Limestone Cross 2012 (MAC #8)

10 Dec

Limestone Cross at the Kiln is the 8th and last race of the MAC series as well as the Atlantic Regional Championships. It also wraps up the 2012 season since it’s the last ‘real’ race of the season for most of us around here. I raced Limestone last year as a cat4 and remember it was the coldest race of the season, especially because all of the races are held an hour earlier (ie cat4 = 8am). This year I was happy to be racing in the Men’s B 2/3/4 race that was going to go off at 12:15. The lady was planning on racing the women’s 3/4, so we packed up the car and met up with Matt to leave ~7:15am on the way up to Emmaus, PA. As we drove farther and farther north up 476, the rain started to come down. On top of that I knew that area had received a healthy dose of rain the day before and knew the course was located in a valley.

Things were a lot wetter than I guessimated the night before at the course. We caught the end of the Mens Cat4 C race just in time to see Pete ‘The Renegade’ Hall take the win. We took to the course and cruised around a bit. The course is mainly grass but this year two wooded dirt/now mud sections were added with a slew of rocks and tree stumps. They also added a step up barrier right after a muddy left banger and a long sand pit that wasn’t a challenge due to the packing down effects of the rain. For the earlier races, the technical dirt section that was used last year was roped to keep it semi-ridable for the later races/so no one in the lower categories ate it too hard. This year the roots were much more eroded and a tree was down turning the ride into a muddy run that hurt. After that section the long uphill grass section was ridable earlier in the day after the Mens C race but became very touch to ride later in the day, especially after the added dirt technical run section. There were two tall barriers that led into a bridge crossing, through a slippery asphalt pavilion and into a short, steep, highly rooted hill that for me was un-ridable. The downhill on the other side had a tree in the middle and was also riddled with roots and led into a muddle S turn (that most people ran) and another bridge crossing.

Fast forward a bit and we cheered for the ladies in the womens 45+ masters and 3/4. The course was starting to become pretty sloppy by this point and I watched a ton of people (especially juniors) go down. There was a stiff 3/4 field since a lot of the women were trying to finish strong in the MAC series. The lady did really well and ended up 12th and Maria did some damage and won the 45+ masters, congrats!

Next up it was time to watch the masters 35+ men. This was the first race that the technical dirt section was opened for, so I went to watch. The elite masters are great to watch as many of the racers are really skilled. A couple people tried to ride the downed log/tree and all of them failed due to the other side being too slick. After the log I watched a few of the guys run the down hill as well. For the next long grass climb only the leader was able to actually ride the entire thing, everyone else in the lead pack had to run the top portion. I took some mental notes and went to warm up.

I was lucky enough to get a first row call-up for the first time in a MAC race (thanks to a late season race), but was the last to find a spot in the line and was in the mud ‘line’ of the course. I put the GoPro on and got the Garmin ready and took off at the sign of the little green man on the traffic light. I was in too light of a gear = spinning the rear a bit while standing and we all took it safe through the muddy chicane. I was sitting in 4th out of the whole shot right behind the MAC leader, John. Coming into the tight S-turns I passed John, and was able to sneak by Martin. The leader had a sizable gap (which I didn’t plan on closing) but put in some effort and tried to get a gap on the rest of the field. About quarter lap later Jerry then John caught and passed me. I tried to keep them in my sights but didn’t want to blow up doing so. Coming into the barrier Jerry slipped his front wheel out but got up amazingly fast. It serious blew my mind how quickly he was able to fall and get back at it. I would have been diddling around hating life and cursing at people while multiple people passed me.

We got to the dirt section with the down tree and I saw them both run it, so I did the same. At some point John took off but I was able to get back up and fluctuate around Jerry for the next couple laps. With about 3 to go two other riders flew past me close to the barriers like I was standing still. There were 3 right in front of me but like usual I couldn’t expel any more energy to catch up. With 2 to go Martin, who was trailing behind me most of the race made a move and passed me near the start. I stayed close to his wheel and was able to re-pass him on the long grass hill ride/run. I stayed in front of him for a bit trying to be cautious in the mud/rock section since I was on clinchers and he made back up some time and passed me. I tried to keep him close with 1 lap to go but at some point I realized I didn’t have it in the tank and switch to conservative mode. Mark (#rival) was still a fair bits behind me so I kept it upright and safe. I rolled in 7th out of 50-someodd with this being the first top 10 in a MAC race. I was happy with how the day played out and was able to get a bit more experience in the mud. I only fell once and that was running down the steep dirt section after the downed tree. I talked a bit with some of the other guys and was physced to hear John had wrapped up the win for the Mens B MAC series with his 2nd place, congrats!

Strava/Garmin Data: (HR avg=194, max=204)


http://app.strava.com/activities/31768867

GoPro Video:

Masters 45+

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Womens 3/4

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New step added

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Got to check out John’s TT carbon repair after the crash at Fairhill

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A couple from after the races

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the we got cleaned up and watched a bit of the Mens Elite

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I was happy to see that this steep hill was actually un-rideable.  Stephan trying to tread the needle between the trees

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Cat 4 mens C results

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Cat 3/4 womens results

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Masters 45+ 1/2/3/4 Womens results

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Cat 2/3/4 Mens B results

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I cleaned the bike a bit but let the drive home do some more before hosing it down.  The back of the Jetta had soem good dirt streaks afterwards.

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