Extra! extra! Read all about it!

rsinger814

Well-Known Member
As requested by Matt @The Heckler , this will be a thread to recap my races.

First, I’ll give everyone a little background about myself. I grew up riding BMX from 12 to 21 years old. I bought my first mountain bike, a Rockhopper 29er when I was 22 and started to ride the local trails at Rothrock and the surrounding area. Moved to Texas for work, gave away my mountain bike and was disappointed to find a very small amount of trails in the Houston area. So I didn’t replace the bike until January 2015 when I moved to NJ.

I raced a total of 4 mountain bike races as a CAT 2 in 2015, and was happily mid-pack. I built up a cross bike as @The Heckler insisted I do. It was the right call. I entered 4 CX races in the Fall of 2015 as a CAT 5, mostly mid-pack, with the exception of a 4th place at Westwood Velo.

Fast forward to 2016, I decided I would put some more time on my bikes this year and added some road riding. I took home the H2H CAT 2 Men’s 19-39 Championship. Super stoked on this and appreciate all of the hard work that everyone puts into H2H series. It’s not something to take for granted having an awesome series in your backyard!

I posted a few race recaps here. I started at Nittany CAT 4/5 race and took home 1st of 114 on Saturday. Then Town Hall with a solid 3rd. KMC Day 2 was DNF but I redeemed myself with a 7th on Day 3 in the 4/5s.

The following post will be about my weekend at Charm City, my first CAT 3/ 4 race.

My strava profile is here.
 

rsinger814

Well-Known Member
Charm City Day 1 CAT 3/4

My first CAT 3/4 race. Not sure what to expect, I just know it will be longer and I'm hoping to be in the middle of the pack. I head down to Baltimore on Saturday, leaving around 7am. Pick up some breakfast sandwiches in Flemington and we make good time, 3 stops and still get there just a little after 10am. I register, and hop on course for some pre-riding. IT'S MUDDY and looks like more rain. This is all new to me. I usually get to the race at the ass crack of dawn, put in 2 or 3 pre-ride laps and then it's time to race. Now, I'm trying to sneak in laps between the races and I'm not sure what to do during the races other than just watch. I cheer on Dan L as he was out front for most of the 35+ race, I'm trying to watch his lines and pick up some pointers. I head down to the reservoir and do some loops to stay warm.

I'm gifted with the number of 269. Perfect, 69 of 78. It's super casual conversation in the back of the starting line. Everyone just wants to finish the race on the lead lap. I'd like to do a little better than just lead lap. The whistle sounds and I sprint hard. I move up a good ways through the pack. I'm making passes when possible and sprinting to stay with guys. I'm finding that the later half of the 3/4s still have issues with bike handling. I'm able to make passes on the turns but I do not have the engine to compete with these guys on the straights or power sections. That's okay, that's racing. I pass when I can and give up spots when I don't have an option.
IMG_1274[1].JPG

A picture of the super high and wide barriers.

When I come through the start finish line and see 3 to go, I know that I'm in trouble. I'm broken. I keep pushing hard through the technical sections, the barriers, the sand, and the stairs. But I'm bleeding spots like crazy on the climb up to the mansion. I'm just trying to hang onto any wheel I can, not really happening. So I push it more in the turns. Which leads to me sliding out right before the barriers on the last lap. Smashed up my shin pretty good.
IMG_1276[1].JPG

Peanut butter pit sucking out my soul!

Keb (my wife) said I looked like I was in pain and not enjoy the race the whole time. That's probably true and all of the pictures reflect that. I come through the start finish at 58 minutes! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I see why I'm so exhaust, going from 38 to 40 minute races up to almost an hour is a huge difference. I'm 44th of 78. Not too bad, just missed the top 50% but that's okay.

I get cleaned up, get some beer, get an espresso, get some Pho, buy some records, and head to the AirBnB.

I ice my shin and complain about how hard that was. And just hope it's easier tomorrow.
 

Pearl

THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING
Team MTBNJ Halter's
not only is charm city tough, but doing charm city as your first 3/4 race is even tougher. i swear that place broke me every single year in the 2/3/4's. i think the mix of those annoying sand pits, the mansion hill area, the steps, so much on and off the bike i think its hard to get into a groove.

also, what does your bike weigh?
 

The Heckler

You bring new meaning to the term SUCK
STOKED ABOUT THREAD!

Man, I really miss Baltimore, that course is great, even with hill-o-death and sand-o-death features.

Category jumps are tough on every level, especially when you are thrown in the back of the grid. I watched the Dirtwire TV UCI Men highlights and he had a start of a 180 turn for the entire field. The front 25% of the race was single file, super smooth in and out no problem and the back 3/4 were all sprinting in late braking in a giant cluster bouncing off of each other and sprinting out going nowhere in the process. It was really a perfect representation of what I figured has been happening in the front of that field, same stuff at the 3/4 before.

Once you put in the time, fight through the BS and improve your CX results to even start midpack the whole race just gets easier. Nothing hurts more than chasing, especially for 58 minutes LOL. Sounds like they missed that timing a little figuring the leaders finished in 50-54?

Super stoked you dabbled in the 3/4!
 

rsinger814

Well-Known Member
Charm City Day 2

Read my emails, have a panic attack because I missed an email from the owner of our AirBnb about parking. Throw clothes on, run two blocks down the road to the lot where I left the car...YES, IT'S STILL THERE! Lucked out on that.

Grabbed coffee and some pastries at some cafe from a Portlandia episode. It was so dark in there, ridiculous glassware from a lab being used for everything, over priced pastries, two apathetic employees that hate their existence. The coffee hits me, I have to shit. Wouldn't you know it, fluorescent light is dimly lit on just one side of the bulb. Just enough so it's not complete darkness. I say forget it, cautiously walk half a mile back to the AirBnb.

Arrive at the venue about 10:30am. Pull the bike off, and again perfect timing for a pre-ride lap. It's colder and windy. I didn't bring anything warm for my legs or arm warmers. The sun is out at least.

I line up 79 of 84, even better than yesterday. After the first few turns heading up the mansion hill, I look over my shoulder. Only 6-8 people behind me. That's okay, I didn't want to go out as hard as I did yesterday and blow up before the end. I slowly pick people off in the turns. The ground is tacky and doesn't zap my legs as much when I put in hard efforts. I'm happy! I stay on wheels today and go back and forth with several people before losing them on the climb up to the sand pits. I'm feeling really good actually. I continue to hit the turns hard, sand and barriers hard. I'm out of the saddle on the climbs to ensure I don't lose ground. Over the course of 6 laps, I'm actually passing people on the mansion hill climb today.
IMG_1304[1].JPG


2 laps to go. The hecklers are taking song requests, I yell for "Final Countdown". I get my request, and play it via their mouth through the megaphone. That's enough stoke to allow me to pass 2 more people through Club Row. And carry some momentum into the final lap. Final lap I pass two guys through the barriers. One passes me just before the stairs. I crush my own soul going up to the mansion one final time, I'm able to pass just before the top. Fast down hill, with a few turns, past the hecklers, through club row, over the flyover, uphill to the sand pits, and I realize I created a gap. Smooth over the last set of barriers and a solo sprint to the finish.
IMG_1310[1].JPG


Today felt great, did a lot of passing. Started 79th and worked my way up to get 41st of 84ish. I'm stoked on that result and how I felt during it. Looking forward to having a better starting position in the future. Solid ending to Charm Weekend was the trip to the Visual Arts Museum!
 

Pearl

THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING
Team MTBNJ Halter's
The photo of you jumping over the barrier makes it look like you are barely jumping lol

Ugh! One spot out of 40th which would have given you one point in the standings. This will be a huge help for your starting position for sure.
 

Delish

Well-Known Member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
I approve this thread. Caps off to you for pushing on up to the killer B field in the big MAC events. Those fields are no joke at the bizness end. With better start position it sounds like you'll be right up there. NJ B's will seem tame in comparison.
 

rsinger814

Well-Known Member
The photo of you jumping over the barrier makes it look like you are barely jumping lol

Ugh! One spot out of 40th which would have given you one point in the standings. This will be a huge help for your starting position for sure.
Fun fact, I hold all of hurdling records at my high school in outdoor track. You want to be as low as possible so you get to the ground quicker and start accelerating forward.
how the EF are you keeping that bar tape so clean
Lets just say they are slightly tinted brown.

Thanks @Delish I'm curious to see how the NJ B races play out. I know racing up will only make me faster, and progress quicker. And that's what this is all about, progress.
 

The Heckler

You bring new meaning to the term SUCK
Grabbed coffee and some pastries at some cafe from a Portlandia episode. It was so dark in there, ridiculous glassware from a lab being used for everything, over priced pastries, two apathetic employees that hate their existence. The coffee hits me, I have to shit. Wouldn't you know it, fluorescent light is dimly lit on just one side of the bulb. Just enough so it's not complete darkness. I say forget it, cautiously walk half a mile back to the AirBnb.
Dude. This is hilarious. I can see the whole thing perfectly. Totally found some 'too hip for their own good' spots in Baltimore. Really miss that race.

Thanks for recapping. You did a TON of work on Sunday!

Remind your fans whats ahead for you??? Anything before Europe? Racing in Europe???
 

rsinger814

Well-Known Member
Dude. This is hilarious. I can see the whole thing perfectly. Totally found some 'too hip for their own good' spots in Baltimore. Really miss that race.

Thanks for recapping. You did a TON of work on Sunday!

Remind your fans whats ahead for you??? Anything before Europe? Racing in Europe???
It was pretty comically. There was a couple that came in and asked the employees to tell them what each pastry was, as they couldn't read the signs.

Thank you! It was tough, but fun making so many passes.

Today is my last day at my current job. To celebrate we are going to wineries in the Finger Lakes this weekend. Monday and Tuesday will be hiking and biking in the Adirondacks taking in the fall foliage.

10/22 - Maybe Whirlybird 3/4
10/23 - Marty Cross 3 or 4? Need to figure this out today and apply for upgrade

10/29 - HPCX - In the air
10/30 - HPCX - In the air

11/5 - Bubble Cross - CAT 3

11/11 - 13 Honeymoon begins. First stop Copenhagen!
11/14 - 15 Berlin
11/16 - 17 Prague, try to make it to Toi Toi Cup in Slany for the day
11/18 - 20 Amsterdam
11/20 - 22 Paris
11/22 - 25 A friends country side home near Angers. Riding some bikes, wineries, castles and food!
11/25 - 26 Layover in Reykjavik Iceland. I proposed to my wife in Iceland, so this bringing us full circle.

And that's a look at my next month and a half.
 

Magic

Formerly 1sh0t1b33r
Team MTBNJ Halter's
That sounds like an awesome trip you got planned. I hope to do some kind of Eurotrip in the next few years. I've been to Iceland twice though. Baejarins Beztu FTW!
 
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