Monday, September 9, 2013

2013 Nittany Lion Cyclocross Race recap Saturday.

This past weekend marked the first #cyclocross race of the season for me. I approached this event as a 'learner' as in getting back into the swing of #cx racing, the bumping of bars, and the demand on my anaerobic threshold. Best of all, seeing some old faces I've missed since last season.

This race was new to me as well. I've never raced at Nittany CX, I moved up a category and now have an extra lap to do versus the previous two seasons of cyclocross racing at one lap less.

Against tradition of installing new gear on the race bike before a race, I installed a new set of Clement LAS clinchers. With a liberal dose of baby powder on the inside tire casing and on tubes, I used the evening before the race as a shakedown run at the local park just to test the corning limits of the tires. Let me just say this, if you've never run file tread tires on dry days, I highly recommend you give them a try. The grip angle is amazing and for the race I ran 26 psi front and 28 psi rear while using the HED Ardennes LT wheels. Such a wonderful ride, I'm extremely happy with this wheel set up.

The first lap had a very hectic start across a gravel section of road into a hairpin left turn, the group was very bunched until we made it into the NW part of the course where the group thinned out a bit. Unfortunately I was gassed bad enough that I mis-timed clipping out for the barriers and slammed into the first one, taking a dirt nap, lost a few spots, the bike was fine and I shook it off and charged the rest of the lap.

There were only a handful of people who passed me so it was a case of riding within myself the rest of the race, dissecting parts of the course and working on taking them as quick and efficient as possible. After all, cyclocross racing is about finishing with the least amount of mistakes made.

Why is that you say? Considering my/ your heart rate is at 173 bpm the full 50 minutes of the race, it's easy to have your body become disconnected from your brain. When that happens, corners sneak up on you too quick, remounts become sloppy instead of fluid and jumping out of a corner under hard acceleration is trumped by the guy behind you because he hears you feather your brakes into the corner that he's since trusted his tires to gripping and leaving the brakes alone; getting a half a bike length of a jump on you.

I'd have to say having the extra lap this year or at least this race allowed me to settle into a rhythm. Next race will be Cross Vegas 2013 and the end of the month marks the first of the #mabrasuper8cxseries at Winchester AppleCross. I'm looking forward to hearing the MC'ing skills of InThe Crosshairs at that one!

Best of legs to all the guys and gals in the Mid-Atlantic, looking forward to cheering you on from behind the tape when my laps are over!
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