20 January 2006

On course, of course!

So what is the Montrose course like? It's fun! It's not exactly the singletrack at Palos, or even the Lagoons, but it provides a good, 'cross-specific challenge that changes with the seasons ...

Purple = Start/finish (light blue arrow shows direction)
Yellow = Bike/jogging path. Start is on crushed gravel; note the two-way tunnel top right
Green = Flat and (mostly) fast, pretty well packed but exposed to the wind
Orange = Uphill
Maroon = Straight downhill
Red = Off-camber downhill
Royal blue = Curb hop
Light blue = Barriers (on race day, otherwise imagination at work ...)
Note there is a sand whoop-de-doo in the top-right corner, with an awesome view of the lake from the breakwall. And the "barriers" are on the uphill on Cricket Hill, with the "Spiral of Death" well worn on the downhill (north) face.

I managed to get out for a full 2 hours this morning, in anticipation of the rain/snow storm that is on its way this afternoon. Winds out of the north and west, so the front straight was slow but the false flat after the curb hop was uncharacteristically fast.

That said, it was super-warm yesterday, so the ground was a little soft ... plus, it's been dry lately (with just a little moisture this morning), so the sand was super-loose -- I bogged down my first time through, before I realized it.

I got in some good re-mount practice while "waiting" for Andy ... he hit it hard yesterday, so I really didn't expect him to show at the appointed hour of 5:45. (But I still have to call him out on it!) Then a couple of laps on the gas but in the small ring, still working on my use of the terrain and my cornering. Of course, it helps if you drop your tire pressure before starting! Woops!

One easy lap, and then a few minutes tooling around the bird sanctuary (good sand practice) before one more steady lap and the ride home. I felt pretty good about my handling today, especially with the sand, although my legs were a little bit toastier than I would have liked. Still managed 6:30s-6:40s, although my first lap sucked because of the sand-stall. With all the loose stuff, staying off the brakes became even more important -- they were squealing like stuck pigs every time I needed them.

I hear Renee is doing the snow dance up in Mad-town, so this may be it for Montrose for a while. With the soil so sandy, the course is already disappearing in places ... good for the environment, but tough for the 'cross scene! I'm sure we'll make do once we're riding again ... we always seem to find a way!



Andy A. said...

You can call me out as long as you cite me in your map drawing, for noting in your first draft you forgot the sand section.....jk

I've gotta my brakes flip-flopped so I don't practice "the wrong way" at Groundhog. By the way, what's that prime all about there.

I don't know where the Bird Sanc. is but I hope you didn't disturb them.

Chris said...

Nah, no birds this time of year. Just campsites, but no one to disturb.

Andy did point out that an earlier draft (not published here) was missing the sand section -- I just had it misdirected. Were you following my earlier map yesterday?

The prime he's talking about is the "Catch the Groundhog" in the upcoming Team Mack race ... that's a blog for a different day ...

David Johnsen said...

I'm wondering how many people around Montrose Harbor are scratching their heads over that guy who rides his bike all over the grass instead of on the bike paths! Have you had an opportunity to educate any curious passers-by about the joy of cyclocross?

Chris said...

No, not there (unlike at Rock Cut, the one time I was out there) -- but yes, lots of funny looks, especially with the head lamp at 6 a.m.! Even the Park District trucks have stopped and watched once or twice ... but thankfully the CPD has left me alone so far ...