Training, racing, gear, facial hair styles and thoughts from my push to become an elite cyclist.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Verge New England CX Opener- Day 1 Race Report

Well that was hard. 'Cross is always hard, and somehow I always forget that. With my recent focus on endurance racing I haven't been spending much time at or above anaerobic threshold, and although I'm glad I raced it was pretty much pure unadulterated suffering.

Next weekend in the Vermont 50, the second and final objective of my mountain bike season. It's a great event, and both times I've done it in the past (2002 and 2004) I had a great time. Some years (2003, 2009) it's horrible muddy mess so I'm really hoping that it stays dry for us this time around. I got rained on for most of the Hampshire 100- does that count for something?

With the 50 on my mind I was heavily debating whether or not to race this weekend, but considering the race was under 50 minutes and 20 minutes from home I went for it. Recently I've felt like my form has been coming around and I wanted to test it. 'Cross is great prep for 5+ hour mountain bike race, right? I guess I'll find out on the 26th.

Catamount was the host venue for the first stop of the 2010 Verge Series. I'm lucky to be able to race their weekly training series events over the summer. It's pretty cool to be able to race mid-week on a good course with solid competition.

The course was a modified version of the usual Wednesday Worlds 'cross course that we'd been riding this season, and the changes were welcomed. Grass and hills made for tough going, and the sprint up the table top jumps on the mountain cross was a total pain cave every lap.

For whatever reason I debated about signing up for the event, so when I got around to it I had secured myself a last row spot out of a field of about 120 racers. Did I mention that they're staging the juniors in the same race as the 3's, and starting us together? There are some well renowned fast kids in New England that are very strong racers, but for the rest of the juniors field and all of the 3's starting after 20th position it's pretty miserable. It was full gas and wait for the whole first lap and the only places to move up were sketchy and already occupied with sketchy riders when I got to them so I had to sit tight and let the leaders put a solid minute on me before the end of the first lap.

Realistically if I had a decent start spot or at least room to pass more safely I would have finished a little better, but not enough to whine about. This was for training anyway, and the start staging just reinforced that. I felt good that I was holding the same gap to some fast riders once I was able to start my race on lap 2, and that was encouraging.

We'll see how intermixing 'cross and enduro racing works out. I might take a different approach next year. What happened to the New England season opener being the first weekend of October in Pittsfield?

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