As most of the free world was completely un-aware, Sunday was the start of the 2009 Cyclocross Crusade series. Advertised as the largest cyclcocross series in the world, it did not disappoint, with over 1400 racers showing up at the Alpenrose Dairy for the 2009 inaugural event. Compare that to Alpenrose back in 2004, the first ‘cross race I ever did, when there were 600 plus racers, or even to the 300 racers in 2001. At this rate, there will be over 3000 racers in 2012! God help us.
As for my race....meh. Not horrible, not great. For a variety of reasons (preparing for nats, peer pressure, guilt, stupidity) I am racing in the A Men category this year, instead of the Master A 35+. So I get to race against (or maore accurately behind) all the young fast kids, and some really fast older guys too. There’s Not just faster guys, but more of them. Being the first race of the year, staging was done randomly except for some visiting pros/celebrities and top ten or so from last year. I still can’t figure out why I, the reigning Masters State Champ, didn’t qualify for an automatic call-up and was forced to line up with the rest of the civilians. Come-on Brad, you give Trebon a call-up for his National Championship, why not me? Just another instance of the man trying to keep me down. I am so sick of it. I'm calling my AARP rep over this one. Age discrimination.
Anyway, so yeah, there I am, in the middle of the pack for the start. And, unfortunately, that is about where I finished, mid-pack. I was actually moving up a bit after the first lap sorted things out a bit. I think I was even closing in on the group that was fighting for the back of the top 20. That is, until I dropped my chain. I knew it was going to happen. After dropping it three times last week, I tried altering a chain watcher to do a better job. But I learned during warm-up that it wasn’t as bomber as I had hoped. Luckily it happened right before the pits and I was able to run there and change bikes, only losing 3-4 spots. The down side, is I learned the hard way that I don’t like how my B bike handles compared to my A bike. The saddle is a tad higher, the bars feel different and the tubeless tires just can’t compare to the carbon tubulars. They handled like crap. Not that I am a good cornerer (is that a word?) to begin with, but on the B bike I was pathetic, over cooking corners left and right. Coming out of the velodrome on one lap I had to take the turn so wide I crossed over into the on coming lane and scared the heck out of an A woman coming down the hill, sorry. So I spent the rest of the race duking it out with Teammates Neal Bibler and Chad Swanson, and Ian Leitheiser from team Cyclepath. On the bright side, I managed to finish ahead of all of them and hold off a few fast charging guys. So I guess I have that going for me. On the down side, I fought like hell for 28th place or so. A far cry from 9th a week earlier.
Despite all the bumps on the course, the biggest bruise I suffered from yesterday is the one to my Ego. I certainly don’t feel like a Cat 1 that's for sure.
Now that I joined Facebook, I see Margi is threatening a "sit down" with her mechanic about dropping chains, so I'm gonna set both mine and Margi's bike up with a Paul's Chain keeper. We'll see how that works. Hopefully it keeps me from getting a "sit down" conversation. But then again, you get what you pay for. I hope to try it out tomorrow at the blind date at the dairy, if not I'm going back to 2x9.