Posted the last thing about gluing and headed to WW’s. Topped off the Challenge Chicane on the rear. Bang! Sidewall blowout. Super-bummer.
I really liked that tread, but the sidewalls on the Challenges have beaten me. It’s Clement for the rest of the season.
TOWN HALL CX:
Being a PACX race, the old-guy start wasn’t til 11. Nice. Got there early-ish, pre-rode for a while and decided to ride the Bailey, as it had a 36t front ring, where the Giant has a 38. I’d need that extra cushion for the “stairway”, which is their euphemism for the insane fucking hill that sets this race apart from the rest.
I BLEW my 7th row start. Somehow I managed a wheelie. Not optimal. The grinding, grassy uphill that spits out onto the climb proper was a free for all of salmoning. Momentarily hooked onto Trevor from Guys, who was going through the crowd like a purse snatcher. That helped make up for the SHIT START. The climb thinned things out and after the rocketing downhill, the race began to take shape. Chris Gozick came past me at some point and I lamprey’d on. And that right there was the race. He and I traded pulls for the next 30 odd, odd minutes. (Admittedly he did most of the pulling. Him strong.) And we ate folks up. It were lovely.
On the last lap, he punched it at the hardest part of the hill, putting 10 yards into me. Happily, I’m gravity-friendly and had a nice line on the downhill, so I was back to him by the barriers, which I very nearly blew by dismounting on the WRONG SIDE. Never done that before. Thanks, brain-fade!
I was on him like a cartoon thought-bubble through the pit-area flats.
The next gentle uphill marked the entrance to the lower half of the course, long sweepers leading to a small ball-field near the municipal buildings, followed by lots of gravel and little, poppy uphills, making it a tough place to pass. I dug deep into the suitcase of mediocrity, found a shoe, put it on and stomped for all that Brogan was worth, juuuuuuust getting in front of Chris. I hammered like Vulcan, caught us up to another Guys rider, got around him (don’t remember how – hope I wasn’t a dick about it) and tried my best to take up all the available real estate. The last two chicanes before the finish still had me in front. I could hear both of ’em behind me, so I tried to be sensible with the shifts and get thing sorted before the sprint. And it worked. For 16th. Sweet 16!
Followed that up with a coupla root beers, a veggie burrito and a mess o donuts to bring home for desert at the In-Laws’.
Got there before the race promoters. Still had a beautiful wreath of fog wrapped around it’s rocky shoulders. Civil War battlefield looking stuff. Very pretty spot.
Unless you’re a tire.
Warmups were fine, if a mebbe a bit slow. I got to ride both bikes and get the tire pressures kinda close to being right. PDXs felt like a perfect tire that early, with the grassy corners still dew-damp and the dirt glossily shining. Later, it would all turn to powdery shit, but that’s not the kind of problem one finds at 8:30. No, for me the issue was three-fold.
Front row start, hastily cleaned glasses and, of course, a blown clip-in. I managed to get into pedal a bit quicker than usual following a SHIT START, and poured gas onto my Bic flame to get myself back up into the single digits. Just. Before. The. First. Left. Hand. Turn. Which I didn’t see, thanks to the fogged-up glasses. In my defense, Steven Mancuso, who’s faster’n I am, better looking than I am, and smarter than I am, and who was in front of me, doing the exact same rocket up the outside right move, also missed the turn. He, being more better at stuff, recovered and got back into the meat of the bunch. I gimped through the tape in WAY too tall a gear, got to watch the front riders coming BACK at me, having already rocked the uphill I’d fucked up. I then ground my way through the next 3.5 laps with all the joy of an orange-clad trustee cleaning the side of a highway. And THEN I flatted. Rear. PDX. Bulletproof? Mebbe. But not Sean-picks-anudder-shitty-line proof.
On the plus side, I did get to spend some quality time with Myles Fennel, who’d apparently crashed early and knocked all the go-juice out of his motivation-parts. When I passed him, he excreted a bit more and we had a fine time over the next few minutes, managing 20th and 21st. Of 30.
Not my finest day, but certainly not as bad as it’s been there in the past. Reviewing the HRM etc following, I was down 10 beats overall for the whole race from the day before at Town Hall. Which COULD be because the course doesn’t let you get the revs up, OR because I was beat from the previous day’s efforts. Or climate change.
Starts. I’m not blaming my pedals (Candy 2s). Jeremy Powers uses Crank Brothers and he seems to do ok. But I’m gonna play around with XTs for a bit today. Mebbe that’ll jostle something helpful in the brain/foot connective tissues that seems to be stubbornly dormant at the moment. Or I’ll just suck on another kinda pedal 🙂
My Bag. I bought this used EMT ready-bag on Ebay last month to try to keep the amount of race-debris floating around the Odyssey to a minimum.
It, like everything I do related to CX and most other stuff, is still a work in progress, but I’m pretty stoked so far. I need to come up with a better way to keep the little tool-y bits in order. But loading everything into one bag the night before and being able to visually check ’em off is AWESOME. And being able to get to it pre and post-race without upending bag after bag on to the floor? Double-plus good. Recommend.