This week’s race report was written by our special guest star Brad Walker, who you may remember from his contribution of the “kidney bean individual pursuit” drill at cyclocross practice, his “Taint Cam” youtube channel, or who you may follow on Twitter.
Yesterday was the Minuteman Road Club cyclocross race in Lancaster, and boy what a picturesque fall day. A chilly morning made way for mid 50s temps by the time we got ready for the P123 race at 1:15. I plunked down the $20 for a team tent spot, which got us a cat’s ass location just along the start/finish line where the team was able to congregate both before and after our respective races.
I had a front-row draw for the Cat 3/4 race based on my points, but I decided to trade that in for a mid-to-lower position (26th) in the P123 race to get some more of what I call “free coaching” with the fast guys, and I’m glad I did. The MRC course is very similar to the Midnight Ride in that it’s VERY turny and very sprinty, so having the opportunity to follow really fast guys around was appealing to me. Also, it rained like a son of a gun on Saturday, making the course oh so very tacky and fun.
Got lined up a couple of rows behind Matt and waited for the whistle. It goes off and I immediately botch the clip-in. I just could not get my left foot clipped in, which would have been fine had I only been seated during the start, but I needed to stand and sprint to make up as many positions I could. Finally I said f&*k it and just sprinted unclipped, getting to work on moving up before the holeshot. I managed to finally clip in and grab a number of positions and even found myself within eyesight of Matt (woohoo!), although still several bodies away.
The opening lap was great because it was fast as hell, and no bottlenecks, just hammer down. Lots of opening lap crashes, though. Like this one 43 sec into the race.
And this one which tangled a bunch of Cat 2s. I was psyched about this one because it means I was in front of some really fast guys, even if only for a half a lap until a couple of them hit the afterburners and went by me later on.
And this one just after the wood chips which didn’t take me out, but forced me to come to a near stop in order to avoid it.
See, this is why they call the back the scrub zone. Anyways, the remainder of the first lap was relatively tame, and I settled into a rhythm that I hoped I’d be able to sustain for 6 more laps. The biggest change I made in strategy between this race and Midnight Ride was to use the big ring more. I dunno if it made any difference, but in my head I was telling myself that for anything but the climbing sections I should be hammering. Seems to have worked, I guess. I hammered.
A funny incident unfolded in front of me a couple of laps later where Michael Mckittrick and Patrick Collins (MRC) nearly tangled as neither wanted to yield to another heading into the barn. Mckittrick was lecturing him on etiquette AS THEY WERE RACING SIDE-BY-SIDE through the barn and nearly tangled again upon exit. Michael ended up flatting out, and Patrick finished just in front of me at the end.
The rest of the race was me trying not to get passed, and doing everything I could to pass people in front of me. The fast turning section between the exit of the sand corral and the entrance for the pits was my favorite. I was pinning the turns and hammering the straights and it felt really good. In the end I finished 23rd of 45, a result that I’m very happy with. I thought the climbing sections of the course would be the death of me but it seems to have been tough for everyone, so maybe it was just an equalizer. A super fun race at a great venue with awesome weather and totally cooked legs. Can’t ask for more than that. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to a rest week!
Lap 1 video here: 2014 MRC Cross P123