Men 2/3 Race Report from Providence CX 2014
By Humberto Raposo
OUCH. I did the Cat 2/3 race at 1:30 PM. The weather was absolutely fantastic. You couldn't ask for any better of a day and the event was absolutely top notch. The course was difficult...at least for me. There really wasn't any place to rest so you really had to manage your effort to be able to go the distance. The course is unique in that its very much like a roller coaster ride. I dont know any other course that is like this. It is a lot of fun!!! If you kept your momentum up, you could save a lot of energy. I think that if you can go fast on this course, its actually easier. I'm guessing because I can't really go fast on this course.
I started in the back as usual but had a great start. That never happens!!! My number was 266 and the field numbering system started at 100. There was a gap in there somewhere to account for Cat 2's versus cat 3's. There were 136 racers in all. By halfway through the first lap, I was riding with the low 200 numbers. I hadn't made any high risk moves but the field seemed comfortable in letting people pass on the high side of the off camber sections and on the inside or outside of the turns. The field was extremely relaxed and no-one was doing anything crazy. I have seen CRAZY!...like CRAZY!....but not here...not today. The barriers were a non-issue as the field moved steadily without incident but as soon as we hit the first fly-over, we slowed down to a slow leisurely walk.... From that point, the field spread out and you were going as fast as you could manage without really having to deal with other racers. The roller coaster ride took us over a man-made jump that could really launch you if you wanted to. It was conveniently placed adjacent to the BEER Garden. The silly "bumps/stair" sections came next. Several people tried riding them....BAD idea. I didnt see anyone clean that section the entire day. The field meandered up and down and up and down and back and forth tto another fly over (about 3/4 the size of the first) and up a nice gentle climb. That gentle climb was the death of me. It looked like a nothing climb but I got passed so much in that area that it was demoralizing. Unbelievable! That is supposed to be my strength (relatively speaking that is)!! Right after that, we entered a flat, paved road section where you could really haul.....but.....but...I couldn't because I was so spent from the gentle climb. Down the hill we go to the stair run up where I saw a fellow racer pile drive his bike into the first step. I sounded like a big THUDDDD. Ouch for him! He was ok apparently because he got right back up. They conveniently placed another fly-over after the stairs which I ran every lap. People were riding it, but it looked like too much effort for me. I never really tried it. It was fast from there all the way back to the start/finish area. The course was great but I didn't really have any area to rest and catch my breath and I wasn't going fast enough to take advantage of the roller coaster effect.
My lap times were 10:04, 10:13, 10:26, 10:20, and 10:07. It's pretty obvious that I paid the price for going a little too hard on the first lap and probably did not warm up enough. My lower back was killing me but considering my last lap time, I could have gone faster. I did not have any technical issues or falls but I was probably a little more conservative than I needed to be. I used my MUD tires but could have used a faster rolling tire that day. Looking at the results though, if I had maintained my best lap time, I would have finished 93rd instead of 103rd. The BIG question was, "did I win?" "No, I did not win." "Why not?" At the time, my answer was, "because I started at the back of the field." Thinking about it now, the truth is, "I just can't right now." Lessons to be learned: 1. Warm up better..stretch the back 2. Use the appropriate tires 3. Peak for this race next year (my fitness is down 25% since Cross Season started in September..that is too much)