Sunday, December 3, 2006

MRC 'Cross

After a few warnings about the pending Pats game on Sunday, Mike, Janet and I headed down to Wrentham via a somewhat circuitous route, but arrived without hitting traffic, and in plenty of time to warm up before racing started. Contrary to a few of the women who were racing on Sunday, I was happy to see so much of the race in a grassy field as we drove past to the parking area - I like those kinds of courses!

The warmup lap revealed a course that suited me well - lots of tight twisty corners in the opening stretch, a set of barriers leading into the woods (which was all double track, but also bumpy), around a tree and back into the field, down a hill into a very loose 180 degree turn back up the same hill, into another field where we climbed up over a piece of ledge (this had the potential for flats getting up on, and getting back down), through more twisty, turny, grassy sections, downhill to another set of barriers, back out a straightaway to a large log (requiring a dismount by all but the most talented - and even some of them failed ;-)), across a road, through some more tight turns, and into the start/finish. I loved it!

I lined up at the start alongside a woman who has been racing Elite all season, but had to get home for a commitment in the afternoon - GREAT! At the whistle, I took off, and looking at the photos, I had a pretty decent start behind Elite racer (who exploded from GO, and whom I never saw again...). I unfortunately got stuck behind a junior racer going through the turns on the first lap until she missed one and went down. Once into the woods, I was able to pass women who had passed me in the barriers. On the first run down the hill and around the 180, a rider went down, causing a bit of a jam, but I managed to swing wide enough to miss all of the traffic, passing a number of women in the process. Out into the field I heard that I was in 5th place - how did that happen???? I knew, however, that racers were close behind me. Must keep going.In the third lap, I made an error getting around the 180 degree turn, and got passed by two racers. I hung onto them through that lap and into the final lap, where they finally gapped me, and I finished 7th, with my teammate right on my heels. I was happy with my finish!

There was some controversy in our race, however. When we came down to see the results, we found that one of the women had been DQ'd. It turns out that she was ahead of another racer coming into the final sprint (for 2nd and 3rd); the rider behind somehow hit the other racer's derailleur or rear wheel, and went down. There was a protest, and the officials stated that the racer that had been ahead had violated rule 106: No rider shall make an abrupt motion so as to interfere with the forward progress of another rider, either intentionally or by accident [relegation or disqualification; possible 20 days suspension if a crash results]. She didn't feel that this was correct, and a few spectators questioned the validity of the whole incident as well. It was a hard lesson for her, but we can ALL learn something from this so we don't get caught in a similar situation. The good news out of this? The officials were consistent, DQ'ing Justin Spinelli in the Elite men's race for doing the same to Mark McCormack as they sprinted for the first lap prime.

I am taking this weekend OFF from racing, so good luck to any of you headed to RI for the Verge races. I hope to see some of you at Natz next weekend.

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