Town Hall Cross 2012 (PACX #1)

8 Oct

Saturday was Town Hall Cross 2012, the first race of the PACX series. This was my first time racing Town Hall Cross in Bethlehem, PA. The only thing I heard about the course was the ‘St. Luke’s Staircase,’ which I evetually found out wasn’t a staircase at all and rather a winding track with 2 barriers towards the bottom that switchbacked up the hill with the last climb short and steep (I think ~20%). This was the first race of the PACX series and unlike the nice afternoon race in the MAC series the Cat ¾ Mens B race went off at 10am, ie early. We got to the course around 8:30am and I was able to get a lap in before the Cat4 Mens C race went off at 9am.

The course was interesting, with rain the day before and dew from over night. The staircase was tough on the lungs/legs but not hard to ride in its current semi-slick state. As the riding went on the amount of torn up grass due to tire-slippage grew and so did the the area of slick mud, making it tougher and tougher to ride efficiently. I got off the course and rode to the car, got ready, then watched the Cat4 mens race. They looked like they were suffering, in a bad way. I was able to get a lap and a half in after the Cat4 race and realized that a lot of the turns had before rutted and some were pretty slick/oily.

Mens C race (cat 4)

Some teamates where racing this race.

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Ben

 

 

Cat 3 (Mens B race)

With a couple of no shows in the B race I was able to snag a front row spot.  The start straight was a slightly uphill wet bog that sucked a lot of power with a ‘better’ inside line.  From the whistle I was able to clip in and sprint to get the hole shot.  Ive never been in front of the beginning of a race like this so it was a bit odd not fighting for position.  After a few turns I was battling with another rider swapping postions I believe until I took him on St. Lukes staircase.  I took the decent semi-gingerly with my main goal for the day not to fall, or atleast as many times as last week.  I was out front with a few seconds gap but was really trying to stay up right in the slick tights corners which were making me feel like I was barley moving.  After the first lap I was still leading but noticed a rider bridging the gap.  I tried to keep my game plan and not push it in the corners.  On the second lap in the back of the course I was passed in a mud bog after the first long gravel section and tried to stay on his wheel.  After the bog there was a straight on the side of a hill with a 90 right handed turn.  For some reason I took his line instead of what I was doing before and washed out dropping my chain in the process… bleh.  3 riders pass me.  After fixing my chain I jump back on and try to catch.  The next lap Im making up some time but not enough and stuck in no mans land in 5th place with no one very close behind.  On the 4th lap I make it back up to 4th place and make the pass on the alpine climb.  By this point I felt running St. Luke’s staircase was more efficient then trying to turn over my 39/25.  I could see 2nd & 3rd  together just a bit ahead but knew I couldn’t catch them.  I kept the gap up between myself and 5th and played it safe.  I rolled in hurting for my best place yet in 4th.  It’s a weird feeling being out front and only having people pass you rather than starting back a bit and passing people.  I found it hard to set the pace rather than having someone else set the pace.  It was a fun time and I was excited to do well since my parents were in town watching/cheering for me.

 

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Results

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fully kitted podium

Then it was cheer time.

Womens race (cat 1/2/3 & 3/4)

 

Next up was the womens race so I stayed kitted up and did some pre-riding with the lady.  Her goal for the day, don’t break anything/stay on her bike the entire time (ie no trips to the pit@!)  She started in the very back and made some good moves early to pick off some spots.  Bike racing isnt her number one priority since its marathon season but I think she could be swayed next season.  This was also her first race in any mud but I think the couple wet days at the cross course in Fairmount really helped her skilset.  Fast forward a bit and she had made it in the top fifteen.  I was doing all the cheering I could and knew I should focus on the alpine climb.  I made it to the last kicker of the climb and ran it with her.  I was tyring to be positive and told her to run faster which she didn’t appreciate and gave me a stern, “Shut up!”  I smiled and kept yelling/taking photos.  She rolled in at a cool 12th place and no mechanicals.  I think she was very excited to see exactly how well she could do without mechanicals vesus some really fast women.

No fun was had here.

Maria was having a bit too much fun!

Big thanks to everyone out there cheering for us, especially my parents who spent all day out watching people riding around in the muck, and the rest of my teammates who weren’t racing to come out.  It always helps when your legs hurt, your hating life, and want to quit.

We watched a bit of the Mens A race.  It looked fast.

And since we were in Bethlehem a trip to Vegan Treats was in order. Any more races up in these parts and im going to get fat from all the sweets im pounding down.

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