Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Over the Riverside and Through the E H Young Park

Today's Tip - Avoid standing at a Christmas party for 4+ hours the night before race.

That's what I did last Friday night before the Boss Cross #4 / Missouri State Championship Race at E.H. Young Park in Riverside, MO. Jeremy and Joe put together a great, Championship worthy, course at a great venue - gotta love a place with large heated restrooms on a day hovering around freezing.

The heart of the park is relatively flat, but the river bank, a couple of berms and mounds, a sand volleyball court, two curbs, two sets of barriers, and hill up near a wooded area provided the technical challenges. The start was a long drag in a tail/crosswind followed by a sweeping left turn on to the main part of the course. The first obstacle was the sand pit which had an uneven entry at the apex of a left turn, which caused a few to to have troubles either stumbling or swinging their bike wide. Next was a planked curb which you had to hop at a good clip to maintain your speed because there was a long stretch into the wind right after. The long river bank sand run was next, again with an entry at the apex of a left hander. After a quick remount there was just enough time to get ready to drop off a curb and into the pavers and more grass. A set of barriers at the bottom of a hill turned it into a run-up, complete with trombone playing hooligans, then a few long stretches and sweeping turns and a speedy down hill off a berm at the north of the park led back to the final barriers and the finish line.

It was a rough day for me. I was tired from the night before, and had no legs, but I rode a steady pace, and focused on skills and cornering. I have raced at the park before, and it can get very dry and very sketchy, especially if your tires are too hard. I had the Fango's at 27psi, and they did a great job, although this was a course made for the Grifo's file tread, if only I had them glued up.

I did Master's race on the Blue, and the singlespeed race on the old aluminum steed. Every time I do two races, I am amazed by the weight of the Blue and how easy it is to suitcase over the barriers and how easy it is to shoulder and run with it.

I don't know what the end of the month holds - there are four more local races in the last week of December and first week of January. I might try to make it out, but with the first snow predicted for K.C. later this week, it looks like the trainer and treadmill might see some action too.

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