New Jersey USGP Weekend

Posted: 2 December 2008 in Uncategorized
So my last couple races in North America in 2008 were going to prove to be a great test of mid-cross season fitness and a chance to tear it up with all the big guns in the States.  The USGP Round #3 and #4 were to be held in Trenton New Jersey.  I was able to drive down with a few local Toronto guys, Rick Meloff, Alex Sanna (provided some top notch pit services), and the junior who drilled it in Toronto the weekend before.
 
So after an 8 or so hour drive on Friday, we got to the course and went out for a bit of a pre-ride.  It was wet out and VERY foggy, I tried to do one lap hard, and couldn’t see through my glasses.  the majority of the course was ridable at the time, but was pretty tough and I knew i’d be in for some hard racing on the weekend.  Then it got dark almost instantaneously.
 
Round #3 USGP:
 
So I got almost a 3rd or 4th row call up which isn’t too bad considering the fact that I haven’t done all that many UCI races compared to the rest of the guys there, and I didn’t have the greatest Nationals, but still.  Right off the gun I started pretty good and into the first corner it turned into a gong show.  The gong show continued until probably half way around the lap with everyone running basically 50% of the first bit.  It got so muddy and soft with the races from the morning that everything that was semi-ridable before was a MUST run this time around.  It was still pretty muddy on Saturday although it was fairly nice weather out.  It rained once in the morning and I got locked out of the truck once, but oh well.  I was running pretty good in the first 1/4 of the race and about 1 and a half laps into the race, I looked at my watch and it was almost at 20 minutes already!  Now those are long laps.  A couple times I went into the pit to change a bike, but my pit guy wasn’t there so I had to run back out.  The race was very hard, with loads of running, but I managed to finish up pretty strong with a 25th place.  Still best result at a USGP so far!!!!
 
Round #4 USGP:
 
So Sunday provided for a little bit better of a day and race prep for me, as I had the keys to the truch this time and was able to hang out in the truck before my ride and chill.  I watched Van Wilder on the laptop (great movie) then managed to sqeeze in a 2 hr nap before I had to eat and get ready to warm up.
 
Race report:
 
I got a similar call up this time, but off the gun I felt WAY better than the day before.  The course was exactly the same as the day before, only it had dried up quite a bit after the gale force wind and rain we got the night before.  Some sections of the course had been "revised" thanks to Rick and a few other spectators, which provided for a much faster race this time!  It was still a muddy gong show though, only this time it was just a few sections that were long and usually up hill (I even started running some of the downhills, as it was WAY faster I think)  For a while there, I was sitting in the top 15 I think.  Then about half way through the race I ran up the stairs, jumped on my bike, went down the ramp and my foot slipped off the pedal.  My body landed straight on the back of the seat and all I heard was a SNAP!!!!!  SO crappy as it was I just broke my seat post.  I managed to hang on to it for the rest of the lap (I had to still finish 2/3 of the lap on no saddle as I just finished going through the pit) before I headed to the pit to get my spare.  I grabbed my spare bike and off I went.  Nothing crazy, I just lost a couple spots, and the legs got pretty tired from BMXing it the whole rest of the lap.  I came in the next lap or so, and they said they had a new bike for me.  So I went to change and ended up on an Orbea Neutral bike with a pretty scookum setup and full Sram Red.  It took a few laps to get cumfortable on the bike as it was like going froma Ferrari race car to an upright minivan.  It was pretty interesting.  Even harder to get used to was the sram shifting.  I knew right away it would be tough, but I managed to sort it out!  After I got the new bike Adam Mcgrath caught up to me and we battled it out for the last 3 or 4 laps.  It was pretty cool, and he had everyone cheering for him!  It ended up coming down to a 3 way sprint in the end between us and another guy who just caught us at the last road section, and I ended up loosing the sprint to both of them (it’s an excuse, but I was on my cadillac Orbea so it’s okay). 
 
Next race:  National Trophy Series in Great Britain!!!!
 
Off for now.
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