Nisqually Kermesse Race Report

Despite the fact that it is still February and many racers still have yet to un-rack the race bike, Todd Morse Tucker and I have been flogging ourselves doing Computrainer workouts, gym workouts and all-around smart early season training. Due to this, we both were itching to test our legs. The second of a two-race Kermesse series would be the perfect place to test ourselves.

Kermesse racing is actually a Belgian road race discipline that is comprised of short circuits with part paved road and part cobbled road. We seem to have a shortage of 400 year old cobbled farm roads in Washington, so this race had a 1 mile chip seal section followed by a 1.5 mile double track trail through the woods. It seemed to be a bit more of a cyclocross race without barriers, but any VO2 effort would do at this point. Racing is racing. And the blood flow needed to be diverted to our legs. ASAP.

The start was fast, and TMT jumped out front right away with myself and two others jumping on. Each lap had a little grinder off-road climb that wasn’t long or steep, but it’s cumulative effect after 8 laps would surely be felt. TMT punched it on this riser, and the two other riders struggled to stay with him. A little bit of daylight was now growing between myself and Todd’s lead group, and I counted a 5 second gap as we headed out of the woods and back onto the road to finish up lap 1. I quickly realized I was in no-mans land, with the lead break up the road and the rest of the splintered field behind me. I looked back and saw an Audi racer coming up to my wheel, so I waited and we both made a two lap attempt to bridge the 10 second gap to the leaders. Up front, Todd’s consistent pace and excellent handling in the woods allowed him to drop one rider from his group. The Audi guy and I swept him up and kept plodding ahead. By this time, TMT and the other racer in the front had extended their lead by another 10 seconds. Even though the field was small, I played the ever present teammate and sat in for a lap, intent to let Todd increase his lead on our group. With 1 lap remaining, my chase group was starting to splinter. A mix of tired legs, not working well together and bad line choices through the woods all came into play and all four of us chasers had 5 second gaps between us. Todd was now leading into the last road section before the finish, and made his jump for the line a bit early. His break companion came around and nipped him at the line for the win, Todd content to nab second after hard hour of racing. I found myself at the back of the four man chase group going into the finale, and that’s where I finished. TMT and I were fairly happy with our respective 2nd and 6th places on the day, and more happy that we got some racing under our belt. No pun intended.


Ian Mullins