Cyclocross road trip part 2: Rad Racing GP PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Curry   
Sunday, 20 September 2009 21:47

Today could not have been any more different than yesterday.  Yesterday: dark, cold, rainy, slick, muddy, rowdy.  Today: sunny, warm, dry, dusty, laid-back.  The RAD Racing GP race near Tacoma featured a great course that reminded me of Montana courses.  Dry, dusty, fast, a bit bumpy, and also some good climbs and descents.  It seemed like a course that would suit a mountain biker well.  Of course the most daunting feature is the Knapp-time run up, an 80 meter long beast that is steep and at the UCI legal limit for length.  The fields today were smaller, but maybe more competitive as it seemed like all of the heavy hitters were doing both races.

Lisa had another good start and rolled in after a lap somewhere in the low teens.  Lisa said she suffered on the run-up, but seemed to do well on the climbs and descents compared to the other women.  With one lap to go she was riding with another racer and battling for 11th.  Then Emily Van Meter dropped back with some mechanical troubles and suddenly Lisa was in the hunt for a top ten (and valuable UCI points!).  Lisa hung with Van Meter on the climb and descent, but Van Meter surged on the flats and gapped Lisa and the other girl slightly.  Lisa sprinted ahead of the other competitor and fell just one second short of Van Meter and a top ten at the line.

My confidence was severely shaken after my performance last night, but I figured there was nowhere to go but up (or if not, I've got a couple of nice 'cross bikes to sell!).  I started again in the fifth row.  The start was fast!  Lisa said I was in 42nd after the first part of the lap.  I was instantly having fun which I thought was a good sign.  Then the suffering set in...  I've come to realize in these big races that the first two laps are so critical.  You have to be aggressive early.  Splits happen, groups form, and on a fast course those groups will be gone.  The only problem is that everyone knows this, and thats what makes the starts so fast to begin with.  I was riding well and moving up here and there.  The run-up was my achilles heel today: I never passed anybody on the run-up, but was passed many times.  Fortunatley I could usually chase back on the subsequent descent and climb, but matches were burned.  I ended up riding a few laps with Kris Holden from Vertical Earth.  Just ahead of us was a big group of like 7 guys that were tantilizingly close, but we just couldn't close the gap.  Kris crashed and fell back and I slowly picked off a few more guys that splintered off that group, and even a few "heavy hitters" from the front of the race that looked severely overcooked.  I finished 26th, which is nothing special, but I knew I had ridden clean and hard and felt strong until the finish, which is ultimatley more satisfying than any placement.

Next up: lots of driving.  Then Crossvegas.  It should be a scorcher!