Monday, October 26, 2009

Staying Local

After traveling all over the US this summer doing long, hard races, it has been nice to stay fairly close to home and do some local races. This past weekend I was lucky enough to do two super local cross races that were actually in the Pittsburgh Area instead of Ohio or east of the Susquehanna. Don’t get me wrong, I do like to travel for cross, but I think it is also good to take a break from traveling whenever there is chance, especially when the local races are so much fun and competitive. So, anyway, this past Saturday, I did the Murraysville Cyclocross race put on by Fred Baldasarre and his Team FU Members. On Sunday, Gary Dugovich put on another one of his sweet cross races. It was so nice having two quality races within a short driving distance.

This was year number two for the Murraysville race, but other than it being a little bit warmer, I would have thought it was a re-play from last year with all the mud. It was so muddy that I actually decided to do a cyclocross sin and race my 29er with cross tires instead of my cross bike. Initially it seem like a good choice, but as the race went on I started to feel sluggish on the 29er. I ended up pitting my 29er for my cross bike with 3 laps to go, probably 1 lap latter than I should have made the decision. I immediately felt a difference in my ride and started making up time on the riders in front of me. With about a quarter lap to go, I was about to catch the 3rd place rider, Kevin Kralik, when I overshot a turn and went over a steep hill. I was so wrapped up in the course tape that I couldn’t stop until the bottom of the hill. After coming to a stop, I had to run back up the hill with my bike and re-enter the course. I really thought that my heart was going to explode in my chest after that run-up. Somehow, even after all this, I was still able to finish fourth at the extremely muddy race.

After cleaning up my two bikes from Saturday, I was not too anxious to destroy them again in the mud on Sunday at the Raccoon Cyclocross Race. I decided to bring my single speed cross bike along with my geared bike to Raccoon , since it seemed to work well at the first Raccoon CX Race this year and because it is so easy to clean after a muddy ride. Well, I was pleasantly surprised to first see a fairly long road section on the course and secondly that course was not too muddy overall. Because of this, I was able to stay on my geared bike during the whole race without having any issues. Matt Weeks, Steve Cummings and I escaped pretty early in the race. Matt was riding hard at the front of our group. His pace was enough to drop Steveo off of our threesome and I was then dropped about a lap and a half latter. After falling from Matts pace, I joined up with a revitalized Steveo and managed to hang with him until there was a little more than a lap to go. At the end it was Matt in first, Steveo second and me in third.

Thanks to Team Freddie FU and Gary Dugovich for all of your hard work at putting on two great cross races. This coming weekend, there is actually another fairly local cross race in Morgantown, WV, the Marilla Cross, which is a must do event. On Sunday, I will headed back up to the Cleveland Area for another Team Lake Effect Cross Event, Chagrin River CX.

Hope to see everyone out there. Happy Trails, Gerry

Thanks to Vaugh Wallace for the photo.

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