Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Tale of Two Courses

heading to registration on another dry weekend

To some that are not savvy to our Colorado Cross scene , you may not be familiar when we throw around terms such as Xilinx or Interlocken in our everyday dialect. However, these are 2 venues are just about hallowed ground to all to are cross-crazed here. The Blue Sky Velo group always comes through in a big way for their race at Xilinx and while it was a variation on the previous Boulder Series Race, I much prefer Blue Sky's take on it. Super fast straightaways punctuated with short, pretty tricky undulations and turns. The spectators invariably gather by a set of 2 "mini"barriers that strike dread into some and encourage others to pull out some bunny-hopping skills, rusty as they may be. Xilinx was a Cross Cup and points were up for grabs so fields were full. Thanks to my decent finish weeks back in Frisco, I was granted a second row start. It was pleasure to witness the front of the race for a change and figured that my chances were slim for netting a top 20 finish (and therefore more callups), so tried to hang it out there for as long as possible. I was continually getting dropped on the long straight power sections and then would bridge back up if it got technical. However the long pulls were taking their toll and the last 2 laps felt like damage control. I finished off the day in 23rd and out of the points race but thoroughly enjoyed the course, despite more dusty and dry conditions. Interlocken=grass, there is no other course like this all season. Deep green smooth grass where the designer goes out of their way to ensure that every single turn be off-camber. It pays to spend the time here and figure out treads and pressures because it could make or break your race. Another key here is the start, a ridiculous short straightaway that immediately bottlenecks before you're thrown into a double barrier run-up, around a 180, down the slope, another 180, across a sand volleyball court and ....yes, another 180 degree turn before you have to light the afterburners into a long sidewalk sprint. Strangely, field sizes were a little smaller than usual. it was a beautiful fall day, cool and crisp but perhaps being held during Veloswap and the fact that it wasn't a points race kept some away. Our 45+ group was still holding strong at almost 60 riders. I had a3rd row starting position with call-ups based on standings (weird) and had an amazing start. One of those ones where it feels like very little effort and you're blowing past everyone. These don't happen often and I took advantage, trying to stay in the top 20 all day and for what felt like an eternity out there. I was in disbelief and shock when I saw "4 to go" thinking there was no way I could maintain this for another 3 to 4 laps. I was up as high as 16th at one point and finished off the day in 19th. For sure one of my best finishes here, especially in an open class.

Next weekend, the pro's are back in town hunting for UCI points in the Colorado Cross Classic held at the Boulder Reservoir ( love-hate relationship ) and the Sunday at the Valmont Bike park for the Boulder Cup. Hope to see you there. Thanks for reading ( I'll try to dig up some photo's to tack on )


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