Race Report: Grand Prix Tina Brubaker #1 (David Douglas Park), 9/1/2012

Published 2012-09-01

Briefly: a fantastic race, easily one of my strongest ever. Conditions about like last year: dry and dusty. First ’cross race on the Gunnar, which acquitted itself OK (more on this later).

With prereg callups I staged front ten which makes a huge difference. I jumped into third before the singletrack with big gaps in front and behind. There was a moment of cat-and-mouse on Lap 3 where I traded places with fourth a little but held on. Late in the fourth lap that guy was right on me and I had a small crash on the little singletrack loop around the playground. That kind of broke my spirit and a second group of riders got directly on me. Still I held fourth or fifth until the last 300 yards of the last lap, when that group passed me between the barriers and playground.

Finished 8th of 85.

What went right

  1. Staging, my God the staging. Somehow I must contrive to keep this staging all season. So much less work when I don’t have to recover huge gaps due to bottlenecks.
  2. Disc brakes. I just have so much more control and confidence on technical stuff.
  3. 32-tooth cog. Until I slipped my derailler cable, I could climb the runups in the saddle, and spin through hairpins.
  4. Legs. A summer of steady 100-mile weeks with long sprints is paying off. Despite being underslept and having had no warmup, I could jump hard early on which gave me a crushing psychological advantage…and I mostly held this advantage. Mostly.

What went wrong

  1. Underslept. My stamina really faded by Lap 4. This is usually not a problem for me; my usual joke is that if a ’cross race were half an hour longer I’d take the podium. Usually I can simply outlast most of the field. But not today. I’m blaming the poor sleep I’ve had most of this last month. I just felt empty and couldn’t hang.
  2. No warm up. I need to do this. I never do.
  3. Bike too heavy/poor core and upper body condition. The Gunnar is easily 3–5 pounds heavier than the Soma, and I can feel it every time I’m off the bike.

I could have addressed 1 and 2 and taken the podium today. Drat. Still, this was an awesome, awesome race, easily one of my best ever.