Thursday, October 14, 2010

Two Days in 'Upstate' NY

I raced on Saturday and Sunday at Westwood Velo's cross weekend, held in upstate NY (sorry Ryan, anything north of the Bronx is considered "upstate"), just outside of NJ. They scheduled their races a bit differently/in-reverse with the Mens A going at 12.30, B at 1.45, and C at 2.45.

I raced in the B's both days. The fields were about 27 racers each day. The course(s) was long. I know on Sunday we only did 5 laps (9min laps!), though Saturday may have been 6 laps... Fortunately for me and my riding style, there were few twisty/windy sections (though i'm getting more proficient at those), instead there were a number of straightaways, false flats, some muddy/soggy sections, and multiple dismounts (x2 sets of barriers, x1 set of stairs, and x1 messy runnup [or on Sunday only it was a rideup but only for some of the riders]).

I'm still trying to get a feel for my power/pain threshold, bike handling abilities, and race strategy. I've noticed that i need to work harder in the opening sprint, even if it requires burning a match or two that i may need later on; the positions i lose in the start are just too valuable. Nonetheless, on both days, i basically hold my starting position (mid-pack) going into the hole shot (compared to dangling off/near the back) and work to just pick people off in the early laps. And i think because of my very loud freewheel, a lot of people will make mistakes once i bridge up to them while i am coasting the sections they are pedaling.


Anyway, because of the relatively small field, by mid-race the gaps between racers is too large to continuously bridge up and/or work together. On Saturday, by mid-race, i found myself in no man's land and it was rather difficult to keep up a high output without a "target" in sight. So on Sunday, towards mid-race, i recognized i was in a similar situation, with the guy who finished a decent distance ahead of me the day before in front of me by a slightly smaller margin. Instead of just maintaining my position, i decided to burn a few matches and try to bridge. It took a lap or so, with me yo-yo-ing off his wheel a bit, but by my 3rd or so bridge, he basically sat up. I'm guessing each of my bridging attempts forced him to put in an acceleration that eventually tired him out. Or he may have been wanting me to pass right before the road section, so when i passed i made sure to put in a sustained acceleration to create a gap, it also helped that i passed a little before the stairs (also before the road), where i had been gaining distance (to only lose in the winde-y sections) all weekend. Anyway, bell lap comes around (remember only 5 laps) and proceed to bury myself in the power sections and run-ups (my strengths) while being rather cautious in the turns and off-camber stuff (my weaknesses), and am able to hold my position through the finish even though he definitely made up some ground towards the end.

Finished 9th on Saturday, 6th on Sunday.

–Report by Ellis Kim

Editors note: not pictured due to cropping and Ellis' head being in the way are his brand new TRP EuroX brakes. So fly.

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