Sunday, November 17, 2013

Derby City Cup 2013

One of the main things that pushed me into racing cross this year was going to the WC's up in Louisville and seeing #SVENNESS.  It was an incredible experience so when a race weekend on the same course popped up I knew I had to go do it (even before I actually owned a cross bike or even knew the first thing about cross).

The other thing that has helped this year is having some dudes in town who are always ready to go race. As soon as I mentioned Louisville to Justin he was instantly registered for it.  Sweet.  Plus me being from Louisville and having a place to stay really helped with the logistics.


The course was amazing and the venue world class.  Long sand, short sand, uphill and downhill sand, 2 great runups with one the famous "limestone stairs" and some muddy technical off camber. It was overall a very fast course. Weather was perfect.  My parents place was a 15' ride from the course at Eva Bandman park with great bars and coffee shops nearby so it all was stacking up to be a stellar weekend.  I have some rants about the races but I'll keep those till the end.


We drove up Friday and really wanted to get onto the course.  We did see a youtube video of it and we were like... "OH SHIT" this is gonna be hard. JB raced at 11:30 and me at 12:30 so we decided to ride down super early before any of the races and get a good preview and register.  It was about 40˚ or so at 7:30 when we headed out but it didn't really feel that cold riding down there.  We did the pre-ride, scoped out the course then headed back to the apt.

I only got a few glimpses of JB during his race and he killed it...he finished on the lead lap and had the zombie-cross look so a good ride.

My race was a huge combined field of 35/45/55 then the U19's (All Cat 1,2,3).  This was an extremely hard category. There were 109 registered plus who knows how many day of race an enormous field.  I was "called up" in 68th position so near the back.  The start was chaotic and crazy and the usual scrum to the first turn.  With so many riders there were huge bottlenecks at the dismounts and at the flyover I actually had to just stop and wait for people on the first lap so it was super slow.

After the first lap I settled in with a few other guys who I was "racing".  The cool thing about cross is that you are always racing someone, I don't care if you are in last place or first. It's alway's "GO" which is awesome.

Unfortunately because the field was so stacked the officials were very strict with the 80% rule and started pulling riders from the race very early.  I got pulled with 3 to go... I've never been this pissed/bummed out after a bike race but I got over it with enough beer.

We hung out and watched the other races then the Pro's drank beer and had a good time.  Very fun day despite the racing.  We got back and after dinner we both crashed just after 9:00pm.


It was a much calmer morning since we didn't have to pre-ride.  Lots of coffee and pastries.  I did have to warm up so I headed down River road for about 40' and snuck in a few laps on the course between races.  The legs felt good but I was mentally a bit muted and still smarting from getting pulled the day before. Just not that excited about the upcoming race and the possibility of getting pulled again.

I lined up in about the same spot on the far left next to the barriers.  I did notice that some of the riders looked incredibly young to be mixing it up with a field this big (turns out some were 11-12, wtf???).

At the start I had a little delay getting in my pedals, just a split second, then I was sprinting full gas. In situations like this I tend to keep looking ahead to try to stay out of trouble so when I started to see a huge pileup in front of me I was instantly HARD on the brakes, but we were flying. The crash was a wall of bodies and bikes and at first I thought I was going to avoid the worst of it (Discs saved my ass for sure) but that's when guys from behind started slamming into me.

I went flying off my bike and into the scrum and started getting pummeled by wheels, bikes and bodies. I did take a huge impact onto my helmet from something and my left thigh took a big hit.  It was pretty scary.  Then quickly it was all over and thats when people started to freak out.  Lots of injuries, broken bikes and very dazed people.  I was laying there and a big dude stumbled and stepped right on my chest. I just sortof moaned.

I finally got up and did the self assessment... Very painful left ass, right lower leg with some abrasions and pain. Generally dazed.  I tried to check out my bike and get the chain back on but I wasn't thinking too clearly, the bike was ok.  My helmet was cracked but I didn't realize that at the time.

The officials has neutralized the race stopping the riders who got thru in the pits. At that point I heard yells for a medic and someone yelling "He can't feel his legs..."

I then went over to check out what was going on with the badly injured guy.  He was laying on his back and not moving but conscious and breathing so that was good.  Noone was really with him so I went over and knelt down and just grabbed and held his head/helmet so he wouldn't move.  I've had patients who have had their spinal cords severed well after the accident by just moving the head. It was a very critical time.  A medic then showed up and took over.  They loaded him up in an ambulance then we all got lined up to restart the race.

I had no idea if I could actually ride much less race cross in my condition but mentally I was fine, so I spent some time stretching and then just rolling around the start area and I figured I would give it a try and just see what happens. The restart was still fast but a bit more subdued than the first.  I had some aches and pains but as the race when on I sortof forgot about all that and just was riding as hard as I could.  I was with 2-3 other guys who I was "racing" so it was really super fun.  And I finished! (helped out by a shortened 30' race).

Day one results: Day one

Day two results: Day two

In retrospect:

I delayed posting this for a while to let everything sink in.  My first response was pretty angry at the organizers for combining the fields so most guys got 80%'d (zero 55+ riders actually finished the race saturday) and then letting super young kids into the race which did not help with the crash. I was pretty adamant about not going up there next year due to these reasons but as I have digested things I just think I signed up for the wrong category.  I should have just done the Cat 3 or 35+ 3's which would have been fast but not insane like my race and I probably would have at least finished and not had to deal with the young kids.  So that's the plan for next year and really any other big races with huge combined fields this and learn.

This was a pretty incredible weekend of racing, viewing, heckling and beer drinking.