George Hatcher raced again while injured to secure his series lead in the Men’s 60+ CX 4/5. Luke Thomas took 3rd in Juniors 15-18 after a slip while leading the field. Luke then placed 8 / 32 in the Men’s Open CX 4/5. Conditions were very sloppy as it had rained the day prior, as well as all day during the races. The NCCX series wraps up in 2 weeks Jan. 17-18 in Asheville at the Biltmore Estate.
There was sand; there was hills…hence the Sandhills! Luke Thomas, 1st, Men’s 15-18. Greg Beasley tamed that course on a mountain bike. Jason Los avg. HR was 187. George “Hatched” some of his rivals. Four racers raced twice…it was brutal. In the Men’s Open CX4/5, Luke finished 12/50.
|Greg Beasley||Masters 4/5||11|
|Mike Thomas||Masters 4/5||32|
|George Hatcher||Masters 4/5||40|
Back to back racing, travel, bike maintenance, eating are all somewhat tougher, especially on the first weekend of the season. Raleigh Lion’s Park is a course that is mostly dry, with some sections that flow, sections with some bombing downhills, lots of chicanes (look it up), and a pretty decent run-up. The weather was perfect and almost everybody was racing in short sleeves and shorts. They had almost 400 racers, with 50+ Juniors, 10-18 years old. 57 racers pre-registered for the Men’s Cat4/5, 35/45/55+ field. This include myself, George Hatcher, Greg Beasley and Scott McGuire. It was another fast sprint start on asphalt for about 200 yards, with a left hand bend, then a right turn into the wood, with a
wicked short left hand turn. I was in the front 1/3 as we hit the wood, and as expected, racers were pile up at the turn I picked a good line, albeit slowly to ride the short wood section. Back thru the asphalt parking lot at a high rate of speed, bend to the left, and then sharp right. As with most races we were pretty much in a tight single file. A mis-read of the course would likely mean that 5 racers would zip past in a blink of an eye. On the first lap, at the 1st bombing downhill, with a bump, then a hairpin right turn, 2 racers were on the ground, one of them in obviously in extreme pain. Never did hear what happened but rumor was his collarbone. This is where the course got really fast on the back side, out of view of the spectators. Once back in the main area, lots of chicanes and flat grass, which meant you had to keep churning your legs; no coasting. Then to the barriers, and the slight incline that made you work. Back down fast to get ready for the run-up. I almost rode it through the top, but I got slowed down by the loose mulch. I never could get enough speed, or find the right line. On the 3rd and 4th lap, I decided to just run the hill,
since I was pretty well smoked. Overall it was a good race. I did see a lot of 160+ bpm on my heart rate monitor.
Greg Beasley – Masters CX 4/5 (35+/45+/55+) 37th
Mike Thomas – Masters CX 4/5 (35+/45+/55+) 41st
Scott McGuire – Masters CX 4/5 (35+/45+/55+) 49th
George Hatcher – Masters CX 4/5 (35+/45+/55+) 53rd
Juniors Race. The 15-18 juniors stared with the single speed, which meant about 30 qcers started together. Luke’s race has a 15 rider field, which made it somewhat larger than the day prior. The same racers were there, plus some “new” racers that apparently had just moved to NC. 1st and 2d place were pretty much a lock; it was 3-5 that really were in contention. Luke looked great at the staring whistle; getting the hole shot to the wood. As they came around for the 1st lap of 4, Luke was definitely in the top 5 of all the racers. As the field spread, Luke and another racer were trading places for 3rd and 4th. Eventual the other rider got past Luke to finish ahead of him. When the results were posted, Luke was i5h. We asked the 4th place racer if he knew the junior that came in 3rd. He said he was not really paying attention. We found out that he one of the “new” guys that had located to NC from Wisconsin. He has a done a lot of CX racing, and as he is 17+ years old, he will be somebody that Luke has to watch UT for.
Luke Thomas – Juniors 15 to 18 5th
PHOTOS: (courtesy of Mike Thomas and George Hatcher)
Also, pictures available at photographer Bill Wynn’s website.
NCCX Race #1, Oct. 19;
Charlotte. The 1st race of the series is always the time when you say “I should have trained more/harder/better/longer_______”. Fill in the blank. Charlotte is a bit of a haul, and the day started out mist to heavy mist to rain on the drive. Once we got there, skies remained overcast and threatening, but there was not much more precipitation.
The CAT 4/5 Masters 35/45/55 field was HUGE. Over 70 racers. This is partly due to the USA Cycling introduction of CAT 5 for Cyclo-Cross this earlier this year. The start was a 200 yard sprint on asphalt to the course. It was pedals and elbows the whole way there! I was in the front 1/3 of the group when we rapidly hit the first right hand bend, downhill on a long straight away, up the bank, left turn, and then a wicked drop off to another straight away. Then came the run-up, i.e., HILL, that NOBODY could ride up during any race that I saw (1 guy rode up it during practice laps and the crowd went wild). When I got to the hill, I was redlining at about 165 bpm. Mind you, my “max” is 167. So it was a welcome relief to get to the top and start to recover. By then, I had slipped to mid-field. The course was long, somewhat technical and required some really good bike handling skills. A signature part of the Charlotte course is the Double Sand Pit (of Death). You can ride through the first pit, which I did
each lap, but you would be hard pressed to ride through the second pit. Almost everybody in each race dismounted and ran through the 2nd sand pit. This was a 30 minute race, which ended up being 4 laps. This course also has a good bit of climbing, so there was a lot of effort out of the saddle. On my 2nd lap, I flatted and rode about ½ a lap to get to the pit so I could change may rear wheel. After an excruciating long time changing the rear wheel, I finally got underway. By now, I had lost all kinds of position. I eventually finished 42.
Juniors 15-18. This a is a tough field to race in as some of the racers are already CAT 3 Road Racers, and some are excellent mountain bike racers. Luke had a great race. The final standing was how the entire race went from the starting whistle. Baring a mechanical, or a wreck, those kids were going to finish as how they were placed in the first ½ lap. Luke finished 3rd.
Mike Thomas – Masters CX 4/5 (35+/45+/55+) 42nd
Luke Thomas – Juniors 15-18 3rd
George Hatcher – Masters CX 4/5 (35+/45+/55+) 50th