Saturday’s CX Roads Clash race was somewhat of a late addition to the Memphis Cyclocross calendar. It worked out well, though, because the double race weekend I’d originally planned to attend in Nashville was shortened to a one-day event, and there was a race on schedule in Wynne, Arkansas for Sunday (about half the distance compared to Nashville).
I managed to miss my pre-race tune-up ride on Friday (I was planning on doing some quick intensity during my commute home from work, but found out during the workday that my super baller EVO had a seized drive side bottom bracket bearing which had scored the aluminum spindle of the crank. Unfortunately, the bearings feel fine out of the bike and both get “heavy” once they’re pressed in (the drive side being worse). Cannondale is sending a replacement BB and spindle, though I’m pretty sure that’s not going to solve the problem. Here’s to hoping I’m wrong.
Anyways… So I didn’t ride Friday. Saturday, I decided I’d get to the race pretty early (it was at Shelby Farms, which is only a couple of miles from my house, and where I go for most of my CX training). Ryan (who raced the A race) and I drove over, and I headed out on my B bike for a nice, 40 minute warmup. I arrived back at the car to have a Red Bull, change bikes, and go for an easy lap of the course before lining up at the start.
There were 4 other women at the line, and, between us, cat 4 men, and singlespeeders, there were 31 starters. I figured I’d have a good handle on the women (they lined up in the back and told me they liked to start “slow”), but I wasn’t sure what the men (some of which are very strong roadies) would do. When we were given the GO signal, we hammered off down a hill. A guy from Marx-Bensdorf took the holeshot, followed by Boomer Leopold on his singlespeed and Dale Sanford (also a strong road guy from M-B), who explained to me during the race that this was only his second time on his cyclocross bike. I was next, followed by all of the chasers.
As we negotiated the first few turns/hills/barrier before the first singletrack, Boomer took the lead, and I fell in behind Dale and M-B guy. The first couple of turns were rooty and pretty ridiculous for high-speed CX riding. Dale nearly wrecked (I don’t know if he clipped a pedal or nearly went off-trail) and Boomer took off as we almost piled up behind Dale. Going up the longer hill out of the woods, the other M-B guy who had hole-shotted ended up flubbing his remount after some logs, and I ran past him, landing me in 3rd position, chasing Boomer and Dale with the other M-B guy on my wheel.
I put my head down and reeled Dale in a couple of feet at a time over the next lap. Somewhere, the other M-B guy fell off. As we exited the woods into the headwind on the 2nd lap, I overtook Dale. He stayed mostly on my wheel for the entire race, but never tried to go around.
(I’m not totally sure why he was on that side of his bike in this photo)
Some more photos, courtesy of Micheal Carpenter…
I suffered hard. You have to when you’re leading someone who, by all the power-to-weight numbers, should be kicking your ass. I never caught Boomer, but I wasn’t that far back, either.
The A race that followed was a good one to watch- with the recent addition of junior tri/running talent Seth Rider to the top of the podium, there’s a bit of a shake-up in the usual “pecking order” of local men’s racing. Should be a good one to watch at next weekends’ Outdoors, Inc. race.