Monday, May 17, 2010

Gloucester Grind-My-Self-Esteem-Into-the-Ground Race Report

I’ve had the Gloucester Grind on my schedule for about a month.  But at the last minute Doug called and suggested doing the Mystic Velo Crit at 8 am first, to work on meeting out upgrade requirements for road, then we’ll drive up and do Da Grind at 11.  Afterall, it’s only a 15 mile crit, it can’t hurt that much and we’ll just treat it as the warmup for the mountain bike race.  People double up on cyclocross races, so why not a grit and a mountain bike race?

IMG01956-20100516-0507  Taking my new Yeti and road bike down to Rhode Island for a day of racing.

I’m learning that I’m a sucker for stupid ideas.  Just ask Bauer, a.k.a Pain Face on this blog, who convinced me to double-up on cyclocross races last year at Palmer (after I finished the first race at max output), where for my second race I promptly got lapped about two laps in some fast 35+ master’s dudes.   Or, even better, ask my Marblehead buddy Kurt, who had me sign up for the Battenkil in 2009 without me ever having done a road race.  Then there was last year’s Vermont 50, etc.  The list is long because, Yes, my name is Todd and I’ve liked dumb ideas for as long as I remember.  (Which probably as a child is why I was always the guinea pig for testing the jumps my friends would build.)

I arrived at the Grind and got out of the car.  My legs immediately let me know I did more work than I should have at the crit.  Oh, oh.  I grabbed my newly acquired Yeti and pre-rode the first half of the loop.  The terrain was challenging, twisty, rocky, and fun, fun, fun.   Definitely the most technical mountain bike course I’ve been on.

Flashback: I should have been racing with my sleek North Waves, but they’ve were sent back for warranty replacement, and instead was racing in my 1992 Nike laceups.  So old, that I had a hipster inquire about them:

IMG_3307 IMG01967-20100516-1013                 

Anyway, race time.  We had three guys from MRC line up in the Sport Veteren 2 class, which is the most MRCers I’ve ever seen at a race (that wasn’t a 24 Hour team event).  Plus, Doug when lined up ahead of us in the Singlespeed division, and we had some one in the Novices.  So maybe mountain biking is growing again?

We staged and then started the race.  I immediately remembered how road racing isn’t anything like mountain bike racing.  My heart rate shot up, and my upper body was getting pummeled.  I’ll fess up that I haven’t been on the mountain bike nearly enough and have turned into a bit of a roadie this year.  I though for sure all my road fitness would translate into mountain bike fitness the moment I mounted the Yeti.  It did not.  This I was know figuring out as I powered through swampy mud, and worked my bike  over boulder rock gardens, and accelerated up spiky root-ridden humps.  This was hurting a lot more than I was expecting.

About 20 minutes in, the sole of my shoe ripped out of my shoes.   I tried riding for another couple minutes before realizing how dumb that was.  And then the great epiphany hit me: “You don’t have to finish this race.”  And I didn’t.  Though, I was wondering if I’d even have finished without breaking my shoes?   I walked back and grabbed my camera. 

Unfortunately, I didn’t bring my real camera like I normally do because I didn’t think I’d be taking photos, but I pulled out my G9 and grabbed a few.  BTW, I love that mountain bike races put the numbers on the handlebars, it makes it really easy give the photos proper captions Here they are, enjoy:

Here’s Kevin Hines lapping fellow MRC'r Chris Pare.  Kevin went on to win the Elite race:IMG_7225


John Foley and teammate Timothy Daigneault battling it out.  They finished 2nd and 3rd in the Elite race:


Here’s Colin (aka Resultsboy) Reuter showing maximum Pain Face™:IMG_7237-Edit

Fellow MRC’r Lowry racing his sweet belt-driven Spot:IMG_7212-Edit

Chris Pare finishing up:IMG_7236-Edit 

I could have been content, sleeping in until 8 am, instead I woke at 4:30 am and drove through some Rhode Island’s finest towns to get to the Mystic Velo Crit, where at least on a good note, I raced smart with patience and finished 7th in the sprint.

EDIT: I forgot to explain why this is so humiliating:  After only 20 minutes of racing I have sore forearms and back today.  Time to start lifting more weights.

See you next week, after The Weeping Willow (which will be after Sunapee on Saturday).

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