For the second time I headed out of work a little early to do a little racin' at the Wednesday night Danielson Adventure Sports CX Training series on the Chil Con Crosso.
And for the second time this handsome young feller trounced me - but I'm figuring some things out.
Things like "tactics".
Back in June I encountered these tacticky things racing against Doug at the Big Ring Rumpus. I commented on his account and he offered these words:
"Alby - you got a taste of the dark side of road racing. MTB courses have become increasingly technical. Top riders get spread out. It becomes a test of skill and fitness, really an individual time trial. I used to believe that was real racing. But it lacks the tactical element, the uncertainty of what others are going to do. You end up being at the mercy of the pack when they impede a chase or tag-team you to death when you respond to every move at the front. It has a special allure you don't get in most MTB races, except for the Rumpus and maybe Leadville."
So tonight's joust went like this: We took off and pretty much the separation from the rest of the group happened instantly. Anson was up front moving fast but not too fast. After a couple of laps I got bored and thought I'd take the lead and up things a bit. Within a couple of laps I eased up - then Anson goes by on the flats near the start / finish area like a freaking missile. He keeps the power on for a good lap or so - creating nearly a half-lap gap.
Then... out of nowhere - he eases up to a crawl.. I catch up on the little climb and say it: "Your employing tactifiicationalization huh?" He looks a little puzzled and shrugs off the comment - but I'm persistent. For maybe a minute or so we start discussing backgrounds and stuff. He's a road biker with pretty good fitness (no shit) - and I'm a mountain biker with pretty good handling skills - that said Anson is no slouch with handling. The concept that all roadies can't handle dirt is just silly. That's the beauty of CX - good mix of different cyclists.
He lets me lead for awhile then with maybe two laps to go - does that pass at twice your competitors speed thing across "the flats" again - cripes he can drill it. I up the pace a little - and really start finding the limit of these skinny CX tires carrying speed through the turns into an uphill. Leaning into an off camber RH turn up the little climb the front tire starts making that sound tires make when they're at the limit: Still gripping but folding over. You know, kind of a ripping sound. Drat.. That just cost a few seconds - I was gaining on him too.
The gap is maybe 7 seconds or so - so I keep the pressure on. Through the woods - and across the double barriers (there was only one last week - bonus! more learning) I can see Anson not too far ahead. Naturally across the flats towards the hike a bike climb he lays it on pretty thick. I return the effort and then some - closing the gap a little. The plan is to carry a shitstorm of speed into the hill to dismount maybe half-way up. Sure enough - I get to the hill and he's about 3/4 the way up. I fly up the hill as planned but haven't got enough dismount skills to hop off "just so" - and end up kersplat on the ground "just so". Some gal at the top gets to witness all of the clumsy sputtering antics. That's what men are on the planet for - right?
That pretty much ends it right there. He weedles through a little singletrack techy spot - gets ahead and drills it to the finish.
Certainly was entertaining and it's great having someone there to keep you honest.
Speaking of totally different races - I have been working on the epic fail (missed a turn at mile 48) report from last weekend at the VT50. Every time I start thinking about that race I seem to find alcohol. Makes it very difficult to finish.