18 Oct Carpentersville Cyclocross Race Report
I am not sure what I was thinking racing the 40+ and 50+ on this course, since there has been no rain in what seems like a month. I have raced Carpentersville every year since 2007 and the course is normally a little damp, making the bumpy surface smooth out a little. Not this year, I found sections that sent my rear wheel flying sideways at speed, this is a formula for fatigue on my old abused back. Now I am not making any excuses here, just saying 1 race would have been enough, maybe I will grow up someday soon.
40+ race and a call up, which is nice. A front row start allows you to be in contact with the leaders if you can keep your bike upright through the first couple of turns, which today I was able to do. Lombardo nails the hole shot, Bryan Rhuede second and I slide into third, perfect. The pace is good, not too fast which works for me since I did not have a great warm up. Seems my bike was angry and did not want to race today. Warming up on the course I notice my head set is binding badly and I am not able to steer very well. I go back to the car, pull out the tool box and attempt to adjust the stem pressure, which seems fine. Long story short, I loosen the head set, which makes my fork have a terrible chatter when using the front brake, the steering seems a little better, still a little stiff. I am racing without a front brake as we are rolling along nicely. I am warming up as we enter the whoop/rhythm section, a total BMX church pew bumps, 8 or 9 in a row, each being 20 inches high, cool!!!
I had picked the far left line during my reckon lap, fly through I pass Bryan and Chris taking the lead up the false flat, only to over cook the right hander and blast through the barrier tape, ooppps.
Lombardo laughs and says, they warned us about that on the line, and I am back into third spot. We are rolling nicely and all of the sudden Bryan goes down in a heap, just augers himself. I slide past Mr. rag doll, and ask if he is all right while Chris looks back, keeping the tempo steady. I move to the front giving myself a better look at the course and notice Mike Heagney is with us. I keep the tempo steady and slowly increase it during the next lap. Rolling fast and smooth I hear Chris crash, not sure what caused this. After we hit the open section Heagney passes me upping the pace. Clearly he does not want Chris to be able to reconnect with us as I just follow his wheel. That fast and Mike blows through the barrier tape, and I give a slight attack, slight because this is a technical part of the course and I do not want to make a mistake like the other boys, and giving Chris a chance to reconnect. Through the whoops and by the time we are at the start/finish line, Heagney is back with me, the boy is finally learning how to ride a CX bike. We have 2 laps to go and I start throwing attacks at Mike after tough turns and dismounts, places where I can open a gap, but he has good legs today and keeps closing and reconnecting. So it comes down to a sprint finish which I do not even contest, finishing second, with Mike winning his first ever CX race!!
So you are wondering why I did not sprint? I have raced and trained with Mike Heagney for, well, since he was 18 and now he is 40. During this time I cannot EVER recall beating him in a sprint, thus my attacks during the last 2 laps. The guy is fast!!
50+ was a different story. I wanted to ride a more conservative race starting in the back and saying hello to everyone, taking a few laps moving to the front. I am in the back during staging when Bob Downs taps on my shoulder saying, you sure are racing a lot of cross races for a guy who is not going to race cross this year, we laugh. Now I have to decide, do I start slow or race my bike. I am sitting there when Bob slides up through the staging group into the front. What a weasel, that is my move, as I start laughing. Weasel is a respectful term in this scenario, it equals, smart, experienced, and crafty. Bob is forcing me to race my bike, crap, so much for easy in the second race.
Now I am in row 3 which is about 35th, not good with the faster boys in the front row. the gun goes off and I wait until a few openings appear to hit the gas. By the start/finish straight I am about 15th with someone crashing and I just miss adding a body to the 3 man pile up. Now I can see the leaders about 15 seconds ahead of me as I put my head down, by the end of the lap I am with the leaders, Danny Warner 1st, Bob 2nd, and me. I follow wheels for a while and see Bob has Danny in difficulty as I move into 2nd. We go into the whoops and I come out in front of Bob throwing a log in the fire. I attack him in the next open headwind section knowing he will have to do the same amount of work to stay close. As I bring it back to LT I have about a 10 second gap, the race is on. The gap stays about 12 seconds until 2 laps to go and my back is not happy, as I start getting the signals from the brain to sit up, slow down. I concede saying screw this, as I slow the pace, conceding the race to Bob, though he does not know this yet. As we are close to the end of the lap he connects and I tell him I am done, good race, that it is all yours. Bob looked at me in disbelief, as he stays on the gas and drops me quickly. I give credit to Bob, he could have slowed down at this point though he did not, he stayed on the gas full tilt for the entire last lap, Nice. This is one of the reasons Bob is a fast old guy, he is always pushing himself. Another 2nd on the day, 4 – 2nd place finishes in a row for me in the last 2 weeks.
ButtonHole Chamois Cream is on most of the podiums in Carpentersville. Knowing how my back felt after the second race, I am happy to report my ButtonHole was very happy.
The next race report might be from Louisville USGP, Sunday. It is a long drive for a 1 day race, though I do need all the points I can get in order to have a good starting position at the Madison USGP next year.