditu gave me.  To paraphrase, he said "don't make the lever so tight that it won't twist when you crash.  If it won't twist, it could break".
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DanH
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Posted: 06 October 2004 at 02:46 | IP Logged Quote DanH

Well the corrected results are back for Blues Lake and I have moved up a lap but for some reason that advances me only 7 places.

How can that be?  Does that mean that at about 8 minutes per lap I moved up 8 minutes and only 7 places?  I'm confused.

The corrected result puts in 40th place which means there were 39 guys within 7 minutes and change.  I guess that's possible.

It seems no matter how hard you go, as soon as it's over you think you could have gone harder.

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Porter
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Posted: 06 October 2004 at 13:32 | IP Logged Quote Porter

Blue Lake was great fun.  I was a bit skeptical of what the course would be like since I had only been at the park on one previous occassion (for a company picnic) and could not for the life of me see how a cross race could be held there... (I had no idea the park was so big or diverse!). 

Anyway, my fears were alleviated by a great course.  This was my first cross race in 3 years. (In the mean time, I've had 2 kids and been doing Dad duty). Now my kids are old enough (3 & 1) to come to the races and cheer on Dad. 

I raced the "Dad class" as I have termed the "Masters 30+ B" group based upon all the kids on the play structure (my kids included) near the sand trap.

I debated between racing regular Bs (which I raced at prior to my racing hiatus) and the 30+ Bs and ended up opting for the 30+ Bs - mostly because of the timing of the races. I think I made the correct choice (13th place).  Anyway, I didn't get a very good starting position so I had to battle my way up to where I ended up for much of the race (Note to self: be at starting line earlier to get better starting position).  Not sure if that mattered though as many of the guys I passed early on in the race came back and passed me on the last laps like I was standing still.

Thankfully I managed to keep my bike upright for the race, though my brakes did stop working prior to the race starting -  after my warm up lap...

All in all, this was a great race. Thank you Promoters & OBRA.  I can't wait for the next one (which for me will be PIR).

-Daniel

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MikeP
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Posted: 06 October 2004 at 17:54 | IP Logged Quote MikeP

Ditto on most of what Ken said.

This was my first race.  I'm 48, new to the area and hadn't chance to do much riding recently.  But I read about the race in the newspaper on Friday and I thought "Why not?"  And WOW what a great time.  Didn't have any idea what I was doing, but had a chance to practice a couple of laps and entered the beginners division and finished last and smiled the whole way.  BUT I FINISHED!!!   WooooHooo.  Now I'm hooked and hope to ride in the rest of the races.  And when you finish last there's only one way to go.  UP!!!  But, most importantly, I hope I can keep smiling.  Super time and thanks for all the cheerleaders.....bikers and spectators.  It helped.



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matthew j
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Posted: 08 October 2004 at 02:41 | IP Logged Quote matthew j

How exciting! I went out to Blue Lake last weekend just to watch and learn and was totally turned on by the lighthearted and fun atmosphere. It was great seeing you all struggling over the barriers. I couldn't help but exclaim to myself, "what an odd sport!" Does anyone know where it originated? I

 just recently discovered cyclocross and I am so anxiously thrilled for my first race this Saturday at alpenrose. I went to one of the clinics and have been practicing my mounts in the neighborhood park. I think I'm ready. Does anyone have any last minute advice for success? Anyway, congratulations to all of you that raced last weekend and thank you all for your geneous posts. I look forward to racing with you.

 

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DanH
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Posted: 23 October 2004 at 15:51 | IP Logged Quote DanH

"what an odd sport!" Does anyone know where it originated?

Something about a French general on horseback racing troops on bikes through the woods for military training.  Where is that story? I gotta save it this time. Anyway, it's about as old as "safety" bikes.

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