It wasn’t really a cross race but it counted for cross BAR points … Krugar’s Kermesse. It’s a dirt crit — no dismounts — on farm roads. Think of field access roads. Think of bumpy ground. Think of loose corners. Think of 5:00 laps.

The 35+ A field was pretty small with only a baker’s dozen lining up for the start. The A men went off before us and the SS and A women went off after us.

Everyone got a front row start and I was almost the hole shot but felt content to let a couple of guys set the pace early. Ron Babcock from Portland Velo stayed at the front for a long time. He actually was at the front for most of the race. He finished first as well. He’s rather strong. Anyway, I settled in around 3-4th wheel. This is a training race and as such, I was just going to see what happened. My legs felt pretty good early so I made moves to cover gaps but stayed out of the wind.

On the first lap, I took out a guy’s wheel in a corner. I feel bad for him but he was pulling a rookie crit faux pas. He dove down to take the inside of the corner and I just came down through the apex. Bam. He’s down. On the first lap of a cross race, you don’t go diving into loose sharp corners. You just might hit the deck if you do.

Ron put the hurt on the field early but after a few laps, things seemed to settle down a bit. I was staying frosty and keeping close to the front. Toward the middle of the race, my teammate Bill decided to mix things up and pushed the pace some. I was hurting pretty good and it was at this point I figured it was time to dial it back and ride with the caboose. I took a look and found I was the end of the front group. Uh oh. I was committed.

We eventually picked up a couple of A riders for a total of six (4 masters, 2 As). Ron pushed the pace while his teammate and Bill took some turns at the front. Just before we took two to go, there was a pileup. The first man though (A racer) was okay but the next four went down. I got by with lost momentum but was still upright. I hoped I could keep the gap — maybe catch the A that made it through. By the time I bridged up, Ron and Bill were back on my wheel. I let them through and tried to hang on. I was dangling at the bell but managed to pull it together to stay with them most of the final lap. I finished a couple seconds behind them for third place.

I understand that if I’m hurting, then everyone else must be as well. But I’m pretty positive that Bill and Ron weren’t suffereing quite as much as I was.

Oh, and a typical cross race has lots of transitions that slows things and keeps the pace a little slower overall. Well, this race was balls out 100% start to finish. Nary a hill on the course. And it was bumpy. My hands are a mess. I’ve got blisters and a cramp in my date hand.

But pretty solid for a first race.

Edit: The photo has Bill in front, Ron next, other PV rider third, and me hanging on to fourth.

6 Responses to “Shredded hands”

  1. tk says:

    nice race brook. gotta call you on the crash though. bob was set up on you’re outside and didn’t appear at all to be diving into the corner on the inside. you didn’t, or couldn’t hold your line, went violently right, he went left to avoid you and then you went left across his front wheel. yeah, he didn’t protect his front wheel very well, but to call it a rookie, crit, faux pas is a bit harsh. maybe a peace offering of an organic beenie would suffice.


  2. Brooke says:

    TK, maybe I was a little harsh. I do recall the contact but it felt like he was diving down — but I definitely could be wrong. Some guys were moving around in front and I wanted to set up outside and move inside. Again, I do feel bad about wiping out a front wheel.

  3. tk says:

    these things are generally dispatched with over a couple of cold beers. i’ll make sure there’s a some on hand. back to the race, your attack to bridge just when the group came back together did me in. good racing by the entire tireless velo crew.

  4. Bob says:

    I wonder what the guy behind Bill can rep out in the bench press, cuz he’s one big ass looking dude. Is he a trackie out for a day in the dirt or is it just the angle that makes him look like he can tear phone books in half?

    Anyway I’m bummed that I missed the race but I’ll be at the next two for sure. Are you gonna be out in Hood River on Sunday? I’m riding my tubeless wheels for the first time so there’s a high likelihood of laughter at my expense when they explode at the worst possible moment. :)

  5. Brooke says:

    Bob, from what I can glean, Ron has lost almost 50 pounds this year and almost a hundred (!!!) over the past two years. From OBRA results, it looks like he’s only been racing this year but is making really big strides. He also posts some on one of them bike forums you bumped into me on.

  6. Bob says:

    yeah yeah, I think I know who he is over on RBR. Very impressive guy, both in results in his first year of racing and his discipline. In one of his posts I think he mentioned having been a hammer thrower or something in college. I bet he’s got one helluva motor.

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