Sep 28 2008
Little sore this morning from Barlow yesterday; right hip, right shoulder, and my hands…oh, my hands. There was a few slight downhill and very bumpy stretches in there where you were holding on for dear life. Good stuff.Got to the race with plenty of time to get ready and warm up. During the warm up I had a hard time getting things moving, but after about 20 minutes or so I loosened up. Could have been the blistering sun too.
I was a little surprised by the numbers at the start. 57 in the A’s and 35(?) in the Master A’s. I may be off. Seemed like a lot though. We lined up 4 or 5 wide on a doubletrack road for the start. Something about it didn’t feel right. I had a sense that there would be some ugly bottlenecking right after the start. Despite people not being able to clip in, it went fine though.
I ran the new Racing Ralphs and dropped the pressure a bit to get some grip on the off-camber stuff. Maybe 35 or so. Zipping around the paved section behind the school, I felt a little bit of a rollover. Better ease up and take the corners a little more upright. Once I got a sense of how the tires acted, they were ridiculously solid. Didn’t feel even the remotest possibility of a slip anywhere. I could probably go 36 on firmer stuff but keep it at 35, maybe 34 when it gets softer.
Anyway, I’d never raced Barlow before. It’s a good course but the highlight was the run-up in the woods.
It’d be near impossible to accurately describe the railroad tie run-up. Screaming fast approach which was halted by 2 downhill barriers. Short downhill run, over the bridge to a run-up that was 30 feet (?) tall. 30? Shit, it seemed like 50. 8 to 12 never-ending steps, with an irregular 2 to 3 foot rise and run. Difficult to find a rhythm up.
You could make an argument that with my legs (36″ inseam), that I would have had an easier time in this section than most. That’s probably true, especially compared to those stuck in the <a title=”Pony Class” href=”http://www.veloreview.com/obra3/2008/09/new-cross-category-announced.html/” target=”_blank”>Pony Class</a>. I’d like to think I gained ground up the hill on a number of people I was around. Still…it burns like hell and I spend about 20 meters after the run-up spinning the acid out. There’s nothing easy about run-ups like this for anyone.
My main focus for the race was to clean up my act. Pain on the Peak was an abysmally sloppy race. I wanted this race to help get things back in order. From that aspect, the race was a huge success. Much cleaner dismounts. Remounts need a little more work but otherwise they were better. Bike carrying, especially up the hill, was better. Cornering was much, much improved since I really focused on 2 things: pedaling through the turn and, more importantly, looking where I wanted to go through the turn.
I’ll consider this a fantastic final tune-up before Alpenrose next weekend. I finished a solid 10th, feeling like I got stronger throughout the race. I remembered how to race again. Just plain fun.
After a rest week, it time to get back to the grind. We’re heading out to the coast for the weekend and I’ll head straight to the race Sunday. That means I’ll need to get everything in order before we leave Friday.
Looks like rain is in the forecast for the tail end of the week. That’d be nice. I’m so over the hot and dusty cross races. It feels like it’s been a while since we’ve had a wet Alpenrose race.