Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Houston, we have a donut.

Once again it’s been a while since I’ve written much and once again I’m full of lame excuses. Well, I don’t think they are so lame. Nonetheless the fact remains it’s time to get busy going tappy-tappy-tappy on the keyboard with my fat fingers. So here goes.
The Sunday after Thanksgiving was the “Postgiving” race, Cap City Cross #5 at Darree Fields, the return.  I say “the return” because there was a race here the week before as well. Darree Fields is a large park run by the City of Dublin, Ohio & the City has been very helpful and kind to us. They even built a run-up for Cap City Cross even though they knew not of what they were building. Cap City guys just said “Hey, we’d like to do something like this” and the folks at Dublin Parks said “Well, OK”. The part of the park we got to use is pretty flat except for a few dirt mounds that were utilized. Also, most of the course area had been growing wild for some time so it was very bumpy. Sometimes cyclocross courses are not all smooth and groomed. Hey, that’s a part of ‘cross!
Unknown rider on run-up at Darree Fields. Photo courtesy Susan Hackett
I was feeling pretty fair prior to the race, not wonderful. Took off to a great start and only let a few guys slip by. Held on to the wheels of several guys that I normally don’t hold on to (seeing a pattern here?) and came home with an 8th place. It’s better than previous years & judging by the folks I was able to stay with most of the race my overall performance is improving over last year even if the standings don’t really sound like it.
Teammate and bluesman extraordinaire, Rich Hamrick. Photo courtesy Susan Hackett
This past Saturday, the 8th of December 2012, had Cap City Cross returning to Big Run Park once again. Usually Big Run is earlier on the calendar so it was going to be interesting to see what returning to it later in the year meant. This year it meant wet, soggy, muddy conditions. Big Run is hard enough because it’s a hill built to race soap box derby cars on. We, however, had to race our bikes UP the hill. But not just on the pavement. Oh no, those guys who laid out the race course had us coming up the side of that hill straight on, diagonally, across – any which way they could torture us. Add in two days of rain before the race and there was a lot of slipping and grunting to get up that hill multiple times a lap.

Just a small portion of the race course.
Big Run was a race that prior to the start I was ready to blow off. The long & short of it is that I was getting burnt out. Burnt out from helping to set up courses, trying to race, tear down everything afterwards, squeeze in bike maintenance, work some really long hours & maybe get a bit of training in. Oh yeah, there’s this whole family thing.
Chris Knapp and Rick Voithofer coming up the hill. Photo courtesy Susan Hackett
In any event I rolled up to the starting line and… Whoa, hey!... I was off to a great start! Time to get my head back in the game. Go, go, gadget legs! Big Run as a course seems to suit me well with the steep climbs & wide turns where you could ride multiple lines. I was in the top three by the time we crested the soap box derby hill and with some changing places managed to stay there until I hit a slippery spot on the course and fell straight into the course tape. It took a bit of time to get the stake and tape out of my wheel so I lost contact with Jon Clouse and Andy Hague. I tried to get back to them and was making up a bit of time but not enough. Guess I had to settle for third. What? Yeah, finally, after three years of racing I finally hit the podium! Now to win one of these things outright.
For those about to rock...  Photo courtesy Susan Hackett
The season is winding down with only one race left on the Cap City Cross calendar. Sure, there’s Nationals in Madison, WI or I could return to Master’s Worlds on Louisville, KY at the end of January but I think given everything else on my dance card this upcoming Cap City Cross race at Smith Farms will be it for me. Sort of a bummer as I’m really starting to make some improvements. Then again, I need a reason to look forward to next year, right?

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