Race #1 of the BikeReg.com Super-8 Series
Date: 9/28/14 Conditions: Dry and dusty.
VeloWorks – Spokes, Etc. CX team was out in full force for AppleCross, with riders entered in 4 separate fields.
First thing in the morning, Sean, Nate and Chris toed the line in the largest field of the day, the Category 4/5. Sean parlayed his front row position and strong sprint power to get into the early front group and was in 4th place after the first lap. Nate, starting from the back row, moved up quickly into the top 20 after only one lap. Chris battled the masses somewhere in the middle.
As the race wore on, Sean faded a little, but regrouped and used his bike handling skills to finish 9th, just 19 seconds off a podium step. Not bad for a guy who had been on travel for 3 weeks and just returned home late the night before.
Nate fell victim to an angry rock and flatted his front tire. As one should in ‘cross, however, he ran his bike back around to the pit, changed out the wheel and finished.
Chris piloted his newly-assembled bike through his first CX race, finishing in the top 3rd of the field and officially bitten by the cyclocross bug.
Masters Cat 3/4
In the next race, Mike and Eric looked to stamp a “VWS” on the Masters Cat 3/4 field. Starting grid positions were assigned based on last year’s points, so Eric enjoyed the view at the start from the front row. Mike would have to battle through the field and earn his position.
Both got off to solid starts. Eric worked his way up to the front of the race by the end of the first lap and engaged in a two man battle for the remainder of the race. After trading attacks for the next 20 minutes, he was able to get a small gap with a lap and half to go. He then was able stretch it enough to overcome a spill and dropped chain at the last barriers and still take the win.
Mike battled throughout the race and gave full effort to finish in 9th place, with 8-17th places being separated by only 10 seconds. An excellent race for Mike in his first Category 3/4 CX race and it assured him of a front row starting position in the next race in the series.
Not satisfied with only 45 minutes of searing lungs and heavy legs, Eric then raced the Masters 45+ heat with Categories 1-3. With expectations suppressed by the quality of the competition and the fatigue of the previous race, a top 10 would have been a good result. Avoiding a few early crashes, he found himself battling for a top 5 finish by the middle of the second lap. He and another rider were able to settle into a battle for 4th and 5th and were closing on 3rd place. With just over a lap to go, the 3rd place rider suffered a tire puncture and suddenly, Eric was in 3rd place with a small gap over 4th. He rode the last lap as smooth as possible and came home a very satisfying 3rd place.
With his two podium finishes on the day, Eric earned the final points he needed to upgrade to Category 2.
Last up was Major Tom in the Single Speed race. Taking his “new-old” single speed bike out for it’s first ride, he quickly experienced chain tension problems. Always one to give full effort, Tom made it back around to the pits for a little drive train TLC before continuing on to finish his race.
AppleCross, as always, was an excellent course with great organization. The VWS team had a great time with some excellent results and look forward to next weekend’s races: Pyscho X (10/4) and Hyattsville (10/5).