I woke up at 3am Saturday night and looked outside. Still no snow. Good. If it had started snowing during the night there is a good chance that I would have been shut down by Capt. Safety, AKA Bridget. She was not in favor of me going down to Eugene with a big snow storm on the way. I wasn't looking forward to sitting on my butt all day while others were out there getting muddy. If it came to it I was prepared to leave extra early, before Bridget woke up, so that I could be on my way.
But, no worries. When I left at 6:45 there was not a hint of snow. I met Lane at the shop at 7:15. We grabbed a pump and relieved ourselves (the two things had nothing to do with each other) and headed out. That was at about 7:30. It was then that it started snowing. Within 10 minutes it was really coming down. I was worried about the trip down and back if it kept up. But after about 30 minutes we south of the storm and things were pretty clear the rest of the way down to the Eugene area.
It was cold, but not as cold as at P.I.R. last weekend for the USGP. It was a bit rainy but not too bad. I had on my Pearl bib knickers, craft shortsleeve mock neck undershirt, Fat Cyclist short sleeve jersey and arm warmers. It was perfect for the race. The temp as about 36 degrees or so.
I also wore two pair of socks. Both thin so that they would fit inside my Sidi shoes. Additionally, hidden inbetween sock layers I was wearing small, very thin trash bags. Yes, trash bags. They were unobtrusive while on and they kept my feet dry despite getting pelted and soaked with watery mud everywhere else. It was sweet ghetto set up. I had forgotten about this trick until a few days ago. I used to do it when I played snow football with friends in college. The trick kept my feet dry even if they were still cold. Still, it was nice.
The race started and I got an OK start. I was mainly out to win my class, and then to try out the Voodoo Wazoo singlespeed. I had planned on doing two races, the Master C's and the Singlespeed race, but thanks to a phone call from my wife just before the race telling me that they were closing the highways in Portland, I decided to do just one and get my butt back home. So my plan was to do half the race geared and the last half single so that I could at least have a taste of racing singlespeed. It was interesting.
On the first lap one of the other two Master C riders passed me. I wasn't too concerned, even though I was a bit surprised. About a 1/4 of a lap later I passed him for good and by the end of the lap I had significant distance on that fellow and Lane (who was the only other Master C rider). There were still a dozen regular C riders though and I settled in to trying to hold off a significant number of them. I was doing moderately well after two laps and then swapped bikes.
The Voodoo performed well, but it wasn't really the proper tool for the job with the gearing I had. The tires, Hutchinson Bulldogs really hooked up well, much better than the Challenge Fangos on the geared Curtlo in that slipperly mud out there. The positioning was not as spot on as the Curtlo though, but close enough. My gearing was 42x20, which was decent, but not great. On the flats I was passed three times by geared racers had was having little trouble holding off while on the Curtlo. I overtook one of the them during a singletrack section during the last lap and was able to hold him off the last few strait-a-ways, but not without great effort. 42x18 or 17 would have been better for that course--assuming that I had the muscle to push it. As it was, after just two laps on the singlespeed my lower back was killing me. I definitely have some training to do before next year. SS'ing is all about pain. But I liked it. I will have to mix in a few SS cross races next season on the courses that are flatter. There is no way I would throw down with a singlespeed out at a course like we raced in Astoria.
I was first in Master C category again. That means I was three for three out there. And I took the overall for the series. Not that there were many guys to compete against, but it was fun. Lane ended up tied for third for points and becuase the other guy wasn't there, Lane got to take home the third place prize--which was the same as mine--$20 at Hutch's bike shop in Eugene. We also got cool Redline bags...not a great return on my race fee investment, but then it wasn't it racing for the prize. I race for the rush that I get from just being out there and "killin' it" as Jimmy Packfodder would say.
Congrats to Brian Spears for winning the series in the B's out there, too.
(1) Challenge Fangos are not the end all in tires. They were much less useful than the Hutchinson Bulldogs during the race. The Bulldogs are a clincher. Yeah, the clincher kicked the tubular out there today amazingly. Fangos are a good general tire, but when the mud is sloppy it becomes sketchy.
(2) Installing thorn resistant tubes in a clencher tire is very beneficial. I was able to run the Hutchinson Bulldog at 38 or 39 psi. I usually pinch flat at that pressure. I could have run them even lower without pinchflatting. Basically, I can run almost the same pressure that I can run in my tubulars. The casing is still pretty stiff though. I think Dugast Rhinos are the only tubular that will provide that sort of traction in a tubular though.
(3) I need mo' Powa'! If I am going to do any sort of single speed racing I need to work on strengthing my core. My lower back killed me way too soon. I need stronger legs, but that will come if I just keep using the Voodoo to commute.
(4) Not enough people are making the trip down to this series. It is well run and the course is one of my faves. Next year, ya'all need to make this series a priority. I would rather race this series than go to some of the Cross Crusade races (Hillsboro especially comes to mind, yuck).
Also, I must thank my wife Bridget for letting me race 12 races this season. Here are my season stats:
Pain on the Peak: 12th out of 29 (Master C)
Veloshop Rickreall Rampage: 3rd out of 13 (Master C)
Cross Crusade #1: 80th out of 153 (Master C)
Cross Crusade #2: 31st out of 149 (Master C)
Psycho Cross #2: 1st out of 4 (Master C)
Cross Crusade #4: 29th out of 63 (Master C)
Cross Crusade #6: 39th out of 159 (Master C)
Psycho Cross #3: 1st out of 3 (Master C)
Cross Crusade #8: 79th ouf of 90 (Master B)
Portland Cup Day 1: 37th out of 88 (Men C/Beg)
Portland Cup Day 2: 44th out of 83 (Men C/Beg)
Psycho Cross #5: 1st out of 3 (Master C)
Top 50%: 9 of 12
Top 25%: 6 of 12
Wins: 3 (all at the sparsely populated Psycho Cross races)
I even tried a Master B race...that didn't go so well, but I won't dwell on that here. A pretty darn good year. Can't wait for next year.