So they say your first season of cross is a learning experience-more like a series of dope slaps. Headed down to Chesire CT for a race. Cold! The couse was infamous for some gnarly run ups. Video here.
Got my shit packed with multiple layers and back up clothes etc. Felt pretty good. Got to the course and got in one lap between races. It was a combination of frozen grass, off camber normal cross in the park conditions and then rocky, rooted, rutted single track with 2 run ups that were pretty long-as tough as advertised. Both run ups could be ridden the full distance if you had a clear shot and that is pretty much what got the winners to the top.
As for me, I wasn't sure how to run the tire pressure. Dan said a lot lower than I had been, and based on the half thawed grass/mud/pine needles/leaves the lower the better, but with the rocky single track too low might mean a flat. Got it another practice lap and decided to go lower. The sand pit was thankfully frozen, short, and fairly easy to negotiate.
Almost missed the start of my race trying to squeeze in another practice lap. Tire pressure felt right.
1st lap was fast, but not bad from the back. Squealing brakes was the order of the day as people were full gas trying to close gaps on the single track and or pass where you could. Run ups were hairy. I made up ground on the lst two laps and was feeling pretty good. Hit the gas again towards the end of lap two and that might have been a little too ambitious. Died going into the barriers. There were two corners that you could almost pump like a snake run and I was thankful for that. Crashed in a slick right downhill S turn in the mud. Redlined it to get back ground before the singletrack. This is where the trouble starts. I clipped a rock pretty hard before the run up and again before a little bridge. Hopped off for the run up and when I jumped back on at the top, I felt the rim hit the ground. Pinch flat. FUCK! Now if I had spare wheels, I could have run or rode it to the pits, but I had spare clothes, not spare wheels. Thus my day was done.
Still battling with the tire pressure issue, but felt stoked on this race. Rode pretty good in the cold which gives me hope for Warwick. Next time I will have pit wheels. The good news is every weekend is another chance and I can work it out again in Sterling next weekend. I will miss the Andover XC 3.5 miler which was a highlight of my 5K campaign last year. Damn.