Can I get a freakin race report?

Town Hall 4/5 (aka Bringing a Banana to a Knife Fight)
First attempt at a race recap. Apologies in advance as I can't remember nearly as many details as some others. Third race of the season for me (eighth race ever). Whirlybird was first race since 2015 and I had a great time racing my hardtail finishing 15/34 in 40+ 4/5. Next up was Nittany...had an awful time racing my new to me cx bike on a slick course with non mud tires (lesson learned), finished 25/29...meh.

Anyway, I ordered some PDXs at the advice of others, but they would not arrive in time for Town Hall, so I decided to race the hardtail again. I had never been to this venue before, but when I heard there was going to be some elevation, I figured I could have a decent day as climbing is the thing I am least bad at on a bike. Race predictor had me finishing at 37/72 in the Open 4/5 race as they would not be separating us older guys from the kids. That's fine, I like bigger fields anyway, and was hoping I could live up to or better my predicted finish. Rolled into the lot on a beautiful day around 7:45 for a 9:00 start (definitely appreciated that extra hour of sleep). Quickly ran into @Santapez (my dyslexic brain always read it as Satanpez, lol) and @MissJR. Chatted with them for a bit and my buddy Piotr rolled in shortly after. Grabbed my number from registration and headed out for a quick preride. Lots of elevation as expected, some gravel, barriers, minimal mud, etc...you get the picture. Rolled around the parking lot up until race time and ran into @seanrunnette who informed me that my bike would feel like an anchor by the third lap...I mean it's "only" about 6 pounds heavier than my cx bike.

Time to line up, which for me was right around the middle of the group next to @Magic. I'm not sure if this is strictly determined by order of registration, or previous results, etc, but whatever. As Magic and I would discuss after the race, the starts are a little unnerving for me. I know that it's a 40 minute race and that I won't be near the pointy end at the finish, so I would rather be conservative and try to pick off people as the race goes on. I've witnessed crashes at the start of both mtb and cx races, and it's nothing that I want any part of. As predicted, this leads to getting stuck in some traffic through the early part of the first lap as the leaders get away, but again, I know I am not running with those guys. One rider would end up going down as we made our way into the woods, but it didn't look too serious, so hopefully he was ok. As we pushed on, I was able to pass a bunch of riders on the climbs and did some yo-yoing with others on the flats. By the end of lap 1, Sean now told me I had the "right bike." I felt much more stable on the mtb than I did on the cx bike at Nittany, but I am sure a lot of that had to do with course conditions. As the race went on, I felt like I was getting passed as much as I was passing others. I was getting a lot of cheers for riding my "flat bar bike" and even got a donut handup at one point for riding it. I ate half and spit the other half out since I didn't want it to come up the wrong way as the race went on. I was even offered a partial donut later in the race which I politely declined. Going over the barriers on lap 3, I remarked to Joy that this is NOT how it's done, to which she agreed. By the end of lap 3, Sean informed me I was "in it," which I assumed meant that I would finish on the lead lap? By now, I was just having fun and figured I was running midpackish. Fast forward to the end of the race, I finished on the lead lap with 5 total in 39 minutes and change. Posted results showed me as 24/70 (including 5 DNFs) but no times, so not sure how far I was off the leaders. Either way, I was pleased with this considering that I hadn't planned on racing until August.

After cooling down a bit, I chatted with Magic, Steve, and Joy before watching Sean race at 10. As most of you know, Sean is a great guy and fierce competitor in what looks to be a brutally competitive class. I met Ethan Bull, a 19 year old Rutgers cyclist, who won the race and his brother, both of whom are super nice kids. I also ran into Nick Morrell and National Champ Stacey, both of who I have met at Wed Worlds, along with @Delish and @taylor185 , who in addition to riding their bikes really really fast are all incredibly nice people as well. To be honest, I would have loved to watch the rest of the races, but I also wanted to spend some QT with the family and get some chores done around the house, so I packed up and called it a day. Thanks for reading.

Thanks again to Joy for the pictures.

IMG_5223 (2).PNG
 
Last edited:

MadisonDan

Well-Known Member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Town Hall 4/5 (aka Bringing a Banana to a Knife Fight)
First attempt at a race recap. Apologies in advance as I can't remember nearly as many details as some others. Third race of the season for me (eighth race ever). Whirlybird was first race since 2015 and I had a great time racing my hardtail finishing 15/34 in 40+ 4/5. Next up was Nittany...had an awful time racing my new to me cx bike on a slick course with non mud tires (lesson learned), finished 25/29...meh.

Anyway, I ordered some PDXs at the advice of others, but they would not arrive in time for Town Hall, so I decided to race the hardtail again. I had never been to this venue before, but when I heard there was going to be some elevation, I figured I could have a decent day as climbing is the thing I am least bad at on a bike. Race predictor had me finishing at 37/72 in the Open 4/5 race as they would not be separating us older guys from the kids. That's fine, I like bigger fields anyway, and was hoping I could live up to or better my predicted finish. Rolled into the lot on a beautiful day around 7:45 for a 9:00 start (definitely appreciated that extra hour of sleep). Quickly ran into @Santapez (my dyslexic brain always read it as Satanpez, lol) and @MissJR. Chatted with them for a bit and my buddy Piotr rolled in shortly after. Grabbed my number from registration and headed out for a quick preride. Lots of elevation as expected, some gravel, barriers, minimal mud, etc...you get the picture. Rolled around the parking lot up until race time and ran into @seanrunnette who informed me that my bike would feel like an anchor by the third lap...I mean it's "only" about 6 pounds heavier than my cx bike.

Time to line up, which for me was right around the middle of the group next to Magic. I'm not sure if this is strictly determined by order of registration, or previous results, etc, but whatever. As Magic and I would discuss after the race, the starts are a little unnerving for me. I know that it's a 40 minute race and that I won't be near the pointy end at the finish, so I would rather be conservative and try to pick off people as the race goes on. I've witnessed crashes at the start of both mtb and cx races, and it's nothing that I want any part of. As predicted, this leads to getting stuck in some traffic through the early part of the first lap as the leaders get away, but again, I know I am not running with those guys. One rider would end up going down as we made our way into the woods, but it didn't look too serious, so hopefully he was ok. As we pushed on, I was able to pass a bunch of riders on the climbs and did some yo-yoing with others on the flats. By the end of lap 1, Sean now told me I had the "right bike." I felt much more stable on the mtb than I did on the cx bike at Nittany, but I am sure a lot of that had to do with course conditions. As the race went on, I felt like I was getting passed as much as I was passing others. I was getting a lot of cheers for riding my "flat bar bike" and even got a donut handup at one point for riding it. I ate half and spit the other half out since I didn't want it to come up the wrong way as the race went on. I was even offered a partial donut later in the race which I politely declined. Going over the barriers on lap 3, I remarked to Joy that this is NOT how it's done, to which she agreed. By the end of lap 3, Sean informed me I was "in it," which I assumed meant that I would finish on the lead lap? By now, I was just having fun and figured I was running midpackish. Fast forward to the end of the race, I finished on the lead lap with 5 total in 39 minutes and change. Posted results showed me as 24/70 (including 5 DNFs) but no times, so not sure how far I was off the leaders. Either way, I was pleased with this considering that I hadn't planned on racing until August.

After cooling down a bit, I chatted with Magic, Steve, and Joy before watching Sean race at 10. As most of you know, Sean is a great guy and fierce competitor in what looks to be a brutally competitive class. I met Ethan Bull, a 19 year old Rutgers cyclist, who won the race and his brother, both of whom are super nice kids. I also ran into Nick Morrell and National Champ Stacey, both of who I have met at Wed Worlds, along with @Delish and @taylor185 , who in addition to riding their bikes really really fast are all incredibly nice people as well. To be honest, I would have loved to watch the rest of the races, but I also wanted to spend some QT with the family and get some chores done around the house, so I packed up and called it a day. Thanks for reading.

Thanks again to Joy for the pictures.

View attachment 77421
Good job out there, and nice write up. Sorry I didn’t introduce myself, I’m MadisonDan, but I had some of the pre race being too serious jitters. I look like the guy in my avatar, only upright most of the time. See you at Lucky hopefully.
 
Good job out there, and nice write up. Sorry I didn’t introduce myself, I’m MadisonDan, but I had some of the pre race being too serious jitters. I look like the guy in my avatar, only upright most of the time. See you at Lucky hopefully.
Thanks Dan, and no worries, I knew you were in that pre race mode. I think you might have told me to lock out my fork at some point late in the race too :)
 

Magic

Formerly 1sh0t1b33r
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Newtown: Much better performance today compared to the crampstorm of Town Hall yesterday. My sister lives about 10 min from the race, so I took my parents with me for this one as they've never come to any of the races yet. Parents mean lots of pictures and videos! I had a bunch of waffles with peanut butter for breakfast, then sipped some salted water on the entire drive over. Either the extra hydrating between Saturday and Sunday, or the salt load really helped today. I felt good during the race. As good as I can feel that is, which is still slow, but much faster than yesterday. The Newtown course was AWESOME. Would definitely make the trip out again next year. I've never done the previous venue, but I think this was the second year here. The climbs were perfect, the downhills fast, and the off-camber hills killer. It was a perfect mix of up and down per lap with nice views and horsies. Not much to report during the race as the placement seemed to settle in after the first lap, though I did get a few passes in between some crashes and better turning skills. And it also didn't rain (hah suckers that drove 17 hours to Bridgeton). 4th race of this cross season already. Fun start to a hopefully long season.
811AEA44-9B12-4E04-A62F-789E69D820C0.jpeg
3451F293-1F0C-4095-B4C6-CDD5E1CA3845.jpeg
 
Last edited:
Town Hall 4/5 (aka Bringing a Banana to a Knife Fight)
First attempt at a race recap. Apologies in advance as I can't remember nearly as many details as some others. Third race of the season for me (eighth race ever). Whirlybird was first race since 2015 and I had a great time racing my hardtail finishing 15/34 in 40+ 4/5. Next up was Nittany...had an awful time racing my new to me cx bike on a slick course with non mud tires (lesson learned), finished 25/29...meh.

Anyway, I ordered some PDXs at the advice of others, but they would not arrive in time for Town Hall, so I decided to race the hardtail again. I had never been to this venue before, but when I heard there was going to be some elevation, I figured I could have a decent day as climbing is the thing I am least bad at on a bike. Race predictor had me finishing at 37/72 in the Open 4/5 race as they would not be separating us older guys from the kids. That's fine, I like bigger fields anyway, and was hoping I could live up to or better my predicted finish. Rolled into the lot on a beautiful day around 7:45 for a 9:00 start (definitely appreciated that extra hour of sleep). Quickly ran into @Santapez (my dyslexic brain always read it as Satanpez, lol) and @MissJR. Chatted with them for a bit and my buddy Piotr rolled in shortly after. Grabbed my number from registration and headed out for a quick preride. Lots of elevation as expected, some gravel, barriers, minimal mud, etc...you get the picture. Rolled around the parking lot up until race time and ran into @seanrunnette who informed me that my bike would feel like an anchor by the third lap...I mean it's "only" about 6 pounds heavier than my cx bike.

Time to line up, which for me was right around the middle of the group next to @Magic. I'm not sure if this is strictly determined by order of registration, or previous results, etc, but whatever. As Magic and I would discuss after the race, the starts are a little unnerving for me. I know that it's a 40 minute race and that I won't be near the pointy end at the finish, so I would rather be conservative and try to pick off people as the race goes on. I've witnessed crashes at the start of both mtb and cx races, and it's nothing that I want any part of. As predicted, this leads to getting stuck in some traffic through the early part of the first lap as the leaders get away, but again, I know I am not running with those guys. One rider would end up going down as we made our way into the woods, but it didn't look too serious, so hopefully he was ok. As we pushed on, I was able to pass a bunch of riders on the climbs and did some yo-yoing with others on the flats. By the end of lap 1, Sean now told me I had the "right bike." I felt much more stable on the mtb than I did on the cx bike at Nittany, but I am sure a lot of that had to do with course conditions. As the race went on, I felt like I was getting passed as much as I was passing others. I was getting a lot of cheers for riding my "flat bar bike" and even got a donut handup at one point for riding it. I ate half and spit the other half out since I didn't want it to come up the wrong way as the race went on. I was even offered a partial donut later in the race which I politely declined. Going over the barriers on lap 3, I remarked to Joy that this is NOT how it's done, to which she agreed. By the end of lap 3, Sean informed me I was "in it," which I assumed meant that I would finish on the lead lap? By now, I was just having fun and figured I was running midpackish. Fast forward to the end of the race, I finished on the lead lap with 5 total in 39 minutes and change. Posted results showed me as 24/70 (including 5 DNFs) but no times, so not sure how far I was off the leaders. Either way, I was pleased with this considering that I hadn't planned on racing until August.

After cooling down a bit, I chatted with Magic, Steve, and Joy before watching Sean race at 10. As most of you know, Sean is a great guy and fierce competitor in what looks to be a brutally competitive class. I met Ethan Bull, a 19 year old Rutgers cyclist, who won the race and his brother, both of whom are super nice kids. I also ran into Nick Morrell and National Champ Stacey, both of who I have met at Wed Worlds, along with @Delish and @taylor185 , who in addition to riding their bikes really really fast are all incredibly nice people as well. To be honest, I would have loved to watch the rest of the races, but I also wanted to spend some QT with the family and get some chores done around the house, so I packed up and called it a day. Thanks for reading.

Thanks again to Joy for the pictures.

View attachment 77421
Nice race and recap - good to meet you and to chat with you and @seanrunnette!
 
Awesome job pulling the double, @Magic! Not sure if that’s something I’m ready to try yet or not, but maybe one of these days. Can’t remember if you said you were doing Caffeinated or not. If you do, I’ll likely see you in Open 4 since the 11am start is much more appealing than 40+ 4 at 8am in very south Jersey.
 

Santapez

Well-Known Member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Quickly ran into @Santapez (my dyslexic brain always read it as Satanpez, lol) and @MissJR. Chatted with them for a bit and my buddy Piotr rolled in shortly after. Grabbed my number from registration and headed out for a quick preride. Lots of elevation as expected, some gravel, barriers, minimal mud, etc...you get the picture. Rolled around the parking lot up until race time and ran into @seanrunnette who informed me that my bike would feel like an anchor by the third lap...I mean it's "only" about 6 pounds heavier than my cx bike.
View attachment 77421
You're not crazy. It WAS Satanpez and there was a thread about people's usernames where a couple people said they thought my name was Santapez. Then @Norm got creative.

Nice seeing you back in action, and doing damn well. Hope it continues.
 

choop

Well-Known Member
Bridgeton CX

The boy was racing at 3:45, so instead of racing 4/5 40+ at 8, I thought I would play with the 1/2/3/4 40+ at 2:45. I assume I will get beaten up pretty good this year in this race, so I was prepared to eat a lot of dust and mud from the wheels ahead of me. I watched the weather all week and it was no rain, light rain, no rain. It seemed like the forecast was not going to make up its mind. 2017 the race course was a race track and the Terreno Dry tires were awesome on it, so I was really hoping for light rain and the track to be nice and tacky where I could still run them and take advantage of the long straights on a fast tire. Since I didn't have to leave until 9:30 am, I waited until when I woke up to decide on tires. I woke up and rain was in the forecast, but the rain wasn't supposed to be too heavy and I thought the course would drain fairly well. I put on the Terreno Mixed thinking I didn't need the muds and try to keep some rolling resistance on the straights. So I was a bit frantic changing tires and packing the car, but it got all done and off we went.

So I was racing in a group of 5. The smallest group I have ever raced in and it was messing with my brain quite a bit. I couldn't get a decent start and just work my way through the group like I am good at. I am also good at being off the podium so I can't say that has really been working for me. I knew of a few of the guys and how they ride and I was trying to come up with a plan for the day. I finally settled on trying to get to the front and make the first lap or two really hard and split the race in half. I have also never gotten a hole shot in a race before and I figured it was a tiny field, so why not try to check that off the bucket list.

We line up and chit chat, the whistle blows and I get the hole shot. I could have quit then and called the day a victory but it was too long of a drive. I kept on pedaling and tried to stick to the plan. It had been raining all day at this point and I would guess 50% of the course was underwater. The rest was mud and sand. I went into the corners hot and pretended to have faith in my tires cause I wanted to use my brakes as little as possible. I knew I would be wearing through a set of pads and there were a few sections of the course I knew I would need them and wanted to save them for later in the race. We do the first section of the course and we are mostly all together when we get to the first run up.

IMG_1276.jpg



I get to the top first and try to drop a hammer. Towards the end of the lap I notice its me and @xc62701 and I have a few seconds on him, so the plan is kinda working. I have seen his bike handling during the mountain bike season and knew he could handle all the descents. I kinda figured he would bridge up to me and then I would then hold onto his wheel for dear life, but I was able to hold him off with a varying lead of 5-10 seconds. This remained the same for most of the race. I would ride absolutely paranoid that he would catch me and I would blow up. I have never ridden at the front of the race before and this was a new added stress. The third lap I slowed a tad. I remember having issues clipping in after the first run up, and being a bit sloppy on the steep descent after the beach.

IMG_1289.jpg


On the third lap I was getting a feel for how the gap was lengthening and shrinking. I was extending it on the run ups and in the sand. I was holding my own on the descents and he was pulling me in a bit on the straights. So lap 4 I needed to hold him off. There was no more letting him bridge up. I worked a bit harder on the straights and hit the steep descent pretty well and the last run up was murder. After the last little descent where you crossed the parking lot I thought I might have a chance of making this stick. I tried to stay on the gas and hope he didn't have one last effort in him. I continued my paranoia all the way to the line. I got a bit lucky to take my first top step ever.

Laps:
1: 11:50
2. 10:48
3. 11:03
4. 10:58

This might have been the driest part of the course.

IMG_1306.jpg


So the game plan worked. I made it as hard as I could from the start. I rode these conditions much better than I had in the past. I read the trail well in most cases and put a lot of trust in my tires and bike handling. Sometimes its so much easier to trust your legs than your technical skills. As frantic as I was about not having mud tires, the Terreno Mixed handled the course just fine. I got lucky that it was a field of 5 and none of the 1's and 2's registered. It was a lot of fun battling it out w/ @xc62701. I know he is a strong rider and can handle his bike, so I was happy that I was able to hang with him on course. It gives me some hope for the rest of the season.

A great course put together the the promoter. Lots of fun. Power sections, steep descents, run-up's, and the beach. This course has a little bit of everything. I know its a pretty long drive for everyone but its a course worth the drive, especially if you get tired of grass crits.

As soon as we finished, the juniors were in the grid getting ready. The boy was a bit nervous, but when they went off he hung in there and had a fun race. We ran around and cheered for him. Then we washed bikes and tried to get into dry clothes and warm up. Then the 2 hour drive home. Tonight I break down bikes, see if any bottom brackets seized overnight and order brake pads.
 

SSmtbr

Active Member
Bridgeton CX - Cat 5

Seems like most stayed away from the LONG drive to Bridgeton so I'll throw in my race report for my journey down south. A drizzle to a light shower greeted me on the turnpike, but stayed away for a good part of the 8:30am race (which was VERY generous of the race promoter - I still got to wake up at 4:30am though, which I'm getting MUCH better at doing).

Roll into the lot around 7:15am and meet Stan from Hangsterfer's on a Cannondale MTB (foreshadowing that I will run into him for the entirety of 40 minutes in the race) and the rest of Jalapeno team. I think the 5s had 17 line up at the start? I'm not sure if I like having a smaller field of just 5s or a larger field of 4/5s. Having more carrots could help as I get more comfortable racing. Whistle blows and off we go up the road to the double track back down to the notorious run-up, which seemed to get better each lap. The first lap was hilariously filled with the group using a variety of techniques including suitcasing, dragging, clawing, and throwing bikes up and over the run-up but everyone settled into shouldering in the following laps as the congestion lightened up.

Stuck with PDXs like Nittany as I'm probably going to default to running the rest of the season and learning how to trust them more. The course early in the morning was dry, sandy, and fast and definitely had a mountain bike feel to it similar to Mayhem, which suited me very well with roots and a FUN slightly rocky descent into a hard left hander. A couple of ride-able climbs and one that was more suited to running was presented all of the elevation of the lap with the rest being flat and fast. The group spread out a bit and we begin catching some of the 4/5 40+ who started a minute earlier. Me and Stan battle back and forth, trading positions. After the 2nd lap, we were our own race within a race, never seeing anyone else again in our field.

I know the hecklers will get me for this - "if you can talk while racing, you're not going hard enough". Each time passing the barriers I call out to Stan to hop the barriers - he did each time to my delight. HR data showed me at 179 avg for the race and a peak of 189 so I feel like I was full-gas. I am the type to talk more the more pain I'm in, although my legs were hurting way more than my lungs.

Going into the bell lap I knew it was time to put the pressure on Stan and see if we could catch anyone else in our spread out field. We pick up the pace and after the barriers we couldn't see anyone else so it was going to be a battle between us. For the first time in cross (3 races mind you, so not a lot of data points), I was able to put in a bit of race strategy instead of just trying to claw and survive and put pressure on Stan to keep the pace up, but finding short sections to recover while keeping him in sight. Rolling through the last single track section just before the road finish he gives me a glance back as I begin the attack with a drag race to the finish. I catch him about 50 feet from the line and put about a half a bike length on him to win the 1v1 race. Having a race within a race helped out so much with pacing and pushing it each lap and made it a ton of fun instead of riding in no man's land with no one in sight ahead or behind.

Chat a bit with Stan and we congratulate each other on a hard-fought race as we await results. Rain starts to come down pretty hard at this point as the course begins gathering water and corners turn from fast grass to muddy soup in minutes. Head back to the Jalapeno tent and was greeted with home-made cookies from Kate's mom! Win! Hang around most of the day despite the rain to cheer on the racers and listen to the music of the wet sand-ridden brakes rolling by. Chatted briefly with @taylor185 who is now a 3 and he mentions I should probably get rain boots instead of flip-flops, which I will move to boots in the colder weeks ahead! Watch the 3s for a lap or two and hit the long drive back.

Laps:
1- 11:12
2 - 9:47
3 - 10:03
4 - 9:34

7th of 15

Next up this week is potentially a double! Lucky Charm on Saturday for sure and Cooper River on Sunday maybe? My legs are feeling fairly good today so maybe repeating training like last week which was predominantly single speed commuting with a hard effort day thrown in mid-week is the trick for feeling good race day. I'm still trying to find that balance between recovery and training. I'm hooked on cross though and look forward to pushing it each race for the season and hopefully carry that forward.

PS - I also realize I need to start gathering pictures from the races to break up my wall of text. I'm working on it for next week!
 

xc62701

Well-Known Member
I'll add my recap to the 40+ mix at Bridgeton. I was concerned as well at the small group of 5 on the start. That was going to be either really good or bad. I didn't preride as I wanted my bike to work as long as possible and it was pouring the entire time before and after I got there. I take forever to warm up so that doesn't really work well for cross. Plus the first time I did any running/dismounting/shouldering of my bike was this race. Underprepared is still prepared right? Not really. I have done zero cross efforts or practice before this so I was just hoping to be competitive. I only mounted my cx tires Saturday hoping that there would be no issues. Thankfully there were none. Ok so with all of my excuses out there here's my recap.

We took off at the whistle and I immediately went to the back of the pack. I could feel my legs not wanting to go but of course I forced them to. Up the road I went from 5th to 4th to 3rd. The course was slick in the corners, soft everywhere, puddles all over, and the sand and run ups were just tough. Somewhere in lap 1 I got past one guy and got into 2nd. I could see @choop just ahead and just wanted to stay steady and get back to him. As he said there were parts where I would close and then spots where he would gain time. I was hoping to ride it out but 3rd was on my wheel and i just wanted to shed him so I could worry about going after 1st. My legs were screaming at me. The technical bits were fun as I could find some great alternate lines and just ride pretty confidently. I did get into a groove later in the race but the conditions were just horrid and I think my brake pads were already gone by lap 2. I kept riding hard seeing 1st just ahead and trying to make some efforts to close the gap but it just wasn't there. My lack of prep and my daddy legs were evident and I'm really surprised I was able to do as well as I did. I crossed the line in second and was fairly pleased with how I did. No spills, no bad mechanicals, and some relative fun in a pretty horrendous atmosphere.

Afterwards I congratulated @choop and we jumped on the podium before I froze to death. I was chilled to the bone and just wanted to be dry. Conditions should be much better at Lucky Charm Cross this weekend - which is my team's race. If you're reading this...REGISTER!!! I'll even give you a link. Register Here!!! The weather looks to be awesome, and anyone that has been to a race at Craigmeur can attest, the terrain is awesome. Fun is guaranteed! I'm so stressed at pulling this event off that I hope I can race but putting on a good show for everyone else is the priority. Come support us, you won't regret it!
 
Last edited:

taylor185

Well-Known Member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Bridgeton Race Recap (Or, am I really still picking sand out of my eyes?!?)

Left at 10am and man is this a haul from Montclair. 2+ hours is a long way to drive for a 45 minute race. Around Newark, the rain started and I began to channel my inner @Delish :
Rain on the Honda Odyssey windshield, 53 degrees. This is going to suck.
Hopes were temporarily lifted as the sun broke through around 11:30am chugging down the NJ Turnpike. This passed quickly and it rained nonstop from that point until the return trip- say 5pm.

Arrived at the race around 12:10. After a quick costume change including wrapping myself in rain gear, I was on the course for pre-ride. It was wet, with large puddles but not overly slick given the sandy soil. In the end, the rain turned an ok course into something that was an absolute blast and well worth the long trip.

Men's A race went off at 12:30pm so I hopped off course, grabbed my race number, washed my bike and returned to the car to eat lunch.

After the A raced was finished, I jumped back on the course for another few laps of recon before the Women's A & Cat 3 race went off at 1:45pm. More water, larger puddles but course was still a lot of fun. Another bike wash, more food and some brake adjustments.

Cat 3 and Masters 40+ 1/2/3 went off around 2:45 and it was still raining. Our field was 9 riders deep. I chatted with Ben Douglas, a young stud who rides at our local Wednesday Worlds and who ultimately won the race. We get the go and four of us take off up the road looking for a good position before a hard left into the woods. I was sitting 2nd following Ben. I stayed with him for close to a lap (i think) and then he dropped us like a wet bar of soap. I was sitting 2nd/3rd with another rider as we hit lap 2. He and I would stay together for the entire race eventually battling for 4th & 5th place. On lap 2, two riders and a podium spot passed us by.

Entering the 3rd lap, it was clear we'd be together for two more laps battling for 4th place. He could out power me but was bleeding time in the corners. I made a few selective passes betting he'd likely put in an effort to pass me later on. He did and I was hopeful he was burning a few matches in the process.

As we entered the final lap, I sat on his wheel waiting for the opportunity to put in an effort to pass him and pull away in the final corners. I was eyeing a section prior to the barriers. Prior to that though he hit me with a hard effort as we entered the woods following the sand. He pulled away and I watched 4th move up the road with little left to respond. As we neared the barriers, I saw he was bleeding time in the corners and his gap was disappearing. I stepped on the gas, cleared the barriers and moved quickly to the final few turns, closing the gap. As we made for the last steep, ridable climb a few 100 meters from the finish, we were neck-and-neck. He crested the hill just before me and put in one last effort that I couldn't match. He pulled away up the road and beat me to the line by a few seconds.

I am happy I made the trek. It's a long haul but the rain made for a really fun course. While a podium spot would have been awesome, it was great to battle it out for 4 laps with another rider.

I was slated to race Lucky Charm next week but my Cross season is coming to an abrupt halt. I crashed on my mountain bike back on Aug 25 (hours before leaving for shore vacation) leaving me with a banged up left hand, a knock to the head and some scrapes and bruise. Long story short, my "jammed" pinky is really a broken pinky that requires a little surgery on Friday. I hope to be back in action in November. I'll be at some of the local races in October as spectator and so my son can ride in the little kids races.
 

Delish

Well-Known Member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Long story short, my "jammed" pinky is really a broken pinky that requires a little surgery on Friday. I hope to be back in action in November. I'll be at some of the local races in October as spectator and so my son can ride in the little kids races.
I assume racing with a broken finger tickles a little?