Joel Moats recently won a PA Cyclocross State Title.
Below is his race report.
PA State Championships/Wonderland Cyclocross---Lancaster,PA
Way before the alarm went off, I awoke realizing that today was the last race of the 2007 cyclocross season. I lay thinking of earlier races, rolling the highlights over in my head. Thinking that I hadn’t really had that race where everything came together. There were some good races, like Granogue and Wissahickon and there was a few I would rather forget---Fairhill CX. Recalling last years race at this venue in Lancaster, I began making mental laps of the course until it was time to rise and shine, and begin the Prerace Ritual.
I picked Nathan Goates up in Shippensburg and after some ice dancing , we headed to Lancaster County. I had heard from a co-worker , that Lancaster didn’t get any snow.------WRONG.--------We arrived to see the course covered with about an inch of icy slushiness with temps in the upper thirtys. I new right then the technically skilled racers would have the upper hand. As I readied my bike and body for the pain train, the early races turned the course into a brown quagmire. “Definitely going with the Mud 2’s at about 28 psi.”We yelled as Cathy Large raced to a 2nd Place Overall and Silver Medal for the PA State Championship in the B Women category.
After a pretty good warmup session on the trainer, one tall dark, half a can of Monster Energy drink, half a powerbar and a bottle of Cytomax, I made my way to the start area. I stripped off all the layers down to the skinsuit and arm warmers, the Icy-Hot finally steaming “hot” after an hour. There were no call-ups and attentively , I got a good start position amidst the 17 entries for the B Men contest.. Sitting on the top tube several minutes waiting for the official, I really wanted to get on with it. My “dangling carrot” was 2 positions to my left, we are in the front row. The plan was to try to hang with him……….
The whistle blew and off we went. I was in one too hard a gear and didn’t get the jump I normally get out of the start and ended up around 6th or so into the first turn. In which some knucklehead darn near took out my front wheel. As we got to the muddier off-camber section, I made some passes by keeping down close to the trees and hopping the log that was obviously left there on purpose.The next turn and straight were rideable but way faster to run---keep in mind this is flat ground with 4 inches of mud. Next came a rideable turn into a straight section with a set of barriers. At this point my heart rate is thru the roof and breathing is fast and furious, but I’m hanging with my carrot…….the rest of the race is a blur of numb feet, searing pain, mud, sand, and trying to stay upright…..Until I realize I’m in 4th.I passed into 3rd on a sweeping, off-camber right that led into a sharp climb into a set of barriers.After that stuck, I set sights on 2nd place(my “dangling carrot”) and started gaining on him. I’m riding the sand pit and gaining a couple seconds each time.Two laps to go and I’m within 5 seconds! Now I’m really pushing it---Michelin’s barely hanging in the turns---------I thought “Don’t’ want to go down now!” Ten seconds later-------too much rear brake and I’m on my can. The “carrot” must have seen me go down, because he has opened up an attack and added 15-20 seconds to his lead. Back on and still charging, we get the bell lap and I give it as much stick as I can --whenever I can. Once again I started to close the gap, but there was not enough turf left to catch him. I pushed on to the line were I was met with applause and the “carrot” saying, “Way to go dude, you got the State Championship.” Turns out 1st place was from Delaware and “the carrot-Chad” is from New Jersey.
That is my story of how blind pigs do find an acorn now and then.-----------Joel Moats