Sunday, October 8, 2017

Charm City

I raced Charm City CX this weekend. Last year was my first time racing this staple of Mid-Atlantic cyclocross racing. I did the double last year and again this year. They changed the age ranges this year for the masters categories. Not sure why. Seems to be a trend up and down the East Coast.

Lots of people are gaga over Charm City CX. I think it's fine. This year, the flyover was a impressive; three-legged affair where one of the legs was made up of (apparently -- I never bothered to count) 22 very steep steps, while the other two legs were ramps to ride back down. Saturday we went straight upon reaching the top of the steps. Sunday we made a right turn and went down the other ramp.

Saturday was crazy hot for October -- and a totally sufferfest. In the 40+ race, Roger threw down a furious pace and led start to finish. On Sunday, the temps were cooler, but the humidity was oppressive. Roger let others lead first lap, but soon grew tired of this and took off. Both days I finished 12th and almost exactly 3 minutes behind him. At least, I'm consistent(ly slow).

A couple of interesting things happened this weekend:

  1. On Saturday, during one of the sand sections, I was trying to pass someone. I hear this women, who I am not sure is part of his posse or not, start yelling, "Elbows out! Put him into the tape!" And sure enough, this a-hole starts coming my way and trying to push me into the tape. Now, I love me so good heckling, but how about we not encourage dirty racing? Can we all agree on that?
  2. Also Saturday, during one of the descents on this fun steep up and down section, one of the hecklers calls out, "Nice arms, Popeye!" I've never thought my forearms were very big, i.e. like Popeye, but as my biceps get smaller and smaller as I spend more and more time on the bike. I could see how it might look like they are. Anyway, it was funny and just kinda stuck with me, even while I was struggling with race, I was kinda laughing on the inside.
  3. Sunday (today), I was in the top 5 or 6 on the prologue climb. As we neared the mansion and forced pinch point that the organizers put into the course, I went pass a guy. He starts yelling, "Don't do it! Don't do it!" Then, he elbows me and steers into me, forcing me into the tape. I almost took out one of the stupid wooden stakes that they seem so hell bent on using at Charm. I didn't go down, I didn't hit the stake, but I did lose places. I'm not saying that was the whole explanation for my not-so-strong finish, but it sure didn't help. But more than anything, it angers me that people are so willing to crash people out of a race to maintain a spot. 
I didn't have ideal preparation for these races. Hell, a week before I didn't even know I was going. Then I did sign up, and a few days later, I learned that the father of a good friend had passed away, my friend would be flying in to town, and that the memorial service was Friday night. He's also a racer and told me that I probably spent too much time on my feet that night and that the late night didn't help either. 

Also, from the not ideal prep department, I was awakened at 3:30 am this morning (Sunday) to a chirping smoke detector that refused to stop chirping even with two different brand new batteries installed. 

It was a good weekend. I raced the best I could given my weak spring and summer training schedules. I saw some good friends and learned some more about racing -- and people. I'll take it.

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