Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hockey Cross - Super Sunday #1

Today was the first installment of my month of super Sundays......cross racing in the AM and ball hockey in the PM. Should be quite the month of Sundays and a good test of my late Fall fitness.

The first cross race went off today under near perfect cyclocross conditions; 5C with rain. Hosted by Cyclesmith at Seaview Park lookoff the race began with record participation numbers as cyclocross is seeing a resurgence in popularity of late. Maybe its the fun atmosphere of cross racing or the joys of short track cycling on a closed course with something for everyone....mud, gravel, crushed rock and grass complimented with barriers and run-ups.

I arrived at the startline and immediately placed myself at the back of the pack. Since I was competing on a heavy hardtail MTB my objective was to just have some fun on the challenging course and try and stay out of the way of the hardcore cross racers.
Photo courtesy of J Fougere

With game face firmly in place at the start it was time to get down to racing.....well....more like participating in my case.I managed to get in a couple warmup laps but the course quickly deteriorated in the wet conditions.

Photo courtesy of C Steinman

Within a couple laps parts of the course became quagmires of mud. I was on fat MTB tires so was better suited for those conditions which is a good thing since my off road skills need lots of work.
Photo courtesy of I Loughead
 It wasn't to long before it was easier to actually run up some of the climbs due to the chewed up grass and mud as I found I was just spinning my rear wheel on the climbs. I guess its a fine line in cross racing to find that gearing that lets you power through the mud but not cause you to "blow up" from pushing too big a gear.

Pic courtesy of J Fougere

The barricades were akin to walls placed in a bog and were challenging to leap over, especially as the race progressed  and my bike seemed to gain weight with each subsequent lap.

Photo courtesy of J Fougere

The dismounts were OK as were my remounts considering the sloppy conditions and the amount of debris on my shoes, cleats and pedals. That said I still think a set of eggbeaters may be the way to go considering the time it took me to reclip after each remount.Something to think about for the remaining races.

Photo courtesy of C Steinman

Ironically it was the one paved section that I found the hardest. It was a steep grade that led into a short but steep run-up after having a fast descent down a fire road. I managed to recover on the road and actually gain back some distance on the riders ahead of me but once on the paved climb I lost that advantage. If I spun up the hill I lost my momentum and if I pushed a hard gear out of the saddle I had some fork bobb even with the lockout engaged. I continued doing shoulder checks and would get out of the way of the faster competitors on parts of the course so  that also contributed to my time and placing. Overall it was a fun,albeit hard, day at the races. Looking forward to race #2 next weekend.

 Home to clean the bike with the garden hose, a quick bite to eat and off to ballhockey. I was feeling the cross racing in my lower back and glutes so did some extra stretching before getting in goal for two hours of ball hockey. Surprisingly I felt real good in nets and had a heck of a good day. Down 5-2 in the first game we rallied for a 10 - 5 win with some solid goaltending on my part. Game two was a different story with the overall speed of the opposing squad dominating the floor and shots on goal and we were quickly down 7 - 2. I managed to find some better form late in the game and we managed to close the gap to  9-5 before a low screen shot from the slot beat me clean to the bottom corner for a 10 -5 loss.

1 comment:

Cari said...

cool photos!