Sunday, September 19, 2010

Epic Cross.........or maybe not! Hermann Cross

Nice thing about racing at night, you don't have to leave the house too early to the race and get set up. Rolled out of KC and got to Hermann in plenty of time to get set up and organized. With all of the new equipment it's going to take time to figure out how to manage everything. We have the Reynolds "Spin it up" program that gives us a 30 sets of wheels to keep organized as well as all the other equipment. Being that this is the first cross race of the season I managed to get my "A" bike off the hook and replace the broken parts Friday night. Good thing we were set up early and had plenty of time to pre ride and get used to the cross bike again. Luke (bama) was the first on the team to go at 7:15 as it was starting to get dark. It was about that time that I started to notice the lightning. It was off to the north but getting closer all the time. Bama was off to a good start in the 3's race and was leading before falling and getting shuffled back to 5th. He battled the whole race to hold his position and did well to hold on to 5th. Soon is was time to get ready for the 1-2 race. The lightning was really close and and we were called to the line for the start. After a quick line up the starters horn went off. We blasted off the line only to see a car coming directly at us 50yards after the start! Most of the field avoided the car but a few went down. Nobody was hurt and we reassembled for a restart. Just before the restart the official warned us that storms were approaching and if we heard the bell at the line it would be the last lap.

Right about the time the rain started the horn sounded. We were off and I got a pretty poor start. I went for the slower inside line in the first turn and it out great as someone found out that wet wheels don't stop very well. He took half of the field to the fence on the outside of the turn and put me in the top 5. Before there was even a third of the lap over we had 4 KCCX riders of the 6 that had broken away from the field. It was about then that we crossed in to the tighter, turny section of the course and found out how slick the course had become. The crash fest began as just about everyone fell at one point. By the time we had made it back to the start finish it was Jeff, Shadd, and myself across the line as the bell rang for the last lap! Now the rain was really pouring down and I could barely see through my glasses. Rain, mud, and lights made it all most impossible to see in some spots and I found myself nearly crashing into the fence at the end of the pavement. The next thing I know I was bumped back to 5th place by two other riders. With a little bit of bump and run I got back into 4th by the stairs and it was the 4 of us going through the sand and into the turns. Again it was a bit of a crash fest. All 4 of us crashed at one point on the last lap. I managed to pass the J Schottler for the lead only to slide out 2 turns later. By time I got up it was Schottler and Shadd were gone and I got back up to hold on to 3rd at the line. During the race I was so focused that I didn't notice how hard it was raining or how much lightning was above us. The officials did the right thing by calling the race but it sure would of been fun to go the distance with that much rain coming down . In the end the KCCX crew got 2nd, 3rd, 7th, 8th, 12, and 22nd. I'm pretty sure they got the top 10 right but who knows after that.

Fun night but the excitement doesn't end there..................................

Now I've never been to Hermann before, but I had heard that this park has flooded prior to this race in the past. I looked at the weather before we left and there was a slight risk of rain, that's it. So even though the rain was pouring down we loaded all of the bikes, wheels, tools, everything, into the trailer and locked it up. We all jumped into the cars to escape the lightning and rain and headed off to get some food. By the time we got to the place we were staying it was 10pm and by 11pm it really started pouring. By midnight we had gotten a call telling us that the park was flooded but the police won't let anybody in so don't bother coming down. Argh, it was a long, fit full night in bed trying to sleep and wondering if the trailer was still there.

Wink and I were up early and he had all ready gotten a call that his basement back in KC had water in it! By the way, Happy Birthday Buddy! Anyway, we decided to go ahead and head down to the park with Bama and see if we could find the trailer. As you can see in the picture above we found it sitting on the road. The problem is.......if you look at where we found it to the picture at the top, you will see that the water carried the fully loaded trailer about 30 ft. Our saving grace.......the trailer lift on the tongue got hooked on the asphalt at the edge of the road. It's not far from the road to the creek and once it's in there it's not far to the Missouri river.

About now I'm just happy that the trailer is still around so it was time to open it. What a kill joy, the water line in the trailer was about half way up the side, or about handlebar high. At least most of our new wheels were above the bikes so they stayed dry! All of the bikes had silt all over them and everything else got soaked. The inside of the trailer had an inch or so of mud on the floor. Good thing they had a bike wash set up for the races, we used it to clean the mud off everything before we hauled it all home soaking wet. I guess we can call ourselves lucky. Our only real equipment loss was one tent frame. Some people lost bikes, tents, equipment, and as you will see later, cars.

Ah, the Hermann stairs. I hate stairs. Stairs are worse than running.

The Hermann course is really good. I personally have a real love/hate relationship with it. On one side it's long straights on soft grass, and on the other side it's tight and technical. Overall I would say that it would favor my technical skills in the tight stuff. The best part of the course was a 4 board section that you could bunny hop over at speed. The board were low and if you hit it really fast you didn't need to pedal between boards and you would still have good exit speed. Fun!

This was my first time at the Hermann Cross and even with all of the rain it was a blast. The vibe at the race is really good. Live music blasting, grills cooking, beer and wine all around(this is wine country after all). I definitely want to come back again next year and try it with a little less rain. Best of all Saturday is a night race, I love racing at night!

And then there's this. This had to be the biggest victim of the flood. See the debris hanging from the side mirror, the water was half way up the windows at the peak of the flood. At least the bikes on the roof didn't go underwater but I have no idea what was in the Mesa Cycles trailer. As we were pulling out Shadd stopped by as the tow truck was hooking up and saw 2 or 3 inches of mud on the front seats! Bummer, that's a total loss. If you want to see a few pictures of the flood and what this rig looked like under water look here at what the local paper had to say.

So I'm exhausted and I only raced for 2 laps this weekend. Not what I was looking for going into the first USGP next weekend but at least the 2 laps were good laps. Next week should be OK but until then I'm going to be busy rebuilding bikes!

1 comment:

MOD 2.0 said...

Dude, that is gnarly!