Sunday, January 4, 2009

Columbia #2

Couldn't do it back to back. Came pretty close, maybe if I'd used my head a little more instead of just my legs things would have come out differently, but instead, I pulled the train, then they dropped me off at the station.

Start, first lap we were a pack of four, Edward Krieg (2nd place yesterday) Jeremy Nagoshiner, Tanner Hall (upgraded to CX3 for the occasion) and myself. I was at the back of the train, where I wanted to be, through most of the first lap. Near the end of the course there was a ravine/ditch that most riders were running through, but I found a way in pre-ride to jump over the entire thing. First time through, I came in a few bike lengths back from Jeremy in 3rd and jumped right next to him and immediately he dropped his chain on the remount (never happens to the single speeders!) and was off the back (see video). The lead group is now three, with Edward the only guy with gears leading.

We came through the start finish and Edward got a little gap on the pavement but Tanner and I closed it once we hit grass and the three of us stayed together for the next four laps. I was doing much of the work (by choice, more on that later) with Tanner following me and Edward chilling in 3rd. The pace wasn't blistering but I kept telling myself that there was no freakin' way I was going to pull those guys around the course at 85% all day then just ride away from them for the win. Final lap, all three of us are mellow on the pavement, we hit the grass and Tanner attacks. I'm still thinking win so I chase (more on this later) and Edward finally jumps around me on the final long winding grass climb and closes the gap. He pulled me up to Tanner so we were all three together at the last short downhill coming into two corners and a barrier and the finish. Every lap we'd hit this decent and spin out, so I knew, and had known for laps that if we still had Edward with us at that point, he'd win. Sure enough, he attacked, Tanner countered and spun out his gear and I basically just tried not to puke. That's how we finished, Edward 1st, Tanner 2nd, me 3rd.

So, to clear some things up, I'm not good at tactics. I don't have a lot of experience and I usually win going away, by myself or blow up trying. I knew full well that I was stupid to set the pace and lead with a guy with gears just sitting in, enjoying the ride, but short of stopping and risking an attack, I didn't know what to do. As for chasing Tanner down, I realize, in hindsight, that he's my teamate, and despite the fact that team tactics aren't extremely effective in cross, I should have let him go and forced Edward to chase when Tanner attacked. As it was I spent a third of a lap chasing him and pulling Edward before Edward finally pulled us in. I should have either made a plan with Tanner, or blocked then tagged along as Edward pulled him in, attacking when we made contact. Sorry Tanner. I kinda screwed us both, although, I think Edward probably could have pulled it off on the downhill if he'd stayed in contact regardless of what we did.

Single Speed race only Jeremy Chandler and I were racing. He was doing the Pro race simultaneously (SS and Pro start the same time, he rides his SS until the SS race is over then switches his bike in the pits) so basically I was racing against a guy who was racing against the pros on fresh legs. I let him go. Literally just started pedaling, Time Trialed the course, pushed every bit of everything I had out (like squeezing the last bit of toothpaste out of its tube) hung out with Kevin Freeman and some of the other hardcore stragglers then went home. 3rd and 2nd place, not as impressive when judged against the number of entrants but what are you going to do?

This next weekend will be interesting, gigs and races, then Cross-a-Nooga and I'm done. Back to cross training and base mileage. This blog may get less exciting then, so I'll try to take some freakin' pictures (showed up only about an hour before the race so I didn't have much time to shoot).

The video of the first lap ravine situation shot by Ed Jarimillo (CX4 1st on Saturday, 2nd on Sunday) he sent me another vid but I can only put one on each blog. May include it later this week.

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