Written by Travis Williams Friday, 04 November 2016 00:00
DCCX 10/22/16 (Day 1)
Men’s CAT 5
It was a windy, cold start to the morning. Right now, every one of my New England based teammates are laughing because it’s never really that cold south of northern Maryland but still, it was cold for us. I had about a 4th or 5th row start and had pre-ridden the course with a game plan of how to get off the pavement sprint start and into the grass with about 3 angles of attack. When the race went live and folks grouped up, I was able to get into the grass with the top 20-25 guys. As soon as we got to the downhill section that folks were calling the “W” someone washed out in the dirt and caused a nice 10 person pile up. Up the hill and starting the last leg of the “W” and someone else wipes out. I think “man if these guys keep taking bad lines I may actually have a shot at this!” Surprisingly, the course played well into my strengths. Having never raced DCCX before, I wish I would have made the trip up years ago. The stair run up was nice and made me wish every race had one. After two laps it was clear that my strategy to move up would rely on my bike handling and doing everything I can to apply power on the wide open sections. This course had a lot of corners and a little few sketchy downhills. This is where I was able to make up time and make most passes. The odd part about this race for me was that the CAT5 men and women were on the course at the same time with a minute of separation from the start. It was odd to start lapping women, then men. Due to that, things got a little hard to follow with my standing so I just kept it steady. I wound up in 10th. I’m always happy with a top 10 finish with off the couch fitness.
Single Speed 1,2,3,4,5
Looking around at the starting line I couldn’t help but think “this is the largest SSCX field that I’ve ever raced with, this is going to be fun.” Side note - the larger field of “racers” at SSCX Worlds doesn’t really count. I knew a few of the faces from the VACX race series but there were also some fast looking guys on the front two rows. When the race took off I realized that my gear wasn’t great for sprinting as I watched what felt like the entire first 3 rows and some of the 4th row leaving me behind but I was able to finally get on top of the gear about the time I hit the grass. Sadly, the grass quickly robbed speed and I was back to mashing. Again, more carnage and crashes at the first 3 downhills. Thankfully I was able to make my way around it. The backside of the course was the worst. I was a little bit concerned about how single speed friendly this course may be but it turned out to be very pleasant. As I finished my first lap I made the effort to get on top of the gear again in the start/finish pavement area and work hard to maintain that momentum into the grass and up the first climb. This, combined with a little extra power and a bit higher cadence, really helped that first section go by with less effort. Over at the downhill there was yet another wreck but I still managed to get around it and ride the climb. With a bit higher stoke level I had a bit more optimistic mindset about the backside of the course. When we got to the barriers I just went for it and actually had three flawless remounts. That surprised me and kept the positive attitude going. There were clearly some CAT 1,2 guys in the field as it was strung out off the front with a lead group of about eight guys that stayed pretty out of sight. I was with a group of four guys and we were about even matched. Fortunately for me on the bell lap one of those guys botched a remount and a second guy eased up on one of the pavement sections because he didn’t hear me behind him. Did I mention that belt drive bikes are quiet? When the dust settled, I found myself crossing the line it 12th place.
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