Race #5, half way. Last year's race here was my first cross race ever, I placed 26th in the 40+.
The course. Windy. I can't remember the last time I rode in so much wind. ABD did a great job with this course, ran reverse of last year. Wide start line into an easy right and then really narrowed into a sharp left and sharp right. Straight into a single barrier run-up, opposite direction of last year. Two woods/wood chip sections. Wood chips always look more stable than they feel. Some nice pavement sections, including one loooong stretch of pavement where you got back onto the grass, full speed. On the backside of the course, a three barrier run-around, down, jump, up, jump, down, jump then ride up, down and through the long finishing straight. That was a mouthful!
This course was hard and fast, no recovery... any... where. Oh yeah, and did I mention that it was windy.
The start. I did 3 or 4 laps at different speeds. Then I did about 5 starts to test the corners. Finally, I did the single barrier run-up about 10 times back to back to see what the best line on the climb after would be and to stay warm.
Had a good, not great start. I just wanted to stay out of trouble. I hit the top of the run-up in traffic, jumped on but then had to jump off and run as the turn and hill back up was clogged. On the first section of pavement I can count from Boundy in first back to me and I'm in 10th or so. Not bad.
This photo is just after the start. Tim Boundy is to the right, Brian R. on the left. Roman is just hitting the barrier and I am just dismounting. What a great shot.
The race. So, once again, just settle in. Find the sections I can go fast on and ride smooth as I can. That, though, is often easier said than done. I pass a few guys. As I'm working my way through the 30+ I can see Mike from xXx ahead. He's my target. I could never get his wheel. I'd get close and then I'd mess up a turn and have to brake. I always underestimate the effort required to re-accelerate after screwing up a turn. Smooth, Jim smooth.
With 2 to go I see Jim from Turin coming behind me and he's gaining. I get the bell lap and I'm not lapped. That's good: one of my goals is to stay on the lead lap. Turin's coming. Every time we turn I look over my shoulder, he's there. Not on me, but there. Lou and some of the 30+ who finished are yelling at me as we hit the last and longest pavement section to catch the rider in front of me, who I thought was a 30+ rider, but was in fact another 40+ rider that I had lost track of. So, I'm out of the saddle and in the drops, clicking through gears. I had Strout's voice in my head from last year saying you've got to be first into an obstacle, so I'm thinking if I hit the barrier running thing at the bottom, Turin can't get me. So I pass the rider ahead of me into the grass and I was first into the barriers. After the barriers, out fo the saddle, sprint for the line.
The result. 7th. Some problems with the results, so only 1-10 were finalized.
Stuck around and watched the 3s, women's 1-3 and some of the Men's 1-3 and then had to go.
Photos: Velosnaps, of course.