Elbows Out‎ > ‎

Mike getting muddy at Gloucester, Opening Races in Pacific Northwest

posted Oct 4, 2012, 8:21 PM by Brian Bressler   [ updated Oct 15, 2012, 9:54 PM ]

Mike Robinson

Holy Week of Cross back here in the right coast. Gloucester was wet, muddy, and cold. In other words, great cross weather. On Saturday, I took up my usual spot in the back of the Masters 45+ pack (9th row; wtf?), got a good jump and moved up a good 25 or 30 spots and was having a good race; right up until I flatted. Out; DNF, too far from the pit. Sunday, same spot, better off the line and had a decent race. 

This past weekend was Providence; ahh Providence. What a course, what a race, and quite the event. Took up my 8th row spot, had a great start (hot day; 79 degrees, wtf?) and off we went. My type of course; mixture of power and some technical sections. 3 laps in, the announcement; "4 laps remaining". This is not normal, we usually complete 5, 6 max; I bonked at lap 6. Got lapped by the eventual winner (and good friend) Mike Rowell. Sunday, better start, cooler weather, dry track, nice and techy. And a flat on the last lap. I haven't flatted in 3 years of racing and I've flatted twice in two weeks. I'm ordering a set of tubulars this week.

MFG Kick Off Cross CAT3 35+, Brian Bressler

I shot out of bed while it was still dark.  Drove 1.5 hours to the course.  Hundreds of crazy deprived CXers were everywhere and parking was impossible.  I warmed up on my trainer along the side of the road (where I finally found a place to park) and listened to my adrenaline fueled heart.  Checked tire pressure: 27.5psi in front 28.5psi in the rear. Took a lap on the heals of the previous race, dialed in a couple of the corners and made my way to the start.  With no points for a call up, everyone queued by bib number.  Mine put me in the second to last row.   All 69 riders jumped off the line and surged for 20 seconds before a bottleneck mashed us all together, three riders through at a time at  a walking pace. Once through, it was elbows out and wide open throttle.  The cornering drills and good brakes really paid off as a majority of my passes were made coming into and accelerating out of off-camber corners.   Twice, I came in way to hot on a slow turn, washed out the front end and gave myself some grass rash. The barriers were in the middle of a super tight S-bend where it was faster to run through most of it…again lots of passes through the barriers thanks to good running and mounting drills.  Once I started lapping slower traffic it was total mayhem.  The sprints to the bottleneck sections became even more critical as at least twice I was on the wheel of a nemesis only to end up behind a slower lapped rider going up steep single track. 

My legs felt good and powerful.  I was passed by only one rider and later passed him back. I had enough juice at the end for a mad uphill charge where I spun out my 42x12 and made one last pass at the line.  I came through in 6th place, 1:31 behind the leader. 

I wasn't as devastated and utterly destroyed as I anticipated.  I left too much on the table.  Next time I’ll have good call-up, I’ll I dig deeper, accelerate harder and put the pain down.  Love it.

We've had an unprecedented streak of warm, dry and sunny weather here in the great Northwest.  The mountain bike trails are in perfect shape, the roads are smooth and dry, and the glistening water is cool and refreshing.  Perfect conditions for all the outdoor activities we love...except cyclocross.  The first stop of the Seattle CX series came to Ft. Steilacoom Park in Tacoma last weekend, and the conditions couldn't have been less ideal for a 'cross race.  Dry grass, dusty trails and loose gravel greeted the racers along with the 70+ degree temperatures.  A little rain would have been welcome, but as it was much of the course was covered with two inches of dust.  Fortunately the course itself is spectacular, with two leg burning climbs to sap the early season fitness right out of you.  Between these climbs was a gravel descent that was so sketchy and loose that many people met the ground.  One unfortunate racer was being tended to on the side for most of my race.  Ouch.


MFG Kick Off Cross Cat 4, Colin Ferguson  

The Cat 4 race in the morning had a typically large field size.  The gun sounded and 80+ racers rolled across the line, with me in dead last.  After soft-pedaling for about half a lap and getting stuck behind some crashes, I was finally able to pass some people when get got to the first hill.  I passed folks for the rest of the (waaay too short) three lap race and crossed the line in 59th place.  The best part was the finish.  The second set of barriers was right before the line, and I was right with three other guys going over for the last time.  I jumped back on and managed to hold them all off, all while managing to get NEITHER foot back into my pedals.  Goal for next week is to work on my start so I can stay in front of the silliness at the back of the field.