Monday, October 26, 2009

Georgia Cross Series #2--- Dahlonega

The second race of the GeorgiaCross Series took place in Dahlonega, known for its pain-inducing hills and adrenaline-pumping descents. It was put on by my buddies Josh and Leigh Saint and Jon Dalman

I went into race #2 with some confidence, what with my decent result from Macon's race (see previous post).

My training has been going smoothly, getting in two solid weeks since the last race with a great ride on sunday over the hills of warm springs and pine mtn. I'm in the next-to-last phase of my cyclocross training, with the main emphasis on 3minute hill repeats over at the hill behind harris co. high school. that barrel of fun happens twice a week and i decided to throw in a long-ish effort at right below my lactate threshold after i finished tuesday's set. i must have been feeling good, which means i'm ready to race.

i had the privilege of pre-riding the course back in august. it runs through the vineyard at Montaluce winery, which is just outside of Dahlonega proper, and is styled completely in a Tuscan theme-- very cool.

the first part of the course is all mountain bike-- totally downhill with tough turns that require more skill than what your average roadie possesses. you can make up a whole lotta time in this section, or you can lose a good chunk of time , depending on your handling skills.

of course-- what goes up, must come down. the second part of the course puts you past your LT and into the red zone, with some uphill grinders, an uphill off-camber section (e.g., along the side of a hill, with the slope), the barriers, of course, and a monster run-up. the run-up is a misnomer; i could barely manage a trudge-up and felt more like making it a walk- or crawl-up after a few laps.

my field, the men's "C" , ran for a total of 30 minutes, which translated into 5 laps. As we lined up, the officials called the top 10 racers from Macon's race to the front, so i got a great starting spot.

the only problem was that i was caught completely off guard by the ref's nonchalant start command and couldn't get clipped in before 20 guys passed me. yet again, i spent the good portion of a lap chasing to get back to the front. i never really saw the lead guy, due to all of the twists and turns of the course.

Before i knew it, i was battling with a guy for the fourth place spot-- deja vu all over again. we traded places for at least 3 laps before my roadie mentality kicked in. i sat on his wheel for a bit and rested just enough to blow by him on a grinding uphill section. i figured i had better make it stick, so i gave it full gas for the rest of the lap and up the killer run-up. i glanced at my watch to see how my heart rate responded to that- 186... ouch.

lucky for me, that was the kiss of death for him and i held out the remaining lap to finish 4th.

unfortunately, we were lapping folks at this point. cyclocross races don't pull lapped riders; it goes against the easy-going, all-inclusive nature of the sport. the officials didn't quite figure out who those lapped riders were and marked me down as finishing 7th. i seriously doubt the wheezing overweight guys who finished 40 spots back in the previous race gained that much fitness in two weeks' time to sneak in a 4th, 5th, and 6th place spot. phooey on the guy keeping tabs on the riders.

Many, many thanks to my wonderful wife, Shelly, for accompanying me, taking care of my pit wheels (hence the wheel pit pic) , and taking all of these fantastic pics. She also took videos, but i'm not clever enough to transfer them from her blackberry to here- there are some sweet vids of my running the barriers. Also, thanks again to Glenn-- the Challenge Grifo tires were a perfect selection for the very grassy, slightly damp course-- i ran them at just under 50psi.

1 comment:

Steve M. said...

great write up Matt. You made Columbus proud! Steve M.