While the rest of the country was getting bombarded with rain, the high country was as dry as a bone. This weekend brought only a single day of racing, the Boulder Racing Series (no. 2) at Xilinx. It’s a favorite course for Coloradoans with just enough elevation gain, pavement, woods, obstacles and off-camber. A little something for everyone if not more favored to the roadies of the group given it’s long power-paved sections.
35 Open Race
Here in ACA-land call-ups this year are being handled by our East Coast friends at Cross Results. This is interesting as it is using some pretty neat algorithms to assemble the order of riders based on data the ACA provides…which shows a precisely wrong but generally correct ordering of the crew. These guys are data geeks like me and I appreciate the time they are taking to make this all right for us around the country.
The 35 Open crew was called to the line using the Cross Results-generated list and clearly folks had their game faces on. All of us wanted to show well…and at least make it a bit hard for Robson who is absolutely ripping (and never seems to un-rip!).
And so there we are. Lined up. Waiting. All of us know that feeling before the start…legs twitching, totally silent, focus focus focus. the officials patrolling about…“1 minute!” they yell. Then “30 seconds!” Then…”15 seconds!” I get that adrenaline-pop just writing that. That close to the whistle, the official should typically walk behind the front row so no one can see exactly when the whistle will blow. You know, ':New England start rules…can happen at any moment.” Not last Saturday. In fact, our good friend Al (who I will rib here) somehow made a gesture or a ‘go!’ signal which sent 15 or so guys charging off the line. We all stood there like: “Um, you’re calling them back right?” Nope. “You better go!” is what we got. Ha! Al, you owe us beers.
So we clipped in and HAULED ass up the start chute in chase…a 1/4 mile drag on pavement uphill before ducking into the woods. It was a panic for sure and tons of matches burned to get up to the front.
Michael was already gone, tail up, with a hard charging Timmy Faia somewhere dangling 10 seconds behind. Then us…the usual suspects: The Wis, Cosp, Jeff Wardell, Charlie Merrill, Rob Batey, Kevin Quinones, Pat Gallegos.
To be honest, after the ‘shake out’ and settling-in of the chasers, it got super fun. It’s not as if it isn't ever fun, but this course and these guys…we all race super tight, super clean and make it…well, like a race! We flowed as a consistent train through the course lap after lap. All of us traded position 3 through 10 at least once in the race if not MANY times. Back and forth, cat and mouse.
In the sandy back sections of the course I could feel the pace drop…I peered behind and could see a trailing group gaining ground. Laps 3 and 4 became obvious they were going to nab us. And one uniform I could see making headway like a freight train was Dennis Farrell! From the back row, Dennis was crushing it and I could tell it was only a 1/2 lap until he pulled a bunch of fresh meat up to us.
With 2 to go, I try and rip it to bridge to a group off the front, bunny hopping this mole hill and squeak around The Wis to try and make distance and get clear. I got nabbed in the closing lap, burned too much and had to settle for 9th. It was worth the effort and super fun to make the move I thought I had to make.
Patrick strapped on the GoPro and recorded some of the goodness for you guys and gals around the country to see. I’m wondering if Ft. Collins will be like this if we don't get the rain…
With the 35 Open race in my legs and a cool down ride/post mortem with The Wis, I decided I needed to go play a bit more in the dirt. I got my number for the Elite race at 1PM and by this time the temp was 85 and I’d been in my chamois since 10AM…now likely developing a fungus in my hind quarters. Tietzel pinned me up and I went to the back row. Goal: Flow…and just practice going from the back and take on folks and move to the next one and so on. Good practice when you do not often get the chance to line up like that.
From the gun, I could see the nervousness of the younger, hungrier guys…completely getting way too dicey in the start chute. I rolled safely around with T-Brown who was up from D-Town for a bit until the initial shit-show calmed itself and the crashers and guys who started too hard would meet their demise. Brandon, Webber, Allen and our newest addition to the BCS Famiglia, Shawn Harshman, were up front and safely into their race. Then, it was just…flow. Wide open spaces…no stress…just efforts, feeling my tires rip and trying new lines I wouldn’t normally risk in my event just to push the limits of what I can do on the bike. All these years later and so much stuff to continually learn and practice. I finished in the 30s on the lead lap and proceeded to get home and ingest a Trippel. Good day of bike riding.
Next up, first of the Colorado Cross cup series at HIGH altitude: 9K at Frisco.