Jeroen Bosboom competes in the 40-44 Expert XC Final
Finishes third overall in the series
By Jeroen Bosboom
Background: This race is part of a 4 race local series, best of three points
total wins. The series is also part of a state wide 8 race series, confused
yet? This is my first full racing season and I entered in the expert class
for kicks. I was a few points behind third overall going into the race.
Finishing ahead of third place would put me ahead and clinch third place
overall for the series. It doesn't sound like too big a deal unless you know
how hard fought these races are. I can tell you that nothing is held in
reserve if you want to win or even podium. When the race is on the line it's
really a fight to finish to see who can suffer the most and win.
The Race: Fall was in the air and it was a reminder that cold dark days lay
ahead of us so enjoy the warm days while you can.
Although it was chilly and breezy at the start this was actually a bonus for
the racers. The course ahead of us was about 26 miles with lots of loose
descents and difficult climbing. I lined up with the usual suspects, uh I
mean my competitors and I were let go in waves according to age and class.
Eddie Arnet decided to lead the first section and I settled into third
behind eventual winner Bert Blanchette.
At the pace Eddie was going Bert and I drafted him and we quickly dropped
the pack behind us. Leading for a few miles is fun but really takes a toll
and you can quickly go anaerobic and loose many positions before you
recover. Eddie faded as the climbing got more intense. I followed Bert and
we reeled in some of the field I lost touch with Bert and a few riders on
the sandy decent (Clark's Grade Road) and about 3/4 down Eddie caught me. I
had a nasty "tank slapper" entering a sandy corner but recovered with out
crashing. Eddie being the character that he is he offered his trademark
"sorry" as he slipped by and did his best to drop me. We still had plenty of
racing left so I wasn't too worried and gave him told him "no problem"
knowing I'd catch him on the climb.
During the descent the rear cassette hub started to make a loud whirring
sound. I guess I should have cleaned it. I knew the bearing would hold and
not act up on the climbs from past experience. At the bottom of the
mountain we had several miles of rolling climbs through sandy fire road
before we headed back up Radford for six miles. In a few minutes I saw Eddie
and not long after that passed him for second place. About ten minutes
latter I saw Bert and after resting on his wheel a minute I passed him for
first place. If I had any chance to win the race I would have to put a lot
of distance on him before we crested the top of Radford.
The climb has lots of slow rocky sections that destroy rhythm and momentum
but peg heart rates. At the aid station we were given water bottles and I
poured most of mine over my back and shoulders for extra cooling. I watched
my HR monitor over the course of the race and apart from down hills it
registered over 180-182 the whole race. That's right at or slightly above my
lactate threshold level. The average HR for the 2:29 race was 174! I passed
a few riders including my semi-pro buddy who had used up his mojo trying to
keep in contact with his pack. At the very top of the grade Bert reappeared
and he charged past to deter any attempt to keep pace with him.
We started down a very fast and rough fire road section; my chain did a hop
off the big chain ring and (unknown to me) became knotted. I nudged it back
on with my shoe but was unable to pedal after that. After all that work I
could still come up short. I decided to keep my momentum and coast to Fern
trail and try to fix it there. When I got off the bike I found a knot in
front of the derailleur and behind the crank set. The derailleur seemed
skewed too far back and probably led to the chain being looser. I've never
seen that happen before and it was like trying to fix a rubrics cube at the
WORST possible moment.
I remembered that the chain had jumped off the big chain ring and the
trouble originated with that. So I took the chain off the front of the crank
and was somehow able to reverse the knot. I hopped on the bike and prayed it
would withstand the pounding coming down a rough single track, somehow it
did! The bike sounded like a bull at a stud ranch whenever I coasted. I lost
second place while I untangled the chain but was still ahead of third place
(by three minutes) in the overall points chase! I held on to third place in
the race and the first and second place finishers congratulated me on the
race. I want to thank the organizers and my sponsors for their support.