Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Natz race reports

If you were there, tell us about it. Here's two from Linda and John Elgart.

2006 CX Nationals Report

From John Elgart

Providence, Rhode Island revealed its kinder, gentler side at this year’s CX Nationals, held on the same venue as the “snow-i-cane nats” of 05. The difference was remarkable. The course this time was super fast, with a spongy, tacky surface that had terrific traction. With its rolling, amusement park topography, I think this was the most fun I’ve had on a cx course.

In the 60-64 championship race, we were only 10 strong at the line — there were more the previous year when the 65’s were included. Now they had their own race, starting 30 seconds behind us. In my field the biggest threat was last year’s 2nd place, local Providence favorite Bruce McGowan. Judging from his results this year, Bruce would definitely be with me at the start, especially since I had torn a quad muscle a little over 2 weeks ago. I had been rehabbing well, but could I really go hard without injury? I figured I had a good chance to win this thing — or to dnf.

We started behind the much larger 50-54 and the 55-59 fields, each with a 30 second stagger. The younger group featured Official Legend Ned Overend, last year’s champ Paul Curley, and Norcal’s favorite Henry Kramer. The 55’s had perennial winner Dan Norton. We wouldn’t be catching any of these guys, but we would be threading our way through the many stragglers from both fields. It was going to be a day with a lot of passing.

My strategy was to start slowly to test the leg, then try to pick it up toward the end. From the start, it was clear that slow wouldn’t work, that I would have to ride fast just to stay with Bruce. The moment I would lower the pace, Bruce would attack, especially through the groups of riders we were constantly passing. More worrisome, several times, Bruce managed to put a few riders between us when he attacked.

So I was sort of waiting for something to happen, and 2 and a half laps into the 5 lap race, it did. Several riders fell in front of us and Bruce was impeded. This was at the beginning of the long road section. I hesitated for a second, then decided to put my head down and go. By the time I got to the dirt again, I had 15 seconds, and from there on, the gap opened wider and wider. By the end, it was nearly 2 minutes. Although most people, myself included, slow down in cross, I definitely negative split in this race. It was a good feeling to be running fast and clean at the end.

Anyway, this was my 5th nationals win in the past year (road, crit and tt and twice in cross). I attribute this to my new age group. I’m not suddenly better, and were I in the 55’s, I probably wouldn’t be winning. But, that’s the beauty of age graded racing. There’s always another age group out there if you can get to it.

Cheers, John Elgart

PS: I’ll post a separate note on some of the trends in cross I noticed at Providence.

From Linda:

You all may know about the blizzard last year, and ensuing crash and dnf-ing race I had. This year, I wanted to enjoy myself. I wasn’t sure if I would, having been so sick leading up to the race, but about the day before, the congestion finally eased, and although I wasn’t sharp, at least I was able to race adequately. And, what a difference a year makes! This year, the weather was mild, and the course was slightly damp, tacky, fast, and fun.

My main competition in the women 50-54, Kathy Savary, raced up to her usual standard, and beat me by about 2 minutes. I think if I had been at full strength, the gap would have been a lot closer, but I don’t know if I would have been able to win. So, 2nd place was ok with me. Sure, it’s great to win, but going in knowing that I was somewhat compromised, I really can’t complain.

The scene was great! Bill and Ed from Voler were there with a booth, and we helped out some. We got to watch most of the racing, and there were a lot of dramatic duels on an excellent course. I think there were thousands of spectators screaming, ringing bells, blowing horns and beating drums, running back and forth.

The bike cult scene in Providence is thriving. We went to a party at The Hub, a really cool shop, and got to stand squished together, drinking beer and yelling over the great music. We don’t get out much, and it was fun to go to that kind of party. We stayed at a small B and B, (the only ones there), and it was relaxing, and got to go out to eat and hang around the Brown University shopping area a bit. Last year with the weather, one was house bound and stir crazy, but this year was great.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Torn leg muscles, sick, sick sick,
sounds like you two should have been in a hospital instead of a cross race.

Great work to the Elgarts! Without you we Northern valif Cross would have 2 less National Cyclocross medals each year.

And no stories of how you overcome your sickness and injuries to deliver the goods.

Lets hope for a 70's age group for John in 10 years and Linda to dominate the roaring 60's!

11:01 PM  
Blogger funkdaddy said...

BTW My report was posted here, just in case you missed it - I covered the races on Friday.

9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think it would have been best if the elgarts showed up to the race one in a ambulance and the other on a stretcher. Then when they do call ups, they back the ambulance in or make room for the stretcher to be rolled up to the front grid. They have a personal nurse, im thinking rich maile in drag, and the personal nurse un does all their bandages and first aid stuff all while making the starter wait a few moments extra as the elgarts get ready.

then they shoot the gun and both of the elgarts fall to the ground like the gun shot was taking them out, maybe from one of theur rivals.

then they get up do a little dance, make a little love, and get down tonight........

then at the medal ceremony and at the podium's they do the whole ambulance thing and stretcher thing again.

i think that is in order, then others can write about it instead of the elgarts having excuses for why they do so well.

northern california racers can rule and whine all at the same time!

great work everyone!

4:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What happened to Jeremy Ferguson at Natz this year??

2:33 PM  

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