Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Eating It, Too

Town Hall Cross in Bethlehem, PA is the PACX Series opener, and it is a course that suits my riding style. A little bit of climbing - but not straight up a hill, some false flats, power sections, and some technical turns to break it all up. I had marked it as a race I wanted to podium in my calendar. And well... yeah, lets just start from the beginning.

Lap 1 I accidentally took the hole shot because Jack Drummond decided to ride straight through the course tape instead of turning. I wanted to be second or third wheel so that somebody else could set the tempo up the hill. I eased up and worked back to second and then followed up the hill. Coming down was a little messy being in the group still. After a couple of straights and hairpins, we were riding across the grade of the hill and my front tubular just rolled a little bit. I stopped, put it on, and eased my way to the pit to grab Ellis' bike.

The pack was now stringing out so I had some work to do. Within a lap i had worked my way back up to seventh. In another lap, i was in fifth, and each lap after that i was making up small chunks of time on the 2/3/4 group. Until lap five.

At the start of lap 5, climbing the switchbacks, the 2/3/4 group had about 10 seconds on me, which is a lot, but achievable in two laps. Ride strong through the switchbacks and shift to the little ring for the short and steep climb. Only the chain doesn't shift, so when I torque it after the slippery grass, the chain drops. FFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU. Run up the hill and throw the chain on, but sixth saw me slip up. He's making his move.

Bombin' down the hill and I'm ready to let him burn his matches to get my wheel. Through the turns after the barriers he is getting close, so its time for me to burn one. Stand up and put it on, through the ruts in the mud and into a sweeping left. And suddenly the bike is gone and my face is in the dirt. The bike hits me in the back of the head and I'm seeing stars. Six and seven pass me. The rear wheel is locked up. I fidget with the brake and get it to let go and eighth place passes me. Back on the bike, hurting, dazed, and wanting to give up. I can't tell if there is snot all over my face, or if I'm bleeding. I wipe it and its snot, so that is good.

I pass eighth in the power sections through the back and then, through a tight right hander up a hill, the rear tubular completely rolls. All the way. It was insane. It makes me wonder if the tubular had rolled head when i crashed and then popped back on when the bike hit me in the head. The more I think of it, the more this makes sense. I was in a sweeping left turn, and I high sided it landing on my right side and face. Either way, I am now out a helmet and owe Ellis a wheel gluing.

DNFs always hurt, and as sore as I am from crashing, the mental pain of a DNF is worse. Always try to finish after you crash. I'm still kicking myself for not running a half lap (uphill) and grabbing 10th - 12th place. But I could redeem myself Sunday in MD, plus, I was heading down to Greg and Chad's for the night for some partying!

***Unfortunately, I am having a hard time finding pictures from this race. I will try to update this entry if I find some.***

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