Saturday, December 17, 2005

Misc Nationals Race Reports - Leave yours here

I thought it might be fun to see if anyone who went to Providence would like to leave their reports as a Comment to this posting.


Anonymous Sam Ames said...

Just got in from RI and thought I might share my race diary as the 21st. finisher in the men's 35-39 and the best placed California racer! Whoopie!

There are a few photos on the web of our race early on and a couple of the winner (in shorts), but nothing, I mean nothing can describe the carnage and absolutely brutal conditions we faced! I started with a 121st "grid" position and mayhem ruled the start as freezing rain pelted everyone to include the screaming officials. I was about dead last when the gun went off and if you've ever ridden behind an 18 wheeler in the rain, that's what it was like....first corner, pileup and I miss it on the inside. Next sweeper, pileup and I ran like I never ran before on the inside....I was still running from the adrenaline until I realized I had run all the way to the first off camber and guys were riding.

That first lap with the pouring rain, snow, slush and mud kept everyone in single file. Crashes, profanity and wild riding reined supreme and I managed to stay upright, ride smooth and "pick" off some spots. (Note: I never got passed throughout the race after the first lap---just sharing, not gloating!) Hats off to the race was an incredible course, wide and true cross.

Now for the good one could have expected what was to come next. By lap two, the rain turned back to snow and all of a sudden mother nature unleashed a fury like I have never F%^*&ing seen....the wind gusted to 50mph and sheets of hail and sleet pummeled us from all sides. (My eyeballs still hurt from the sleet....I'm not joking) Course tape was being ripped from the stakes and the metal barriers that lined the start finish were blown was actually skidding on the asphalt. With one eye open I dug as deep as I could have ever dug. Guys were crashing and walking in a mix of disgust and pain. The water and mud from the first lap began to freeze the drive train of my bike and by now I could no longer properly operate the shift lever...My hand was frozen around the hood and I had to do the "Bob Dole" hand formation to stab the inside lever. All I could say was, "don't you quit, damn it" (Note: After a flying start way back in 1994 at natz in the elite race, I got the hole shot and was first to the barriers. I rode a 1/4 lap at the front but blew up and never finished.....that was my last nationals and I vowed to never ever quit a race again)

I hear the official screaming and the faint sound of a more announcer and the course was wrecked, a war zone. The sound of the wind was deafening and I buried myself to try and catch a few more riders. On one of the run ups I had 20th and 21st in sight and passed them....but it was more like Rocky and Apollo at the end of Rocky II when both can barley stand and exchange blows in a sluggish and sloppy manner. 20th. got me on a muddy slope and I couldn't get him back. My lower lip looked like Richard Gronendaals and my hands now hurt so badly I was getting worried. They say when your that cold and close to hypothermia you want to sleep and all I could think about was 1. No one can pass me and 2. God, please let this be over....and it was. Mavic support crews were grabbing riders and shuttling them could not see anything and the venue was a ghost town. I rode across the course to the tents, dropped my bike and ran to the heater vent blowing inside. 6-8 of us, almost in tears huddled around the duct peeling off frozen gloves and shoes. I think I sat there 20 minutes. We were all shaking uncontrollably. Some friends found me and one of my So Cal buddies did not finish. He said he got disoriented and so cold he couldn't function.

When I got enough feeling in my hands to move them, I ran like an antelope from the tent 1/4 mile to our was the most eerie and serene feeling. Not a soul around...I passed one car going the wrong way on the street. The wind and snow had actually increased and luckily I got in the van and ran it at 4000 RPM's for a bit. Warm clothes on, I was stoked. I had finished and engaged in a dangerous duel with mother nature. I'll call it a draw...

It took us over and hour to drive back to the hotel (3 miles). Hats off to all my fellow crossers who even attempted that race...they are all champs.

Sam Ames

9:41 PM  
Anonymous Linda Elgart said...

Providence, Rhode Island. December. Snow storms called “Bombagenics”, and “Snowicanes”. Now why do we do this?

Actually, when I pre-rode the course on Thursday, I liked it. There was some crusty snow and piles of leaves, good road sections, nice flow, and power hills. I thought I was “feelin” it. Friday am dawned with a snowstorm. Just the regular kind, the snow thunder and 40 mph winds didn’t happen until later, after my race. It was below freezing, rapidly accumulating snow on the ground, and pretty flakes falling thickly. Even in warm up, I felt good. I got around without any major problems, and the weather wasn’t really bothering me.

Once the race started, however, conditions changed (as they did by the minute for the rest of the weekend). I couldn’t stay upright! The first time I crashed, just after the first turn from pavement to dirt (where John and many others also bit the dust), my reaction was, “This is ridiculous!”. I got up, chased, fell, got up, chased, passed people and fell in front of them, etc. On about the 5th slide out, my right lower back went TWEAK, I said, “Ouch!”, and attempted to press on. I rode into the pit, thinking maybe John’s bike with different tires would be better. I couldn’t mount up, though. John asked, “Do you want to continue?”. I said, “Yes!, yeah I do...uh, maybe...not...” I just couldn’t pick up my right leg, and my back was killing me.

I limped to the car, using the bike as a crutch, and that was the end of it.

Meanwhile, Tove Shere of New Mexico, who lives at 7000’, and also does motocross, was powering the course and not falling more than twice. I’ve raced against Tove for many years, even in duathlon, and never once has she finished in front of me. But, this was her day, beating both Cynthia Joiner of New England and Margaret Thompson of upstate New York, both of whom I expected to be my main competitors. I was very happy for Tove, this being her first national championship.

If I want to go back next year I think many trips to Tahoe are in order.



9:42 PM  
Anonymous brian rogers said...

masters 30-34

b men < 35

2:41 PM  

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