2022 CX #5 – AACX – Ongleooflijk!

Don’t worry if you don’t understand Flemish because “ongleooflijk” means exactly what you think it should mean if you raced the event (I’ll save you the trouble of using Google Translate: “unbelievable”). AACX is our (ABRT’s) event and we spent a lot of time up front this year mowing, trimming, and raking to make the course as nice as possible given that much of it is in a “wild” field most of the year. In my opinion – and I have raced every AACX at this location (8 years) – this was the best course and not just because I helped put it together, but from a racer’s perspective.

As I previewed in the last post, I got to play “Farmer John” (actually I felt more like “Eddie Albert“) using the county owned ride on mower to fine tune the course. I spent a number of days in the two weeks between Ed Sander and AACX helping Race Diretor Mike Roth and the rest of the ABRT crew get things ready. Every time I was down there working, I logged more than 20,000 steps on my phone. It’s a tremendous amount of work but feels really good when it all comes together and you get tons of comments from competitors and officials on how well things went. Not only did we reverse the course direction from prior years, but we changed the layout in the field a bit to reduce the “slog”. We also added some new features including a double set of ridable stairs going up the hill, a “bullpen” at one end of the field, a new flowy single track section on top of the hill, flowy turns in the other end of the field, a set of chicanes on the backside of the maintenance yard and a faster approach to the “goat hill” which put is solidly on the ride/run line.

The 2022 course layout and some changes for next year (in purple).
The new ABRT rideable stairs. Next year another two.

Another thing we did (as we often do for the Church Creek Time Trials) was hire our friend and photographer extraordinaire, Ted Morgan (Instagram, Facebook, Portfolio) to shoot pictures all day and post them free for competitors. We feel this is a great way to return value to racers while compensating the photographer for the work. And, as we all know, most cyclists have a narcissistic streak and love to post pictures of themselves (author included) so they really like not being nickel and dimed to death to get some glam shots for social media.

Setting up the course took most of the day Friday and as I said, it’s a lot of walking and time on your feet. While not an aerobic workout, it does take its toll. That along with an early start Saturday morning and working the race pretty much right up to race time (fortunately I did get in a couple pre-ride laps), is the groundwork for my excuse as to why I was immediately gassed off the start line in my 45+ 3/4/5 race. The thick mud through the start/finish straight did not help that. But a minute into the first lap I was DFL and thinking “sh*t, I’m not going to be able to finish!’.

This look says it all until I got rolling. Ted Morgan Photo.

But I settled down, and finally my diesel engine started to get the RPMs up. By the end of the first lap I was most rolling well and I passed a bunch of people on the technical sections up the hill. When I got to the goat hill, I rode it fine in traffic and did ride it on every lap, even though at one point I was literally at a track stand at the top for a second waiting for someone to get out of the way (that is the best skill to master, ever). I continued to work my way back up to my usual spot in the mid 20s and ended up 24/44 in the end. I was one lap down along with teamie Mike Roth and former ABRTer Jason Glitz (we were the first to get down a lap) so I was at least in good company.

Riding the Goat Hill, Ted Morgan Photo Compilation.
Grunting it out of the new wooded section. Ted Morgan Photo.

I hung around the rest of the day pitching in where needed and had a few carbohydrate recover beverages on the DL. Ultimately in the late afternoon as things wound down for the last few fields, I dove into the back of the van and had a deep 45 minute nap. I needed that to get me through the rest of the day and the ton of walking and lifting for the course breakdown. Fortunately, we had the best quad ever for breakdown and were done in an hour an a half, another unofficial record for sure.

The ABRT Breakdown Crew. Back Row (L to R): Aaron, Gwo, me, Mike, Todd, Steve, Carl. Front Row (L to R): James, Antonio, Charles, Paul

Mike wrote a great post race wrap-up e-mail that we sent around to competitors. I pinched parts of it here (you think I could come up with the Flemish word “Ongleooflijk”? Please… I’m not that creative) but you can read the rest of it on the ABRT website, including his set of metrics for a successful event. Hint, not the usual press release crap I come up with. All in all, we were very happy with the course, the record turn out, the weather, and the team effort. Hosting an event like this makes me really understand the effort others put into their events and I’m very appreciative of being able to concentrate on just racing and having fun when I travel to other cyclocross events. We posted a bunch of fun captions on the AACX Facebook Page such as “Ride It, Run It or Crash It” so head over there to check it out.

Full Results: https://results.raceroster.com/v2/en-US/results/ufwcbs56pkx9j72g/results?subEvent=151725&page=1

Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/8037842626

Next up is the Really Rad Festival of Cyclocross, my first “travel event”!

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