Saturday, 19 September 2015

ABA 5 - Pumphouse 'cross - dear cyclocross gods, please have mercy on me

The Synergy Pumphouse 'cross is close, a totally awesome technical course, and has been blessed in ongoing fashion with good weather.  Today was no different, with huge turnouts of people with smiles on their faces.

Cindy raced well, and I got a few pics as Brit was just happy relaxing while being football carried.  All was happy.

I got in a respectable warmup.  Lined up in a respectable spot.  The start is ballistic but I had an un traffic'd line that wasn't too bad.  As the groups sorted out, I felt a little sluggish but not bad when I looked around.  I think last weekend's lingering congestion had worked its way out of the system enough that I was convinced after the first lap that I'd survive today.

It's all good racing at the Pumphouse.  Just slicing corners and keeping your head up for your buddies.  I was always looking up to Devin just ahead, and for the most part was at a place that I was happy with relative to him.  Then I started to close the gap; as I came out of corners I felt like I always could drop a gear and stand on the long straightaways to generate some speed.  Yeah!

Until... my front tire started getting soft.  Next thing I know, Mark Jung is coming back up to me, and I'm losing time in every corner as I have to baby my front tire.  Eventually I pulled into the pit to air up.  At this point, I'm done with tubeless.  I need to get tighter bead tires, perhaps more layers of rim tape built up, and I've been surfing 3M's web site on permanently tacky spray glues that I figured might just give that extra % of resistance to burping.  I didn't feel any catastrophic burps, but their must be small ones.  Back to tubes for the remainder of the season.

I felt good on the stairs today.  I was taking them two at a time, and not feeling clumsy.  I always felt a second closer to the guys in front.  My mounts felt clean and powering forward.  I was happy.  Until once I couldn't pedal after.  My chain had bounced off my lower pulley wheel on my derailleur and gone between the pulley wheel and cage.  I didn't see it right off the bat, but felt it.  So I pulled over and had to do a reasonably thorough visual inspection to get that remedied.  That and the tire issue sure were moving me back.  At least I felt it right away and didn't muck up my drivetrain by pedalling.

Hopped back on and started givin' 'er to see if I could pick up a few spots till the end, 2 laps left.  Was going hard on the straits to get to, and hold, a higher speed to close gaps.  It felt good burning off those matches.  Came through the "crosswalk" entry to the race, the tight corners, then there's the swoopy uphill corner.  Pedalled into it, leaned in, lined it up to pedal out hard and keep accelerating.  That first hard pedal stroke, not even with a shift, sounded real bad.  Crunch.  Derailleur in spokes, spokes broken, derailleur cage snapped, derailleur cable and housing wrapped around my cassette, wheel warped all in an instant.

Dear cyclocross gods, please have mercy on me.  I love 'cross, and usually derive so much pleasure from it.  After those first two 7th finishes I was elated.  Not so much the numerical result, but that it represented pedalling my ass off for an hour as hard as I could, and not crumbling at the task. I realize and am comfortable with the fact it has to be a special day for me to be top 10 in Alberta.  This is evidenced by my assigned number two years running being #12.  Either really muddy, really snowy or icy, or just when I'm on fire.  But I like those days when I can squeeze them out.  Those were the last races I even finished.  Last weekend was this latent congestion, this weekend a bike implosion.  Just let me ride some more to finish, without excess cost.  When I walked into Bow with my bike on my shoulder, Franzky saw it right away and gave a wincing look and an "ouch" comment.  Those experienced eyes can estimate a cost of repair in an instant.

The day was good though.  I hear people cheer, for me and everyone else.  I tried, but couldn't really help Jeff ahead of the race with his rear brake.  I helped Michelle with her tire pressure setup and some 'cross chat.  Ryan helped me with the pit stop when my tire needed some pumping.  That's 'cross.  Yes, it's competition, in theory.  You do want to see where you line up week in and week out.  But week in and week out we're all out there together, same group of friends, with some new infusions every year.  You give support, receive support, help guys on lines, they help you, etc.  It all shakes out at the end of the day.  Love it... just looking for some luck!

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