Saturday, December 5, 2009

NBX G. P. (of Cross) Race Report

Came, raced, lived to ride again.

Glancing at this morning's weather report, there was definitely no expectation of "good" weather for today's skinny tire contest in Warwick, RI but that being said one rarely, if ever, shows up at a venue after a half a day of continuous rain and says, "gee, I thought it would be a lot worse." It indeed could have been worse, but it was bad enough. To speak to Chris's comment, yes you did leave some trail but you totally didn't clean up after yourselves. There was mud all over the place :).

Having not done anything that counts as strenuous physical exercise in about three months, all of the goop actually wasn't half bad. After cleverly disguising the fact that I ride mountain bikes in the snow on stuff that makes a CX course look like a freshly paved sidewalk, I managed to pass a whole lot of people from my start spot waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay at the back, and finished somewhere mid-pack in the 3's. One would think that people who embrace a whole sport centered around riding sketchy bikes in crap-ass weather could handle them a little better, but it seems they can't and I'm by no means complaining. I would have been dead last if I didn't take 20 or so people in the corners. (because OMG am I slow. it seems that "training" actually does make you faster. Who knew?) It's worth making a big deal out of this bike-handling thing because I'm really not that coordinated a guy. (find some video of me in the barriers and you'll see what I mean) Meanwhile there are real athletes in the race--you know, the people who are naturally good at just about any sport the first time they try it--picking their way through turns with one foot unclipped and their lower lips in a dental death grip. So much potential unrealized. So much potential... And more often than not, it's just people being lemmings.

Here's a quick example. It reads something like "good line... bad line."

The high line in the video was the one that most of the 4's were taking earlier in the day (to clarify, people were staying high farther around than in the video when it was less slick. This is an extreme example of why staying high was a pretty solid fail). Given that it hadn't rained much at that point it might have been the best approach and was well worn in by the time may race came around hours later when, after being pissed on for a few hours and mashed around a good bit, it was a slippery off-camber ball of terribleness. Despite this, most of the field insisted on riding the high-line for all 5 laps, while the few who explored other options blew by like everyone else was standing still. Just because everyone else is doing it, doesn't mean it's right! ...and on that note, I'm out.

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