Back “in” the Saddle
Sunday September 19th 2010, 9:43 pm
Filed under: News

Welcome back folks.

Today was Charm City cyclocross race in lovely Druid Hill Park in Baltimore. Keeping with my training regimen of solely commuting to work, today was my first ride with barriers, sand, and other racers, as well as my first race after upgrading to Cat 3 cyclocross.

My late registration put me two rows from the last which meant there were easily one hundred other dudes ahead of me at the start line. This also meant my start line jitters were pretty much at bay—and they’re off.

Mid-pack starts, in my opinion, give me the opportunity to race calm and calculating. Incrementally picking off other racers throughout the race. Turn by turn, punching ahead when possible, keeping a solid, clean line. All was working as planned in that regard and things were going well, I’d estimate I picked up a good 35 – 40 spots in the space of the first lap. Maybe less, how can I really know? Who knows, I still had a good 40 minutes of racing left.

Coming off of the curb at the street crossing was when it happened. My 1×10 set up with the K-Edge chain catcher let me down. Last year it was the Paul chain keeper that let me down on my season’s first race. These devices work real well to keep the chain where it needs to be, I’d put it at a strong 90% that your chain will stay on the chainring, but that remaining 10% is enough for me to go for a different system. Within that 10% your chain will come off the ring and at that point—of course during a race—it’s probably a 100% chance that you won’t get your chain back into riding position on the chainring with any quickness.

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Wondering if the problems with the chain derailment are coming up from the bottom? Pretty likely I think.

Realistically, that’s racing, right? “Fortunately,” I was only a few meters away from the pit where I “calmly” ran to and asked for tools. I was only upset that I mistook the 2.5mm allen for the 3mm that I needed, precious seconds were passing. (Close to minutes at this point, I quickly fell into DFL position). With some turns of the wrench, the faulty chain catcher was removed, chain returned manually to the ring, and I was back to hopping barriers—albeit with increased care at this point.

Whatever my goals for this race were at the start line, at this point they were altered. I now had to finish somewhere other than DFL*. After one lap totally solo, I wondered how far back I actually fell. Entering the sand pits again I was told I was a minute behind the next racer. Ooh ooh! That sounded like an eternity to me at the time, but what the hell, I’ll give it a shot. Next update told me I was less than thirty seconds, at this point I had already seen my mark and I was going for it. Having a target helps a lot, be it picking off individuals in the pack, or one solitary dude. Approaching the barriers near the pit again, I was on him. Moments later, I passed him on the remount. For some reason I felt the need to taunt him at this point, something along the lines of, “now, you wanna really feel like racing?” And at the next slight uphill, I felt the first pangs of performance hindering, debilitating pain. Karma, right? Was I going to be able to keep this “lead”? I began to have doubts. Good for me, the UCI wasn’t going to let me find out: entering the paved sprint section, the hefty official pulled me from the race, evidently a full seven minutes behind.

It was a petty victory sure, but some sense of victory is what we’re doing this for I think. All in all, this was a good day however, one with disappointing results. The crowd was a bit different in comparison to the spectators in the OVCX series. Being the solo Rogue racing was odd in a way, seeing a familiar face from Louisville was odder. There wasn’t as much yelling or cowbell action from the sidelines—I was thankful my wife and sister were present, they were both certainly encouraging with their near solitary voices telling me to pedal. The new bike worked great, I’ve already got solutions in mind for the chain problem (again), and am already registered to get back at it next week.

‘cross, indeed, Fucking Rules!

* For those unaware of this acronym, it stands for Dead Fucking Last

3 Comments so far
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🙂 love the report, sorry about the chain, Fix It Dude! miss you guys

Comment by Sherri 09.20.10 @ 1:22 am

Thanks for the report! Let us know when you get that chain thing figured out so Will can copy you!!

Comment by Debbie 09.20.10 @ 12:21 pm

[…] race in the Ed Sanders Memorial Cyclocross event. After questioning my abilities and fitness from last week’s results, I felt it was inconclusive whether or not I could hang with the B’s. Was it just the […]

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