Sunday, November 19, 2006

"I'm your huckleberry."



The word for the day boy's and girl's was SUPERCOLD. Hendersonville was a swirling wind refrigerator of frostiness that brought to mind well diggers and witch's lingerie. Jack Brown, Shelli, the grommet and I were all slated for a frosty 10 am start. I managed to crash during warm up again today, but no harm befell me.

Jack and I set off at the whistle. Decent starts for both of us. Nobody decided to be a tool and crash in the first g turn like yesterday and I found myself in about 5th or 6th spot going into the g up. That went smooth and I hung with that group for a little while, but the body suddenly realized that this was the second day IN A ROW of racing 'cross and decided to let me know how it felt. I hung in tough staying in the top 8 until I went around a turn on lap 2 and decided to see how wet the grass was with the entire right side of my body. A bunch of dudes passed me (thanks Howard for not running over my hand!) and I jumped back on the bike and took off in chase. I realized that my right shifter/brake lever was cocked in about 45 degrees, but decided to keep riding that way rather than lose more time. I knew Jack had passed me, so I had hope for a strong finish for somebody on the team. I chased and brought back some guys and then in the closing half of the last lap, I could see Jack and 2 or 3 other guys all clustered together. I bridged up close, but not enough. Jack finished 13th with me right behind in 14th.

Shelli got a replacement shifter last night and got to race with gears, so needless to say she felt redemption in the air. And redeem herself she did, sticking with her main rival until the close of the race and finishing a super strong 3rd in a mixed 3/4 women's field. I smell a category upgrade for next year...

Lastly, the grommet smoked the field placing an incredible 1st place in this his first weekend of 'cross racing. Today's gold matches the silver he earned yesterday. The sheer intimidation factor the kid brings to the line, coupled with the appearance that he might actually eat one of his competitors, could be the start of a fine 'cross career. Grom's mom weighed in by telling him he needed to stop riding "scared", leave it to a mom to cut through the crap and go straight for the heart of the matter. Yeah grom, do what your mom says...

The marquis event featured another Jeff Welch vs. Ed D. show down. Two new clowns were in the mix putting the screws to everybody and locking up 1st and 2nd place, but the overall series is still a tight race between the once and the future kings. Yesterday saw our hero bested by a mid race Ed D. surge (patent pending), but today was a different matter altogether as JW had managed to stoke his inner angry to a new level of intensity. From the gun, Jeff was pinning it to force the large lead group into a select few, so that business could be gotten down to. By mid race, Jeff and Ed were locked together until, with 3 laps to go, Ed surged hard. But not hard enough. For two and a half laps, Jeff slowly but surely pulled Ed back. Ed must have felt like someone had just walked over his grave as he nervously looked over his shoulder again and again. Jeff caught him in the grass before the barriers and ran by him through the barriers just to mess with him. Ed attacked one last time in the woods, but to no avail. Out of the woods, down the g turn, across the off camber, up the g up and down the final chute to the hairpin leading to the pavement straightaway, Jeff and Ed were locked together. But once tires touched pavement, Jeff unleashed a furious sprint and bested a tired looking Ed to the line by several bike lengths. Their finishes cancel each other out so neither of them has gained or lost ground in the series, and so, with 2 races left, a 20 point differential seperates Jeff from overall victory. This one is gonna be a nail biter...

This weekend was a great race at a great venue. Spectators were few, but rabid. I know we yelled our brains out for everybody on course. Howard even came down and let us bask in the glow of his megaphone. I think we need to get one of those...

Race pics coming soon!
Post a Comment