Monday, November 30, 2009

Falling Down on the Job

okay, okay- i've been racing every week-end and not reporting in... shame on me...

i was thinking i was all that and a bag of chips after having podium'ed at the velodrome race, so i was verrry confident going into the next week-end's race.

it just so happened that the alabama cross series had a race in anniston, alabama on saturday; i could go to anniston on saturday , then scoot over to our college b.f.f. nanette's place in roswell for saturday night, then head to the georgia cx race in dallas on sunday morning. what a marvelous plan!

i kinda realize the time difference when planning my departure time for anniston, but not entirely; so i get there waaay early. that, and shelly was spending the night in atlanta, running the silver comet half marathon on saturday-- so i had nuthin to do... plenty of time to go through my pre-race rituals and pre-ride the course and all that jazz.

the course is anniston's personal gift to me; it winds its way around the outside of a baseball complex, all on grass, with mild technical sections and plenty of room to really get the speed up. i'm practically salivating.

it did have this one section that i wasn't thrilled about-- a stretch of playground sand that looked short enough to ride through. so i did throughout my warmup. and the sand got all gunked up in my chain and rear derailleur. and then i had the most tremendous chain-suck ever... which caused my derailleur to explode, literally. parts flew off. this nice xtr derailleur that byron put on my bike was now on the wrong side of my cassette in what looked like an origami crane. configuration. my race was over, and i hadn't even gotten to the start line yet...

like a crazy man, i decided the best plan of attack was to jet back to columbus and see if byron could repair the fiasco. thank god he was at home and graciously accepted my plea to come by his house at 8:30pm on a saturday night. he, of course, worked his magic to perfection and i was back up and running within an hour and a half of dynamite wrench work.

all set for sunday's race in dallas, georgia in freakin pauling county. nice drive. i was sure this was going to be my redemption race after having endured such tragedy the day before. that is, until i got there and saw the course- total mountain bike. the course was a long one with tons of wet, twisty single track and an enormous sandy section that we had no choice but to ride. the course was actually a very good one, to the organizer's credit; just not one i was going to excel on.

once again, i got a poor start and had to fight my way back into contention. with such long laps, we only had four laps to do; this plays to my disadvantage, as i need as much time as possible to pick off my opponents. after finally moving into the top ten, i started to gain some momentum.

and then my rear tire rolled off. i had these new easton ea70x tubular wheels for cross racing, which allow for very low tire pressures and superior traction and shock absorption. apparently they don't do well with tubular tape, because that tire rolled all the way off as i went through a tight left hand turn. i came to a dead stop. luckily the wheel pit was right there and i had put a spare set in, but the dang wheel would not come out. it took what felt like an eternity to change wheels and get back into the race.

by that point i was mentally defeated, especially since i had seen all the folks pass by me as i was in the pit. my pedals were clogged with mud, so my cleats weren't clicking in well and i couldn't get moving in the sections i should have been making up ground. i just halfway raced the rest of it, finishing a dismal 23rd. i headed straight for the car, packed up, and shot straight home. i did stop at moe's, whose servers made me a burrito full of stale ingredients--- rub some salt in my wound, why don't you?

saturady- anniston- busted a derailleur pre-ride-- dns
sunday- paulding- rolled a tire, gummed-up pedals-- 23rd

i'm calling "mulligan" on that week-end

1 comment:

Michael said...

Yo... stinky stinky. Insane 'cross guys. To think I contemplated doing it myself. Nah, I'll definitely stick to my long, boring (and EASY!) rides in the beautiful GA countryside.