Monday, November 16, 2009

Second Fiddle

For the third race in a row, I finished second at a CX race. Last week at the Tacchino Race I finished second and then this weekend I did two Ohio CX Races and finished both in the number two position. Not that placing second in a race is a bad thing, but winning is certainly more fun. Without a doubt, few things can compare to the feeling of a win. But, even though I only finished second at both races this weekend, I still felt like a winner because both races were super fun.

On Saturday, I competed at the Team Lake Effect Cyclocross Race in Kent, OH. The course was an interesting mix of fast grassy field type riding mixed with an almost equal amount of mtb style double track. Being more of a mtb racer than a road racer, I thought the course design would suite my skills very well after pre-riding it. The start of the race was a bit crazy with about 20 riders (instead of the typical 8) lined up on the front row and all wanting to win the sprint into the first gravel to grass transition turn. After the first lap, things did calm down some and a group of about six of us began to separate from the rest of the pack. Towards the beginning of the second lap, however, Matt Weeks threw a pretty hard attack going into a turn which transitioned from grass to gravel to asphalt. Matt carried a little too much speed into the turn, which caused him to go down directly in front of me. I am still not sure how I did not go down with him, but I am glad to have survived the carnage. From this point in the race, the lead group was whittled down to me, Steve Cummings, Shawn Adam and Ernesto Marenchin. Steve-o then got away from the group in the wooded section and began his individual TT to the finish. Ernie, Shawn and I were left in the chase for second place with a constant battle for position going on between us. At the end, I was able to work my way to the front of our little pack during the finishing stretch and hold on to the spot for second overall.

I did the OVCX - Alan Infirmary Hill CX Race just outside Columbus in Granville, OH on Sunday. At this race, I had the choice of either doing the elite master race, the elite race, or actually doing both races. I started the masters race with the game plan of also doing the elite race in my mind. I think this might have caused me to take things a little too conservatively on the first couple of laps. In addition to my lackadaisical start, I also got hit in the eye by a low hanging pine tree branch that kind of obstructed my vision for a lap or so and then had another racer almost take me out when his attempt to bunny hop a barrier failed. But, even after all of this, I still made it into the lead group of the top five riders. One rider, Fred Rose, was able to get a gap on the rest of our group on either the third or fourth lap. A lap or so later only Phil Noble and I were left in the chase after Fred. Phil and I made a few attempts to get away from one another, but pretty much rode the rest of the race together. At the end, I was able to make it into the last turn in the lead spot, which allowed me to win the sprint for my third second place in three races. After my effort in this race, I had no desire to immediately inflict more pain on myself by doing the elite race, especially with only 15 minutes to recover in between the two events.

So, yeah, both races, even as the second fiddle, were good fun. I am sure the fact that both races were held on fast, dry courses added to the pleasure of racing this weekend. It is not often during cross season that I get to race two weeks in a row without mud, so it certainly has been a nice treat to race mud free recently. This coming weekend I will be racing at the WVMBA CX Race in Bruceton Mills, WV on Saturday and at the Team Lake Effect CX Race at Kirkland Park in Cleveland on Sunday. The cross season is winding down, so come on out to the races and play before the season is gone.

Happy Trails, Gerry

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