Wednesday, November 5


So after Gloucester, we packed up and headed for the Mid-Atlantic, specifically Pennsylvania. I've been to Philly Week a number of times, and so I've spent plenty of rides in/around this area. I was stoked to be in a somewhat familiar area, although I had never been to Ludwig's Corner before. LC is exactly like it sounds: a crossroads between two county roads, and there's a gas station and a couple stores that have sprouted up there. It's pretty, quiet, and a nice place to spend some time on yer bike. Oh yeah, there is NO FLAT GROUND there. At all. It's a constant up/down left/right roller coaster on these back roads, which can be pretty fun to ride. But if you want to just spin the legs out, good luck! For instance, every ride we did either started or ended with a 15% hill. Not exactly an easy spin.

But the riding was killer! I saw clouds that looked just like jelly fish, with a little cap for the hood and some rain trickling down for the tentacles. We rode to Valley Forge and touristed around a little:

Oh yeah, there were some races.

On Saturday we raced just over the Delaware border at the Dupont family estate: Granogue. This race has long been a mainstay in the US CX scene, and this year it's a Category 1 UCI event. I did this race five years ago, and frankly I hated it. I think it had more to do with my form, and I suffered on the hilly course. The course was largely the same as I remember, but I felt and raced much better and enjoyed myself a lot. I was lined up 3rd row because the UCI officials missed me in the rankings, I was very "whatever" about it and just did my job. I guess that was the right mindset, since I ended up almost with the hole-shot from the 3rd row! I was second off the pavement, sat comfy for a while, but ended up making simple mistakes that took me off the wheel. I dumped it in an UPHILL corner and had to chase, and then stuffed my front wheel in a switchback one lap later... I guess I was going fast, since I was obviously fuzzy-headed. Anyway, I consolidated my position and rode with a group coming up from behind that had Barry Wicks and Matt Shriver. The three of us started going fast and we got to battle for the first spot out of the top 5. I positioned myself well in the last lap, sneaking by Matt through a tricky turn, and then hung on for dear life on Barry's wheel as the finish line approached. I was able to sprint by to nab that 6th spot that I always seem to get. JoJo sneaked a pic of the action:

JoJo had her best start yet at Granogue, popping out of the woods in 3rd spot and then driving hard from there. A bobble ahead of her let a group of 3 get away, and then an exceptional Rebecca Wellons flew by after a poor start (she was back in 20th on the first lap!). Towards the end, JoJo seemed to just want to get it over with and Barb Howe snuck by for 5th, so we both were 6th on the day. JoJo said that the hills were just a little too much, so she packed it in to save something for the next day. That's the thing with our racing schedule: If you don't like how your legs feel, just wait until tomorrow!

Sunday's race was awesome!

The promoter, Kelly Cline, has done a phenomenal job to make the course and race top-notch. The course included a spiral-in/spiral-out course feature that has been used by Velo Bella in their Halloween Surf City races over the past few years. The Bellas call it the Blair Witch Swirly, which is much more descriptive than the "Spiral of Doom" that the PA folk called it. You felt like you were turning for about a mile straight, leading to some dizziness on the race course. Otherwise, the course had lots of slow, tricky grass corners that tested a racer's focus and ability. Too bad it didn't work out for me, since I was riding in 3rd, got chased down then got out-sprinted and ended up... 6th AGAIN!! I was banging my bars with frustration, since I rode much stronger than my placing, and I felt like I missed a good chance to podium. Oh well, like I said: don't like the race, wait 'til the next one!

JoJo had a nice race, and ended up drilling it for two laps to stay away from Barb Howe. I was so amped up from watching the solo-TT battle that I missed some warmup time. JoJo did great and stuck it out all the way until the end, and ended up 6th for her efforts. One of these days, we'll break the streak and finish NOT 6TH. I promise.

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