Friday, November 12, 2010

CSI Northampton Day 2: 11.7.10

SLURRPPP! That's the sound of me riding behind anyone and everyone this past weekend. I really do wish I had the power/ability/courage to get in front of a group and drive it for some reason other than to slow the pace down, but that just isn't what works for me. I know that riding from the back is harder out of the turns but gawd damned I love to hide as much as possible. I don't even think it is the draft really, because there has got to be a pretty minor advantage in sitting on, especially when you consider how hard it is to get back on a group after a corner. I think it is psycological. Sitting in gives me comfort. It lets me know that I'm able to hang out. When I'm on the front, I'm constantly thinking that I'm not going hard enough, and that the others are sure to come around me at any time.

Day 2 at CSI a plan was hatched to grab some food and drop me at the venue so the kids could go back to the pool for a final swim before checking out. Worked like a charm. Kids got to swim and I was there early enough to ride the course twice before really starting my warm up. At some point during the undressing-dressing process a little too much skin was exposed, though I was unaware of it at the time. Chip had to see it. Sorry pal. My folks were up to see the race as well, a great treat that I did not expect. It was kind of weird hearing my mother cheering for me using my college nickname.... ;)

Let's go racin'!!!

The left side worked so well at the start the previous day that naturally I lined up on the right. Same third row start but it was nice getting the call up. The herd seemed to be thundering a bit more ferociously on day two, everyone must have been all excited to be first to get to the button hook>run/ride up thing. The leaders were two turns ahead of me when they got there and I saw JONNY BOLD (that's two hyperlinks to JONNY's blog in two posts... I'm starting to act like GeWilli) was going to be first to the hill. Surely he would win the day now, because riding the hill clean was clearly the best way up it, right? Apparently JONNY didn't think so, or he wanted to keep it fair, or something... he unclipped and ran from the front of the race. No consequence to me, just thought it was odd.

By the time I got to the buttonhook the boys were running it, and as I stepped off my bike behind Ryan LaRoque his rear wheel kicked up and caught me in the groin. Not felled by searing abdominal pain (it was merely a flesh wound) I ran around the scrum and towards the hill proper. To my left someone fell on top of someone else, and I believe this shot was taken right at that precise moment.

ewww... boys touching boys! photo courtesy of doublehop

Up the hill we go and I'm in that high teen position again and feeling really great. Kevin Hines was hanging out with us, as were some of the dudes. The second day's course at Noho is great, as you get all of the rooty turns out of the way all at once. That root section is also a great place to rest and work on being as smooth and fast as possible. Before I know what's going on Hines is gone, and not just pulling away... like so far ahead that I can't spend the time or effort to look around for him... and he wasn't out of the race (yet) either.

I lost contact with the front of the race on the field on that first lap, though I'm not sure how or when. Actually, i'm sure it was because I suck. What was undeniable was that I was now IN THE WIND and wanted to GET OUT ASAP!

I was taking on water fast and LaRoque and Sheldon Miller were chugging up to me. I heard Zank tell me to keep the pressure on, and I did manage to stay in front of them half way through lap two. Wanted to make it seem like I wasn't imploding, which I thought I was. Coming into the fields for the second time I had found my happy place, surfing behind Sheldon and Ryan. The three of us moved along at a nice pace, and half way through lap 3 we caught and passed Bill Shattuck and added Aaron Millette to our party.

Laroque was running the barriers like a gazelle on the left side and he opened up a miserable gap each time through that part, causing us to sprint to catch back on. Miller rode the power sections well but was checking the brakes a bit to much for my liking in some of the turns that you really didn't need to slow at all. I encouraged him to let it flow. He later called me a back seat driver (only half-jokingly).

With two and a half laps to go we caught Pete Smith when he dumped his bike in the sand. He had been shed off of the group fighting for 10th but made us pay for ridig with him by laying down a serious pull through the start finish line. He never got out of the saddle but pulled away from me like he was sprinting. Sheldon and Ryan came around and I was fine with that... fill in the gap please! At the run up Pete was leading and like JONNY BOLD he unclipped and started to run, forcing us to do the same. He's a clever little devil.

Millette and Shattuck started to fall off our pace around that time, and Miller seemed to be really trying to get away. Out of the sand with one to go he got a big gap and his teammates were screaming at him to go go go! Pete and Ryan worked hard though and brought him back by the bell.

Somehow I ended up in front of the group around the turns near the pit. There were four of us fighting it out for 14th place, and coming into the buttonhook I thought about pretending to start a dismount then clipping back in quick and riding away. Just as I'm about to unclip LaRoque says "we're riding this right Matty?" and I lost all desire to be a prick to my freinds. We were a long way from the finish too, so I'm sure I would have done more harm than good in terms of pissing them off and loosing any sort of gap I could have possibly gotten anyway. We rode the hill (Pete ran and never lost any ground) and started the root section for the final time. Somewhere in there Sheldon lost contact and Pete was tailgunning. To the barriers I took the far left to steal Ryan's favorite spot, and while he did get past me, it was much easier to stay with him afterwards. Three of us hit the sand together and Pete got a bit hung up, loosing two or three bike lengths on the exit. Ryan led it from there to the line, taking 14th and opening up a huge gap over me in the sprint. I held of Pete for 15th, he had burned a lot of matches to get back on after the sand pit bobble but still almost got around me.

"in the draft" photo courtesy of Lynn Lameroux

Charlie did another kids race and it was a nailbiter, though I've got to tell him to look forward and chase that guy instead of worrying what is going on behind him. He was moving faster than the day before and going into the final turn he was second. He took first with a sweet inside line. The thrid place rider came over the top on everyone and took the win at the line.


Anonymous said...
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G-ride said...

you are not sucking wheels, you are working the group! you can't expect to solo around all day and survive. This year I have finally gotten to the point where if I am in a group of people and I am not bleeding out of my eyes, I dont freak out and jump around and bury myself (and later get popped). I rest and try to be smart about it and get around guys who are annoying to ride behind. In the past, I was so far back that I just kept telling myself that if I wasn't passing I was getting passed, and if I took any time "off" from totally drilling it, I was gonna get lapped. Typically people sat on my wheel and I got jumped for 5 spots on the last lap with not so much as a thank you.

15th is fantastic, that is the REAL DEAL mister. Time for your Cat 2 upgrade!

matt said...

Don't want or need the upgrade. Doesn't make a difference in m35+ and staying a 3 allows me to race with the boyz every once in a while.

I got to get a single speed built up.

G-ride said...

i just want to keep you out of the cat 3 races cause you will win them cause you should be a cat 2. and that would be less fun for me. i dont care about your feelings.