The Run Up: Baseball Cross 2017
Baseball Cross 2017 Race Report
Another weekend of racing in the books. Makes it 4 weekends in a row. Its a new experience for me and its one I wish would keep on rolling but unfortunately I will have a couple of weekends off before I get to toe the line again.
This weekend was Baseball Cross right here in Barrie, a little bit of home town racing. Last year I had a hand in designing the course but not this year. But, thanks to plenty of time pre-riding the course, I was very familiar with it. Would familiarity be enough to result in a strong performance?
The forecast for the weekend was initially very wet. Heavy rain on both Saturday and Sunday. Was “real” cross weather finally on its way? Would we finally get a good mudder?
Unfortunately, the overnight rain tapered off by the morning and the forecasted rain stayed away until the afternoon, just in time for the E1/2/M1 race. Even worse, the sandy base at the Barrie Sports Complex meant all the moisture drained away except for a few puddles. Instead of being soft and slippery, the course was grippy, hard, and fast.
With the hope that knowledge and experience of the Baseball Cross course would lead to a good result, I lined up middle of the pack. I was once again let down by my poor start but unlike other races it felt like I settled into my spot pretty quickly. It didn’t feel like I was passed by all that many riders.
Once I had settled into that spot and was surrounded by some familiar faces, it was fun to actually try and battle against other riders. My experience with the course gave me the advantage through the fast, twisty sections where I could close gaps on those in front of me. But unfortunately I could not complete the passing moves as they would accelerate back past me out of the corner or pull away from me on the straights.
What really helped me at Baseball Cross was a lesson learned from last weekend at Hardwood. While I knew I was able to ride all the features on the course, except the MASSIVE sand pit, I knew that those around me might not be able to and I should be prepared to dismount smoothly rather than bobble. It meant I could keep more speed through some of the ups and be in the right gear, ready to go once I got back on the bike.
Speaking of the sand pit, Baseball Cross is probably becoming known for its sadistic nature. Very few could actually ride the nearly 70 meter long stretch of sand and even if they did, it hardly seemed worth it. Annoying, the riders around me preferred to dismount while still in the grass while I always wanted to dismount in the sand once my momentum had slowed. But it was hard to get enough speed with others in my way.
The final thing of note from my race at Baseball Cross was that the course was just muddy enough to eat through a set of brake pads. There is nothing like that “oh shit” moment when you go to grab your rear brake and there is nothing there as you head towards a chain link fence. That made for an interesting final lap, racing with only a front brake.
Overall, I am very satisfied with my race at Baseball Cross. My familiarity with the course definitely payed off and I felt very confident. I only had one major bobble due to rub tires while trying to make an inside move on the rider in front of me. I barely avoided going down but it did require a foot down and messy dismount. And having accepted that this is where my fitness is at, I don’t think I could have asked for more.
With time off between now and my next race, its time for a hard training block to work on my limiters. I know I have a poor start and I could do with a couple more matches in the book so lets see what we can do about that before Provincials in Woodstock, my other home race.
During that break, I will be going to Nationals in Sherbrooke, only to watch of course. So watch out for some content from there!