What a perfect 2 days for racing cyclocross! Although the perfect conditions for cyclocross some would say is knee deep mud, rain, 30 degree temps or maybe even snow. Saturday and Sunday I competed in rounds 1 and 2 of the Mud Sweat and Gears cyclocross series in Tennessee. Quite arguably the largest and BEST series in the southeast some might say.
Saturday I arrived and sat up the Hampton Trails event table with all of our BMC bikes spread out across the area. It looked good and I had the most bikes out for display but Mark had me beat for product. He had a nice spread for Larry's out on the table, anything you might need for CX. He and I were going to attempt to do some racing in between managing the displays too. The first race was 45+ masters. I'm finally at the age I can race this class and I'm not really sure if I should be in it or not. The class runs 15 minutes longer than the regular CX4. 4's do 30 minutes and the Masters run 45 minutes. That extra 15 minutes is a killer. Anywho, I started off the line very conservatively knowing that 45 minutes is a long time on a CX bike at WFO. I started at the back, moved through a few and when I got to the ascent of the flyover, B O O M! My rear tire exploded and sprayed my legs with Stan's sealant. I hit it pretty fast too probably faster than I should. I rolled off the back of the flyover sideways and came to a stop, looked down and my tire was off the rim on both sides! I started walking back to the finish line for a big ole DNF. I crossed the line and Kingsley offered me a wheel but I said thanks I'm heading to the booth. I repaired it and couldn't get it to seat with a hand pump so I set it aside and talked to some customers.
At the end of the race schedule my SS class was up on the line. I mounted the trusty GOPRO camera to the seat post of my SS bike and filmed 90% of the race before the SD card filled up. I will post a video later in the week. I felt good right off the bat too. I didn't lay up on the start, I charged to the front (in order to get some good video being truthful) and was able to hold a good position. I felt really good which was strange, I usually burn out on the SS about half way through. I hung onto Mr.Stidham's group as long as I could until I went down at the run up, three small steps on a bank, when I couldn't unclip my left foot. They gapped me a few yards and I was never able to get back on their wheel. On the last lap I did get to Mr. Stidham solo-ing close enough to hit him in the back of the head with a rock but I though he might beat me up if I tried such a stunt. I managed a respectable 9th though, would have been 8th but Professor Seek just wouldn't let me have it and smoked me at the finish sprint.
Sunday found a new day and TUBES installed in my Redline Conquest instead of the Stan's strips. I need tubeless tires for that application for a better seal! I rolled up to the line for the start of Masters 45+ feeling a little chilly and that's not good (proper warm up not accomplished). I tried to ride hard from the start but my good sense kept telling me..."hey moran you have 45 minutes so chill out" I listened. I fell back then riders started slowing for no reason on the first lap, I went around and kept pedaling my pace. My goal was to find Steve and stay with him for as long as I could. He rides alot more than I do so I figured if I could hang on his wheel I would be alright. He was a bit ahead of me then I caught him, he was shouldering his bike trotting, he had rolled a tire. OK I thought there goes my inspiration.....keep pedaling foo! so I did. I could see other riders so I would make them my rabbit and dig to go get them. On the last lap I was about spent and Yeti Mom yelled at me "catch him" and I was confused. Catch who? I thought. I looked ahead about 50 yards and low and behold my buddy Larry , Yeti Dad! New inspiration found! I dug a little deeper into the burn furnace in my legs and found a couple more watts. I managed to get to his wheel with half a mile to go. I sat there and tried to catch my breath. He sped up just a tad and I thought "oh well here he goes" but he never sprinted. I rolled up to his wheel awaiting a burst from his long legs and it never came so I pulled right and gave all the energy I had left in my legs. I bettered my position by one more, Yea! I managed another top 10 position and was thoroughly wiped out after 45 minutes, I almost threw up upon the return to the vendors area where I pitted. I was amazed how fast I recovered though, sat there for a couple of minutes then was up and moving feeling better.
After the 45+ I hung out, repaired a few more bikes then prepped for SS class. I rode around not feeling nearly as good as I did getting ready for the SS on Saturday. I was almost late to the start, I rolled up beside Kingsley and the whistle blew. Dang, I didn't even have the first foot clipped in yet. I rode near the back starting out and was never able to get any rhythm at all. It was totally opposite from Saturday, the bike just didn't seem to flow like it did the day before. I had about 5 more psi in the tires maybe that had something to do with it? I'm not sure. It didn't matter though I watched Steve ride off into the sunset with a small group of 4 and was not able to keep the gap constant or reel them in. It grew bigger every lap. I did save some face at the end, I out sprinted some Bike Zoo rider to the finish hearing him say a few choice words as I crossed the line nearly 10 feet ahead of him, disappointment maybe?
All in all it was a fun and enjoyable weekend. The MSG guys always put on an awesome event. They outdid themselves this year too by adding Domtar park to the location venue. Thanks guys for the hard work! I will get that video posted later, I was working on a short one for the MSG guys first so we can get some chatter on the web.