Wednesday, December 21, 2011

New England Cyclocross Championships - Fitchburg, MA

Remounting and riding away after the barriers for now.
The latest and last race of my 2011 season was this past Sunday.  While many teammates traveled home for winter break, two UVMers made their way to compete at the New England Cyclocross Championships in Fitchburg, MA on a rather cold Sunday afternoon.
With temperatures not rising above 28 degrees, the course remained frozen for all but 2 or 3 laps of the Elite Men's race.  The track was long and flat, twisting and turning over athletic fields and around trees.  Two sets of barriers, a sandpit, and a flyover were laid into the track to test the best of the best.  Being so far into the season, I only made it through 2 1/2 laps before full system shut down and resulting in the first DNF of the Cyclocross season.
Aaaand BONK.
That said, leading up to the full system shut down, I cannot say things felt great.  In warm up, I was able to rip through on my bike, everything was comfortable and I felt powerful from the weeks preparation of both running and riding.  By the time the race came about later in the afternoon, I had lost the sensation of speed and comfort lingered back to the warmth of the van which I would estimate remained at about 50 degrees throughout the day.  A warm refuge after a massive debacle of a race.

Arc hard...
Closing out the season with a DNF is not my idea of finishing on a high note.  However, I think it is myself telling me (confused? good.) that it is time to take a break and let things recover before building for speed in the 2012 spring, summer and fall seasons.  I will be taking the next few weeks (until January 1, 2012) to rest and just futz about with whatever Tubular Adventures come my way.  Rest assured, skiing will most definitely be a good portion of said Tubular Adventures.
Until 2012,  Arc hard, ride fast and go plaid! 

Friday, December 9, 2011

NBX GP of Cyclocross

Working the field from the back... it'll go better next time.
After taking a weekend off, UVM cycling ventured with four competitors to Warwick, RI to compete at the NBX GP race weekend.  Not wanting to get up early, and also having come off of two previous top 10 results, I decided to upgrade with the hops that sleeping in would counteract the unfortunate starting position of DFL.
Both days had fast courses, with only slight modifications from day to day.  Day 1 had a sand run ending on a hill, as well as a ride-up and a set of quick barriers near the Shimano PRO Pit and core center of the course.  Day 2 was only slightly modified, leaving in the first sand run, adding in a second sand run into a dune hill run-up as well as having moved the barriers onto an uphill run just before the core of the race.
Flying through some fast trails towards the beach runs.
Having just upgraded, I was started at the back since I have no points.  Unfortunately, I was only able to move upa few places from there.  I found the 3s to be so evenly matched that starts were everything within that field.  Since I have a terrible start, it was difficult to move up and make up time on the leaders. The only time I felt like I was able to ove up was on the dune run-up on Day 2, which allowed me to scurry up the hill and pass multiple people before remounting and descending back into the starting area.

Making this additionally difficult was the use of improper gearing.  I have since swapped my crankset for a cyclocross specific gearing by attaching a 46/39 to Dura Ace 7800 172.5mm crankarms.  From riding this past week, the gearing feels much better and is moe manageable to for riding trails and varied terrain as opposed to the compact 50/34 of previous rides and races.

I'll be taking this next weekend off from racing to ride and finish up classes for the semester.  Stay tuned for some training adventures and racing updates.  Up next on the calendar is New England Championships in Fitchburg, MA.

Arc hard, ride fast, go plaid!