some words about Lilypons...

this is one of the worst race reports I ever wrote
so many days past that all the details of the day escaped me
maybe after a glass of wine I will take a glance and make some additions

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
it is really time to start thinking about the Sunday that is approaching
yet I will try to throw down some words
perhaps some reflections on last weekend will aid in my approach this weekend
more than likely not

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

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

the bike was cleaned and tuned and ready
I added a layer of wax lubricant to the 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

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 watch 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

with the car loaded up I fueled my body as I drove
banana... egg sandwich... water... and more coffee... yes... more coffee
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 an intermittent mist as 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
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
actually... a glance over my shoulder made me feel like fifth row is not a bad place to be
as I know the tales of woe starting in the back row

there was some silence
there was some anxious pre-race chatter
then there was some silence
then there was a countdown
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 positon and to find a groove
I tried not to let the 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

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
I also decided to delay my remount after the hairpin turn that followed the barriers
I would anticipate where it was not cost effective to ride

then also decide when would be a logical point to run
where to remount and ride would be vital to survival and a strong finish

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
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 sloppy challenges
it was cyclocross at its best

I rode each lap with no concept of 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!)
but there was never a point to rest and refuel
I tried to use every ounce of focus I had on attacking the course

on what may have turned out to the final lap I rolled behind Jonathan Seibold and caught him just as he exited the pit trading his Raliegh 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 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 went around without sending any energy to the rear wheel

the lead group was not that far ahead
I believed that I could pull Jonathan back up so that he could get back with the top guys and try to manage 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

Jonathan dug just deep enough to pull in front of me and finish just in front of me

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 meanedered 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
finding myself in a position mid week after the race with an ankle that is nearly in operable on stairs
still thinking that ice and ibuprophen will set things right by Sunday

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

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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