10.02.2006

Race Report: Ed Sanders Cyclocross Event


Race Report: NCVC Ed Sanders Cyclocross Event
NCVC.net
race flyer
summer is turning into fall
the drug stores have altered their seasonal isles from squirt guns and slip-n-slides to power ranger costumes and candy corn
the grocery stores have stopped putting out watermelons and a
re starting to stock pumpkins
the pool down the road is closed for the season and the neigborhood schools have re-opened
the change of season is effecting our lives in all sorts of ways

these season changes are effecting the cyclists in many ways
many people are already starting to hang up their bikes
burn out, cold weather, and shorter days

to the mountian biker this may be a great time to ride
peak physical and technical conditioning ontop of the wonderful mystery of sliding around on leaves
to the mountian bike racer this may seem like time to hang it up
there may be certainly elements of the previously burn out

but... for some of us mountain bikers there is a bit of a refresher for us before the lazy winter begins
CYCLOCROSS SEASON

here in the Mid-Atlantic Region we are already two races into our
season
there was the Charm City event in Baltimore last week
and the NCVC Ed Sanders event in Frederick yesterday

with a little preparation I got involved and raced with the Masters 35+ crowd at both events

the Charm City event lacked certain elements of cross
the weather was just too nice
there was no need for arm warmers or knickers
the ground was dry and the earth was hard packed
the course was classic urban cross with an added sand pit for a little variety
no one complained about the beauty of the weather
people were just happy to be out racing

the weather the day for the Ed Sanders event was a little more cross appropriate
beautiful... but with just enough rain from the day prior to muck things it up
the temperature was a pleasant mix of cool and warm... with clouds gathering overhead offering a threat of rain
knickers yes
arm warmers no
the rain never came but the clouds made for a beautiful backdrop

that is enough with the weather... this is supposed to be a rac
e report not a weather report
on with the tale

my participation at the Charm City event was less than spectacular
I rode conservatively...
in short... I rode the event more than I raced the event
since I am not the type of guy to use a heart rate monitor I can not tell you where I was performing or what my body was doing...
but I can tell you that I had enough strength and composure to wave at
friends on the sidelines cheering
at times I felt like I was circling a parade route

it was a good time... but I promised myself a little more pain at the Ed Sanders event
that is not to say that I was not tired or worked after Charm City... but I was not collapsing at the finishline
sure I was sore the next day... but maybe I should have been more sore

the morning of the Ed Sanders event I tried to get my head right
which was difficult as a good part of my energy was devoted to entertaining my kids
even on the drive I found that I had to share my gatorade, trail mix, and bananas with the boys
but once the kids were running around with some other people there size I was able to focus on the race that was moments away

I had just enough time to pre-ride the course
as I rode the course I tried to get my body and mind ready for the event ahead
tried to factor in my head what it would take to go out hard and strong keeping enough in me to not be wishing to quit before the end of the first lap
avoid going full throttle and burning out

but stay strong putting out enough and holding onto enough
in the last mountain bike race of the season I set out to win... and well
... was happy to finish
won the hole shot and died a few miles into the race

tried to keep that lesson in my head
try not to have a repeat performance

cross is a tough disipline... especially for a Clydesdale
not trying to hide behind my weight... but it is hard for a two hu
ndred and thirty pound man to move about the course with this feather weight crowd
in the mud my wheels sink to the hubs
there are sections of grass that other glide over and I get absorb into
my weight pulls me wide on the turns

my wheels do not want to corner as fast as the bike risks slipping out from under me
there is a difference between the big road cyclist at 180 and me... at 230
and well

the honest fact...
I am not as fit or as fast as most of these guys

these factors make it tough

so...
it is difficult to approach an event knowing that I am entering to finish mid pack
as there is little difference in my placement if go suicidal or if I cruise around the course at a lesiurely fast group ride pace


no one likes to vomit
especially in front of their wife and kids
no one likes to get lapped
so... I try to work a balance

at the starting gun I took off fast with the pack
letting the fast and the strong lead out hard
while I scrapped with the scrubs
it was a great day for racing on an amazing course


the wife and kids were there
my wife cheered for me as I worked each lap
my kids, well, I am not sure if the were too concerned to wait and watch as daddy rode his bike around with the other old men
the laps were long which I prefer to the dizzying short courses
some good stretches of hard pack that I tried to use to catch other riders
some moist corners that were on the edge of a network of man made ponds
every turn risked a comedy of errors
to my dismay...

some riders cornered faster and more confident than myself
and my effforts on the flats...
well, those stretches of hard pack were fast sections for other riders as well
the soft and the technical gave me no advantage

all 57 riders within the Masters Category seemed comfortable enough on the bike
there was some elbowing and some grumbling
there were some cat and mouse games


with a snap of the finger the race was over just as it began
there were moment of pain, fatigue, and burning
but all that was forgotten when it all ended
it was great to have finished with my own effort
a lesson to the kids
it is not all about winning
there is a certain victory in Personal Best


after some chatting with some fellow racers and friends I joined up with my family and gathered my boys for the Lil' Belgian Cross Race
pretty much an all ages cross event
I ran the course with my older son
while my wife pushed my younger son
the moist ground and deep grass was as much an obstacle to the small children as it was to this big man
their race ended with a similar joy
but their joy was compounted by a wonderful medal
all the young racers got gold metals

NCVC put on a great event
a great event for the local cycling community
a great event for the Mid Atlantic cycling community

Kerry Litka's Top Ten Cross List
Kevin Dillard Images at Velophoto.net
the kids on the bikes

2 comments:

Nick Bax said...

Yea my dad said he couldn't believe how you big guys managed to go so fast..

gwadzilla said...

nick...

your dad is faster than me, older than me, and smarter than me

and well
although I do not know him well
he seems cooler than me

maybe it is because I am a standard ugly american
while he is a cool dutch dude

either way
I think your dad's strength;s have rubbed off on you

(oh... I know... your mom is a super brain too... but I do not see her out on the bike so I know little about her)