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US Cyclocross Nationals... my race, my wreck
Last Post 01/26/2016 11:31 AM by SideBy Side. 8 Replies.
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Dale

Posts:951

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01/07/2016 05:39 PM
Well, here’s the report from the US CX Nats. Last year in Austin was case study in what no to do, namely show up with dead legs from racing three times in the four days prior to the championship event, race timid and get psyched out by who I’m racing against. This year I remembered my lesson.

Last Saturday my two teammates and I drove 12 hours to Kingsport, TN and raced a fast crit-like course. Since it was three days before the main race I felt like going all out would be fine. After that it was down to Asheville, check into the hotel and get to the course to scout out a few laps. One of my teammates has an eye for seeing the best line to take in technical sections. We rode some of those short sections over a dozen times.

One of the cool things about big events like Nationals is the quality of the course. With cross it’s possible to hack in an uninspired mile or so in some overgrown pasture and call it a cross course but the bigger events work to make the courses amazing. Asheville came through. It had a very Euro feel to it (not that I have any first hand knowledge of Euro cross) with lots of tough sections that reward a good line and punish you if you’re not paying attention (read Tilford’s blog for an example). I won’t go through a meter-by-meter of the course, you can find video of that but suffice it to say if you we’re there just to say you’ve done Nat’s it was likely a tough day, with lots of climbing, several hike-a-bike, and fast technical sections it punished the unprepared.

USACycling uses some strange algorithm that supposedly calculates riders’ predicted finish to determine the starting position. We had 59 pre-registered, I was ranked 35th which put me on the 4th grid (8 per row). The further back you are the more traffic you need to work through, the greater potential to get caught up in a wreck and the more you get stuck in some bottle-neck pinch point in the first lap.

I got a good start, slipped between two wrecks in the first 400 meters and rode more assertively than normal. The previous days recon paid off several times when I was able to drop in the technical sections with confidence and slip past other riders. With a little less than a lap to go I had a decent gap on five guys behind and was making up time on the person ahead of me. It looked close but he seemed within reach, particularly that we’d ride of those sections I seemed to do well on. My teammate in the pit was giving me spits and encouragement.

The last section of the course drops 90* left to pavement with loose gravel, then another 90* right onto grass/ mud with a straight shot to the barriers, a final 90* left to the finishing straight. That section might be 300 meters total. Anyway, with 250 or so of that left I paid for a slit second inattention-- the front wheel washed out and a nasty high-side body slam to the ground. It knocked me pretty hard, I hobbled back on the bike but two guys went past, one more at the barrier and two more on the finishing straight. Crap! Went from 23rd to 29th just like that.

Still going from 35th to 29th (we had 52 finishers) beats the odd-makers and improves my USAC ranking. Does that mean I’m the 29th best in the country in my age division? No freaking way, Deadly Nedley is my age and he could slaughter all of us, plus there are a ton of other very fast guys who don’t race Nationals, but on Wednesday in Asheville that’s how I finished.

Couple of pics of the race… and the aftermath
Don’t test me for drugs, I’m full of Percocet.
And I'm not that fat... that's just some serious swelling!

 photo 15 Nats Dale Drop In_zpsmwurb77q.jpg
 photo 15 Dale Nats Over Lip_zpsytkz4xoq.jpg
 photo 15 Nats Dale Leading Pack_zpspuyhhpc1.jpg
 photo 15 Nats Dale Start_zps5uc6dnfe.jpg
 photo photo 1_zpsogg0jojg.jpg
 photo photo 2_zpsxgj6v7yc.jpg
Orange Crush

Posts:2014

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01/07/2016 08:54 PM
Cool report Mr "fastest dad in the world" - or was that US?

That is some serious swelling.
Dale

Posts:951

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01/08/2016 04:43 AM
Hahaha... my kids tend to be a bit over the top braggadocios
ChinookPass

Posts:809

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01/08/2016 10:16 AM
Very cool except for the late crash. Holy hell that is a huge bruise.
huckleberry

Posts:501

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01/08/2016 12:34 PM
Nice jammies; )

Sounds like you had a great race - minus the crash. Very cool. Thanks for sharing.

If that is swelling, seriously, you might want to get checked out. Or is that a hops induced hematoma ; )
Cosmic Kid

Posts:2182

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01/08/2016 02:50 PM
Way to "gut" it out!!

Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
vtguy

Posts:298

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01/08/2016 03:53 PM
Well done. Congrats and thanks for the post.
Gonzo Cyclist

Posts:568

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01/26/2016 10:34 AM
very nicely done!! Holy Crap, that is quite the shade of purple there though................
SideBySide

Posts:428

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01/26/2016 11:31 AM
Great job! Ouch, that must have hurt.
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