29 January 2006

SCCCC Peak Season CX #3 Watsonville

Category:35+ B
Field: 8
Place: 6
Teammates: None
Friendly rivals: Travis in B's.
I had issues with my PowerTap harness from a little easy ride on Friday so I just swapped it out with a different one I had lying around. After I took off the defective one it worked fine, go figure. I thought the average power number was pretty anemic even considering the ten percent running not included. But then I checked the race data for when I did the same course in November when it was dry and that is about fifteen percent lower so at least I was able to push myself harder this time.
Rained the prior day and night so course was mucky. Not as much shoe sucking mud as last time, though. Those wimps at CX worlds had a much tidier course. :) I rode really hard for a bit with the outcasts from LGBRC on Saturday so wasn't sure how my legs would respond today. Set up the Kelly with Hutchinson 30mm 55 psi front and back and the Litespeed with the Ritchey 35mm Excavaders at 52 psi front and back. This felt good enough on my half lap reconnaisance of the course - did not feel like washing the bike any more before the race so warmed up on the ample pavement around the course. Since last week I forgot to put on the heart rate strap the first thing I did in my race prep was put on the heart rate strap.

This time we would be doing the big runup and it was a tough slog since there the mud was formed into little steps by prior races, yet still malleable to forming new ones or sliding away. At the start I tried to not go out super hard for a change and still managed to hold my position firmly at the back of the pack. The two SCCCC guys that I was duking it out with at the last race were with me for the first two laps. Most of the course was the same as the US GP of cross race in November. The mud made it much easier for me to make a decision on trying to ride or run tougher technical sections - I ran almost all of them. Probably due to this I had one of my better races on technical issues and did not crash once, yay!, as I was prepared to dismount every time I dismounted, plus it's surprising how much difference lower profile tires make in remounting. I also did not brake on the big descent - is that due to the slower speeds in the mud? The mud was very wet peanut butter like on the section parallel to the chain link fence, but at least it did not smell of a stable as the wet peanut butter mud next to the stables did. Instead of going all out on the runup and passing people like I did in November I took lots of tiny steps just to maintain position, like Darrel, and found I had a lot more for the on the bike portions of the race. One of the key technical sections was : a three foot high pile of leaves. At one point in the race a one of the SCCCC riders in front of me lost it there and blocked the rider behind him, I decided to run over high point instead of the race groove lower in the pile and never saw those riders again. No major issues with my frankenstein bike, some minor shifting problems but this was again due to all the space between the cogs and inside the chain links filling with mud. The Excavaders were pretty good for the mud slog - enough knobs for traction and they cleaned themselves pretty well once I got out of the muddy sections. After my 40 minute cleaning of the two bikes I rode the Litespeed on some of the flattest roads I have ever ridden in California and it felt like I was riding a new bike.

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