It all started last week at work, the phone was ringing off the hook and I felt like I was disfunctional reality TV show. WOW is all that I'll elaborate.
On to the weekend. From a weather standpoint, the late week rains were supposed to give way to some beautiful (yet windy) fall weather. I had plans to race the Granogue Cyclocross race on Saturday and the Hershey Half Marathon on Sunday.
This was to be my third cross race of the season, second in the MAC series. I had scored some points in the first MAC race at Nittany, but missing the next four rounds didn't help my call up. I again raced the Elite Cat 1/2/3/4 Masters 35+ race of which there were about 100 riders in the field. Granogue is a beautiful race on a private estate in Delaware with plenty of elevation and a REALLY LONG asphalt start / finish stretch. I was called up about 50th out of the 100 rider field, at six wide, that had me in the 8th or 9th row in an incredibly stacked field including several ex-pro's. Definitely not an ideal start position. My www.crossresults.com point predictor had me placing just in the top 30 which, considering the talent in the field, was about where my goal was. Starting that far back, you give up way too much time early in the race and your chances of making ground / positions really diminishes.
Anyway, my goal was to get an outside starting lane so I had room to bail in the event of a crash. As we rolled out the sound of rear derailleurs grabbing smaller cogs filled the air. I had a decent start and as the speed ramped up I heard a different sound....a loud "PING" and then the sound of tires, metal and bodies sliding on the pavement. I caught a glimpse of a wheel soaring high above my head. I immediately yelled "riders down", moved to my left and made it by the accident. From that point forward, the race was shear chaos. 100 riders battling for position on a technical course some 12' wide...let me just say there was some banging and some elbows flying. Here's a shot of me in the midst of the chaos....
|Pink bike just to the right of the tree|
(Photo credit Dennis Smith)
During the warm up I scouted out a few outside lines that I felt may help out during the craziness and bottleneck of the first lap. The first outside line worked to perfection, I rode right around 4 or 5 riders. Then as we hit the first run-up, I ran the outside of the entire section passing at least another 5 or 6 riders. As I mounted my bike I could see my friend Johan just a couple of wheels in front of me. I felt like I had made some good ground and I was now near the top 20. Then after the high speed downhill, I passed Johan who was now running with his bike...a flat tire, but not far from the pit area. Then I heard the whistles....our race had been neutralized and we were called back to the starting grid.
Turned out two riders were still down, and injured. Not good....mentally, I was out of the game at that point and ready to call it a day. Within moments, there were sirens and then a helicopter. As it turns out, despite some head trauma and a broken collarbone the two riders walked out of the hospital on their own later that day. Below is a video to give you a handle on what had happened.....
Watch more video of Granogue Cross 2011 on cyclingdirt.org
This was by far the worst thing that I've ever seen at a cross race. I consider them to be generally very safe and that is one of the reasons I enjoy them. Just another addition to the curse of the full moon?
On Saturday night we headed to an awesome Halloween parade. It was so much fun watching the kids sit on the curb with their candy bags and snag up the candy. Brought back memories of our annual trips to the Pennsburg Parade.
I went to bed packed up and excited to head out to the 2nd annual Hershey Marathon on Sunday. It wasn't to be, the next blow in the curse of the full moon hit me. Fever, sweats, chills...repeat...over and over. There was no way I could run a half marathon, not even drive to one! I slept in and as the day wore on I was feeling better. Then it hit me again and I'm still not recovered.
Can't wait for a new moon!