RacenLog November 15, 2007


The racing season is nearly over. Get out there and race!

There are perks (free stuff!) to joining the Race Team. Join or find out more by calling me at 616-633-8601, join our yahoogroup at RWRace@Yahoogroups.com, or email me at race@rapidwheelmen.com. I know some of you are racing as Rapid Wheelmen who aren't on the team. If you're one of them, why?? Join the team by contacting me. There's no downside, only camaraderie and free stuff!

Cannonsburg - Kisscross Cyclocross Series (October 21, 2007)
RTRs: Joel Bierling (A's 14th), Dave George (B's 2nd), Jeff Festian (B's 21st), Mark Bailey (B's 26th)

Ouch. I'll say it again. Ouch. Last year's race at Cannonsburg was miserable. This year's race was even more so, but for completely different reasons. Last year it was the weather; this year it was my clumsiness. I did make one improvement in that I was able to count my laps by peeling off strips of tape from my handlebars. But, I managed to find every way possible to crash, improperly dismount, and fall flat on my face.

It shaped up to be a great day. Warm, sunny, dry course (well, except for the creek crossing), and feeling fine. Well, I was a little sore from a 5K running race I did the day before, and that may have played a role in the events to come. But other than that things were looking good as I lined up for the start of the race. The first disaster that struck came as I plunked down my bike after carrying it up to the top of the dismounted climb. I plunked it down a little too hard, as it turned out, and the chain came off. I only lost 10 seconds or so but 10 seconds is an eternity in the middle of a bike race. The second disaster came when I was dismounting for one of the creek crossings. Now usually when I dismount I unclip my left foot first. This didn't work too well for this race since all the dismounts were on left handed turns and, in any event, you really do need to unclip the right one first. Well, I messed up the dismount and ended planting myself on the ground right in front of most of the spectators (don't feel too sorry for me yet). Of course, my chain came off again.

Third, I again messed up a dismount for the board jumps and ended up partially crashing into the first one. Ouch. Rinse and repeat the chain's desire to flee its bounds. The final straw came on one of the last creek crossings where I dragged the front wheel through the water causing me to basically run over the bike, falling flat on my face in the middle of the creek. Good show for the spectators I'm sure! In any case, this left me with numerous bloody punctures in both knees. After putting the chain back on for the fourth and final time, I basically decided to call it a day as I didn't know the extent of the damage (my knees have always been problematic) and just rode through to the finish. Luckily the damage was just superficial, and other than a bruised ego, none the worse for wear.

I'm not sure exactly what my problem was. It could have been the race the day before, the cones playing musical chairs on the creek crossing, or just bad luck. Ah, but it will be a race to remember for sure.

82 racers. Combined with the ski hill's open house, great event.

Grand River Park - Kisscross Cyclocross Series (November 4, 2007)
RTRs: Joel Bierling (A's 10th), Dave George (A's 17th), Jeff Festian (B's 39th), Mark Bailey (B's 33rd)

Due to the new rule about not preriding the course while the previous race is being run (which makes a heck of a lot of sense), I didn't really get a chance to properly scout the course. I did manage to ride most of it just before the start, but my haste caused me to crash on one of the sandy turns-not a good start considering the race at Cannonsburg. But I brushed myself off and got back to the start just in time to take off a layer of warm clothing and get racing. I got going, got through the first part of the course, approached the sketchy corner and BLAM, down I went again. What's going on? By the time I got unclipped and back on my bike I think I'm in last place. Not good.

Well, time to put the hammer down, I guess. Problem is, my hammer isn't too big, but it does travel up hill well. Unfortunately the course was pretty flat, but on the up-hills that did exist I managed to eke my way back up the standings. Thankfully, there were no further incidents, and I finished respectably.

I did get several comments about my technique on the bunny hop. I had to ask-what bunny hop? On the first lap I didn't even know it was there since I hadn't been able to preride the whole course. I just managed to get my front wheel up in time, which left my unweighted back wheel to bang into the log. For every lap after that, I figured why mess with what worked before, and did the same thing. In retrospect I could have and should have just done a bunny hop, but since I hadn't had a chance to practice it, and considering the clumsiness of the previous race, tried and true was the way of the day.

Jeff Festian did two races. What a monster-he also did the C race on a tandem. Amazing!

93 racers. The B race was huge!