Race Report: Tacchino Ciclocross

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Race Report: Tacchino Cyclocross Leesburg VA

Race Report: Tacchino Cyclocross race in Leesburg, VA

This weekend past I had the freedom to do as I pleased as my wife went to visit her parents in Pittsburgh with the kids. With the weekend completely open I weighed my options and created a list…

the list
drink and get drunk
rinse and repeat
stay up late/sleep late
Home Depot and IKEA
home projects
help friend pick up and move baby furniture
dance around the house naked
watch television with the volume as loud as I need it to be without guilt

On an evening neighborhood walk with my dog Brutus I ran this list through my head. The list sounded possible, there seemed like there was room for a little more. I mentally penciled in the bike. Then it seemed that penciling the bike into the weekend was not good enough so I called my brother and made a final commitment. Rather than just ride the bike… there were two cyclocross options and I was to race at least one of them.

In a matter of a few cellular seconds I was on the phone with my brother and it was agreed that I would pick him up the next morning and head out to Leesburg for a cyclocross race hosted by Squadra Coppi. As I finished my neighborhood walk I altered my focus from the list of things to do around the house to a list of what must be done to make racing a cyclocross bike happen the next morning.

First I did some math about driving time, the driving time to my brothers, the driving time from my brother’s to Leesburg… then I communicated with my executive memory what time I would need to wake/walk the dog/make and drink coffee/and pack the car. After that I focused on gear. By this time I was in my basement with a glass of red wine in hand selecting the right set of tunes on my iPod as I pulled out my repair stand and my Specialized Tri-Cross Comp.

With the bike in the stand I started the first step of the routine, cleaning the bike… primarily cleaning the drivetrain. As the Pedros biodegradable degreaser worked its magic I forwarded the song on the iPOD and wiped down the frame. The BAD BRAINS I AGAINST I played and red wine was consumed as I went through a three step process of cleaning the drivetrain: degreaser/syn-lube/wax lubricant. Each step taken independently with the wiping clean with a cloth rag between each step. With the bike and drive train clean I pulled out some tools. The wheels needed a little straightening and the gears had been skipping. Other than that things had been working pretty okay. The Avid cross brakes are less than sensational, but that is not so much an adjustmet as it is a need for replacement with something more cross custom like Paul’s or Spooky.

During the process of the drivetrain cleaning and lubing I had stepped away and packed an assortment of gear from head to tow. Now that the bike was cleaned and tunned I double checked my gear for the next morning’s race. No reason risking arriving without a shoe or a helmet. In the end I had all I needed for a cold weather race, but managed to forget my camera. In the end my socks did not match… but television and red wine seemed more significant than matching socks.
The next morning came quickly. I did not go to bed early as the bottle of red wine had yet to be finished. There are certain tasks that I like to see through. When the morning arrived I was shocked that I got up before the alarm, not being a morning person I feared sleeping through the alarm, but being a father has conditioned me to wake up with the boys; the boys wake up early.
Brutus got a short walk, just a little more than it takes for him to make his deposit in the woods. The rack was on the back of my wife’s Passat wagon and I was in the car headed to my brother’s ahead of schedule. The drive was effortless as the city was still asleep. We arrived in Leesburg at the Ida Park for the cross event with some time for registration, parking lot banter, and some warm up on and off the course. At registration I was excited to get a free cowbell and noticed one of the Coppi Volunteers from a trail encounter on one of my commutes.
The line up for the 35+ did not have the numbers of the Charm City or Ed Sanders events that I had attended earlier this year. But, the competition was still strong. I took the back of the line along side of fellow Clydesdale Chris Redlack. At the sound of the gun the racers took off. The large field quickly funneled into a thinner section of trail, allowing the top racers to move ahead, while those of us in the back stalled and waited for traffic to move forward. Not being focused on racing or placement I let things move forward before I started to pedal along myself. With Chris at my side I warmed up slow, thinking it may be better to pace myself than to sprint out hard and die. There were some long slow climbs that I felt would disadvantage myself so I figured pacing myself would make things a tad more pleasurable.

A few laps into the race I had moved up a few spots and was playing cat and mouse with a few other racers. Somewhere around this time Chris had stepped off the course. Apparently he had a sloppy dismount/remount at the barriers twisting an ankle. Then I caught up to Chris’s rugby buddy turned cyclist who was also on the sidelines with a mechanical (I know John as well, oddly enough we all went to college together many years ago, but did not meet until recent years) These were two racers I was focused on for pacing. With them gone I was on my own. So I focused on the wheel ahead of me.

The Squadra Coppi event in Leesburg was an amazing experience. The day was cool and crisp in a late fall fashion. The sky was big and the earth was soft. The course offered a wide variety of technical demands, there were barriers, short run ups, long fast flat sections, off camber, some tight turns, and some downhills that were sketchy at high speed. There was even an announcer giving a play by play of it all.

My race and my race effort was a pleasure. Nothing to boast about, nothing to be embarrassed about, a good day on the bike… a fast fun work out on a sensational course. This year I have attended three different cyclocross events. Each event was spectacular and special in its own way. This Leesburg course is being committed to memory as a race location to return to next year and years to follow. Once again the fun of cross invigorated me. Getting me stoked for more cross practice, more cross racing, and more cross riding. Not sure of my next event. Maybe some stuff in an urban park before the PVC Lake Fairfax event in early December.

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