Sunday was the unofficial start of the New England cross season with QuadCross. As the race that my team puts on, I was fairly involved with some of the aspects of making it happen but most of the credit goes to Ted Packard for once again carrying the torch. This year, we were lucky and had the help of the Newbury Comics CX team and the Threshold team. Both were out in force for the course setup on Saturday which I had to miss due to some house purchase/moving related stuff. But I got to the venue early on Sunday morning and was like “hmm… there are a lot more cars here than I expected”. That’s about the time I realized it wasn’t cyclists. Turns out it was guys for the paintball field who were having to go in the other entrance due to road work on Sudbury Rd. Anyway, they got on their way and I started helping with some final course-work + getting registration going. Then went off to find my bike and get ready since I was in the first race.
Actually succeeded at doing some decent warm up laps for one of the first times ever. Did a few laps and started to dial things in. Course was going to be fast and seemed fun. Felt reasonably good, although more sleep and less stress would have been preferable. Kept checking to see that things were going well and almost missed staging. Damn it. Made it just in the nick of time and slid into where I was supposed to be staged. Most people reasonably did staging by their number but not everyone and the officials weren’t super picky about it. First race of the season, first race of the day, first race for a number of the riders. Usual spiel and we were off. Annnndd I spectacularly failed at getting my foot clipped into the pedal. Damn it. Recovered as best I could but not the start I wanted. Lot of traffic going up the hill and through the first section to the sand pit where I just ran it making up a tiny bit of time. And then again failed at clipping in. Which was pretty much the theme of my race. But start kind of drilling it in the woods and slowly start creeping my way back up a little bit. It hurt but I didn’t feel awful when I was pedaling. Even the run up could have been worse, although I really do need to spend a little bit of time running outside of races. At one point, Thomas from Geekhouse caught up with me and we battled a little ala much of last season but then at some point he bit it in a corner and I didn’t see him again. Also at one point, I completely flubbed the Newbury barriers; Thom and Roger were nice enough to say it’s early season and just keep going (which I did) but it nagged at me. I just couldn’t get the kind of flow I wanted going.
Ended up 31st of 60-ish starters rather than in the top 20 like I was hoping. Fitness felt there-ish. Technical side, not so much. And I need to figure out why I was having pedal/shoe problems. Might be the new pedals (switched to Eggbeaters from SPDs). If so, back I’ll go. But worth at least giving a little bit more training time.
Anyway, finished the race, out of the chamois and then spent much of the next lot of hours running around to help where needed, cheering on racers, catching up with people and just generally not recovering.
As the day drew on, I somehow managed to convince myself that I should do the singlespeed race too. I sort of blame Chip and Conor but really it’s mostly just me. I don’t have a singlespeed bike, so I grabbed some zipties and rode over to put on the clean kit. Then around the parking lot and grassy field. My legs were wondering what sort of stunt I was trying to pull but I basically went for “shut up legs!” and kept rolling around. Went to the starting line and figured what the hell, I’d start at the front for at least one race ever. We attempted to talk the official into a shorter race but failed and then we were off. And I was promptly near the back with only a few guys behind me. But at the same time, I had no pressure. This was a lark. I just wanted some more time on the bike to work on the skills. So I put my head down, continued telling my legs to shut up and concentrated on riding clean laps. And you know what? It worked pretty damn well. I actually had my fastest lap in the singlespeed race and none of them were really “off” time-wise. Not sure if it was the smaller field, the lack of pressure or just it being more time on the bike but I felt good. At some point, I passed Thom of Newbury and decided my goal for the rest of the race was to stay ahead of him (sorry Tom!) and I succeeded. Didn’t manage to catch my teammate Pat on his first race of the day but came close at one point and then just had a little bit of sloppiness to throw things off.
… and now it’s like three weeks later and I haven’t actually posted this. So just going to do so and not do any editing or photo adding like I had planned.