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San Antonio Cross Weekend-Texas State Championships

January 5, 2009

padre1After spending all day Friday cleaning and organizing the house, it was off to San Antonio Saturday morning for the Texas Age-Based Cyclocross championship. I expected competition to be tough since the likes of Fawley and the fastest guys in the state are in my age group (23-34). I didn’t think I had a realistic chance at a podium, and knew the real bread and butter would be the following day at the skill based races, so I was prepared to sit up a bit if the leaders got too far ahead, or to battle to the end if I found myself in favorable conditions. I would be racing the single speed all weekend. Gears and deraillers have yet to earn my trust for cross racing, and the solo gear had been working well so I decided to stick with it.

The course was relatively flat and involved lots of pedaling. A higher gearing than my 36-16 would’ve been better, but sometimes you gotta rung what ya’ brung. Higher cadence is supposed to be better for you anyways, right? Well, the gearing sucked on the flats, but it was pretty good for inclines, headwinds, and acceleration out of corners. I started in usual fashion intube1 the rear and worked my way up to fourth. I didn’t feel exceptionally fast that day, I just think everybody else was feeling slow, and didn’t like the course. It didn’t help that it was 83 degrees the third day of January either. At any rate, I was pulling in third position before I got a rear flat halfway through the race. The culprit: a hole in a patched tube. Let my mistake be a lesson to all of you. Patched tubes are ok for riding around town and training, but when state honors are on the line, use fresh tubes or go tubeless. I had been riding on it so long, it just slipped my mind.

Luckily, the flat occurred 20 yards from the pit and I was able to change out wheels and keep going. I was sitting in at this point, but then a lap later some guy jumped back in the race in front of me as I was entering the start/finish area, apparently after stopping to get some medical attention from a crash. Nice, a friend to keep me company in the rear!

He made it clear that he didn’t want me on his tail though with a series of attacks. All bets were off and I was back in the race. I mercilessly attacked him until he fell back, and in doing so caught a few other guys. I could see a few other racers not too far ahead, so I kept pushing to pass them and finished 8 of 13. Another great opportunity lost to unfortunate circumstances, but at least another solid effort and show of perseverance.

alamo1After watching captain James and G. Hammer finish up the mountain bike race, Colleen and I were off to downtown for some Alamo sightseeing and Riverwalk relaxing. The $8.95 Casa Rio Deluxe Dinner was an awesome way to refuel end our visit there before heading up to the Canada’s for a place to crash. (thanks again, Brandon and Tammie!)

Sunday morning brought the promise of a new day. This round it was skill based, and not only were state champ jerseys and money on the line, so were points for the 2009 Texas Cup. I was sitting 9th in the series, but I was hoping a strong showing could put me in the top 5. I started off in the singlespeed category. I felt real confident I could get the win in this one since I was routinely kicking the crap out of geared bikes the past few weeks, but I ignored one of my own rules and underestimated the competition. I got the hole shot from the start and proceeded to build a gap on all but one racer, Kyle Rodemacher, a seasoned rider from Hotel San Jose. He was running a bigger gear and was able to really put the hurt on during the flat road sections. More than once he got away and I had to bridge back. I finally got settled in with him, but then newcomer Ryan Wohlrabe bridged us on his freaking Bianchi San Jose fixie and we all three had a big suffer fest with 2 laps to go. He was running an even bigger gear and was laying down the smack on the flats too. Dude is a beast, a lot more so than yours truly. That fixie gave him some problems on the technical turns and barriers, but he managed to hang in there for a second place finish to Kyle with me in tow for third. I just ran out of gas and out of time to contest the sprint. Those guys fought valiantly and deserved 1st and 2nd.

I was a bit humbled and deflated from that race, but I had to re-group and get ready for the 3-4 Category 15 minutes later. We had a big field of 38, but I got a top ten callup for season standings and that helped a lot with the start. I was ready to enact my usual strategy: start slow, and pick ‘em off one by one. The hot heads could duel it out up front and wear each other out.padre7

At one point in the race I was maybe sitting 13th place, but didn’t waste much time once I got in the groove. One by one the geared machines succumbed to the only singlespeed in the race. I made it up to the lead pack of 2nd,3rd, and 4th. 1st had gotten away and already had an insurmountable lead. I would only turn my focus to besting this pack of three. I couldn’t tell if they were hurting or just waiting for the last lap to make a move, but come the last turn into the finish line for the bell lap, I was feeling good and made the move on the outside. I put the hammer down through the twisty wood part. Going down to the run up, I had a 4 second gap. Coming off the road, about 6 seconds. Cross the barriers, 5 seconds. Made that final last turn for the sprint to the finish, lowered the head, and left everything I had out there on those last 50 yards for 2nd place. Redemption again, for some earlier lost opportunities.

trophyIt was enough points to bump me up to third for the Texas Cup too, and with that comes some nice hardware. And with hardware comes the end of cross season. I had set goals for a top 3 season finish and a Cat 3 upgrade. Through hard work and perseverance, I was able to overcome mishap and achieve both. It’s not over until it’s over. Next season should be fun and interesting as I graduate the ranks of the 3-4 Category and move on to the big boys in the open category. I congratulate all racers who set out to achieve goals this season and fought the good fight. Keep on keepin’ on!

Next up is the Dirty Dozen at Warda, and then the TMBRA spring season. Thanks for reading.
Greg

(one last pic for kicks! We stopped at Shoney’s for lunch on the way home. Yes, I ate it all, and then some!!)

food2

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