As you can probably tell, it's been pretty busy in our little world for the last few weeks. My plan was to post a recap of each of the last three races individually, like usual, but "stuff" just kept getting in the way of writing. Instead, I've decided to just do a brief summary of each from what I'd already written. Hell, it wasn't until this afternoon that I managed to pull pictures from my camera from the Blue Sky (or Not) race in Euclid. . . That was 3 weeks ago.. .
NEOCX #8 - Cross My Heart and Hope to Die - Willoughby
November 7, 2010
We knew this was going to be a muddy race before we even arrived. Watching the radar showed that it had rained in Willoughby for most of the day before. Thankfully, it wasn't as bad as [last year](http://chrisandlorena.blogspot.com/2009/10/bike-authority-cyclocross-series-4.html. Five dismounts per lap including the infamous sled hill that was ridiculously steep with no real opportunity to remount at the top. Had to pick my way up through the crowd after a somewhat bad start. Lots of mud, wet feet, and fun. Pushed hard all the way to the end but was a little disappointed with my finish. Especially after coming off my 8th place at Chagrin Falls the week before.
Chris: 12th place - Men's B
Lorena: 7th place - Women's B
Here are some links to more photos from the race:
NEOCX #9 - Blue Sky (or Not) - Euclid
November 14th, 2010
Even though there was misty-rain falling in Navarre when we left, it wasn't raining in Euclid when we arrived. It was a little on the chilly side with the wind and overcast skies. The course was rather soft from recent rain and very slick in the corners. This was perhaps the most technical cyclocross course I've ever raced on. Lots and lots of turns with many being off-camber or 180-degree. I ate it three times throughout the race and those crashes cost me two places in the end. The competition was pretty tight so it didn't take much of a bobble from anyone to lose/gain time. The run-up was steep and slick, especially at the top if you tried to remount. Despite being primarily flat on top of the hill, the fastest way to traverse it was to run because of the off-camber turns around the utility poles. One again I pushed it hard right to the end but probably let those crashes get to me a little too much on the last lap.
Chris: 11th place - Men's B
Lorena: 5th place - Women's B
NEOCX #10 - Kirtland Park - Cleveland
November 21st, 2010
This was the season finale and you couldn't have picked a better day or a better venue for it. I've lost track of how many times I've raced at Kirtland Park and I'm not alone in saying that it's probably one of my favorite venues. Our obvious favorite is Starcrossed at the Marymoor Velodrome in Seattle. It was 60F or so at the start of our race and the sun was shining. The course conditions were probably about perfect traction-wise. My 10th place standing in series-points got me called up to the front row at the start. I managed to have a good start and was right around 10th before the first downhill.
Laps were very fast on the short-ish course and I traded a few spots on the first couple. On about the third lap this guy passes me right before a 180-degree turn and proceeds to crash in front of me in the turn. Now I have to run the turn/hill and I dropped my chain but didn't realize it until I went to remount. This cost me a place. Two times later in the race I managed to shift my chain behind the cassette going into the shorter section of stairs. This cost me a couple of places when I had to stop and jerk the chain out. I suppose that's racing. All I know is that I certainly didn't leave anything out there. In the end:
Chris: 14th place - Men's B
Unfortunately, Lorena had to work that day and couldn't be at the race. Bummer.
Here are some links to race photos taken by others:
Overall I finished 7th in the total series points for the B-field. Fortunately, I had that 6th place at Elyria and the 8th place at Chagrin #2 to help put me there because most of my other finishes were around 11th. I'm already looking forward to next year's racing season, especially cross. This was a fun year and I'm pretty pleased with my performance even though I always want to do better. Perhaps next year I can get up to the top 5 or better.. . I once finished 5th in the series and I'm overdue.
Hats certainly go off to everyone involved with promoting the Northeast Ohio Cyclocross Series. It's a lot of work to host a race and every team that hosted one did a great job. The series has been around for a long time and seems to grow every year. I'd say that speaks volumes to the quality of those running the show.