Overview: Fast, dry, really dusty. I was spitting brown all race. Course mostly like last year with a longer straightaway than I recall, all the way to Shattuck, and a full lap on the velodrome. Staged top third, finished 21st of 90-something, was pulled off a lap early just as I was coming into my game.
This was my first time racing Alprenrose in any condition other than pouring rain, and I was surprised at the amount of sand and gravel there is. I went down hard on a corner and it was like sliding over a cheese grater. I hope Jimmy doesn’t want his skinsuit back in one piece.
I’m getting sick of this field size, almost 90 racers(!) for a midweek series. This is just nuts. Master’s B was maybe 35 guys, Master’s 40+ was a few dozen. Even Open C was only 50 or so guys. I think I’d rather be bottom third in one of those fields than Battle Royale to top third in Master’s C.
I saw a hole in the staging area near the front and literally carried my bike over my head to reach it. I whanged like 5 guys in the face w/my wheels, I’m sure I made some friends there. But no regrets here, in a field 90 deep staging is destiny.
Aaaanyway…first lap was all elbows and cursing. I ran up the longest runup, that was the only time I did so intentionally. It was easily rideable in the dry conditions, especially with my 32-tooth cog on the Gunnar. By Lap 3 it was apparent most of the front of the field was fading fast, I could kind of hang back through the sketchy stuff while the heroes beat themselves senseless, lose two or three places, and then eat up six or ten places in the drome, village, or parking lot. If I’d have gotten onto the leader’s lap this would have been a good strategy and I might have finished with points.
My crash was on lap 4. Lots of guys noticed, I heard a lot of whoa! Ouch! etc. I was getting fast and reckless. It was painful but a huge adrenaline shot, and it made me even faster and more reckless. I had a rabbit before the crash — Matt Molzan of OTB — and beat my way back to him by the end of the race. Afterward he gave me props, which felt like victory.
Rode my brand new Crank Bros Egg Beaters pedals. They are great for cross with reliable dismounts even in these dry conditions. I need to work on clipping in, kind of opposite motion as SPDs. They have so much float though, would be tough for commuting or training. And even with the 20° release it was tricky using my knee to add English in slow-speed corners. But that’s probably a bad habit I should kick anyway.
The Gunnar felt lighter this week, or maybe I’m just getting stronger. I hit the barriers much faster so I had more momentum to carry the extra weight.
I tried to race without my HRM strap — I worry it restricts my breathing — and my wrist unit kept trying to read other people’s HRMs. Somehow this polluted the GPS data too, so this is my first race of the season with no GPS or HRM.
Also rode without contacts (just my regular everyday eyeglasses). Much less eye irritation from the Mad Max–grade dust. I always worry when I spill that I’ll break them though, and they are much heavier than sunglasses.