The course. Very much the same as last year, but run the opposite direction. Alot of climbing, which is not my strength. A very short start area, right hander and then into the woods and up the railroad tie section with a single barrier towards the end, then around to the off camber stuff, 2 high speed downs combined with a low speed twisty up. The flat part of the course had its share of twists and a single barrier, drainage ditch jump. A single side pit just after the start.
The start. Met some guys I didn't know before, Jim Nowak, Steel. Hopefully I'll put faces to names this Sunday. Chose to start on the far left, which would be outside of the turn. I'm still trying to figure out where I want to be when I get a call-up. It wasn't the best spot, but I was in the top 10 into the woods.
The race. 1st lap, o.k. stayed in it. 2nd lap, feeling a bit sluggish. 3 laps in, right after the railroad tie section, Steel had been on my wheel and comes around and says "come on, we can get right back on." I go to jump on his wheel and as I get out of the saddle my rear tire washes out. Steel rides away. Flat. Hell no! I have a whole lap to go to get back to the pit. The rear end is all over the place. I can ride, but can't go fast at all. Now riders are passing me like I'm standing still. I was 10th or so. By the time I get to the pit I am by myself, in last. I get to the pit, dismount, and up runs a xXx rider. He says "which wheels" I told him the FSAs, he runs over and grabs the rear as I take the flat one off, he runs back and says"you do the brake, I'll do the skewer." BAM, wheel's on and I'm off. 20 seconds at most. Now it's just race. At this point I'm tired. The lap-with-the-flat took alot out of me. I'm now being lapped by the 30+leaders. I come to the finish, race over.
The result. 20th out of over 30. Not so bad I guess. Thankfully I was on tubulars and was able to get to the pit riding.
Afterward I needed to just go off by myself and wallow in some self pity for a few minutes. Sorry if I wasn't as gracious as I should have been. After I got cleaned up and watched the 3s finish, I walked around trying to find the mystery xXx rider, but realized all I remembered was the black kit. I was about to just start going up to each one and thanking them all when Greg came up to me and asked "how'd the new wheel work out?" I said "that was you? Dude thanks...".
Saw Carolyn (Velosnaps) get teh hole shot in the women's 4s. Yeah!!
Watched the 1,2s, Ben is damn fast right now. But so were Brian Conant and Wayne Simon and the rest of them. I like watching them because it shows how much work I have to do to get that fast. Not just, but so damn smooth. Every corner, every obstacle.Watched most of the 4as, Jack, Cliff, Starbuck all having great races. The Vee-pack guys en masse, moving up, I think.
Thinking about it, that's why I like cross so much. It is certainly about the racing, but its also about so much more. I like watching the races as much as doing them myself: yelling and heckling. In 5 more weeks when my season is over, I'll miss the racing, but I think I will miss the "other stuff" even more. Thanks again Greg.