Sunday dawned with a the remains of an overnight rain as we motored towards Melbourne for day 2 of Infinity CX. I was following Walter and Jason, and a creepy black Dodge van with tinted windows and a “Girl Scouts Go Places” bumper sticker was following me. Obviously, I was concerned, as the van made every turn that we did, from the FL Turnpike to 528 to I-95, and then the exit to Melbourne. It stopped behind me at the stop light. Then, it pulled up beside me , and rolled down it’s creepy driver’s window creepily…
… And Rich Dybdahl (Pure Cycles) made the “I’m watching you” sign. Sigh. Like I need that crap at 7.48 am.
Anyrate, after driving for miles down A1A, we reached Sebastian Inlet State Park, parked the cars, and proceded to get eaten alive by noseeums. Registered, pinned numbers, hung out with Dario, because I’m cool enough to hang out with dudes named Dario who live in Miami. Take it. Decided to pre-ride the course. I’ll let this video from Jack Rich’s seat rails explain that to you:
Let’s be real. The course looked like it was going to be terrible. But I tell you what, that beach ride was AMAZING. The barriers leading onto it, the super tight hairpin, the million choices of lines across the beach that were never the right one, the ride-able telephone pole barrier at the end of it, all of it was AMAZING. The course was at least two minutes too short, but they really used about as much of the park as possible, and it all worked, somehow. Except the pinwheel. Everyone hated the pinwheel, in spite of the festive Xmas tree in the middle of it, which was actually awesome. The pinwheel was both absurdly narrow, it was also on pretty loose sand. There was maybe one good line through it, I did find it on my 6th or 7th time through it, but I never found it again. The P12’s ran most of it, which was certainly faster. It was a really tough course, and it was too short, but on the other hand, part of the attraction of CX is just how absurd it is. Riding a glorified road bike over dirt, mud, sand, and gravel shouldn’t be easy, and this course certainly wasn’t very easy. There was about 200 feet of recovery on the entire lap, and even then you had to keep pedaling- if you stopped pedaling, you stopped rolling.
The races started pretty close to the schedule. The hole shot was all of 232 feet long, so you know I was pretty damn close to the front of it. You also know that the Ryan Fisher (352), Chase Tennyson (352) and Ed Dunne (Cycle Logic) were also hangin out with me, along with the aforementioned Dybdahl, who never lets me get out of his sights in spite of the fact that he is clearly several warp factors faster than I am. I took up as much space as I could on the narrow sections to allow Chase and Ryan to get a gap, because I’m a jerk like that, but somehow Rich got past me, and bridged up to Chase, and the two of them rocketed off. Ed tormented Ryan for a while, and eventually caught and passed him. I’m not going to lie, I wanted to quit the race badly from roughly the 20 minute point until I heard there was 3 to go, when Rich and Chase had almost caught me. Even for my slow ass, the laps were going by in 4 and a half minutes, which included the beach slog and the muddy double track slog and the pinwheel sand slog. It hurt me! Chase gapped Rich several times leading up to the final lap, but Rich battled back every time until the last lap, when Rich burnt his last match and had to let Chase go.
So Mens 3 ended up Chase, Rich, and Ed. Laura Parsons (Rose Bandits) hung out with John Hovius (AAA) and I (Orange State) for a 3 or 4 laps, and then rode away from both of us to win the Women’s 123 race. Of course, John let me close on him briefly, and then gassed it and was gone. On the last lap, Micheal King (Infinity) dumped it in the pinwheel’s loose sand and allowed me to regain a bunch of seconds so that I exited the pinwheel within a couple of bike lengths of him. I wasn’t even sure at the time if we were in the same race (we were), but anytime I’m that close to the finish line with another rider, I’m going to sprint, even if it’s for last place (it was), because I learned quite early in my silly race career that the race isn’t over until you cross the line, so I dumped a bunch of cogs and FLEW towards the line, while he realized too late that he needed to accelerate. So I got 8th, he got 9th, and now I HAVE A NEMESIS. YESSSSSS. #CROSSCLASH
My close, personal friend, the always stylish Dario Perez (Miami Velo) took the win in Masters 45, with Jeff Zipperer (Infinity) and Robert Reineke (AAA) rounding out the podium. In Masters 55, Marshall Reeves (Infinity), Stephen Ducker (Pure Racing), and Brad Scott were your winners.
The Pro 12 race was next, and you can watch the video above to see how the first lap turned out. It evolved into another battle between Eric Stubbs (352 pb Bikes & More) and Earl Bradley (Infinity), but by 30 minutes in, barring disaster, this one had been decided. Stubbs launched on the beach fairly early and Earl wouldn’t or couldn’t follow, a gap opened up, and in spite of some late lap heroics, Earl could never close it. Again, Chris Slack (Infinity) gamely chased at a distant third. They would finish in the same order. In Master’s 35, Jack Rich (Infinity) took the victory and was also 4th overall, followed by Ben Smith (352 pb Bikes & More) and Joel Rierson (Louis Garneau). Tim Hayes deserves special mention for stopping on his second lap to adjust the air pressure in his tires, then stopping two or three laps later to hang out until the last lap so he could ride it and still score points for the team competition. WEAK.
In the cat 4’s, you know that if Kristen Apotsos (Infinity) shows up, she’s going to win, and she did, thus signing her own death warrant/upgrade-to-the-cat-3’s-and-getting-beaten-by-Laura-Parsons. The rest of the podium was familiar, with Katherine Adams and Jody Alexander (Team Top Gear). In the Men’s, Micheal Hernandez (Garmin Juniors) took the win (he’s like 15, guys, come on!), followed by Gregory Apotsos and his high lifting barrier style and single speed Kona, and the mysterious Tom Pownall in third.
In Juniors, it was Lochlan Hovius (AAA) over Jackson Mehr (Outspoken) and Tyler Pownall. Pownall might be my new favourite internet pseudonym. I PWN4LL. HAHAHAHAHA 3AT M3!
In the Single Speed race, it was again a gaggle of jerks from 352 racing trying and for the most part failing to beat up on an old Australian guy. Rick Buning, Fisher, and Stubbs (all 352) were having a party with John Hovius (AAA) for the early part of the race, but the pinwheel caused a lot of problems for both Bunning and Fisher, who took some soil samples, and re-arranged several sections of course tape. At one point, Stubbs almost took out Hovius so that he could heckle Bunnning while exiting the pinwheel, swerving wildly to shout like Frankenstein’s monster “ARRRRR BUNNNNNING HATE STAKES! BUNNNNNNING HATE TAPE!” Stubbs kept trying to slow the pace to allow his slower team mates to catch back on, but Hovius would have none of it, and would go back to the front to increase the tempo. Eventually, it was just Stubbs and Hovius, and a last lap attack on the beach sealed the win for Stubbs. Buning was third, and Jeff Zipperer (Infinity) was fourth. Fisher again unzipped his jersey, rolled up his shorts, and blasted Mastodon as loud as his phone would play it as he crossed the line for 5th, but much higher in everyone’s hearts.
All in all, it was a great weekend of racing. Not a huge turn out, but higher than last year’s. The courses were not perfect, with Saturday’s being better than Sunday’s, but both showed a lot of potential for the future, particularly Saturday’s. On the other hand, Sunday’s beach section was arguably the best section of any course we’ve raced on so far this year. The race organisation was very good, the volunteers were hilarious as well as effective, results were posted quickly, and the free food and water can’t be forgotten or dismissed either. Infinity did a great job, and will do an even better job next year, and that’s all we can ask for as racers.
See you guys in Gainesville for Swamp Cross. Don’t miss it. They’ve promised me the PA system both days!