Monday, October 5, 2009

Gloucester Day 1 Race Report

All I really have to say about Gloucester Day 1 was that it was incredible in many ways and terrible in a few more. For starters I had finally really achieved the absolute "pro-ness" I think I could ever achieve. I had it hall:

(Team Wheelworks Set up, Photo: Wheelworks Flickr)
  • Team Van and Tent
  • Support Staff (Lindsay)
  • Trainer Warm Up under the tent
  • Skinsuit
  • White M-F'in Shoes!
  • Hell I had a Warm Up jersey and bibs, and shoes, then I changed to skinsuit and white goodness for my race.

Additionally, it was so cool that Andy, Brian, Lindsay and Jeff from Wheelworks, were there at the crack of dawn to set up the tent, van and grill for the day. Aside from being pro, it was also extremely practical, as there were high winds, intermittent showers and it was in the low fifties or upper forties. So with such an awesome place to set up for the race I was feeling on top of the world.

Of course, then I got to pre-ride the course, and everything changed. It was hard, so hard, I was actually taking a few moments here and there to sneak into the back of the van and cry about it. The "run-up" was a 25-30 meter mud pit up a steep hill. By the time I was racing, it was ankle deep and the only way to get up it quickly was to take long, goofy duck steps and hope not to fall on your face. The rest of the course was a mix of mud, hard off camber turns that often needed to be run, a few long flat sections and a bunch of switchbacks that required tons of power to get through because of all the muddy ruts.

When I got to the start I was way in the back, but figured I'd have a good start and get past all the roadie converts who will freak out when their tire slips or something. My plan was to go up on the outer left side during the long start on the road and get to the front. Which worked out pretty well, I made up a bunch of spots until we hit the grass where I was too far to the outside and ran into a hay bale. After that I spent a while trying to get through traffic and move forwards. From there the race was a train wreck, I was slipping and sliding all over the place, I was constantly going backwards and I would lose tons of places when running was required, (barriers, corkscrew, run-up, off camber turns). Then lifted up my head and noticed that I was at the finish line thought to myself, "PLEASE BE THE BELL LAP, PLEASE!"

I had only completed 1 lap, there were 3 more.

After that I found myself somewhere near Cornell Jake but I somehow lost him and afterwords he told me that he'd passed me on the run-up. The only other highlights was someone yelling, "Steve, there is not enough pain on your face right now!" And Liz (CBRC/NYCross.com) telling me to think of Bethlehem (which had a similar run-up).

I spent the rest of the race pretty much by myself way off the back and my only solace came that when I got the bell I was 10-15 seconds from being lapped by the Winner of the Junior race. So i got to ride the full length, but after that I just held tempo for the last lap and some how got passed by my teammate Jeff Z.

Post race I went to the Wheelworks tent and when asked how the race went I responded with a very confused "huh?" I apparently was so deep in the pain cave that all I could hear was the echos of people at the entrance. I was also told "Steve, you look about 10 years older right now," Gee thanks. I finished in the 81st of 106, basically it was awful.

(Post-Race, Photo: Wheelworks Flickr)

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