Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Coonamesset Eco Cross

If you look ever-so-closely in the really bad photo above, you can just barely make out Mike beginning to fall as he comes into the barrier section of the Coonamesset race this past weekend. He came into the barriers with a group of racers, trying to pass and make up some time. Unfortunately, he caught his foot on the first barrier, and proceeded to fall/crash into the second. Thankfully (?) he managed to get his arm out in front of him to break the fall, but fell with such force that his forearm got wedged between the two boards of the barrier!

Imagine my horror at watching as Mike desperately tried to free his arm from the barrier, the whole time thinking to myself that he likely broke his arm. The look on his face was like that of a caged animal - he desperately wanted to get out of there! After some prying of the boards by a helpful hand (and Mike frantically tugging on his arm), Mike's arm came loose, he remounted and was on his way to the cheers of the crowds. "I think he might have broken his arm," I said to friends. "Don't worry," they said, "he's still racing; it can't be broken." Apparently they don't know Mike like I do ;).

Thankfully, he did NOT break his arm. He does have some bruising, a sore neck, and a skinned knee from the gravel, but still managed an impressive 12th place finish in his field!

After that spectacle, I was less eager than ever to race, thinking that it might be a much better idea to spectate and drink beer. However, after the Masters race finished (and I checked to be sure that Mike really was ok), I headed to the start line for my race with Teri, winning the race to the race – landing ourselves in the front row for the start. Of course we were there so long we were shivering, but at least we won that race, right? ;-)

I got a good start, but was immediately slowed by two racers going down in a muddy turn directly in front of me. The course had changed SIGNIFICANTLY since my pre-ride with all of the rain and traffic, and now the slightly tacky downhill dirt sections were truly muddy and slippery. Being cautious wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, and I didn’t want to end up hurt before Gloucester.

I managed to pass a few women, and got passed by a couple as well. Primarily, it was an issue of keeping the tires on the ground for many – the slippery course caused quite a few riders to end up splayed across the course. I was doing “reasonably” well, and was holding off Julie L. from IBC as I went into the barrier section (careful, of course, to over-leap the barriers after watching Mike). As I remounted, a junior intent on racing for 5th place with no one around us decided to try and pass me coming out of the barriers and through the very narrow archway, pushing me into the arch. I pushed back, staying upright, he pushed me again, and I ended up going down in the loose gravel, and losing 2 places in the race. Not a cool move on the junior’s part for sure, but nothing I could do about it.

My major goal for the race was not to get lapped. Last year, both the junior leader, and the women’s leader (Rebecca) lapped me on this course. As I was coming through the finish for my final lap, I could hear that Manny Goguen was behind me and about to finish. Determined to suffer through one more lap, I went as hard as I could to cross the line before he did, knowing that all that were still on the course behind me would no longer be a threat. I eased through the final lap with some weird noises coming from the bike (it was my first ride on carbon rims with tubulars, and it really sounded as if the cassette was off the hub), and finished somewhere around 13th. Not great, but I did achieve my goal, and would have remained upright through the race if not being forcibly taken out.

1 comment:

claudia said...

Ouch. Although I'm also sure MKR would have ridden out a broken arm, I'm sure glad that wasn't necessary.

You are one bad-ass riding these tough race courses! Go get 'em!