Sunday, November 27, 2011

Baystate Cyclocross: Day Two

What a day. My head was clogged with snot, I had a horrible night's sleep, but, because I love 'cross, and I love racing, I made the drive out to Sterling for day 2 of the Baystate Cyclocross race weekend (I worked on Saturday).

You can re-live the race along with me with the following video, but before you watch, I need to say a few things. First, the aforementioned snot was working against me, and, well, you'll hear an excessive amount of throat clearing. I sound like a pig grunting. I suggest you turn the volume down. Next, as I'll discuss in a little more depth below, I was racing in a pair of slip-on sneakers and borrowed platform pedals. My mental checklist gave me an epic fail, and I drove all the way to the race without my cycling shoes. And finally, as you will see, it was a bit damp during the race, and by the end of it, the camera lens was wet and fogged up. Not the best pictures, but, you, the viewer, get what you pay for.

How the day unfolded...

As mentioned, I've been feeling a bit crappy over the past couple of days. Sinus pressure, sore throat, and just generally "blah." But, I sucked down some DayQuil & coffeets and despite only getting a few hours of sleep, I was still motivated to race.

The dogs were a little confused as to why there was so much activity at 5am, but I also plucked my wife out of the warm bed. I threw some tea her way and said we're leaving in 30 minutes. When I went out to load the car, I was a bit surprised to see how thick the fog was, and how cold it was. Wasn't it fairly mild the day before?

Anyway, we made the drive and Jay Curry drafted me the whole way. He did warn me that my bike was in danger of falling off the roof rack, but otherwise, he was able to conserve precious energy... energy he used to beat me in the race, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Once at the venue, I signed in, got my number, and started readying my gear... helmet, jersey, shorts, arm & leg warmers, shoes.... shoes... shit. I forgot my shoes.

With the countdown to the race start getting close to zero, I made a desperate plea for the impossible--"anyone out there have an extra pair of cycling shoes with Egg Beater cleats, size 46?"


I did the next best thing... I borrowed a pair of platform pedals from Shimano's neutral support. No cages/straps, and with a pair of flimsy slip on sneakers, I lined up at the start, ready to do battle.

Warm up? Nah...

Anyway, somehow I snagged a front row start and when the gun went off, I was only a two riders behind the leader... the leader who happened to be team-mate, Rob Bousquet! Rob was killing it! He and I were 1&4, then 1&3 respectively for a while, but all good things must come to an end. Rob had some problems with tubeless tire eructaion and ultimately had to pull out. My bike worked well, and aside from the fact that I felt like I was going to pop off my pedals any time the trail got rough, all was good. You never really realize what a great "connection" you have on your bike with clipless pedals, until you have to ride without them. Fortunately, I've got many years of BMX background, but it was still super sketchy.  Turns and off-camber sections were tricky too as I was hitting the pedals on the ground quite a bit.

Aside from that, it was an easy race... essentially non-technical. One rider did however go down on one of the wet downhill sections, and from what people were describing, sounds like he earned a pretty impressive ankle fracture dislocation. Whoever you are, I hope you recover quickly!

I held on for 20th out of 54 starters (I think), which, all things considered, isnt' too bad. I still haven't trained AT ALL this season, so it seems to be working for me as my results seem to be a little better than they were last year. Pass the Dogfishhead please.

All in all, it was a fun day. I'm looking forward to the Ice Weasels!

By the way... check back to this site. Jean took about 200 pics, so I need to go through them and they WILL be posted soon.


  1. Great to see the race and catch up a bit. Cool stuff!

  2. great video, I was in a lot, number 766 until someone ran into my rear brake and dislodged it.
    Good race Paul

  3. Hey Dave! Awesome job all things considered. How cool is that front row start spot...? Rob and his dang wheel problems; such a bummer. Tubular or Tubes seems like a safe bet, as you can't get a better tubeless set-up than with those NoTubes rims. I think that's what Rob races on, right? Or were those Renee's wheels?

    FWIW if one is going to race on such tiny volume tires via a tubeless set-up (I'm still weary) you'd HAVE to keep a CO2 canister charged, head installed, and READY for a quick shot to a burped / low tire.

  4. Sweet footage! Heard there was a pileup at the first race of the day? True or not? Hoping that it wasn't just us ladies that experienced that kind of fun... :)

  5. No pile up that I saw... then again, I was so far out front... ;-)

  6. Well, that's what you get for either a)having series points, or b) pre-reg'd. Those of us who fly in from the West and reg day-of are generally hosed.

  7. yeah, from what I understand, staging was randomly assigned--for those who pre-reg'ed... day of reg got relegated to the back of the bus... hope you had fun anyway!

  8. Glen, those wheels are mine, but I was a guinea pig for Rob...perhaps I should have been fatter!
    Kathleen, cool to come out from the West. I would love to check out some races out there. Hope you enjoyed in spite of the carnage. I too got plowed over at the start on day one. Hope you didn't get caught up in the mess!

  9. Glen

    I was racing on Felt wheels with a DIY tubeless set-up, but had 3 DNF's due to air/tire loss. I've been racing the notubes for 6 races now and have had 2 DNF's due to burping/air loss.

    I actually meant to keep a CO2 cartridge/head with me, but forgot. Stan's is sending me some specially designed rim strips for my rims...hopefully this will help?

    FYI...Dave kicked butt on those platform pedals...would have made his old BMX pals proud!

  10. rlovebousquet

    You should definitely come check out the races in the PNW. It was interesting to race in my home state for once---I grew up 'north of Boston'---to compare the CX scene. Caught in both pileups, but had fun regardless of the mess and the Blue Steel racers gunning for those upgrade pts. Wish there was a singlespeed cat available---always nice to bring CX back to its 'not as anal as a roadie' roots. :)

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  12. For those looking to check out the CX scene out west, take a look at SSCXWC for an option for a hoot of a race. Footage of this year's race here.