Monday, October 27, 2014

Orchard Cross 2014

orchards make great CX venues

As my cyclocross experiment continues I think I have found my favorite course/event so far.  Orchard CX at Applecrest Farm has some serious production value.  Farm equipment on hand to build interesting course features, a full blown farm stand/market complete with cider donuts and hot cider, a petting zoo, pick your own apples...oh and a cross race.

tower of power

The 4/5 race was loaded.  Full combined field with the juniors of 100 and 91 starters in my race.  Luckily my current points got me staged third row.  First part of the start went smoothly.  Everything was fine until we reached the second corner with a short rise up to another straightaway.  Corner was gravel so of course a guy crashes right in front of me.  Luckily he popped right back up and it only held me up for a moment but it was enough to kill momentum and lose a few spots.

Luckily most of the rest of my 1st and 2nd lap went great.  I was feeling good and the course was great for me.  Many of the corners could be taken at pretty high speed if you knew what you were doing and that is an area where I know a bit more than others.  Carnage was minimal early on although there was plenty of dudes catching tape and/or apple tree branches.  There were some really cool man made features on the course the best of which was probably Cowbell Corner.

Basically a huge bermed turn with a whoop and then a miny table top right after.  The high line was top fun.

I got into a good group and was racing for top 20 for a bit on my second lap.  Heading into the 3rd lap things started going a bit less ideal for me.  The super fast juniors started working their way through and caught us about 1/3 of the way through the 3rd lap.  One of them crept up on me and tried to come around wide on a high speed slick sweeping corner.  I didn't know he was there and as I was using the course to drift out and scrub my speed without taking too sharp of a turn we bumped and because he probably saw me coming he prepared and held his line and I ended up sliding out and going down.

Wasn't a bad crash but enough to tweak my shifter a bit and drop my chain and lose the group I was in.  I can sit here and try to blame him but that's cross.  I probably would have just given him the pass if he said something because I wasn't technically racing him but ultimately its on me.  If I had known he was there I would have also prepared and just put him in the tape.  Oh well, I can always take out the juniors in my next race.

Took me a bit to get back into the groove after that.  I was probably still top 25(ish) at this point but it looked unlikely I was going to get back up to that bigger group.  Luckily a few other guys dropped off that group as well and I swept them up about half way through the last lap.  Passed one heading up a false flat drag into a high speed corner that I was able to take much faster and got the next at the main run up where he bobbled.

I was able to put a bit of real estate on them but I was getting tired and pushing hard for the finish and starting to make some mistakes and poor line choices.  I think keeping a level head last lap might be something I need to work on.  Less frenetic more business.  It looked like one of the guys had cracked but the other was surging.  I had maybe 5 secs heading into the final barriers which I thought was going to be enough.  Until I completely missed my remount after the barriers.  Like completely missed my pedal on both feet and came to a dead stop heading into the false flat sprint to the finish.  Not ideal.

My 5 sec gap decreased rapidly and I was looking at a 100yd sprint against a dude that was built quite a bit better for sprinting than me.  I put in a valiant effort but he nipped me by maybe half a wheel at the line.  Ended up with 23rd of 91.  My best result to date so far.  I had been in the group that ultimately contested 17th-21st. I seem to be figuring this cross thing out, points continue to lower and I'm having a good ole time doing it.

Next race will probably be at the Harpoon Brewery in VT.  Can't beat that!

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