Charm City Cross – Saturday & Sunday

24 Sep

Day 1 – Saturday

After maybe having a couple too many large mugs at an Oktoberfest celebration/friends birthday party (im a sucker for fest & smoked beers…) Friday night we woke up early, packed the car, and drove down to the ‘not so charming’ city of Baltimore. Game plan was to drive down to Druid Hill park, get some laps in before the 1:15pm 2/3/4 ‘B’ race, then watch the elites later that day. I had never raced the course at Charm City but heard wild things. The first thing I noticed was how spread out the course was. There were also many interesting obstacles like huge barrier type blocks that you had to hop, make a quick U-turn around a tree then hope another set, 2 sand pits, really tall stairs up a run-up, and the tallest regular barriers ive ever seen. Minus that it wasn’t all that technical other than a couple of turns that were a bit wet. The course was lots of power and NO recovery.

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Staris run-up

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Luckily I managed to squeeze out a couple points last weekend at Nittany Cross so I got a call up to the 3rd line. This was going to make life a lot easier even though the start/most of the course lended it self very nicely for passing in the long/wide straights. The start is a long wide pavement section before jumping into the grass. It doesn’t bottle neck until the first sweeping corner which makes it fast and interesting. After the first turn im sitting ~20th or so and sit in trying to get a feel for everything. Once we got to the back section I realized that these front dudes keep a wild pace that the legs couldn’t handle right then. I had to back off a bit as the heart rate was higher in the 200s than I would have liked. I think everyone was in the same boat but it was really hot out for the end of September and the back section was completely open and painful. I felt like crap. Strong riders from behind would pass a few of them I semi knew and realized there was no way I could beat them, and I would pass some of the front few as they were fading. By the end of the first couple races you know the people who youll be contending with for the most part. With about 2 to go I was battling with a guy from Wooden Wheels for a while going back and forth which kept me motivated until he eventually dropped me.

Ive found that in some races you get in the zone and you do your thing, but this race wasn’t like that. It was pain from the start, pain in the middle, and towards the end I wanted to quit/thought why am I doing this again?? Thje good thing is when that bell/last lap gets underway most pain vanishes and you get back to hammering and making moves. I had 2 riders in front of me not too far away, a rider from Wooden Wheels and from November. I eventually made my way behind them both right after the barriers. There were a couple technical wet turns that led into a fast downhill right sweeper, then a slight uphill on the pavement sprint. I made my move on the inside of the right sweeper trying to pass the rider from November but as he saw me coming he moved in and it got a bit sketchy but I got past. The rider from Wooden Wheels was already powering and I couldn’t quite grab his wheel to outsprint him at the line. I ended up 18th out of a full field of 125 and was most than excited after I caught my breath. We ended up doing 7 laps and it took us right under 49 minutes, a lot longer than I expected.

Oh and during the first lap on a downhill with a quick whoop to a sweeping left the GoPro broke off the mount for what the 3rd time now… I slowed down as I saw it fly off my bars but decided not to stop for it/ I should have about 3/4 of a lap later this week though 🙂

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We stuck around to watch some of the Elites crush the course then headed to our hotel for the night. We ran some priceline and got ourselves on a baller 4 star hotel room right by Camden Yards. Alright the rooms wernt amazing but there was a pool/hottub and a sauna! I couldn’t wait. We hit up a pizza place a couple miles away before we got our soak on at Johnny Rad’s Good pizza + good beer = a good time.

Photos of  the elite mens cross race: #1 UK cross racer and #43rd in the world made moves Saturday and won it.
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Stevie ‘Snax’ doing what he does best

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Day 2 – Sunday

After the hot tub/sauna action the night before the legs felt a lot better than Nittany Cross Day 2, or maybe it was just mental. We got up early to cheer everyone we knew in the Cat4 ‘C’ mens race. I tried to pick up some pointers and get a couple more laps in on the course than the day before. Today the course was slower and a bit more technical with a down hill with a quick right U-turn at the bottom for the stairs run-up, then a left U-turn at the top right back down the hill with a fast 90 degree turn at the bottom. The snad was also a lot deeper/harder to ride especially because they would rake the lines in the sand after each race and even saw them taking out the lines during races as well… My goal was to run it unless there was absolutely no one in front of me to bog me down. I saw how many people would get stuck behind someone then have to hobble to try to get off and get passed.

I had a great starting position and was able to get the last spot in the 2nd row. Oooooohie! Whistle blows and were off fast! A guy in front drops a chain or something and isnt moving so I have to make a quick left around him but get on a good wheel. The goal for today is not to burn as many matches so early. Minus one guy trying to make stupid moves everyone in the front works well together and is fluid. A couple people I let pass as im trying to stay in my rhythm but im able to pick a couple off later in the lap as they start to fade. By the end of the first lap Im sitting at the back of the front pack with no one behind me in 14th. The legs were feeling good and things were going well. I made up some time after the first barriers and was trying to move my way up. As we got to the barriers around the U-tree turn I went to the inside to pass a guy before the downhill. The inside had large roots from the giant tree and I must have hit one of those or something but then next thing I noticed was my foot went completely numb along with my entire leg from the shin down. After that it got really hot. Idf never experienced anything like that other than when Ive broken bones. After a second of thinking I jumped back on the bike and tried to get going but wasn’t able to clip in as my right foot was still dumb. I made it to the bottom of the hill, turned left slowly and pulled off the course… a few seconds later I saw the rest of the field fly by while I was standing there trying to figure out what happened. After about 5 minutes I could feel my leg/foot and half cranked back to the pit. My day was done and my first DNF.

Looking back I wish I would have kept pedaling but was too unsure of what happened. I think I did something to my shin muscle as its really tight today and hurts of it left my foot towards my knee but luckily isnt bad at all and probably just needs to be worked out. After a bit of being pissed off I got back in the spirit of things and started cheering for the rest of my friends/competitors in the B race. The weekend was a great time of hanging out, racing, cheering, and I ended up with my first top 20 in the B race. Next weekends Whirlybird Cross and after not finish Sunday I think Im going to sign up.

Showing off that new fresh skinsuit for the ladies.

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Gary!

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Thom!

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Mitch!

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Jeff crushing it this weekend.

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This kid was amazing!  Smallest person out there in the real race with clipless shoes and everything. Some of the barriers were easily half his body height but he was doing damage.

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3 Responses to “Charm City Cross – Saturday & Sunday”

  1. Weiwen Ng September 26, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

    Yes, there was not a lot of good terrain to recover. A few downhills. I felt good starting, felt like dying in the middle, recovered some wind at the end but I wiped out in the sandpit and banged my knee. I’m alive, though. And there’s more races coming.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Ride Report: Charm City Cross 2012 | Baltimore Velo - September 25, 2012

    […] Charm City Cross has come and gone, and the media is pouring in. Check out day 1 results and day 2 results, and don’t miss this photo gallery by Mike Duggan.  Then, read a ride report over at RIDE THE JAWN. […]

  2. Great Weekend of Cyclocross at Druid Hill Park | Loyola Cycling - September 25, 2012

    […] Dr Nygren and Vince (2012 team alumnus) brought his awesome Kingfisher food truck. Check out this race report  from Ride the Jawn for what the course and weekend was like. Dr. Nygren at the U-turn tree on […]

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