Monday, September 20, 2010

2010 cyclocross race review: Catamount Cross, VT day 2

Catamount Cross Race in Williston, VT September 19th


Score: B

The same pros and cons as Day 1 generally apply. I will add a few specific notes though

- day 2 was a more enjoyable course
* almost the same amount of climbing but not in the same all at once manner
* I am a big fan of the log ride/run up
* nice use of off camber, but fast turns

- staying to watch the elite field (or racing in the elite field) means getting back to Boston/RI at 7pm or later

What did you think? Was day 2 better or worse than day 1?

2010 cyclocross race review: Schoolhouse Cross, VT day 1

Schoolhouse UCI Cross in Williston, VT September 18th


Score: B

- Scenic venue
- Efficiently run event
* quick results
* quick awards and payout
- Using the same race number for both days (or for the whole series, hint hint) just makes good sense
- Later than usual start time makes driving up the morning of a realistic option
- Appropriate number of categories
- Good excuse to visit Burlington, VT
- Aerobically challenging course with a lot of elevation gain
- Despite the elevation, the course is pretty fast in good conditions
- If weather is nice, camping at the venue is a nice option
- Smaller than average turnout means scoring the coveted Verge points for future event staging is probably easiest here

- Wicked fah from Bahston (even worse from RI), making a day trip very hard to justify
- Most expensive race series in the USA (excluding Nationals) as far as I can tell
- Really long course means fewer laps
* fewer chances to get comfortable during pre-ride
* smaller fields become very spread out (less "action")
- Three race numbers? Really? My racing clothes suffer enough from being pinned 15+ times a season, no need to add insult with the shoulder numbers too.
- Not a great spectator venue (see previous point), even though it is scenic
- No pavement (isn't there a UCI rule about this?), though I'm not sure that really matters with this one
- UCI event means dealing with uptight officials and imaginary rules (silly French Canadian official)
- Gloucester and Providence are no longer Verge races, so earning Verge points in VT is less important (at least to me) than previous years
- If the weather is bad, lap times easily exceed 10 or 15 minutes and that's no fun for anyone

What did you think of VT day 1?

2010 cyclocross race review: Quadcross

Here goes. I'm going to recap each cyclocross race I do this year. Simple bullet point style with pros and cons of each event. We'll see if it's possible for me to keep up with this all season.

Quadcross in Bedford, MA September 12th

Score: B+

- close to Boston
- very reasonably priced ($20)
- nice, challenging course
* plenty of twisty, off camber turns to remind you that driving a cx bike should be hard
* enough pavement for the roadies and for recovery
* fairly spectator friendly
* good use of the terrain available
- indoor, clean services
- efficient registration
- laid back attitude of officials, participants, and sponsors (not a cut-throat UCI atmosphere)
- could definitely be considered the appropriate "start" of the cx season for the Boston area crowd
- lively "infield" full of spectators, sponsors, and announcers
- great turnout of Quad Cycles racers to support and participate in their event

- staging is a free for all. It would be great/easy to make use of, or even online reg order. Something to avoid the 20 minute, pre-start line up
- races did not start on time (not sure if there was a good reason for this)
- apparently scoring was slow and not entirely accurate
- took a long time to get results posted online (though they were posted at the venue, so this isn't a strong reason to diss on Quadcross)
- too many fields for the number of participants (reduce the fields, combine start times, and make it easier on the scorers)
- Cat 3 race should be 45 minutes, not 40
- barriers were not "secure" (this is nit picking, I know). I saw people stumble on the barriers and knock them over. They should be more firmly mounted if possible.

If you have other observations, please add them to the comments.

Friday, September 17, 2010

it's getting serious

I try to make sure the Wednesday morning "practice" isn't too serious. The turnouts have been great and the course is exactly what I want it to be. This past week we must have had 30 people even though we start at 6:30am.

Now that it is September and people are getting out to race twice (or more) per weekend, these midweek practice sessions can be a great opportunity to really focus on specific skills. People have been asking about targeting specific skills during these sessions, and I say go for it! Need to practice your barriers? Go for it, as many times as you like. Need to practice your turning? There are a lot of varied turns in the course but there is also plenty of open space and a pile of leftover cones to set up your own practice area.

Weather permitting, this coming week I'll show up even earlier (aiming for 6am) so people can practice more than just the 6 (yes, next week is 6!) hot laps. I'm also thinking that some friendly/competitive barrel racing could be fun. Maybe a game of catch the rider in front of you.