Monday, October 1, 2007

Seven minutes of fame

New Belgium cross is in full swing now. The fields are getting pretty darn big. The road guys have shifted their focus, the specialists are showing up in droves, and first-timers are digging their new tunnels into the pain cave. We missed some mountain bike racers due to the Vermont 50 though. We will see them all at Gloucester though in two weeks.

Amesbury, MA was the site of the race yesterday. I really liked the course. The first "half" was in the woods. Lots of sandy turns and exposed roots. I thought it was very similar to Caster's in Warwick, RI. For obstacles, there was one set of planks, one steep downhill with a left 180 at the bottom and then a set of ridable stairs that went back up, and a cool off camber section on the grassy side. The grassy side was where the guys with power turned on the after-burners. A couple of nice long straights and some 180 corners. Overall, the course was very well laid out. But I am not one to complain about a course anyway. We all have to ride the same one. There were a lot of comments on the roots and the sandy corners. Hey, that's cross! You guys will get your grass freeway in two weeks at Gloucester. I rode the FMBs at 30 psi and they hooked up nice.

The good doctor has come out of her shell. It was a very large 3/4 women field (about 30-40 I would guess). Kenny A's wife Dianna toed the line for her first cross race on her shiny new Redline. We have nicknamed her "smiles" because that is what she did all the way around the course! I think she is hooked. To all of you women out there who are thinking about giving cross a try, go for it! It's a blast! And all of the boys will cheer for your guarenteed. Sarah and Kerry were also there representin'. Kerry is a machine. After doing the 3/4 race, she lined up with the 1/2/3 women later in the day. Her tunnel in the pain cave took a few new turns this weekend!

Rebecca got herself on the front row and had a great start. She was third going into the woods, but she tanked it on the first tricky right hander on the roots. She came through the planks in about 14th. Something must have clicked in her head though, because I don't think I have ever seen this type of aggression in her. On the next lap, she came through in 10th. Holy moly. She was picking off people on the stair run-up and on the long straights. Next lap she was 7th! Moving up. On the last lap, she was 4th and closing in on Rachel B in 3rd. Out into the grass field and she closed it right down and went by her. Unfortunatley, she got stuck behind a lapped rider going into the off camber section and didn't really know how to handle it. Rachel got by on the little run up and took her advantage to the finish. But Rebecca was thrilled with her 4th place, earning some valuable upgrade points for her cat 3 upgrade.

We watched the Masters races while warming up for the 3/4 race. Lot's of pals had some really good rides going. Then, the first race of the day. To the start line we go. I secured a nice spot on the left side of the front row, which gave me a nice line for the holeshot. We almost had a full Hup B squad there, but Rosey was away for work. Bummer. Josh also had a nice spot on the front row with me and PVB and Yash were stalking just behind us in row 2. Lyne Bessette lined up to my right and we jabbered about last weeks race in Bedford. But, I was inspired by Colin R's post about how us B guys should be ashamed about letting Lyne get the holeshot. I went into this race with one goal. To see what it was like to ride on the front and to see how long I could hold it. The problem was I hadn't really given much thought to what I would do when I got there. The whistle blows and I got into the woods in third and then made my way to the front on the first right hander. First into the hurdles and I actually had a gap. WTF? I kept looking behind me thinking WTF. So bad actually that I almost missed a turn and brushed the course tape. I got my act together and just rode. It is nice having the course clear in front of you. You get to pick your own lines and not get held up. I settled into a pretty solid state of pain and tried to focus as best I could. I rode up the stairs except for one dab at the top. Out into the grass, through the off camber and to completion of lap 1. But I kept hearing the cheers for Tal behind me. The freight train was coming and my 7 minutes of fame was about to end. I held them off through the woods and I rode all the way up the stairs this time. But Tal came by me on the little uphill drag just after the stairs, followed quickly by Carey. Then out in the field another fella went by. I held onto this group for the remainder of lap 2, but lap 3 was major purgatory. Lyne caught me on lap 3 and I tried to hold her wheel as I got my act together again. We came through to see 3 to go and that gave me a huge boost. I was fully expecting to see 5 to go. I think the officials may have made a boo boo with the timing. Anyway, I kept yo-yoing off of Lyne, closing in through the woods and losing her on the open field. She just laid down the power in the field. By lap 4 I figured out that running the stairs was probably faster, so that is what I was doing. I kept seeing Ronnie just behind me closing the gap. I dug super deep on the last lap to hold my position of 5th and even gave Lyne a little run for her money through the off camber and up the finish straight. But it was just for show. There was no way I was coming around her. I was happy with my 5th and 5 more upgrade points. It was fun being on the front. It feels pretty strange. But, it's something I want to try again.

So here's the deal with LI. We plan to go, but itdepends on how much work I get done this week. If I need the days to work, I will skip it. If I get everything done, we will be there. Otherwise, we'll see everyone in Gloucester for New Belgium Worlds on the 13th.


JJ said...

nice work dude!

Colin R said...

Way to represent for the B men of New England!

If I see Lyne in Maine I'm lining up 30 minutes early.

zank said...

It won't matter. She backs into the front row. I think she saw me all googly eyes and found an easy target to sweetness her way in.

TomN said...

Zank that is some awesome and consistent riding so far. Nice job, and see you in Glostah.

Robert said...

Ahh so Lynn pulls a Paul Curley, huh? Backs into the front row at the start. I've seen him do that a few times. I guess you kind of come to expect it.


Zoo said...

Great job Zank!!

zank said...

zoo, where ya been? We've missed you since Sucker Brook.

megA said...


my first--and maybe only--time off the front in cross and I did the same thing. it actually flased through my mind to "wait up." holy crap! i'm glad you got out in front and got that feel. You'll be there again, and this time, you'll know how to stick it.

rebecca is AMAZING. i am so loving watching her progress!

oh, and don't feel too bad about lyn, but paul curely? don't let him back into the front line anymore. . .


zank said...

I'll stand next to Lyne anytime :-)

CTodd said...

You lookin' STRONG out there. Nice jorb!!

I'ma have to start callin' you StrongZank. Like StrongBad.

Oh! Stand BEHIND Lyne. The view is pretty nice.

IF Chicks said...

great move out to the front ! I missed that part of your race (went back to my car ).

Don't give in when some girl makes googly eyes at you, unless she is one of the podium girls handing you a bottle of champagne and your are standing on the box.

hup hup
bustamove on those bikes