The Howard County Double Cross weekend took place November 21 and 22. Schooley Mill Cross, a new race, featured long power sections and some muddy climbs. Rockburn Cross featured the same exciting single-track sections, punchy climbs and technical turns as it has the past three years.
For these interviews, I tracked down podium finishers that have yet to grace the cyber-pages of In The Crosshairs for their racing prowess. This way we get a couple more voices in the mix, with different takes on some of the same old questions. I also included sixth place finishers at Rockburn because those folks won pie. And if you win pie, you deserve to be recognized.
I think the highlight of these interviews is the great discussion on race starts and the hole shot. Pay attention to what these folks are saying and see if their successful strategy matches up with what you are doing.
Thanks for reading.
What is your pre-race routine?
Rusty Williford (Fulcrum Coaching/WWVC Racing, Rockburn Cat 3/4, 4th place): Same thing every week: Get to the course by 8:30, recon the course until 9, kit-up and hit the trainer by 10, off-the trainer by 10:35 and head to the course for either 1 hot lap or a few starts.
Andreas Gutzeit (HPC List, Schooley Mill Masters 3/4, 4th place): I do about two laps of the course, mainly looking for good lines. Then I do 30 minute warm-up. Jeff Anderson describes cross racing as a reverse crit. Very helpful for a novice roadie. So now I have taken to practice the start on the course a couple of times and it really served me well at Schooley Mill. I was fourth into the dirt and ended up fourth 40 minutes later.
Chris Nystrom (C3-Athletes Serving Athletes, Elite Masters, Schooley Mill 8th, Rockburn 6th): Arrive early enough to preview the course before the start of the race two slots before my race. Really getting to know and understand the track is key. Pin up the number and get dressed during the race (two prior) and ride the course with a bit more speed before the next race. Ride the trainer and b.s. with teammates during the race just before mine. Red Bull 45 minutes before my start. Get to the line, relax and visualize the start. Remember to have fun.
John Cutler (CycleLife DC, 1st place Schooley Mill Men’s 3/4, 19th place Rockburn Elite Masters): Coffee and a Starbucks egg sandwich (kind of disgusting, yes, but fast). Drive. Listen to NPR or that weird show about parenting. A moment of sheer terror trying to find a gas station with a restroom. Arrive in the middle of one of the races. 20 minutes to get number and get ready to pre-ride. Ride a couple laps. Pretend that I’m actually remembering the corners and lines. Hop on the trainer for 40 minutes. I used to never bring a trainer, but I’ve come around. You can listen to music and zone out. Then Race.
When a race throws a kink in my plans—like a really long walk to registration, one port-potty, a line at registration, a line for the hose, etc.—it really throws me for a loop. I said this last year, but I’ll say it again. NEXT YEAR I’m going all out with the tent, the easy chairs, that little mat for taking of your shoes, the cooler, etc. For two days of racing your post race routine is really important as well. Instead of jumping back into the car while slamming recovery shakes, it can pay to relax, socialize, put your feet up, and commune with fellow racers.
Jeff Trinh (Georgetown University, 1st place at Schooley Mill Men’s Cat 4, 6th place at Rockburn Men’s Cat 4): Coffee and oatmeal for breakfast. When I get to the race site I get dressed and pre-ride the course, making sure to drink plenty of water in between laps. One of the advantages of doing the 9am race is that you have plenty of time to pre-ride, so I like take my time and make mental notes about which lines I’ll pick.
Elizabeth Harlow (C3-Athletes Serving Athletes, Women’s 1,2,3 Schooley Mill 4th and Rockburn 6th): Ride the course a couple of times before the Master Men’s Elite race. Paying attention to anything that may give me trouble. Ride around easy while the men race and then ride the course again close to race pace after the men finish.
Jon Hicks (Winchester Wheelemen, Rockburn Cat 4 5th place): The first lap to get a feel for the flow and the second much slower, looking for objects to avoid. A gel and FRS 30 minutes before the start.
Andrew Welch (Squadra Coppi, Mens 3/4, 3rd at Schooley Mill, 1st at Rockburn): I don’t like to have a lot of down time before my race, so I usually show up just in time to get a couple laps in before the previous race goes out … nothing too fast, just some course recon and easy warm-up. Then I get my number, change kit, and finish warming up … on the road. I have a trainer in my car, but it hasn’t come out all season. Continue reading “HoCo2xCx Podium & Pie Interviews”