Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Kanata 'Cross Report

Start of race two. Photo knicked from Disco Stu

Sunday held a lot of promise for me for a few reasons:
  1. New tubular rear wheel on my bike - first time on tubular
  2. New bar tape!
  3. Good legs
After Almonte's ill fortune - where I rolled my clincher rear tire off on my last lap - I mentioned wanting to run tubulars next year to Kent while at the Moose. An hour and a half (or two) later, I'd built up a wheel with a Kinlin rim, nondescript cartridge hub and double butted Wheelsmith spokes. Kent was keen to glue it on, which he did the following day after applying 3M Fast-tack.

Very Halloweeny. This is Lizard Skin tape, and I like it already. Its grippy and tough. Also easy to clean. It comes in many colours. We'll see how it is with sweaty gloveless hands in the summer, but with gloves its excellent. I've got a Challenge Grifo in 30 mounted here. It was much more comfortable than my regular Vittoria clincher.

Martin, getting psyched.

Brad, caffeinating, also getting psyched.

Martin ripping on lap one.

Brad took the switchbacks gracefully.

Kent showed a bit of DH flavour on the turns.

Brad and Kent had solid races. Brad pounded his singlespeed around the course in his usual diesel style, and finished 3rd in the novice group. Kent came 1st in the Masters A group, also in the first race. Nice! Martin had a great start, out in the front of the novice group, but succumbed to lower back pain. I think he'll try some stretching and embro for next race.

Jamie rolled up halfway through the first race on his new Salsa scandium race bike. Its a beauty, no question. Once the race wrapped up we got on the course for some warmup. As expected, it featured numerous long windy straights. It wold be important to keep out of the wind on them. The hill climb would not be bad though...fortunately. There was very little mud anywhere.

The start seemed a little faster than usual, with DSJ in the field along with many other honches. I started alongside Shawn Marshall, new Quebec Masters A provincial champion, and quickest local Masters racer I know. Despite getting caught behind a pedal fumbler off the start, I managed to get on Shawn's wheel on the first lap. When Natasha Elliot came up I found myself comfortable on her wheel, following her lines and learning a thing or two. She is very aggressive, so its great to pick up on where she attacks and eases off. This was going very well for a while, until misfortune struck. My tubular rolled off on a tight turn at the bottom of the switchbacks. Doh. But I was prepared, my spare wheel was 15 feet away, and I made the change and got going again. This is an opportunity for me to impart a nugget of wisdom that has served me well:

If you have a feeling you should do something, like say, put on your helmet to go to the store, but you try to rationalize why you don't need to, what side of your self should you listen to? Here is a good way to check: Ask yourself whether you will regret your decision if things go wrong. Back to the helmet example, would you regret not putting it on if you crashed and hit your head? I think most will answer yes. On the other hand, would you regret not wearing shin pads to ride your bike to the store if you spazzed out and cut your shin enroute? No, not likely.

So back to the wheel. Here I was in the parking lot with my spare wheel ready to go, without a skewer in it. I was flipping back and forth between: get a skewer and bring it over, to, leave it in the car. How did I decide? I asked myself if I'd regret leaving it in the car if I had a tire issue. Well, yeah, for sure. So I borrowed Martin's skewer and brought it over. Good thing.

So back to the plot. After switching the wheel I tried to chase down the 8 or so who passed me. That was really tough. It seemed like I had not been going faster than most of them; I just had a gap I was maintaining. I did my best, and worked my way up little by little. Eventually I settled in with a Cyclery rider who was going just fast enough I could follow his wheel, but I could not go faster than him. I followed as close as I could, keeping out of the wind. On the second last lap I overtook him on the run up and he asked whether I'd pull or sit in. "I'll try," and try I did. However, he passed me back after 30seconds. Back on the wheel. Going into the last lap Kent screamed such encouragement to catch Imad a few spots up that I got a boost of energy and pulled up to my wind man. I passed and encouraged him to follow to catch Imad. Alas, he was too cooked from all the pulling that he could not get on, and I tried alone to bridge. No dice, I could not close the 5 second or so gap. However, with the help of the guys screaming encouragement, I finsished strong in fourth (Masters), 23rd overall. That's not a great result overall, but its an improvement in my category. I'll try to stay with Shawn as long as possible in the future, and learn from him as I go. It helps a lot to have someone to chase. Stu was in attendance with his family, and massive camera in hand. He got some great photos. All we need now is some mud to get the spray action going. I've still yet to do a race that would actually count as muddy. Mud slows everyone down; its a bit of a leveler. I can't wait to struggle to stay on my bike...I hope it happens this season.

Anna, 4th Elite. Photo: Stu

Jamie, 17th Masters A. Photo: Stu

Neil, 8th Elite. Photo: Stu

Great moody shot by Stu.


Madmountainmike said...

4th MA - 23 overall is solid...this is a strong field here in O-town ! Alas I succumbed to overabundance of shooters Saturday/Sunday !
: - (

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