Baystate 'Cross and The Collapsing of the Universe.
For the first time in oh, about 6 weeks I actually got a full week of training in leading up to the Race. On Monday I got out for a couple of hours with Keith C, and Mark T of Northeastern and showed them some sweet roads in the Boston 'Burbs. I took Tuesday off and then knocked out a 2 hour ride solo on Wednesday throughCarlisle . Then on Thursday morning I did an hour plus trail ride on my cross bike in my beautiful hometown of Lincoln, MA. Aside from one guy giving me a hard time about riding on trails I've ridden since I was 8 it was wicked fun to explore these trails for the first time on a 'cross bike. That night I went to the Big Family Thanksgiving dinner up in Peabody. Good time as usual. I didn't ride Friday so I could possibly feel fresh for the race Saturday.
I rolled into the lot fairly late, sometime around 10:15 and ended up parking near team college, which consisted this week of Sara and Andrea from Colby, Matt, Sully, Emily, and Alex fromUVM and AJ from Wentworth . I spent a while chit chatting and had a talk with Nick and Paul from MIT at registration. After riding around the course for a while and then finally getting a lap in I knew this would be another bad day in the B's. Mostly because the course was mostly long flat sections of grass or cinder that need a lot of power, which I lack entirely. But then I got in a ride or two on the road and caught up with my Mom and Sister before the start.
The line up for the race was kind of weird, despite registering a few weeks before I still started near the back, well after the leaders. But I wasn't too concerned because I pretty much had two goals for the day and they both seemed pretty achievable, the first being beat at least oneECCC rider and the second being finishing on the lead lap.
When the whistle blew I went hard and tried to move up on the opening cinder track section. Which I did, kind of until we hit an awkward chicane before the run up, which when the pack hit it I basically came to a full and complete stop and needed to avoid a few train wreck riders to get to the top. By the time we hit the descent the field had really strung out and I tried to stay with the pack. For a while found myself in the same group with Matt fromUVM and a few other riders for the first few laps. About 3 laps in is where I really started to suffer and had my first of 3 major crashes. At the bottom of the big hill I slipped on some mud while dismounting and slid into the "horse" which was basically a step. Then I remounted at the top and noticed I had a large amount of mud in my left shoe keeping me from clipping in. I ignored it mostly and hoped it would fall out before I hit the barriers. Of course, when I did reach the barriers I couldn't clip in and tried to pedal the small uphillunclipped , which immediately resulted in me falling on my side after losing traction when I put my foot down. By this point I was pretty much by myself and I knew thatAJ from Wentworth was chasing me.
After being by myself for a while with 2 laps to go I hit the barriers and cleared them along with the slight uphill after them, but then I got passed by the leader on the long off camber section and soon after went down on my right, which was great timing because Richard Fries on the Mic put it toeveryone's attention that I had just eaten sh*t. After slamming my shifter so it was straight and remounting, AJ had gotten a lot closer to me and was kind of hoping he would catch me so we could have a sprint for fun. But I wasn't going to make it easy for him, so I put in a big effort andgapped him pretty well. When I reached the finish I had enough time on him to slow down and try a wheelie in front of the adoring public. I was the 2nd person lapped and finished 58th, but I got 7th in collegiate so I earned a lot of team points and knocked Union into fifth place overall in division II for the season.
I was soon after had a short chat with AJ, he apparently went down and couldn't bridge the gap to me. Then I caught up with my Mom and Sister who admitted that they had a great time watching their first ever cross race.
Me and Big Sis
The Universe Collapses In On Itself
Well, it finally happened. The two Union Colleges finally went head to head in a race. This had been somewhat of a concern for myself as well as some of the USA Cycling leadership to make it clear which team was which. Sometime in the last yearUSAC renamed both teams to make it clear, so my Union is officially "Union College" and the other team is "Union College - Barbourville " in Kentucky. I'm kind of sick of these guys because they are supported by theirs schools athletic department, are treated like a varsity squad and tend to rock the house at Nationals. Which as a result makes me say "Well, it was actually this other Union College in Kentucky," when complimented on how my team did at nationals.
But whatever, after talking to the guy, Sean, he seemed nice enough and we even took a photo to commemorate the momentous achievement. To be honest I thought it was going to be like when they turned on Cern and the universe would collapse in on itself.
Myself and Sean from the other Union
After all was said and done I rode around the parking lot for a bit and got changed. Then Andy and Sara from Colby though it'd be cool to get some treats at a nearby orchard. So I went, had some hot cocoa with them and then we came back for the elite race. After watching that for a while and chatting with some of the cross regulars, I got in the car, went home and took a nap.
This week I'll be training a bit, in addition to looking at some Grad Schools around Boston before I head to Rhode Island for the NBX weekend which closes out the 'cross season. Hopefully I can jettison the "team" into the top 3 for the season overall in Division II with some good results.