RACE REPORT REDUX: Hopefully with some adjectives... adverbs... and some content!

there were some words here about Family Bike Shop Jonathan hiding in my shadow! those words are gone
lost with other additions while some intended subtractions remain

trying to check out this race report and then I noticed...
so... I am going to scan over it and see if I can make it suck a little less
sadly... this will make it longer
lucky for me...
I do this for me more than I do it for you!

which means we get what we get and we get on with our day!

RACE REPORT: 2009 Ed Sanders Memorial at Lilypons
Men's Masters B 35+

it is a little late in the game to be thinking about the Sunday past
very late in the game... in fact... it is time for me to focus on the events of today... KIDS SOCCER!
it is really time to get cleats on the kid's feet and head out the door
it is really time to start thinking about the Sunday that is approaching
yet I will try to throw down some words
yet I will try to make some subtle acceptable edits
perhaps some reflections on last weekend will aid in my approach this weekend
more than likely not
perhaps my additions will make this all a little more palatable

lets see what we come up with... there were some solid edits with choice adjectives and adjectives
a realization that the CRASH lost the information but the AUTO SAVE had the information
but I foolishly stayed in the recovery from the crash rather than going to the post that was auto saved.. double f_ck!

last Saturday by the time the sun had set and the rain was coming down steady over the District
of Columbia
I did not bother to check the Doppler radar for rain activity over Frederick Maryland instead I just prepared myself for a day of racing in the rain
gear was packed in preparation for rain, mud, and cold... in other words... I packed for some cyclocross
cyclocross as it is meant to be presented

it was not that much more gear..just a little more gear than planning for things to be dry
knickers were packed in addition to shorts a cycling vest and arm warmers
then also there was a gortex shell that could be used in warm up or for course side cheering
over dressing can be worse than under dressing on race day
so I was cautious not to over think the wet and the cold
in actuality it would not be cold... just cooler than riding/racing in the summer

the bike was cleaned, tuned, and ready
I added a layer of wax lubricant to the chain to the already lubed chain
consideration of swapping tires passed through my brain but that idea was nixed with the absence of a tire alternative
some time was spent prepping the Jamis Nova as a pit bike to the Specialized Tri
Cross but in the morning I would decide to leave it behind
one cyclocross with risers bars would be enough

one less beer and a little earlier to bed had me waking up refreshed
I had gone to bed with a slight runny nose and an ache in my knee
when I woke I still had a little stuffiness to my nose, the ache in my knee remained, and I had added some back pain to the mix
before getting out of bed I did some yoga stretches for my back which had me feeling much better by the time I got dressed

either I am getting old or it is my effort to burn the candle at both ends

on this morning I let the family sleep
I started the morning coffee and cooked up some eggs, bacon, and toast
when I was back from taking the dog across the street the family was starting to stir
I gave the boys each a piece of bacon to entertain their mouths as they watched some Saturday morning television
with time slipping away I started to load up the car
this race day was not going to be a family event
the muddy race venue did not sound like a good place for the kids to spend their day
the 10am Start for the Men's Master B does not link so well with the 1PM lil Belgian start

with the car loaded up I fueled my body as I drove
banana... egg sandwich... water... gatorade... and more coffee... yes... more coffee
got to have more coffee... well... actually I have got to have more caffeine
Fort Knox Five was the soundtrack to the morning
the energetic music mixed with the pre-race anxiety and the morning coffee to really get me pumped

the windshield wipers cleared the mist as it collected while I drove west in Interstate 270
the falling rain turned up the anxiety
butterflies flew about my stomach as I made the short drive from downtown Washington DC to the race course at Lilypons just outside of Frederick Maryland
at the race site I parked my car on the grassy field that was slowly starting to fill up
there were already all sorts of people testing the course, number of people warming up on the road, and a good number of people with their tires spinning in place with their bikes on the trainer

not feeling particularly rushed I went through the basic routine of trying to register and warm up
a short out and back on the road had me thinking that a pre-ride would be vital
so I headed back to the course as I heard the announcer calling out the names of the racers starting to finish the C Race

the mist of the morning had pretty much stopped
while the rain of the day prior had already left its mark
the course was a mess
the course was about to become a bit more messy
one lap around revealed that there would be no secrets the variables would be there in front of me mud... thick mud... slick mud... deep mud... grass and mud... and hard packed mud... peanut butter sticky mud
I lined up ready to race in the mud
my early pre-registration gave me a slot in the fifth row
not the best starting spot... but definitely not the worst
a glance over my shoulder at the cluster of racers lined up behind me made me realize that starting off in the fifth row is not such a bad place to be after all
I know the tales of woe starting in the back row
I have been there too many times
it creates a set of insurmountable barriers

there was some silence
there was some anxious pre-race chatter
then there was some silence
then there was a countdown
then some more silence
then there was a release
the tension really builds during these last seconds
before the start
and then... GO!
at the release everyone clipped in and started motoring forward

the short section of road before the grass was not enough for people to spread out
in fact people did not accelerate to a sprint because that would have caused a panic
pile up on the sharp right hand turn that took the racers onto the grass prologue loop

onto the course I pedaled at a brisk pace trying to keep the leaders in sight
I worked to find a position and to find a groove
I tried not to let the flurry of passing racers force me to get too excited
there is always a risk of going out too hard and busting nut too fast

everything I learned on my pre-ride lap was forgotten
on the course I fought to stay in the race
trying to race hard
trying to race smart
trying to catch my breath
trying to keep the bike upright

the prologue loop did not have a fast compressed line
then onto the course itself I searched for the path of least resistance
tried to stay out of the deep mud
tried to stay out of the tall grass
tried to stay out of the lily ponds that flank the race course

early in the race I was able to make some smart moves for position and for expenditure
I ran my bike through the deep mud rather than try to ride it
this would be the routine of laps to follow
there were sections early in the lap that were far to sloppy to ride
the mud was that peanut butter consistency and deep
some people were able to ride while others were forced to freeze in place
I tried to anticipate the crashes in front of me
I tried to anticipate the races getting locked down in the deep mud
a quick dismount and a run around these racers in these sections kept me moving

I also decided to delay my remount after the hairpin turn that followed the set of double barriers
I would anticipate where it was not cost effective to ride
it was not necessarily faster... just more energy efficient especially for me... the larger rider all over the course I would have to decide when would be a logical point to run rather than ride on the back nine there was anticipation for the steep run up that was unrideable
only to drop in for a few short turns only to dismount and run again
where to dismount and run and where to remount and ride would be vital to survival and a strong finish
a helmet cam video from the editor of In the Crosshairs catches a good bit of the first lap action including a good bit of me trying to catch the lead group on the hard packed jeep track
the week prior at Charm City I was pleased with cracking the top twenty
it seemed logical for me to shoot for a top twenty finish again this week at Lilypons
I knew nothing would be given to me
this top twenty spot would have to be earned
so I fought hard to keep towards the front of the pack

the bike and body were operating in good racing order
the course was fun and exciting with all of its long list of sloppy challenges
it was cyclocross at its best
I rode each lap with no concept of how many laps had gone by or how many laps remained
I rode hard and I hung on
leaving it all on the course

the cooler temperatures made for good racing
I had a small hammer gel flask filled with a mixture of Gatorade and Red Bull (Gator-Rage!)
alas there was never a point to rest and refuel
I tried to use every ounce of focus I had on attacking the course
the race was spent chasing the racers in front of me as I am sure there were a number of racers involved in a chase behind me

on what may have been the final lap I rolled behind Jonathan Seibold of THE FAMILY BIKE SHOP
I caught him just as he exited the pit trading his Raleigh single speed for a Surly single speed cyclocross bike
I was not sure of his bicycle issue
but I could tell that his head was not in the game

the week prior Jonathan had finished second at Charm City
it did not look like he was going to make the podium here at Lilypons

I tried to motivate him
I badgered him and I teased him
these utterances did nothing for him
I told him to pedal when he coasted
to these orders he behaved like my five year old son on the trail-a-bike
Jonathan pedaled the cranks without sending any energy to the rear wheel

the lead group was not that far ahead
when they dipped out of sight I could hear Joe Jefferson on the loudspeaker just ahead on the technical section known as THE BACK NINE
I believed that I could pull Jonathan back up so that he could get back with the top guys and try to sprinbt a top twenty finish
but... no... there was not enough course left in the race
but no... there was not enough passion in the racer

as Jonathan and I passed through this section people on the sidelines gave us an idea of our place in the pack while others offered us cold beverages that are usually part of games like Mexican or Quarters and seldom part of cyclocross races

Jonathan dug just deep enough to pull in front of on the grass hill that I was forced to dismount and run that he was able to ride
then we dropped in on the grassy off camber descent with big clouds in the big sky just above us
no one was racing to catch our wheels so I accepted my slot behind Jonathan
no need to force my friend into the wall to gain one slot
Jonathan finished just in front of me
my motivational speech did not do much for him other than get him to the finish line in front of me
after all... what are friends for?

I rolled across the line a second or two behind Jonathan
it amused me that my teasing and challenging for him to finish ahead of me would be the only instructions that he would take to heart
the race was done and I felt good about my results
another top twenty finish
15th on this day
apparently enough to give me a racer's call up!

with my race done I crawled out of my mud covered sweat soaked lycra kit and suited up in some dry civilian gear
I meandered the race venue with the camera
snapping some shots and socializing

I think I should have rested rather than running around with the camera
there was some soreness in my Achilles that should have gotten some attention
instead I focused my attention on the camera
traversing the course
running from interesting obstacle to interesting obstacle
cheering for friends until my throat grew hoarse

it was a glorious weekend
the NCVC Ed Sanders Memorial Cyclocross Event is always a season highlight
NCVC delivered again!
time well spent

Saturday was spent with boys and soccer games
Sunday allowed for dad to get out on his bike
this weekend would be enough to have me recharged for the work week
well... recharged if I were not so spent

Kelly Acres is this weekend.... again... hopefully the Achilles is recovered enough for me to "race" this weekend
I will be there
but it is still not clear if my body will allow me to do what needs to be done to finish this strong three weeks in a row
ice is currently on the ankle
thinking I may also need to ice my knee

enough on Lilypons
time to think about Kelly Acres!

Photos by Kevin Dillard of DEMONCATS can be found here

CROSS MAG has a write up for the day here

Results from the 2009 NCVC Ed Sanders Memorial Cyclocross Race at Lilypons

FATMARC has words about his crash

INTO THE CROSSHAIRS has a helmet cam video which shows me racing for pretty much 1/3 of the first lap!
definitely watch that video!

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