Tuesday, October 13, 2009

railing on my saddle...

This past weekend I traveled north to visit by brother in lovely Saratoga Springs, NY. This is my brother, Eric:

My brother is not a hipster.

He may be looking guilty because I may have been chastising him about his fixed gear bicycle. It is an undersized Miyata with the original hot orange bar tape. I was not chastising him, as you might assume, for attempting to be hip with his fixed gear; really, I was disappointed he did not get orange DeepV rims to match the bar tape.

Here is his not-a-hipster bike.

My brother is cool: he went out and bought some good beer for my visit. And then we went for a nice bike ride out to the Saratoga Battleground. There were some beautiful views of the Hudson Valley and the fall colors in the leaves.

On the way home from 'Toga, I decided to race day 2 of Hudson Valley CX in Newburgh, NY. The NYCross Series, while growing, is definitely not quite at the level of competition seen in the MAC series, so it's always fun to jump in their races. While not a big fish in a little pond, I'm at least not the opposite, and in the past have done fairly well in the B races.

Anyway, I arrived at the venue, which was held in a park on the side of a hill. There was a lovely view of the Hudson Valley, and the course was pretty fun. After a preride, I noted several things: short lap, 4 dismounts per lap, and the last third of the course was all uphill. We would do a lot of laps, and that climb was going to hurt.

The ladies about to start with the Hudson in the background.

I got to the start line early, anticipating a scrum start, and I was rewarded with a front row starting position. The race started with 25 meters of asphalt into a 90 degree right turn onto grass. I was on the very inside of the front row, and the dude to my left arrogantly gave me a lecture: "Hey, just so you know, if I get a good start - and I will get a good start - I'm going straight for that corner. And I'd hate for you to be right inside of me, because I will have to chop you." I smiled politely and remarked that I didn't want to crash him as much as he didn't want to crash me, and that everything was going to be alright.

The race promoter comes to the front and dangles a pair of Maxxis Raze tires in front of us. "First one across the line after the first lap wins these!" And then, the official gave us the "GO!" I let d-bag take the hole-shot and jumped right on his wheel. We got a decent gap, and I just stayed glued to him. Through the second set of barriers, I got a little gap, so I thought: "Screw it, I probably won't win, may as well try to get some tires I can eBay." Plus it didn't hurt that I wanted to make d-bag suffer for his start line commentary.

The scene of the crime.

Held on to take the Lap 1, and at the end of the second lap I still had 10 seconds. I see "6 to go" so I sit up and wait for d-bag, figuring we can work together. He agrees, and off we go. Going through the same set of barriers I had attacked earlier, I feel something go horribly wrong on my remount, and eventually discover a few things:
  1. There's a reason Bad Andy wants me to be smoother on my remount,
  2. If you're going to put your saddle all the way back on the rails, you should probably just spring for a set back seatpost, and
  3. I should probably lose some weight.

The damage to my otherwise awesome new rig.

You see, my saddle rails had folded under my bloated carcass, and that, my friends was the end of my race. It's awfully hard to put any power down with a saddle poking your prostate. I did finish the race, going backwards the whole time, because I didn't want to lose the tires to a DNF. After the race, a more friendly d-bag was perplexed by my disappearance. I pointed to the saddle, and we had a laugh, and he's not so bad after all I guess.

So to recap:
  • $60 USAC license
  • $30 race entry fee
  • Broken saddle, and need for a new seatpost
  • But I won some clincher tires!
It was a pretty good weekend.

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