WARNING: race report
Sunday, Sept 21, 2014. Sucker Brook (Suckerbrook?) Cyclocross in Auburn, NH.
It rained most of the morning and I was worried about the slick grass, but it got quite tacky for my 1:15 race time. There was a long pavement stretch for the start/finish, some windy turny sections on grass, a few off-cambers, traditional barriers, and a double-track woods section with a “horse jump”, and a long winding sand-pit.
Crossresults race predictor had me coming in third behind Mo Bruno Roy (1st) and Katherine Northcott (2nd). Mo is a pro, so there is that. I stalked Kate and found out she has been racing for quite a while. She has put up a handful of top 10 UCI results and local podiums over the years. At Nittany she was 2 places ahead of me both days. All in all, I predicted she and I would be a good match for the day.
I staged 3rd, but when there are only enough women for 2 rows, what does staging matter? My aim for the race was to start well, and keep with the lead group the whole race, and to race it. This opposed my usual M.O. of start terribly slow and spend the race chasing through the field.
I was mid-pack around the first turn. A quarter of the way through the first lap I was 4th wheel and tried to chop a girl in a turn because she is really crampin my style. Rookie mistake, Fahringer. I botch the turn, dab, and kick off my own chain. I can’t pedal it back on and stand RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAMN RACE COURSE fumbling with it. I hop on, and chase back to the group, well behind now. I am passing riders throughout the course. Then, the horse jump. No clue how it happened, I drop my chain again. I share my disappointment verbally. Fellow racers and I laugh about it later, but, *%@#*&*%. They all pass me again. I get off my bike and fiddle.
Now, the chase is on. I hit 3rd place, and the gap between me and 4th grows. I sit up a little, feeling secure with a podium spot as long as I don’t mess up again. I see Kate and Mo in front of me; at one point in a hairpin that doubled back I yelled across the course tape “can you guys hold up a sec? wait for meeee!” No dice. Lucky for me, with 2-to-go, Mo goes down in the woods section. I TT up to her wheel by the last lap. When we come to the sand, which she had been riding all race, I swing right to pass her going in, and just as I did, she swings right and dismounts, putting me in the weeds. We run. She exits ahead of me, and I mount slowly and can’t clip in due to sandy cleats. That mount leads into the darn finish sprint and I have no pedals!? To top it all off, I was stuck in the 39 all race. I blame the sand, mud, and no pit-bike to keep everything crisp.
Long story short, Kate wins, Mo and I sprint, she gets me by a bike length. But hey, I podiumed next to some great competition!
Scorer Alan Atwood did some lap-split magic for me. The fastest lap on the day in my field was 8:03, a time with Mo posted once and I posted twice. I held the fastest splits 3 of 5 laps, with Mo beating my first lap time (two chain drops) and Kate being faster on lap 4. Kate’s times are all impressively consistent. take a look here, on the last page of this PDF (ordered by bib number, not finish place): http://fastalracing.com/results/2014/SuckerBrookCX14.pdf