Monday, October 15, 2007

Gloucester ‘Cross Verge #1 Day One

Short race, sort of short report

It’s official, Mr. Pink is now retired, he was kind of a fat ass, weighing in at nearly 22 lbs.. He would have made a light mountain bike but as a ‘cross bike, especially a single speed one…not so good. He will now be my fixed gear commuter, I will ride him with a front brake, in lycra, with a 65 inch gear (i.e., very low). I am not, nor have I ever been a cool kid. But let’s talk about the new bike, no obvious name for this one yet. It’s a Ridley Crossbow, set up as a single speed with a White Industries Eric’s Eno Eccentric hub, it is five pounds lighter than Pink, has tubulars, and no crosstop levers, it is an entirely different beast.
I rode this bike around IBC Newton on the carpet, to dial in my position (don’t tell Joe the owner), other than that the first ride was my warm up on the Gloucester course. Felt pretty good, the tires hooked up nicely and I felt comfortable on the hoods…an hour later I was lining up to race. Oh ya, my gearing. Last year I pushed, actually I can’t really say “pushed”, I spun like mad a 34 X 17 for the first day, then a 34 X 16 for the second day, it was ridiculous. So this year I brought out the big guns, 42 X 16…I was not, and I say not getting spun out this time around.

"Crap, I think that rock is gapping up to me"

My start position was total crap, my start itself…total crap, my ability to deal with the mad throngs of riders…pretty much total crap. “No, no you go ahead, after you, be my guest”. Then I got stuck behind a few guys that rode bikes like Britney Spears makes a comeback, got frustrated and began the battle to finish in a semi-respectable fashion.


Alright I’m just going to say it, Gloucester sucks, it’s a way better race to watch than to ride. It’s boring, it’s uninteresting, it’s great for roadies, it’s bad for Mt. Bikers, I’m a Mt. Biker, therefore I hate it. I hope it snows again next year, or a tsunami washes over Stage Fort Park, or tanker carrying 8 million tons of Belgian mud beaches on the shore, anything to make this thing suck less. Maybe I just hate it because I lack the most vital of ‘cross skills, the skill to sit down at my computer and register early so I don’t start in 80th position.

My posse's got velocity

Wow, glad I got that off my chest, OK so moving right along…there I was riding around in circles in a park by the ocean with 120 guys, most of them in front of me, the only thought going through my oxygen deprived brain was “man, I can’t wait to eat some chowder”. Somewhere in there I killed myself up the paved hill through the start/finish to pass five guys, then one passed me back on the downhill going into the uphill hairpin, freakin’ brilliant place to pass, you Stephen Hawking of Cyclocross you, he washed out, I tried to salvage my line, going further inside, I washed out as well but ate it hard, twisting my bars around. I stopped to correct them, got going again, something was rubbing, uh-oh, I ignored it, and like all my problems, it went away…back in business, alright then.
And then, just like that, it was over, I stopped pedaling my bike, grabbed a beer, and got situated to watch the women’s Elite race. That’s the nice part about racing the 2/3’s you get to see how it’s really done just after you’ve finished making an ass of yourself out there. Lovely.
My result:
22nd out of 95 finishers, twice as good as last year and way more fun despite my whining.

Miriam rode up from Somerville after zombies ate half her leg two months ago and she still looked pretty damn good

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