CYCLOCROSS NATIONALS, Portland Oregon
Okay, I know how much people hate my RACE REPORTS.
Well, I am going one further. I am posting a friend of mine's race report from the Cyclocross Nationals that were held in Portland Oregon last weekend.
It sounds like a great race. Well, at least it sounded like a great time. I have the option to race in the mud this weekend, well I am not sure if that is where I want to spend my time. My race season is behind me. The eye of the tiger got lazy some time ago.
But, who knows? Once on the bike and on the start line I am always quickly reminded of how much I love bikes and enjoy racing.
did the masters 35-40 race on Saturday and the B-race on Sunday. It rained the entire time during those races, it was cold, the course was muddy...it was great!
It was so muddy....much worse than even the Kalmthout DVD, and no I'm not exaggerating. There were 4 long flat sections (100yds) where it was faster to run than ride. It was like 9 minute laps, and the ONLY non-muddy part was 400m road section and a 500m gravel road; other than that...total mud! Check out my self portrait to get an idea of how muddy it was (Picture 003.jpg). I was really impressed by the mud. I think the key was to sit upright (hands on flats) and spin the easiest gear. In some sections, I was able to ride by alot of runners that way.
I went as hard as possible on Saturday, and had a really good race, probably my personal best effort of the season. I was fired up (me?) and I felt really strong during the race. I ended up getting 45 out of 75, I'd guess 10 or so DNF'ers. They ran the 35-40 and another age group at the same time, so there were 140 people in the race at the same time. It was very exciting, since you were always in a group battling for position...and OLN's Richard Fries was screaming on the mic the whole time. I was in the last group not to get lapped (I think the winners were also Elite guys), so it was a long race...56 minutes! A crash at the beggining road sent alot of us into a christmas light display on the side of the start-road. I bunny hopped a light-string (6" high...and I actually made it!) but I heard alot of popping (tubes or bulbs?), and lots of crashes.
On Sunday B-race I had a really bad start and was literally LAST going into the mud. Someone's got to do it. Again there were >100 people in the race, so it was kind of funny. My legs were cooked from Saturday, so couldn't go as fast. But it was still alot of fun since I got to pass the whole time and see alot of people wallowing in the mud. Luckily, Sunday was one lap shorter than Saturday for me. I think I was going about 20 seconds slower per lap than Saturday, which wasn't too bad. I ended up getting 47 out of something like 90+. Near the end, I tried to pass a group of 5 by making a power move off of the popular mud-line and onto some greenery on the edge, but it was a mistake (see pt. 11 below) and a few people passed me, D'oh!
Some highlights of the weekend:
1. When I got in to town on Friday and saw how awful the mud was, I headed straight to Target to try and score some rubber boots for spectating the pro races....I wasn't the only one...it was funny, Target was like a looting zone with cross racers/fans scrounging for boots, umbrellas, and rain suits!
2. The women pro's couldn't ride any of the flat sections...I think they had to run most of the course. no power.
3. In between laps during the men's pro race, some nearly-nude guy in a leather S&M suit and Mexican wrestling mask was sliding down the muddy run-up on his stomach, and breakdancing at the bottom (he wasn't too bad).
He got more cheers than the racers.
4. Marching Drum band playing war songs during the pro races was pretty intense.
5. my new tires worked great!
6. Jonathan Page was really impressive, I'm sure you'll read all about it in Velonews. He really made everyone else look bad. I saw him PEDALING (!!!) down a super-slick down-hill off-camber that caused atleast half of my field to crash and slide off the course just two hours earlier. And most of us crashers were even walking when we slid out!!!!
7. Monday AM in the airport checkin line atleast 1/3 of the people had bike boxes...for the first time they actually enforced the overweight bag rule and we had to pay $25 bucks. Extra fuel needed to lug the weight back east??
8. Sat. night "media event" at the host hotel's Bar was comical. You've never seen a bar filled with so many skinny white guys drinking water! Not a profitable night for the bar owners.
9. Hotel had a bike washing station and rags...pretty cool.
10. The course was full of fans even for my races. Most people yelling the standard "you're looking good" stuff, but I did get some funny ones:
"welcome to portand" a few times. While floundering up the main muddy hill right next to the tape some guy screamed in my ear, "You're not an animal!!!". The weirdest was some lady who yelled "You're finished!!" at me...but it was only on the second lap so I'm not sure what that meant!
11. You know how its no fun to ride in tall wet grass....well, they had some weird moldy-moss...MOSS... sections that looked firm to me, but were like quicksand!
Anyway, it was super fun. If I'm in shape next year, I'm going again.
a still shot of some of the action