Divine Providence CX Race Report
Race Report By
Saturday morning, 3 Oct., it was early, it was dark, a little wet and cold; one of those mornings where you could feel the cold and the dampness in the air. I’m thinking what the heck am I doing, especially since the weatherman was still calling for a strong possibility of rain.
It all started roughly 1.5 weeks prior when a hurricane was gathering force out in the Caribbean, with a strong probability that it would make its way up the east coast and be in the proximity of the New England shoreline by Oct. 4th. I thought, let me sign up for an early Sat. race, Master 40+, Cat 4/5. My thinking; Sat. early morning should be calm, maybe with a few sprinkles, Sat. afternoon and Sunday could be real iffy! I guess I was wrong, the storm went out to sea, out in the Atlantic, the east coast (New England) was spared!
I had packed most of my gear the night before; all I had to do was load the bikes and a few other items. I left a little after 5am, stopped and grabbed some coffee and off I went. I arrived around 7am, took one of the bikes off the car and off to the registration tent, number 1050, start time 8:30, after the Cat 4/5 race. I had a few minutes to get on the course and ride a portion of the upper section, didn’t get the chance to do any of the flyovers. A few areas of the off camber sections were already torn up, muddy and very slick, this I thought could be challenging. Those areas actually firmed up by the time I raced and weren’t bad. After the first race I got another opportunity to get back on the course and do a little more of the upper sections before I heard first call. Off to the start area I went, after I had done one of the easier flyovers, the one in the center of the course; there were four this year.
Call up; I ended up around the middle of the start field, pretty much what I had expected. The direction of the start for this year was opposite last year. We had a slight downhill on the pavement, under a flyover and then a slight inclination until we made a left onto a dirt path. Shortly after we turned on to the dirt there was a fairly steep and very narrow run up. They redirected us around that section on the first lap for obvious reasons.
Back to the start, I ditched my hoodie and water bottle three minutes prior to the start. The leaders went off; I waited until I had room to start pedaling. Once I got up to full speed, maybe 50- 100 feet there was a crash directly in front, 10-30 bikes down, I slowed, skirted left and made my way around the carnage. Under the flyover I went, passed a few racers, up the hill and left. I was in decent position though not great. I was being aggressive and passed a few more racers on the narrow dirt sections. We rounded a bend and there it was, a fairly steep and rutted downhill section, maybe 20-30 feet down. I decided to be aggressive and took the inside line, where there was no line. I made my intentions known to the guys that I was passing and then it happened. The guy on my right decided to close me down and drifted into me. We locked bars and down we went. I landed on my left side, arms and legs fully extended; my head snapped back and hit the dirt fairly hard. I thought concussion, my head started to hurt, my arm, legs and ribs hurt. I was able to move, picked up my bike and off I went. I had lost a lot of ground. As I started riding I was taking inventory, left hood bent in, gears working, brakes working. Ribs, not so good, several ribs felt like they were moving and it hurt when I took deep breaths.
I continued to race, after all I was only ¼ into it. I traded spots, moving in and out of the field until I found my pace with a handful of other riders. They would slow me down in the technical sections until I could get around them and then they would pass me on the faster sections. I would make up ground riding over the bigger flyovers; some of the other riders were running it. The organizers had made the two big flyovers a little slacker this year, making it easier to ride up both of them but still pretty difficult.
On the last lap one of the racers that I had been exchanging spots with came around me. We came out of the maze and into the final stretch, onto the pavement, maybe 100 yards to the finish. I decided to sprint it out and pass him, got him by maybe a bike length for 53rd!
Yep, ribs still hurt. Definitely bruised possibly fractured, trying to tough it out!
Richard Friese adjusts the tape on a section of the Divine Providence Course.
David Hildebrand motors around the course.
Jeremy Brazeal killing it up one of the many rises.