Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Lion of Fairfax

This past Saturday, October 17th saw the running of the 4th annual Lion of Fairfax cyclo-cross race in sunny (and hot - sheesh!) Fairfax and the Sheila Moon team was there along with over 300 other riders to pound some dirt, ring some bells and serve up some burgers.*

A benefit for the White Hill Middle School in Fairfax, the race was organized and run by our very own team sponsor, Brian Bruckner of Big Swingin’ Cycles. Big ups to Brian and his team for putting on a fantastic race!


Although our numbers were cut a little short by Jenny Oh’s wedding (congratulations Jenny and Shawn!) we still managed to field 11 racers and a strong volunteer effort headed up by Murphy and Lauren.


Although the course was flatter and less technical than I would have liked (or relied upon), the organizers made great use of the terrain on hand. After starting off in the sports field and throwing up a couple barriers it led up into the surrounding hills with a short climb and a long steep run-up before crashing back down into a grassy field. After a few twists and turns there was a drop followed by a tight turn with the most delicious berm that led down to a nasty, little, sharp climb that required judicious gearing. After following a gnarly path alongside the road riders got a nice stretch of pavement to speed them back down to the campus. Finally, the course snaked itself thoroughly through and around the school buildings before a gravel road returned you to the start.

So how did we do? Lee Slone started off the day with a solid 18th place finish in Cs. Way to go Lee!

Next up was me in 35+Bs. I was a little late arriving Saturday morning so I barely had time to throw on my kit and grab a number before heading over the end of the mob lining up for the masters’ B race. Mercifully the organizers (and racers) saw fit to separate the 45+s from the 35+s or I would have been forced to claw my way through them too. I didn’t get a chance to pre-ride the course but fortunately I had helped set up the course on Friday afternoon and had some idea of what to expect. Volunteerism isn’t just a way to build your community, learn new skills and meet people - it can totally save your ass!

Although I had a great start and managed to claw my way up to the top half of the field on the first lap, grinding through the long stretches in the blazing heat took its toll and pretty soon people were passing me all over the place. Although a dropped chain and a small spill on the sidewalk knocked me even further down, I managed to save enough gas for the last lap to scoop up a few more places and eventually finish 31st.


After the masters race most of the team gathered at the top of the run-up to watch (and heckle) the As. Unbeknownst to me, we were in the presence of cycling royalty as the 54 years-young and former world MTB champion Ned Overend crushed a field of riders who were mostly half his age. He eventually placed third - they don’t nickname him “the Lung” for nothing. Go Ned!


Moving on to our bitch crushing™ posse, our ladies proved once again that they are more than just pretty in pink. Caitlan Trahan saw her second podium finish this year by snagging first in Bs (and scoring a bottle of vodka to boot) while May Woo finished in 9th. 



Carrie Edwards also staked out some podium territory by placing 5th in the open As edging out the chick in the “Go Vegan“ jersey.  Go vegan - pshaw... go bacon!


Later in the afternoon the men’s B squad, perhaps inspired by synchronized swimming, saw fit to finish in tight formation. Matt Davidson placed 32nd, Ryan Henbest 33rd, Derrick Chao 35th and Joe Taylor rounded it out in 37th. Geez guys - just because we’re all on the same team doesn’t mean you have to finish together.

Mike Hartlaub’s race got short when he was thrown from his bicycle after a rider rolled a tubular right in front of him. Fortunately he was not seriously injured. Where were you planning on placing MIke, 31st?

Finally, Morgan Fletcher finished up the day by placing 12th in the 35+As. After that there was nothing left to do but tear down the course and join Murphy and Jeremy over at Gestalt for a couple (more) post-race refreshments.


All in all, a most excellent day.

* And to surreptitiously enjoy a few refreshing beverages of course.

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