I had been looking forward to this race, I always have a good time here and it’s consistently been a season highlight.
The race predictor had me at 14/23, but I could see from the parking lot that there were quite a few fast day-of registrants, and we’d have a bigger field then that. Anything in the top 50% was going to be a good result for me.
Tire choice was an enigma, I brought along my pair of Triggers (filetreads) which I had just glued up because the day was turning out to be sunny and dry. I had never ridden them before and was very curious to see how they felt. I did some pre-riding to check out the cornering traction. Some parts of the course had some tight twisty stuff, and while the ground was wet, it was quite tacky, and not so slippery. The off-camber part just after the dirt mound was the most difficult, and lots of guys on all kinds of tires were sliding out there. I didn’t feel any worse off with the filetreads, plus they felt quite fast on the rest of the course. The earth was soft enough that it seemed to cake up in any deep tread pattern, but the file treads had the added bonus of flinging off any and all mud instantly, they weren’t loading up at all.
But just because I’ve never raced with them, I decided to error on the side of caution and ran a Tracer in front, and the Trigger in the rear. It seemed to be the perfect combination, with about 23-24 psi in the front, and 27 in the rear (could have probably gone a bit lower once again). I had excellent cornering traction, but best of all it floated over the soft, tacky earth and rolled fast.
Speed was the name of the game here.
Since last year, my Crossresults score (231) at Crossasaurus had been an outlier, a good 50 points better then where I usually ride (280). It was my best cross result score by a large margin, I think that in the past this less-technical course suited my lack of bike handling skills. However, the Philly Ciclismo bunch had added a few more technical features so I would need to up my game to get a good finish here.
I managed to get a call up for the last front row spot, which would turn out to be a very good thing. Early in the first lap we hit the steep dirt mound which was very rideable, but in the congestion of the start, some feet dabbed, and bikes collided, and I had to dismount to do the top tube shuffle over the top. Our bunch was splitting up, and I heard no end of expletives right behind me. For many of the fast guys who didn’t get a start near the front, their race now had some significant gaps which would be hard to recover from on a fast, open course.
Alas, even some of the open, straight sections were too technical for me, as I took out no less then three sections of course stakes and tape. Plus, I plowed into a park sign right after the sand pit, fortunately it was a lot less solid then it looked. After the first lap, things settled down, and I needed to back off, pull myself together, and start getting control of my bike.
I settled in behind Minturn, and made a few attempts to pass, but he was too fast on the straight sections, and I couldn’t get a clean enough line to pass on the turns. I also tried to get by him while running over the log, but he closed off that option. Finally, with about 2 to go, Cole caught up to us, and that helped shake up the stale mate. He squeezed by me on a turn, and then shortly after, shot right past Minturn. The smart move would have been for me to follow, and I could hear Ryan encouraging me to do so from the sidelines, but Cole was too quick, and I missed my chance. Finally, on the straight section before the log, I took my opportunity and sprinted by. I kept the pace up, but when I looked back, he wasn’t chasing, so I could ride the finishing lap without taking extra risks.
Sometimes the luck in cross doesn’t go your way, sometimes it does. My fortune was the misfortune of others caught up in the start, and with Gerald’s mechanical, I managed to grab the last money spot. Unfortunately, I had no idea (oblivious as usual) and missed the podium shot this year.
The single speed race a totally different affair then the 1/2/3, it was fun to just cruise around the course, soak up the heckles, and even get a delicious donut out of the experience.
Another great event, nay “experience” from the Philly Ciclismo crew.