23 September, 2011

Addison Oaks XC

In an attempt to get caught up with the 'Ol blog before Pando, here is my recap of Addison.

Last year I missed the Addison XC race due to a trip to Japan.  I think that was a fair trade.  I did make t out there for the 6 hour solo race, and finished 3rd.  This was also my first race on the rigid fork.

This year I needed to race at Addison, and perform reasonably well in order to secure my top place in the CPS Expert/Elite Singlespeed category.

We got to the park with plenty of time to register and relax prior to the race.  Which was good, as I was not feeling very well at all.  My tummy was grumpy, and my pre-race nutrition was only making it worse.

I was expecting a pretty decent finish, as there were only 2 riders pre-registered for the race, myself included.  When I got to the line, there were about 9 of us.  I really only knew one or two of them, but the others I was safe to assume were pretty fast.

When the race started, I clipped in and began rolling out at a pretty leisurely pace.  I mean there were 4 laps of about 7 miles each, and I was intent on not burning out early.  However, this wasn't the best plan, as soon I was out the back of the pack, and getting dropped, so I picked up the pace.

I wasn't sure how many got ahead of me during the roll out.  During the first climb I made a pass of a couple riders, leaving what I believed to be 4 others ahead of me.  I finished the fist lap in purgatory, not quite sure how far ahead the leaders were, nor sure of how far back the chasers were either.

Shortly after starting the second lap, I passed a rider walking out with his arm tucked into his jersey, the international sign for I crashed and broke my collarbone.  I asked if he was OK, but received no response, so I continued on.  I didn't recall being passed so I assumed he was in my category, and by my calculations, I was in 4th place.

A short while later, another ride caught up to me, wearing a Specialized jersey.  He asked how I was doing and I responded with "Dying, I want to quit and just drink beer" to which he responded "Me too, it must have been the 15 beers I had at the game last night."  15 beers and this guy is on my tail.  I must be slow because after 4 beers, I would be unconscious.

I let him pass on the wide dirt "road" section, but jumped right on his tail.  I followed him up the ensuing hills and fields staying right with him.  I could tell he was trying to drop me, but I was able to stay close on the punchy climbs.  We hit the paved road section and I coasted right on his tail.  Just before we went into the woods, he swung wide and said "Well, since I can't drop you, we may as well work together."

Back on the front I increased the pace a bit, as I had a bit of recovery riding behind him for a bit.  I could catch glimpses of him behind me, but he wasn't right on my tail.  I was thinking he was leaving me some slack hoping I would burn out.  The results showed I finished lap two only 5 seconds ahead of him.

Going into lap 3, my legs were starting to feel good.  I stood and hammered up the early climbs.  I wanted to build a gap and figured I might as well make hay while the sun was shining.  I do not recall anything significant on this lap.  I continued my solo ride, still trying to push the pace while beginning to encounter more traffic on the course.

Starting the final lap, a group of kids started as I came though the chute.  About 6 of them, hammering as fast as they could.  They surged ahead of me on the flat grass, but I wanted to get back on the front before the technical areas.  I knew the prime spot to make my move and I hit the climb that on the previous lap I was feeling good.  This time however, it was a different story.  I stood to pedal and my quads felt like they were shutting down.  The last time I felt like this was mile 45 of the O2S.  I passed the kids, but I had to work a lot harder than I wanted to.  My plan was to continue at a comfortable pace, and hope I don't get caught.  I would spin on the flats, and not go too far into the red on the climbs.

Maybe 1/4 of the way through the lap I was caught by another single-speeder, the RBS guy I was talking to at the start.  Going on what I recalled from my earlier encounter, I was willing to let the rider past.  However, in a move of slick trickery he declined.  He stated he didn't know if he could continue the pace.

So I worked a bit harder to increase my tempo, just to see if he would hang.  He could, and did.  So as we turned off the paved section, I began to let up a bit.  I was figuring this would come to a sprint, and I wasn't going to work too far beforehand.  He stayed right on my tail until near the end, where on a climb there were to paths, a high and low.  I took the high route and he went low, I slowed just enough to drop in behind him.

Realizing his mistake, he pushed the pace the the final sections of trail and got a bit of a gap leadinging into the pavement before the finish.  I closed the gap here, and stayed right on his wheel going into the grassy straightaway before the finish. 

This was the sprint I was waiting for (pretty much all season!) and I stayed right behind, watching his every move.  My plan was to make the pass near at the trash can before the line.  Then  I say his legs spin up and he was making his move at right about the same time.  I knew I couldn't stand and hammer based on the early climb, so I spun up to and moved to the left.  I had my legs going around as fast as I could as I moved beside, then past the rider.  I was grunting like a stuck big as I was gulping for air hoping to fend off (would I could only assume) impending charge. 

I shot across the line and kept riding to a group of trees a short distance away.  I did it.  I beat won the sprint, but I don't know by how much.  I didn't see his wheel when I crossed, but figured he was there.  The rider came over where I lay collapsed on the pine needles and panting and congratulated me on the race and I reciprocated. My wife came over told me good job.  I asked about riders ahead, and she said she saw only two guys, and I finished "way after them."  Thanks honey.  Then she asked if I heard her yelling for me at the finish.  I admit, I did not.  It was one of those moments like in the movies, everything went silent and felt like slow motion.

I checked the results, and discovered I was in third place, not fourth.  I considered this my first legitimate Expert/Elite singlespeed podium.  It felt good. After a brief recovery, it was time for the podium.  It was really quick, as I didn't even have time to change.

After receiving my medal, I grabbed some of the free pork and cold beer.  That was an excellent way to cap off my clinching of the   CPS Expert/Elite Singlespeed series.

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