Monday, October 11, 2010
2010 SCX Race # 2 Beverly Park Race Report
Pretending to be Portland..
All winter we pray for spring. All spring we dream of summer. All summer we long for Cyclocross. All during the Cyclocross season we live for MUD. This past weekend did not disappoint anyone.
The night before the race, it bombed rain. It was the kind of rain that wakes you up. The ground was saturated as we took a practice lap before the first race. There was mud. There are several types of mud. There is the cream cheese mud that Portland has. You ride through it and your tire tracks remain a six inch trench until the next poor soul comes along. There is the standing water over firm stuff that can be ridden. There is the shoe sucking glop that cannot be ridden. There is the sticky stuff that accumulates on your brakes and derailleurs like a brownish grey moss. This is dangerous stuff as it leads to broken derailleurs and snapped hangers. There is the greasy stuff that defies you to turn in it. There is the lava like stuff that you can ride with herculean effort then the mud flowing back after you leaving a seam where your tires passed. We had all these and more.
I held onto my rain jacket until the race official said there was one minute to go. It was raining hard and the rain was cold. I was in the second row and had a decent start. I hit the run up in the top ten. During the first lap I moved up as high as fifth. I was feeling strong and then I was feeling weak.
It was a tough day of racing. I later had a raspy cough that told me I had some congestion in my chest. This explained my fade in position. The mud made for a day when you could be putting out 400 watts of power on a flat surface with the right tires and tire pressure and only be going six miles an hour. If felt like the whole course was steep uphill. One racer remarked it was like plugging into a machine that sucked all of your strength out of your legs. It reminded me of riding when you are breaking in new brake pads, or just grabbing your brakes. The deceleration was that noticeable.
On Saturday we had practiced riding into sharp corners hard and then braking hard at the last second as you initiated the corner. The funny thing was the race course was so slow on Sunday; you didn’t really get enough speed on a straight to justify braking hard, so the technique was moot.
On the Evergreen course two weeks ago, you had stretches where you applied power followed by a break during a technical section. That was a fun course with some fast and slow sections. At Beverly Park, you didn’t get those breaks because with only one exception you never got enough speed to carry you through a technical section, so you had to keep putting out the power every second. It is tough mentally when you are putting out so much effort, and that effort doesn’t seem to be translating into the appropriate amount of forward progress. “How can I be working so hard and going so slow?” Your mind battles to reconcile the muscle stimuli (I’m going fast) with the visual stimuli (I’m barely moving).
In the end everyone was exhausted. It was the definition of a power course. A SLOW power course. Riders finished and slumped over their bars spent. One of my teammates crossed the line at the end of his race at full speed and stopped pedaling. Ten feet past the line he had rolled to a stop and was stepping off his bike. It was that slow. It was, however, very fun.
SFW and Evo apres' race