Last Saturday was the Harbin Park Cyclocross Race up in Cincinnati. Marcus and I both raced in Cat 4, Marcus's first cross race, and Zach came along for support and spectating. After arriving at the venue, Marcus and I went to volunteering and guarded a course crossing just downstream from the uphill portion of the sand pit so we got to see the Cat 2/3 men and Elite Masters men struggle up that beast before we got our shot at it.
Marcus with his orange crossing guard flag. I was on the opposite side wearing a bright green safety vest which shone with such radiance that it was impossible to photograph.
After our volunteer shift was over, we all headed to skyline for a pre-race meal then back to the park in time to catch the elite men's race. Ryan Trebon and Jeremy Powers rode away from the field and J-Pow was able to hold off several charges from Tree-bon for the win.
Trebon going over the barriers. Between his towering stature and shiny glasses he looks like some kind of bionic man, one specifically constructed to kick ass on a bike.
With the pro race over, Marcus and I were able to get a warm up/course recon lap in before our race start. The course was long and dusty, making handling unpredictable especially on some corners which had be worn through a long day of racing. It featured a sand pit which you had to cross uphill then down. For the uphill part I decided to dismount and run it the first lap and maybe ride it later when the field had thinned out some. Downhill I decided to ride every time. On the back end of the course there were some fast sections which I definitely could have used some more practice to carry my speed through.
In the starting gate Marcus and I both lined up on the far right. When the gun went off I had a good line on the outside was was able to get past some slower traffic with Marcus not too far behind. We soon reached the uphill sand pit where Zach perfectly captured the feel of Cat 4 cross racing with this video:
The dude who gets the hole shot trips, dragging his bike halfway through the pit, then the whole stampede comes stumbling through in a big mess. I reach the sand pit at about 0:17 (orange jersey #429) and Zach yells at me just as I leave the frame. Then Marcus comes by in the foreground at 0:30 (green jersey, #434). This video is total Cat 4 cross though: crowded, chaotic and cowbell, lots of freaking cowbell.
Anyway after that craziness I found myself pretty close to the front and got to work at what felt like a pace i could sustain for the 40 minute race. The first two laps I I totally botched the two aforementioned high speed turns but rode the downhill sand pit ok, although someone pushed me off the bike the 2nd time and I had to scoot it down the rest of the pit. But hey, all's fair right? By lap 3 I got competent enough to carry some momentum on the high speed turns. I was also feeling a bit of heartburn from the pre-race skyline but a beer hand-up on the back of the course quelled the fire. After 3 laps I saw only one more to go and tried to give it a little extra but didn't see anyone in Cat 4 open in front of or behind me. Two guys behind me in the 45+ division were racing for a podium spot though and I let them by. I huffed and puffed up the last hill one more time and finished right at 40 minutes, 10th/35 in Cat 4.
Me hauling up this hill.
Marcus doing battle.
I found Zach, Marcus and John Molnar at the finish line. Marcus had a rough go, with multiple crashes and picked up a knock to the head. He thinks he finished two laps before getting pulled. The important thing is he kept fighting like a champ. That's U of L cycling, good show Marcus.
Overall it was a good day and I'm excited for more racing. OVCX goes to Bloomington this weekend but of course we'll be at the bike polo tournament (see Zach's post below). Just to reiterate for all you hot tea and crumpet types.
Things are holding steady from an organizational standpoint, not much to report since my last post. Please bug me to get this club sport constitution done soon ok? Thanks.