Well… the season opener for CX has come and gone. It was a fun weekend of pain and reacclimation to one of the most exciting forms of bicycle racing. I have been pretty happy with my MTB performance the latter half of the year and was looking forward to seeing where I would stack up in the mix of MTB and Roadies in CX. All in all I am happy with the results. My times were competitive although not consistent and I am finishing in the top half of the field.
Saturday Race –
I lined up in the second row behind a couple fast guys and the starting sprint landed me at about 6th wheel. I held the wheel of the guy in front of me until a tight 180 about a 1/3rd of way through the lap. At that point, he parked it in the corner and my avoidance maneuver put me into the rope which somehow looped my bar and seat post. By the time my bike was free about 10+ guys went by and I had to start working my way back through the field. I drafted people as long as possible and then went by until I caught Adam Naish. We rode together for the last 2 laps or so swapping places… I was excited to have someone to race. I wanted to be in front coming into the finishing straight, so I pushed hard through the final barriers and just beat him out for the next corner. I attacked on last grass flat before the asphalt, but as we started the finishing sprint Adam rolled up next to me and won by a wheel. It was a good race but I learned some lessons and was looking forward to applying them on Sunday. Big thanks to Jeff Zimmerman for towing me around for a couple of laps!
Sunday Race –
Come Sunday morning my legs were feeling a little dead but not as bad as I thought. After warming up, I was feeling like all 8 cylinders were firing. Based on my start yesterday, I lined up in the front row and was in about the same position after the sprint. To add some excitement they changed some sections and ran others in reverse. One of the changes ran us down a sandy area that we were running up on Saturday. I decided to ride it on the first lap, which was a big mistake as I was bogged down coming out of it and allowed a group to pass me. Another lesson learned. I held a pretty good pace and stayed near the leaders until the end of the 2nd lap. As I fell off the pace I found myself on my own. The hard part about be on your own during a bike race is that you have no one to draft off of. My pace on the road sections dropped and I could tell that I was being caught by a group of guys working together. I held my own for a couple laps and then was passed by a couple guys. I grabbed a wheel and tried to recover a little. I noticed the guy ahead of me, who happened to be Chris Matthews, was running out of gas, so I went around on the second to last lap. Chris rode my wheel all the way to the final straight. Learning from yesterday’s race I took it easy until I hit the asphalt and then started my sprint. Chris was coming on strong, but I held off the attack finishing 12th of 28 guys.
Next race is this Sunday at Pando to finish up the MMBA CPS series. I need to finish one place behind the guy in third to win my class if he shows up. If I can finish well at this race, it will put the exclamation point on my MTB season winning both the Tailwind and MMBA CPS series.