Ed Sander ‘cross
Tuesday September 28th 2010, 9:03 am
Filed under: News

This weekend past I entered to race in the Ed Sander 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 mechanical that kept me from competing, or is it my utter lack of training? I needed to give it another go to find out.

So up for an early drive up to Frederick, MD, I was excited for an sloppy and mud-staining race with the rain we went through. Being upgraded is nice in that you don’t have to race the earliest event, the idea of sleeping in a bit is theoretically appealing; but when you don’t have a car, you have to rely on your friends schedule. After pre-riding the course, I was able to sit back and relax watching the C’s and Master’s race, all the while watching the sky clear and the wet course dry up. It looked as though I’d be racing a faster course than I pre-rode.

Again, towards the back of the pack due to late registration, I felt calm and collected as we lined up at the start. Jokes about having a good start were bandied about,  I was reluctant to promise a good start to the dude next to me thinking that it might hinder my good start. So I gave him a solid “maybe”.

Barely hearing the whistle, I notice the crowd ahead beginning to drift away, so we’re off. But not for long. Not ten feet of movement started when there was a pile-up the the center of the pack on this narrow piece of cement bracketed by lily ponds. Everyone behind the pile-up spreads out to the edge, nearly sending dudes into the slimy soup. I somehow squeeze by and am immediately playing catch-up—not as bad as the guys still sprawling on the ground though.

The rest of the race felt great though. The brief barriers were a cinch even while packed up and surrounded with other racers. The following section of 90˚ turns around the rectangular lily ponds was performed with nary a pull on the brakes—it proved to be one of my best areas at picking people off. The final minor incline out of that section everyone seemed to hit like a brick wall, dropping speed and getting passed.

The flat double track areas were a bit grueling with their copious potholes, excessive washboard, and overgrown grass middle sections. More were picked off here as well as my being picked off once or twice. This lead into the steep run-up and immediate drop-in where if there was anyone else at the top of it became a near casual remount—it was described to me as though you just unlocked your bike or something; i.e. it was slow moving up there unless you were mostly alone.

Up and down, left and right. And then came the massive “down” and wicked “left” that dumps you into the holiest section of the entire course. As though someone took a post-hole digger and riddled the grass covered section with a hundred potholes. This was surely the section that would have thrown my chain had I not alleviated the previous 1×10 setup * I was running last week. As bouncy as this piece was, you couldn’t carry any momentum from the steep descent into it—which sucked as it lead you into a series of successive climbs. Somehow, however, I still felt good throughout it to pass a couple of people here a few times.

And that’s how it went, around and around, for what seemed like an hour at least, but was probably only 45 minutes. Just before the finish, I didn’t quite catch up to my target, but catching up to him for a close visual by the beginning of the last lap was encouraging enough. Afterwards, I felt good and felt I could have placed better had I not been hindered by the start’s pile-up. This race left me feeling as though I can hang with the B’s—bring on the next race!

* I set up a second shifter and ran the bike as a 2×10, 46-39 and a 12-25 in back seemed to work pretty well for hills and sprints. I installed the left shifter in place of the SRAM single brake lever, but not without total disassembly and installation of the shift mechanism into the brake lever. Why you ask, well, just for the hell of it.

1 Comment so far
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Way to go Michael…..your cx spirit is definitely back!

Comment by Debbie 09.28.10 @ 9:19 pm

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