Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Night Weasels Cometh


After all these years of following the fun on the internet I finally got to experience Night Weasels in the flesh.  It's a certified HOOT.  Especially when its wet, which from what I've heard is always the case.

Eric and I showed up early.  We walked the course trying to find the inevitable choke points and to watch the Cat 5 Carnage Extravaganza. There were a few good crashes, some stair failures but overall not too bad.

I was excited for the course.  Seemed like it was going to cater to some of my strengths compared to most other racers, at least from my experience so far.  This course is a bit more climby than most which helps neutralize the bigger/heavier power guys and those climbs mean descents which neutralize the guys who can't steer a bike.  Add in some greasy mud and slick grass and I'm a happy camper.

Our start was the combined 4/5 under 40 and 40+ fields which meant 102 guys toe'ing the line. #YEEHAA.  I was staged 52nd or so, although they were calling up rows of 8 and I noticed several guys drifting a bit forward as we rolled up.  All things considered the start was pretty civil and issue free.  No massive pile-ups (that I saw or was involved in anyway) or bad stop and go traffic.  I was able to move up a bit in the early goings on the first climb but I would say most of my passing was done on the descents.

best thing about our Chainline kits? easy to spot in a sea of #meatpylons

hammering along in the group that formed early

(photos courtesy of Russ Campbell Photography - he's got some great work check it out!)

Lots of weaving in and out of dudes.  My Clemente PDX's were hooking up great.  Plenty of times I can remember coming into corners way hotter than those around me while they washed out and I railed past.  Most guys don't round their lines out nearly enough (particularly when its wet) and their abrupt attempts to turn usually end in sadness.  Luckily I'm getting pretty good at quickly identifying guys who have it wrong and I'm even getting good at anticipating when/where they are going to lose it so that I can avoid them.

Ultimately I ended up in a small group yo-yo'ing a bit for the middle laps.  A few guys would stay close enough on the downs to catch me on the finishing straight but they wouldn't have enough to drop me on the climbs and I would pass and gap them on the descents.  Eventually that group dwindled as some of the guys ran out of juice with 2 laps to go.  One guy packed it in mentally pretty spectacularly as the announcer called '2 laps to go!' as we were pulling through and he yells 'Wait...2?!'  Never saw him again.

When I attempt to upgrade to Cat 4 early I'm just going to send this photo subject "c'mon"
(photo courtesy of Nick Czerula another great cycling photog)

this looks like I'm about to implode against that barrier but I can assure you I cleared it with impeccable form.
(obstacle photos courtesy of Katie Busick. So many good photogs at cross races!)

I had a pretty good battle with a Minuteman Road Club guy last lap.  He put in a good dig on the first longer climb.  I was at my limit and made the, probably incorrect, decision to let him go a bit knowing that I had the better of him on the downs.  He got a bigger gap than I would have liked and he was taking bigger risks on the descents than he did on previous laps and the gap was not coming down as fast as I thought it would.  Heading into the final climb and descent I could tell he was starting to fade and I was getting closer.  I pushed as hard as I could and he was bleeding seconds.  Rounding the bottom of the lift heading into the last little chicane he had maybe 15-20ft.  We were passing some lapped traffic coming into that turn and I got a bit jammed up.

He got into the finishing straight first as I was taking a wide line around the traffic.  Gap opened back up a bit but I got back up to speed pretty fast and I was closing immediately.  I definitely had a bit more left than he did and I was coming up on him fast. Buuuuuuut I ran out of road.  Got me by half a bike length.  5 more feet and I would have had it.

Ended up 34th in the full 102 rider field and I think 15th in under 40.  I'm happy with that.  Moved up about 20 places or so from my start position and lowered my crossresults points.  Thats a win.  Great course, great event.  It was a blast watching the pro men and women under the lights.  They go real fast.  If I stick with this whole cross thing I will certainly come back.

(another great shot for Chainline Cycles from Katie Busick)


  1. Anonymous10/03/2014

    That niner your teammate is on is very niiiice.


  2. yeah they are pretty sweet. if the timing had been just a bit different I probably would have gotten that frameset instead of the all-city.