Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cross My Heart and Hope to DIE!

Cross My Heart and Hope to DIE...was the aptly named cyclocross race that was put on by Spin Bicycle shop in Willoughby, OH this past Saturday. The course was in a small township park, but used the terrain in a fun and interesting way. The course had two parts which stood out as being a little different than other cross courses. First, there was a large and deep mud puddle that the riders were directed to ride through on each lap. This “mud pit” completely trashed the bike and covered all racers with a thick crusty mud. The course would have been mud free without the addition of this unnecessary mud pit. The second unique feature of this course was a super long forced run – up, with a barrier at the bottom of hill. I would guess that the run-up was about 100 yards long. The rest of the course was pretty typical with grassy twisty stuff. Even with the unwelcomed mud pit on the course, I do think that the course was well designed for what was available to use at the park.

About 50 riders showed up for the “A” race and I was happy to see that many racers from the Pittsburgh Area made the trip. I traveled to the race with J-Pok and Charlie P, but I also saw Chris Mayhew, Mike Jernigan and Sam Morrison at the race. It was also cool to see local Cleveland Area Cyclists like Ernesto Marenchin, Shawn Adams and Paul Martin at the race, which of course was sure to increase the level of competition in the pack.

As of the Thursday prior to the race, my plan was to attend The MAC Series Granogue and Wissahickon Races near Philly. Since I was not able to make all the changes necessary to my work schedule to allow for travel time out to Philly, I changed my mind into doing the Willoughby Race. It turned out to be a good decision. Not only because the course was a lot of fun, but also because the prize money was spectacular. The race paid the top 15 riders with a total purse of $1500. Money like this is usually only set aside for the elite class in UCI Races and not local cyclocross races.

I trained hard the week leading into this race because my plan was to tapper during the week before the USGP Races in Louisville, KY. I figured that this hard training would leave my legs feeling tired for this race. Surprisingly, however, my legs felt pretty fresh before and during the race. I think that this is a sign that my fitness has seemed to have turned the corner for the better during the last week or so.

Anyway, I lined up in the first starting row of the race and had a great start, taking the hole shot into the first sweeping right turn. I never gave up the leading position throughout the race and ended up taking first overall. The win definitely felt good and also confirmed that all my hard training was finally starting to show.

It will now be interesting to see how my fitness compares to the top master cyclocross racers in the country when I race against them in Louisville. By looking at the starting list, I will say right now that a top ten finish in Louisville will be a good result. I will let you all know how it goes next week in a new blog entry…wish me luck! - Gerry


steevo said...

congratulations on beating Paul Martin. That is enough to retire on.

Chris Mayhew said...

Really? Cause I was in front of him for at least two laps. He's not that fast on twisty stuff.

Steevo, I think Pfluger won more at that race (KOM prime, 1st lap prime, overall) than you make in a year.

Solo Goat said...

you heading out the MAC UCI's again?

want to head out with you if are...


Totonka said...

Thanks for using my photos as promos on your blog. How about some props to the photog? Coin is nice too!