Well, I thought race #1 went okay. I went hard enough that I felt like puking at the end. I crashed a couple of times-- stupid, graceless little things that I attributed to loss of traction at the front.
An friend in the sport class (Will Cortez) finished 4 places in front of me. I didn't realize that we were that close together. After I saw the results I decided to use this as motivation. "Get Will!"
So for race #2 I bought some new tires-- something better suited to dry conditions with hardpack and loose terrain. My combination of front/rear Panaracer Dart/Smoke just wasn't cutting it. The front end was washing out like crazy. And the Dart just doesn't have the tread to offer good braking control.
I shod the F700 in some new Panaracer Fire XC Pros. I feel that they performed pretty well. I felt quite confident in dry hard corners and off-cambers. Maybe I had them aired up a bit much but they still performed quite well.
Unfortunately I seemed to be behind every racer that bobbled, stalled or just crashed. To be fair I had my own share of infuriating stalls. While I didn't crash I had a couple of near misses that lost me plenty of places. I'm not -- repeat NOT -- on other racers. I'm not a pro or some awesome cyclist, but it's still irritating when some guy in front of me is stalling and keeling over because of a miscalculation and then I wind up cramming into them.
I also discovered another little detail about when I can feed prior to a race. NOT within and hour of the race start. At least not for something so short and intense as these short-track events (which will include cyclocross races this fall). I drank a small bottle of HEED (That stuff tastes funny. Must be the xylitol. It's not bad--- just different.) and finished it 30 mins before the race start. I experienced some mild stomach cramping and "urping". Damned distracting. So I'm going to have to push back the feeding time at least 30 mins. Maybe more.
One highlight: I was closing on a racer from Team Beer and was set to take him on the inside of a turn when he dived down and totally shut the door on me. It was a great -- and gutsy -- move and totally made the race for me (even thoug we were somewhere in the middle of the pack). I tried to compliment him as I finally passed him, but he thought I was giving him grief for being slow or something. Next time I'll save it for after the race! Anyway-- I found him after the race and explained myself. So everything was cool.
So, looking forward to race #3 (and the half-way point of the series) I will:
1.) Try to get a little better starting position.
2.) NOT feed withing the hour before the race. Maybe even 90 minutes.
3.) Look ahead and predict trouble spots. I will not get hung up with other racers.
4.) Catch Will Cortez.
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