Sunday, September 19, 2010

Critz Farm Kermis

I originally thought the Critz Farm race might be fun to do, as it was nearby and a nice way to get back into my intensity blocks for Iceman. I mentioned the race to Cora last week and it turns out that Critz Farm is the kid-favorite pumpkin patch of the last several years. So when I asked Cora if she and the kids were interested in going, I actually think that for once, they were genuinely interested in going to one of my races. Couple that in with a kids race and I was golden--so off we went.

Out pre-riding the course with Phoebe and Max (it takes Bella a while to wake up and get going in the morning and according to her, you don't need to warm up to get great results).

I'm not entirely sure what a kermis is, but this event was really cool. The men's field was broken up into a masters 40+ and an open category, and I would say that there were maybe 10 people on mountain bikes, with the rest on cyclocross bikes. Nate and I both chose to ride mountain bikes (as I don't own a cyclocross bike YET--hint, hint, wife). The course was a mix of dirt roads, some doubletrack and grass, with a touch of mud thrown in to make the kids happy. There were several rises, but no real climbs (except according to Cora and Phoebe). There was one area where most folks on cross bikes dismounted. I personally found that on a mountain bike, it was easier and faster to ride through (not surprising, as I have a hard time running up my driveway). My understanding was that this only differed from a "real" cyclocross course in that it had no man-made barriers. Not to sound soft, but this was fine with me, as the whole dismounting thing is tough for me--I feel like a complete spazz. A lap took about 7 minutes at race pace and the whole race was scheduled for 40 minutes. In a nutshell, this was a fantastically cool event.

Although Max was quite a bit older, he "totally dominated" the two kids races he entered.

Max "rocked the one cog" up to the finish line.

Max kept riding after the finish line--maybe it's hereditary?

Phoebe elected to do the 1-lap race--looking great all kitted up in her Jackrabbit gear.

Coming into the finish line with Phoebe--she was a real trooper and finished out her lap after having some mechanical issues on the climb.

Ahh...Boo Miles--she's a handful and a real character. She adamantly stated all week that she was not going to race, so I was a bit surprised and ecstatic when she jumped on the line for the 3-lap race.

Boo finds the untraditional kit of sparkly studded jeans and her Littlest Pet Shop tee far more stylish than the Jackrabbit kit. No joke, but just prior to this photo, she was complaining that her clothes got muddy. "Daddy made me ride through a puddle..." fake tears and all. If you believe that...

If you do not know Boo Miles--this is Boo. Less than a minute after taking 3rd overall in the 3 lap kids race it's all ho-hum.

The kids race was a huge success. The Ommegangsters and the other folks putting on the event were fantastic--especially with all the kids. The crowds of people cheering them on was so cool and put huge smiles on their faces. Very safe to say that we'll be back next year. So how did my race go?

Rolling smooth--trouble to come.

I really wasn't sure how this race was going to go, as I rode pretty hard Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. As this outing was nothing more than an intensity workout for me, I wasn't really concerned about a result, but I didn't really want to drag my ass around with crappy legs.

Well, the gods were good to me in that my legs felt great--the more I do this, the more I think training and racing is voodoo. If there were ever a time that my legs should have been shot, today was the day. Either way, I'll take it and really enjoy it for that matter. I started out on the far right of the start line, which was probably a mistake, as it put me back a ways going into the first left-hand corner. As we rounded the second corner, we headed down a bumpy straight, which was one of the areas where I thought being on a mountain bike was really beneficial. I was behind Nate and I'm guessing we were in the middle of the pack. We went through a series of straight dirt roads, which I think favored the CX bikes--here I had to work hard to keep up.

The pace seemed to settle towards the end of the first lap and my goal was just to pick off a rider in front of me. All was going really well and I could see that I was making time on the riders behind me. By the fourth lap, I felt like I was really cruising. I was flying on one of the dirt roads on the back of the course when I tried to go around a slower rider on the left, leading into the bumpy double-track. I was too far left, caught my front wheel in a rut and went down. It was probably the fastest section of the course for me--it was kind of surreal in that I remember riding sideways for what seemed like a while and then I let loose and supermanned it into the tall grass.

Unfortunately doing what I do for a living doesn't help. As I was flying through the air, I had a multitude of thoughts--liver lac, tibial plateau fracture, dislocated finger, head injury--all bad. So after the initial shock of hitting the ground and realizing that it was just bumps and bruises, I remember having the distinct thought that now I'm a "real" bike racer, as this was my first time going down really hard at full speed, knock on wood. I initially tried to jump back on my bike and ride, but my front wheel wouldn't turn. I was ready to turn in, as I thought the wheel had tacoed. One of the spectators came over as I was cleaning myself off, put my chain back on and reset the wheel in the dropouts. Although it wasn't perfect, I was able to finish out the last lap and a half. The fall cost me a bunch--I really had no idea where I was placed when I fell, but Cora estimated that I was somewhere in the back half of the top ten.

Nate racing for an extra place at the finish line.

As always, it was a total pleasure racing with Nate. With any luck, I'll be able to con him into doing a handful of cross races this fall--we'll see.

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