Sunday, November 14, 2010

My Full Measure - Super Sunday #3

Lug nuts. Specifically lug nuts that were torqued on WAY too tight. My super Sunday was less than stellar today primarily due to the trouble I had switching out to winter rims on Thursday. In the process of removing my alloys before the onset of winter I tweaked my lower back wrenching the seized lug nuts on my car.

Friday was iffy and Saturday was better and the club ride did not feel too bad. That said a 50km ride in nice weather on smooth pavement is a far cry from cross racing in the mud. The course was switched around today and was quite challenging with 3 tight u turns, the usual steep run-up, back to back climbs and barricades that were located in nothing short of quicksand.

pic compliments of S Fougere

I knew pretty quickly after the start that I was participating at less than my usual best(which for my cross racing isn't very good). After the first series of barricades it was obvious lifting a heavy MTB in deep mud at speed was not happening. As a result I didn't even bother and basically just walked over the barricades.

pic compliments of J Fougere
 Climbing felt better out of the saddle although inefficient and the rest of the course was managable. The steep run-up was hard as I was unable to drive my feet into the turf as my lower back protested with each step.

pic courtesy of J Fougere

pic compliments of S Fougere

Talk about damaged goods. At the same time it was apparent that the "real" cross racers were starting to find good form as the series moved to race #3. The dryer conditions certainly made for faster laps so I was  trying to be more aware of who was behind me and attempting to be less of a hindrance to the faster riders. Lots of shoulder checks today.

pic compliments of B Steinman

pic compliments of S Fougere
Maybe that is part of what cyclocross is about...faster riders having to deal with slower folks on the course? Regardless I was feeling less than confident especially when I felt the series was ramping up and becoming more competitive. Cudos to the fast competitive lads who always gave me a verbal warning of their approach and what side they were passing upon.

pic courtesy of B Steinman

 That certainly made life easier and I always made sure to hold my line(or vacate the path) and let them pass. That said I did tangle with some thorn bushes avoiding a pack of three hard charging racers and have the scratches to prove it. Darn things look minor but sting something wicked.
Midway through the race I was still trying to push hard and was enjoying the tough(er) course and was approaching the crushed rock corner heading towards the fire road. I was on the far right in the best groove(less rock) when out of the blue another rider accelerated into the corner on my right. It sounded like a bull elephant charging out of the brush so I assume he was into the shrubs trying to cut ahead of me in the corner. Fearing a crash I relinquished my line and wobbled to the left across the loose(deeper) crushed rock. I was pissed! The same rider silently rode up on my six last week and again this week in what, even for cross racing, was a bush league maneuver(IMHO). #%&*! The thing is if he had sounded off his intentions like the other guys I would have gladly given him the lane rather than risk the chance of a crash. Methinks someone needs to work on his manners.Its simple...."on your right(left)" works wonders.

Needless to say I just sat up afterwards and decided to ride out the race. Approaching the start/finish line I heard someone encouraging me to sprint to the line so I assume I was on my last lap. Over the line I pulled over, grabbed my vest and headed home....aching back in tow.Might have even gotten a DNF but who really cares. Not sure what my intentions are for the remaining two races of the series. I might opt out especially if the back does not come around this week. Ball hockey is my focus as I have a group of guys depending on me to play nets on Sundays so they have priority.I'll leave the cross racing to the cross less obstacle on the course(wink).

The spectators are great and are a big part of the whole cyclocross experience. Many excellent photographers as well. The pictures are excellent. Thanks! If you are so inclined visit my Facebook page for images of this weeks race.!/george.henley

Home for some stretching and cleaning of the bike. Back felt better but stiff once off the bike but now I had 2 hours of ball hockey goaltending. I had first pick and ended up with a solid team but never assume talent will always trump hard work. The other squad hustled and managed a 10-8 win in the first game and a close 10-9 victory in the second match. Dominating down low and using a "third man in" strategy I was pummeled by repeated shots from the slot which didn't do my stiff back any favors. Compensating I ended up tweaking my neck in the third and final game but at least we hung on for a 6-5 win as time expired.

Definitely had my full measure of "fun" today. It was a tough day on both the bike and in nets. Ice packs for the neck and back tonight with a liberal amount of red wine to numb the pain. Such is life!

1 comment:

Ian - TKOS said...

That was probably me telling you to sprint it out at the end. You looked good, even if you didn't feel it. And looking good is all that counts.