I went into this event without any real plan. I had been sick all week and lost 10 pounds in the 9 days heading into the weekend. I hopped onto the course to get in a quick pre-ride after the first race ended. Then I took my pit wheels to the pit area. At some point during this they called for staging and I never heard it. By time I arrived at staging it was too late for my call-up, so they stuck me in the back. If nothing else, it gave me a plan for the race. Go hard until you can’t go any more, and then go harder. It may not have been the most elegant plan, but I did learn something from it. For the 40 minutes of the race I had an average heart rate of 182, which was higher than I thought I could maintain. I ended up with a solid 60th out of 99 finishers.
Later in the day I found myself sitting with a bunch of great friends watching the pro race. Holy shit those guys are fast. In my race I am looking to go about 45 seconds a lap faster to finish near the front. These guys were going 4 minutes a lap faster than me. Watching them also showed me that you can really hammer through some of the corners that I was crawling through because I just didn’t feel like there was enough traction. They seemed to trust that the bike was going to go where they pointed it. Jeremy Powers held on to win over a determined looking Ryan Trebon.
I had a solid plan for the race today. Make my call-up, start hard and suffer. I dropped my wheels off in the pit area at the start of the race before mine and then started working on getting a good warmed up. I made my call-up in the 5th row. It was kind of neat being that close to the front without having to kill myself getting there. Once the whistle sounded, I again tried to get by as many people as possible before the course narrowed. I really worked on trying to trust my tires and drive through the corners during this race. I have no idea where I was running position wise, but this was the first time that I could still see the leader at the end of the first lap in a race of this caliber The next three laps where just a case of holding my position and gaining any that I could. I had a much better sprint at the end and gained two spots in the final 100 meters to finish 34 out of 77 finishers. It ended up being a GREAT race, and lets me know that what I worked on all summer should pay off. This was far and away the best ‘cross race that I have had.
It was great seeing the crew Saturday at the pro race and even better getting to line up with a couple of good friends and battling it out on the course. This might be the best part of racing ‘cross. I didn’t see any pictures of the three of us together, but someone had a good one of John and Gary.