2013 NCCX Series, Week 2

The second week of the North Carolina Cyclocross (NCCX) Series found us at the Children’s Home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina for Race #3 of the series.  The Children’s Home venue is a sprawling campus on rolling hills near downtown Winston-Salem and is both charming and historic.

The Children's Home was the site of Race #3 of the 2013 NCCX Series.

The Children’s Home was the site of Race #3 of the 2013 NCCX Series.

Last year’s race at this venue was later in the season and the course was somewhat different.  This year’s course was confined to a smaller area and several of the sections were run in the opposite direction resulting in substantially more climbing — nearly a thousand feet of climbing in a 10.5 mile race.

Every race seems to be another lesson.  This was no exception.  When the whistle blew, I killed myself turning in a very fast first lap, but unfortunately I overcooked my legs and my second lap was my slowest lap by nine seconds.  Aside from those two extremes, the other lap times were within a second of each other.

The lesson:  It is a 45 minute race and there is no reason to go out too hard only to blow up and lose that time back while trying to recover.  Maybe if the field is huge it would make sense to go out hard to avoid traffic jams but in relatively small fields there is no reason to burn the extra matches, and psychologically it is better to be moving up in the field than back.

Mock Orange Bikes always has high barriers!  WTF?! Photo courtesy of Catup.com

Mock Orange Bikes always has high barriers! WTF?! Photo courtesy of Catup.com

I felt like I could never climb out of the hole I created by going out hard.  For the most part I rode well, but it was only good enough for a mid-pack finish of 9th place.  I’m loving my Raleigh mountain/cross bike.  The tapered head tube, large down tube, and thru axles front and rear make for a super stiff and agile ride.

New on the bike for this race are a pair of American Classic “Wide Lightning” tubeless wheels.  I have the second set in the country but as I understand it, they will be available to the public soon.  If you need some mountain bike wheels, get these wheels.

Not only are they incredibly light but they are wide.  With my 31mm Panaracer tires they measure out at 36.3mm!  Imagine what that would be like with a mountain bike tire!  You could have the weight savings of a narrower tire and yet still have a wide footprint.  Traction and low weight!

And the wider bead bed adds to the firmness of the ride by minimizing sidewall roll.  For cyclocross the Wide Lightnings and Panaracer Cross Blasters are just an awesome tire and wheel combo.  I like them better than my tubulars and carbon wheels and they even weigh less.  Love my American Classics and these babies come ready for the new 11 speed cassettes.

The American Classics and Panaracers hooked up well!  Photo courtesy of Catup.com

The American Classics and Panaracers hooked up well! Photo courtesy of Catup.com

Bottom line is I didn’t get beat by the bike.  The motor just didn’t have enough this week, and to make it worse, it was over-revved in the first lap!  Here are my heart rate and power numbers for those of you who care about such things:

  • Avg HR: 94 % of Max

  • Max HR: 107 % of Max

  • Avg Power: 220 W

  • Max Power: 1,269 W

  • Max Avg Power (20 min): 233 W

  • Normalized Power (NP): 270 W

  • Intensity Factor (IF): 1.043

  • Training Stress Score (TSS): 89.4

  • Work: 659 kJ

Next on the schedule is the Throwdown in Boone Town!  The Boone, NC race is always a lot of fun, and the course is very spectator friendly.  Better yet, every year I’ve raced it so far, it has been a party!  Free food, beer, and lots of fun.