Monday, December 11, 2006


Stedman Grand Prix Cyclocross Report

Originally I hadn’t planned on doing the Verge races this weekend, but after a couple breakthrough rides over the past couple weeks I opted to jump in, registering late Thursday before the race, guaranteeing a less than optimal starting position (67th out of 67). It was a beautiful day in the Ocean State, sunny but deceptively cold and a bit blustery, not a warm up balm day, more like a knee-warmer day. Wow, we’re already talking about the weather, worst…date…ever.
My first impression of the course was that it kinda sucked, looked like Gloucester, a whole bunch of the course was comprised of taped off corridors through a grassy field. Once I prerode the course I learned that it was much more exciting, quite a few interesting spots, weird off camber stuff, and this double stepped run-up/ride up. It was rideable, but not if you were in traffic (or on a single speed…urgh), even if you were a seasoned pro. See Jeremy Powers cleaning it in the clip below, also see everyone including Tim Johnson running it behind him. Adam Myerson gets my vote for the guy who cleaned it with the most style and speed, I would have gone sliding through the tape…upside down and backwards, like a reject from Cirque Du Soleil.

Essentially the hole shot was the first turn around the fenced in tennis courts, you blew around this corner straight onto a crazy off camber scramble which lead to a little chute going down to a fireroad. When the B’s hit this bit it was utter mayhem, I have no idea how the elites cleaned it one and all:

Like I said, 67th on the line, maybe worse I don’t know what the final head count was, off we went, at least it was an uphill start, I passed a few dudes before the courts, but the first time I got a look at the front of the race those guys were already in a different time zone. Time to put my head down and spin and churn away and see if I could improve the situation, slow going on this course though, not too many real mean sections to attack on. Seemed like most folks made up or held ground working hard through the open fields, not much I could do there except spin away.
On the first lap I wailed a rock hard, bottoming out my rear tire bad, I really thought I flatted, I kept tripping, staring at my rear tire, thinking it was losing air and beginning to wash out in the corners…crackhead. I didn’t have a flat at all, just low pressure and an overactive imagination. I wasn’t feeling great, the discomfort I generally feel at the start of these things which usually gives way to a 3rd lap NOS injection only gave way to a case of fatigued, wobbly legs. Here I fake it for a moment as I run the barriers:

I’m tired, a lot of people are, I’m looking forward to the end of the racing and the driving and the totally shot weekends, I want to stay up all night and drink beer, I want to wake up late, go for a mountain bike ride in The Fells, then go to brunch with my girlfriend. It’s time to get a life and let the bike gather some dust. That said I’m bringing my A-game to Nationals, I’m ready for a war, I’m bringing my “A-war”…I’m kidding, that’s joke-sport-smack-talking there.

To finish off this here lackluster report, I’ll say that things didn’t go as awesomely as they could have, but they didn’t go as not-awesomely as they could have either. In the last lap I caught on to
Ryan Kelly and Dan Langlois, both of whom seemed to be having mechanicals. Dan’s proved too substantial to overcome and I was able to get away from him. Ryan, however tacked onto my wheel going into the finishing straight, I tried to go early knowing he’s a strong roadie type bloke, but he’s also smart and he both overpowered and outmaneuvered me, taking 15th to my 16th.
One thing I have to do is stop listening to people who have opinions on what makes something a good single speed course or not, even other single speeders. The consensus was that The Caster’s Cup course was going to be a far superior for a single speed, I actually got my hopes up for a finer result than my Stedman performance…read my next report to see how well that went.


JJ said...

its soo funny to see how fast jpows & co. were flying thru that off-camber section by the fence... especially when i think about how slow i went thru there. ugh.

Thom P. said...

I know, I forgot to describe how I dismounted to a stand still before even the first tier of that thing.

Ryan said...

The only mechanical problems I was having was with my legs.

And yes, I was taking that section so friggin' slowly. I guess that's why I'm not a professional cross racer.