Race Report: Grand Prix Tina Brubaker #4 (Zaandercross), 9/22/2012

Published 2012-09-23

And I thought Het Meer was bad. Zaandercross was twice as bad. Even where the ground wasn’t sand, it was sand. Under the grass: sand. The climbs: sandbanks. The singletrack: sand. Sand, colored occasionally by exposed roots or crushed rock. Which meant: at least 8 dismounts a lap, and conditions getting looser as the ground dried and the race wore on.

And then: the beach. Probably 200 yards total in three runs, the longest easily 100 yards or more. Bruises on my shoulders from portaging the bike fifteen-plus times. Surprisingly the beaches favored me for some reason. Either because I can run farther at greater exhaustion than my comrades in suffering, or because I’m willing to sacrifice recovery to pass one or two guys in the sand.

There’s something highly demoralizing about getting passed in the sand. Like getting dropped on a climb. On a flat or a straightaway you think: “well that guy just has more watts in him.” On a run or a climb you think: “well that guy has more will in him.”

My one (!) point from David Douglas earned me the seventeenth-ish callup, so I theoretically staged 17 (probably more like 20). Finished 24th of 58. So I slipped about five to eight places all together.

It was this kind of race: on the fourth (next-to-last) lap, I was hoping to miss the bell and get pulled off early. Just to make the suffering end. No such luck, although after my Lap 4 nadir I got a second (fifth?) wind and finished with an honest-to-God sprint. For twenty-third place.

Good news: no crashes to speak of. I did drift over trying to ride up a runup on my last lap. (The crowd made me do it, chanting: “Ride. It! Ride. It!”) Turned my knee outward in that flop which lost me a few places, but by the last lap it barely mattered, the field had spread pretty badly.

These Vancouver venues are fast becoming my favorite (especially on Vancouver lake). Playgrounds and other fun stuff for the kiddos, easy parking, sunshine. And yesterday: a burrito bowl type cart, which meant a “real lunch” (beans and rice) by our vegetarian household standards.

Equipment notes

Still figuring out the eggbeaters. I love the confident release, and when I don’t try too hard (or if I mash my pedals), entry is pretty easy. But if I overthink them it takes forever to get in.

Remembered my HRM this time, so Strava, yay! OTOH I don’t know what I’m learning from these data other than “I ride a steady 192bpm for up to an hour.”

I need a lighter bike. The Gunnar feels lighter with every race, but man do I regret selling my Soma.