Sunday, November 1, 2009

West Hill Cyclocross

Good race today at the West Hill Shop in Putney, Vt. The fields weren't huge, but there were some good racers there. The weather was beautiful, and with the rain overnight the course was slippery enough to keep it interesting. The 45+ masters race had about 12 guys today, with Eric Marro, Paul Nyberg, Wayne Barlow and other fast guys. The start here is a long drag up the pavement from the bottom part of the course and up into the field, then immediately over the barriers. This is the only time you ride that section of pavement. Next the course winds through some slippery corners and down into a pit with a short run out of it. This is followed by some more grass, around the shop, through the BMX jumps and then down the hill. The hill is pretty tricky with a left hand turn followed by a right onto a steep, bumpy hill with a deep mud hole on the left and a narrow strip of hard ground on the right. A final stretch of muddy trail led out to a lap around the cornfield where the wind made it tough if you were riding alone. A quick trip up the dirt road and you shoot up the first part of the run-up and hit the ground running without loosing your momentum. A quick remount and repeat 6 more times.
A group of 5 of us formed at the start and rode together for the first four laps. On the road section of the 5th lap, Eric Marro put the hammer down and took one other guy with him. Nyberg and I put on the gas and dropped Wayne Barlow. No matter how hard I tried to drop Nyberg, he kept closing my gaps in the slippery corners. I knew I was waisting my effort trying to drop him. It felt like I was slightly faster than him in the run-up, so, on the last lap, I waited for him with the intention of gluing myself to his wheel and coming around just before the run-up. I knew this was a gamble because in the past I've had issues keeping someone elses pace. But the rest I gave myself letting him come up to me made me confident that I could get him. As we came up the road, we caught two lapped riders and when we did Nyberg went, with me glued to him. As soon as we were at speed I hit it as hard as I could, coming around and headed for the run-up first. It was funny, because I was thinking "here comes the puke", but it didn't and I ended up in third.

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