Sunday, December 10, 2006

So Much Fun It Hurts

Surf City #3
A Race: 7th place
Teammates: Aron

Photos stolen from Chris's Flickr collection. Thanks to Chris also for trying to help me out pre-race.

slurp splosh splash splosh...

I came out with two goals today: get the cobwebs out after my cold this week, and dial in my tire choices for natz should the forecast look muddy. Pretty much nailed my goals but managed a few more shennanigans mixed in there.

On Tuesday I felt myself fighting some sniffles off, and I was scared this was the beginning of something major that would pretty much be the end of my Providence trip. On Wednesday I was out for the count with a snotty, achy, and drowsy head and skipped work along with my mid-week ride. Luckily by Thursday I was feeling better and did a light spin and felt ok. On Saturday, tho I was still a bit congested, I decided to go race and I'm glad I did.

Showed up and did some laps in my spare shoes, to try and figure out which of the 3 tire choices to go with: (1) my new Tufo Flexus (2) 28mm Tufo Pros (yes the black cheapos) and (3) a set was a brand new set of Maxxis Larson CX clinchers. After 1 lap of slipping and sliding around on the Flexus tires I pretty much decided they are no better than the yellow LPS tires I swore never to race in the mud again after 2004 Natz. The Tufo Pros were GREAT - the narrow tires cut like a knife in butter. The Maxxis tires were pretty sweet too - felt similar to the Tufos but I only did one lap on them thanks to some severe chain suckage on the B bike.

10 minutes before the start I went back to the car to change my shoes (my POS backup shoes don't have spikes) and when I got out my Sidi's I noticed the clip that holds the ratchet on the shoe was GONE. Dug around in my bag and found it and the teeny tiny screw, but after messing with it, and even trying another guy's (thanks Chris) screw from his shoe decided the thing was stripped out properly. Went back to the start with 3 shoes, and Chris Dougherty found some duct tape - had to delay the start while everyone heckled me while I taped my shoe onto my foot. Worked well and I'll probably do that in Providence this weekend (if I actually go) in lieu of actually fixing the shoe. Yes, I know this is par for the course - I don't care.

Race starts and I work my way towards the front in the second group. Did the first lap with Josh Snead, Justin Robinson, and Dave Wyandt battling for 4th place (behind Wicks and the J-M bros) but then while placing my bike down after the barriers at the end of the lap my front wheel fell off - doh! I think I knocked the QR on one of my not-so-graceful dismounts (yes, I know I'm an idiot, thanks very much). Lost my group and a good 25 seconds trying to get it back on and re-center the brakes - funny, though, after 1 lap the gaps were already big and only Simon caught me. I think it was a blessing in disguise because I was pushing plenty hard NOT trying to keep up with the 2nd group and that's about all I had in my cold-ravaged lungs. Rode with Simon for the next couple of laps - I know he is in some good back pain right now. I noticed he was having troubles in the deep mud (when you really have to pull from the lower back) and of course on the running sections - I feel your pain, brother. Anyhow, after a couple of bike changes (thanks again to Chris Dougherty) I was back on my A bike with properly functioning brakes and was able to just have some good hard fun and toiled away in 7th for the rest of the race. Towards the end I was contemplating quitting on every lap (mostly while I was running up that damn run-up) because I was wondering if I was actually doing myself harm 6 days before Natz with a cold already. But I stuck it out, though I just tempo-ed the last three laps, mostly to avoid the humiliation of hearing Hernando heckle me from behind the microphone.

Wicks was on another planet about SEVEN FRIGGIN MINUTES ahead. BJM was solid and AJM was impressive especially considering he flew in from Asia that morning.

I think the course was incredible, it wrapped around on itself and the muddy barely-rideable sections were great, as was all the snaking around, the off-cambers (we don't get enough off-cambers in Nor-Cal), and the fun little descents. My only complaint was that the two long running sections were back-to-back - you only took about 20-30 pedal strokes after the gruelling corral run only to go into that killer run-up that was followed by the false flat at the top that pretty much required another 50 meters of running...ugh, I dreaded that section every lap and looked forward to the rest - it would have been nice to break that up. And yes, I was pretty much doing a brisk walk on both these sections by the end of the race...S.L.O.W. BUT I was having fun the rest of the way around the course and after 2 years without racing in the mud it was a great clinic for me in the goopy stuff.

BTW this was the ultimate spectator course - you could see probably 90% of the racing from one vantage point. Too bad there weren't more folks out there. It's kind of a bummer to hear how everyone seems to get so amped up for "real" cx conditions and those who come have so much fun and yet, when it actually happens, only a select group of folks come out for the race. I know it's easy to hit the Snooze bar on a rainy morning, but COME ON FOLKS, it's not like it's a crit in the rain or something...

Anyhow, thanks so much to the Surf City folks for braving the conditions and putting on another top-notch event. You deserve so much more than just the hard-core riders that showed up.

So, as a final note I'm on the fence for Providence once again. For one, I'm still in the throes of this cold, but really it is my son Liam who seems to have gotten a vicious stomach virus and that's too much for me to leave Frances for 5 days with a sick 4-year-old (oh yeah his b-day is Wed) and a hungry 4-month-old. Liam threw up for the first time in his life (well, since the spitting up milk days of infancy at least) and he didn't know what the hell that was all about - he got scared and started bawling. Also, he's up at all hours of the night with diarrhea and that's not only hell for the boy, it's hell for the guy holding the TP.

Real life beckons (sigh)...


Benjaminiac said...

yeah i had a blast too.

what tire pressures were you running? i've ridden some flexus in the mud and i thought they were pretty good, way better then old tufos.

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

hope you can make it to Natz.

just so we's can read another good race report.

Anonymous said...

Excellent report, sorry to hear about Liam, hope he's doing better.

Good luck if you make it to nationals.


Anonymous said...

sounds like many of us missed a great race! no disrespect to the organizers, but after making the drive down for the last race that was cancelled, i wasn't about to risk it again...

funkdaddy said...

BJM perhaps I could have tweaked the pressure down a bit. Maybe they'll get another chance in RI. I think the main problem is that they're 32's and that mud was fairly firm.

OV - we'll see how the boy fares over the next 24 hours.

Rog - thanks - say hi to the mandy and the kids.

Anon - have faith in your Bellas...

docketrocket said...

I think the screw I was trying to loan you was stripped too! I couldn't get it back in, but my Sidis are worn out, time for new ones.

Great job persevering through difficulties ... it was a super-fun race to watch! -- Chris

velogirl said...

Way to rock'em in Providence, Funke! Congratulations. Can't wait to hear your race report.