Wow. What a weekend. I only did one day of Gloucester last year so decided I had to do the double this year. Then we ended up moving jus over a week before and I was a little sick the middle of the week. Not the best recipe for good results but I figured I’d still go out and have a good time. Especially since I was going to be borrowing my teammate Oscar’s tubular wheels with a set of Fangos. Been considering getting a set of tubulars for cross and since he was going to be out of town, asked if I could borrow and he said sure. So I picked them up Friday night, put a cassette on them and said “good enough!”
Saturday morning started super early as Charles wanted to get there by 6-ish so we would have plenty of time to set up the Quad tent, get out numbers, warm up and check out the course. As we’re driving up, the rain started to fall. Well, guess it’s about time I got in a good, muddy race. We get there and it’s still dark. We figure out where we’re going to put the tent and put it up. Then registration, number pinning and all that jazz. Then it’s off to check out the course a bit. Of course, it’s early and so no one who actually knows the course is there yet and we end up riding part of the Sunday course. But hey, so it goes. Plus side, the rain basically let up / stopped.
Charles got on the trainer and I decided to go visit the ever wonderful Mavic guys to see if they could make my shifting less sucky. They did. 1 Then a little bit more warming up on the course and found where we had gone wrong earlier and checked it all out. Initial impression? Hard course. The mud run-up that was hard last year when dry but holy crap hard when wet and slippery, a set of stairs, normal double barrier, a fly over and lots and lots of off-camber turny stuff. For someone who is really a road rider but fakes it during cross season, not the best combination of stuff…
Staged and was glad that it wasn’t raining but then it started drizzling again as we waited. Then we were off. And I screwed up the start. No real good reason why… it’s on pavement, I was in the right gear, just didn’t manage to get clipped in and powered up fast. I probably didn’t lose any places but I certainly didn’t gain any. Need to do some more work on my start!
The first lap was a bit of a mess. Lots of traffic, I failed entirely at moving up. I did at least dismount and run some of the sections where traffic was stupid and probably did okay as a result. But kept going hard. Nice thing was that the tires/wheels were awesome… could definitely tell the difference of the lower pressure on some of the off-camber-y stuff but I just am not good at that stuff and so slid out a few times.
Second lap was a bit better. Rode a little cleaner and slid out a bit less. Honestly a lot of the rest of the race kind of blurs together. I do have a memory of hearing two laps to go but then having three. But it seemed that the cat 4 field had to do more laps in general both days due to the winner2 so it may have been related to that. Also, on the last lap, I was getting close to catching Russ but then I pushed a little too hard in a corner and went down losing some time and then not being able to make it up and catch him.
I ended up just a bit muddy… photo thanks to Abel Tomkinson
Overall, ended up 57th of 111 on the day by outsprinting a guy on the finishing uphill (in that I sprinted, he didn’t but I’ll take it!). Better than the prediction (61st) but not as well as I hoped. After the race, the weather cleared pretty much entirely and I got to hang out and enjoy the day watching all of the races except the last half of the elite men. Was pretty awesome to have a bunch of the Quad team there cheering each other on, watching races, and just generally being team-like.
Then it was home to rest and recover and get ready for day two on Sunday which I’ll do a separate post for…