Saturday, October 17, 2015

2015 Grafton PumpkinCross

I guess this race just doesn’t like me.

Last year at PumpkinCross, my chain rattled off during a bumpy descent and I had to dismount to fix it, losing a handful of positions while I was stopped. I was able to regain some of those positions, but that mechanical issue prevented me from having a much better result. And it didn’t help that I was overlooked for a call-up at the start of the race, despite being the series points leader at the time.

Today at PumpkinCross, a flat rear tire got me. I had started reasonably well and was running in the middle of the pack at the end of Lap 1. But I pinch-flatted early in Lap 2. It took a while for me to realize I had a problem, but when I did there was nothing to do but hoist the bike onto my shoulder and run to the pit area. It took almost 5 minutes from the time I started running until the time I was able to ride again: I resumed with a borrowed wheel from the SRAM neutral support mechanic. But the front of the race then lapped me and my main rivals were impossibly out of reach. Though I was relieved that I wouldn’t have to take a DNF, I needed more than that for motivation. On my final lap I spotted Kurt Greenslit (Colavita Racing), who had passed me during my run. Greenslit is an opponent I know well—today’s race was our 22nd head-to-head matchup—and I was confident I could close the gap and make the pass. Retaking that position was just a consolation prize, but it was good for my morale on a disappointing day.

I placed 23rd out of 30 overall in a race that was tough on equipment. Four riders failed to finish, and perhaps it was just foolish pride that prevented me from being the fifth. I didn’t quit when I easily could have, and that means something to me. I was 8th out of the 9 Category 3 racers in the Masters 45+ Cat 1/2/3/4 field. Team Pedal Moraine captain Jeff Melcher was today’s winner.

Without the flat tire, I might have finished 10 places higher today. I had a similar result at Washington Park in 2011. Things break sometimes, and it doesn’t pay to worry too much about what happened today.

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