Sunday, October 5, 2008

Alpenrose Dairy: Worst Race Ever (For Me)

The venue was great. People were great. Course was long, but great. But this race brutalized me.

Part if not all of the fault lies with me I suppose. I should have run the Tufo Flexus Tires over the Vittorias. I had never run the Vittorias before and I thought they would do was well, if not better than the Flexus tires. I am not sure if the Flexus would have been better out there or not, but they could not have been any worse.

I went out with a real positive attitude. I didn't have the best spot at the start but I was only about a quarter to a third of the way back. At the turnaround following the long grassy straight away at the first lap I was around 30th. But I already had had more slipping issues that I had anticipated. It only got worse. On the second lap I went down down when I tried to lean just a bit in a hairpin turn. My front wheel was just gone from beneath me. I landed fairly hard even though it was at slow speed. I thought to myself, no biggie, just get up and get going.

And I did. I was by now probably in the 40's but I was feeling good and I knew that on the next full lap I would have the course figured out and would be going strong.

Or not.

On the third lap I went down pretty hard when I went down into this turn (that is not me pictured).

Sure it looks like cake, but I got a little cocky trying to make up time that I neglected to take due care. My front wheel again went out from under me. I was now not only cursing my tires selection, but I no longer had any sort of winning attitude. I considered DNF'ing. I felt like I was heading fast toward the back of the pack after the run up that follows the crash into this turn. I was embarrassed that I could not handle my bike out there. Nice fancy wheels and new tires that were more at home in the air than on the ground. Pissed...that is what I was at this point.

Then again I picked up a couple of the spots I lost and I was just trying to make myself enjoy the effort, to enjoy what was a challenging course and to just do my best with what was left.

Problem was that despite that I still didn't really trust my bike enough to go all out. In turns I slowed way down and I never felt like opening it up except on the straight aways. And that was a mistake too.

I was heading down this slight decline heading to the turn around and suddenly my front wheel was gone. I mean it was still there, it was just not underneath me. And I had hit the ground and was sliding on my side. That one hurt. I was now in the "screw it" mental stage of the race. Should I just pull off and head to the car? Only half a lap left I guess I might was well finish up and see how bad I placed. I meandered in to the finish line and then headed out the the car and then home. Tail between my legs for sure.

The boys and I came back after I showered and cleaned off the major debris from the bike. The boys were interested in the racing going on at first, but they soon could have cared little about anything other than eating french fries and having it rain so that they could open their umbrellas.

I took some pictures of the Women's races. Here they are:

To the left and below is Kristin from Portland Velo. This is her first season racing A's! Go Kristin, Go!

Soon the boys were tired of the rain and tired of watch people go by that they didn't know. They whined enough that I decided it was time to go soon after the start of the Mens A race
I cheered Brian Spears on as he went by us a couple of times on our way out.

Oh, and according to the preliminary results I was 79th out of 145 finishers. Although I am very frustrated and P.O'd even. Still, I am happy that today result is still better than any race I did last year. The best I did last year was 55 out of 83 or 66.2% of the way back. If my place holds I finished 54.4% of the way back. So despite the 3 crashes, two chain issues, and several other slip ups I am still faster than last year. I have never had so many issues in a race, not even close. In fact I can't remember ever falling in a cross race before. I blame the tires mostly. Fangos anyone? Now if I could just find a place with them in stock.

If only I could actually stay on the bike...


Brianero said...

Thanks for the cheers!

And chin up, fella. Don't be so hard on yourself. That was an extremely slippery course and people were going down all over the place. I went down twice and almost went down a third time but opted for a saddle chop to the nuts instead. Incidentally, I ran the same Vittoria as you on the rear and found it hooking up really nicely. Here's something else - the first couple of times I rode the Vittorias they totally freaked me out because they rode differently than anything else ridden previously. Just like you, I rode them in a race and that's not a good idea. All tires are different and you really need to get a feel for them before you race on them.

Sorry your race sucked, bud....

Mr. Flynn said...

It is the front that I am most concerned with. It washes out way too easily.

Glad you had a good race despite starting last after bonding with your trainer for too long.

The day after I am not nearly as hard on myself as immediately after the race. With the exception of wanting a new tire in the front (I have one new Tufo Flexus sitting under the bed) all is well.