Thursday, November 8, 2012

Cincy3 Kings Cross & Harbin park.

As you may or may not know, one of my main goals for the next two years is to qualify for EuroCamp and race in Belgium for two weeks. There are two qualifying race weekends, Louisville USGP and Cincy3. I am taking a two week leave from the farm and traveling down to race, spend a week in a hotel, race again and drive back home.

We arrived in Cincinatti Friday evening. There was a race that day at a different venue but not a UCI Junior race so I was free to ride the Saturday course for a solid hour and get all the lines dialed in. It was a grassy course, no sandpits and little tar. Grass start, grass finish with plenty of corners, three steep hills and two uphill drags.

After pre riding  dad and I headed over to my second cousin Erin's house were we would stay for the weekend. The next day was extremely relaxed. I didn't race until 5:30 so I pretty much had the entire day to chill out. Just after I had gotten out and ridden the course to check if the conditions had changed, it started raining! I watched the course get muddier and muddier as the rain poured down. I went out to pre ride the course one more time before my race, in the mud. It was perfect! I had been hoping it would get super muddy the whole week but the forecast had said it definitely wouldn't rain.

Yet as I warmed up, the rain continued! The favorable conditions helped with my nerves a lot. I had never competed against this elite of a field and didn't have a CLUE how I would stack up so I was a little tense, in a good way. It was cold once it got that wet, so I put my extra hot Enzo's Embrocation on. Embrocation is a special oil that protects you skin from water, wind, and cold. I burns a little bit when you apply it, but it usually feels good when your out in the cold with only a thin layer of Lycra on.

I lined up on the back row of 25 riders. A small field sure, but a very, very fast one. Off the start I was dead last, I picked the wrong rider to line up behind and couldn't get through the riders! Part of me was panicking and part of me was just supremely calm. I knew the starting stretch was fairly long so I just kept on moving up. We hit the first off camber section and I was able to stick a high line and blew past the field! I went from almost last to 12th in a matter of seconds. I really started to get into my rhythm then as riders crashed left and right. 10th, 7th, 5th! I could see 3rd and 4th up ahead when I got a little too comfortable with one of the off cambers and slid out, falling on my drive train and dropping my chain. I had trouble getting my chain back on and lost a good 30 seconds. I started pitting every lap because of the mud accumulation on my bike. I moved my way back up, got ran into by other riders twice, moved back up, caught a root trying to make a pass and stumbled. On the last lap I was 7th place, Feeling great and having a blast. I had passed riders I had never been within minutes of before like they weren't even moving. I could see David Lombardo up ahead in 6th about 15 seconds ahead. I started clawing my way up to him, concentrating on making no mistakes and riding everything. The barriers, the two slippery hills, part of the stairs.
I caught up to and passed him with about 4 corners to go and two long uphill stretches. I gapped him by a few bikes lengths, but he closed it back down and I came in the the final finish stretch with him right next to me. David has a really good sprint, he beat me and I placed a very muddy 7th place. This was my first time racing on my new HED wheels. They were great, super light, stiff, and took me banging them on the barriers and stairs without complaint.

Check out this awesome video of my race by Chris Schmidt! (its Vimeo so I couldn't post it to here) *Video*

The next day my race was at two o clock so I got out earlier to ride the course in between races. It was much different from the day before. No place to rest, plenty of corners, long lap, two sand pits, no run up, a tar start, and uphill barriers to high and slow to hop. I also had a first row start this time around.

The start was fast however and I was back in the teens coming into the first technical section before I started moving up. I jumped on David's wheel as he came by and we moved up the pack until only five riders were ahead of us. The front group of three was about 20 seconds up and two riders were just 5 seconds up. David and I worked together and caught one of the two riders ahead of us but the other, Nate, held us off. Coming into the last lap our group consisted of David, John, Gunnar, and myself. I knew I didn't want to go into the sprint with all of them, so I attacked coming into the final technical section. I put a few bike lengths on David and dropped Gunnar, but David caught me on the power drag coming into the sprint and passed me in the sprint. I was going hard trying to limit my losses but John nipped me on the line by inches and I finished 7th again.

After the race I looked at the results and found that not only was I one second out of fifth and seven seconds out of fourth, but just ten seconds out of third and thirty eight out of first. its been a crazy weekend, I have made astronomical improvements and going to Belgium is starting to look like a real possibility. I am looking forward to Louisville this weekend, I'll be ready to race!

Thanks a ton to Jeffrey for the awesome photos! Go check out his other great photos of these races and more at his Website.

Big thanks to ENZO's Cycling Products for the great all natural Embrocation to keep me warm and ready on race day! Check them out at their Website 

Last but not least, huge thanks to HED Cycling for the sweet wheels!

No comments:

Post a Comment