The track is very long and stretched out compared to the previous races and the front half was changed a bit from last year. None the less we started with a short uphill paved section, turn and hit the barriers right away and we're off. Their are long mostly straight sections of dirt patch wide enough for two-track for a good portion of the race, another short paved chute into a tight left hander headed back to some tight twisty single track, up the steep climb (which last year was a run-up but most people could ride it this day), a few more chicanes and rinse, lather, repeat. On Saturday I thought it was going to be a muddy mess as the forecast called for rain. Which it did, right around midnight, letting up about 7am. However what I found was the grass was wet but most of the rest was in pretty good shape except for the single track, which just had a layer of greasy-slick mud on top but wasn't deep at all. This made for a track that was pretty fast and the gazelles could stretch out their legs on this one.
|Jovid leads our group into the woods © Ryan Stubenrauch|
Jovid was back! Yeah! During the first race (C race, or Cat 4/5 -- yeah, I know it gets a bit confusing especially if you're not a bicycle geek) I rode with Jovid. He was trying pretty hard and he learned the lesson I had learned the previous race - don't grab too much rear brake heading into a turn or you'll hit the deck. He recovered quickly and we were back in business. Until we came off the pack paved chute and I turned too sharply after just coming off the concrete and went head over heals. I dusted off, collected my wits, straightened the handlebars and we're off. Yeah, we were pretty much off the back. I could have raced a bit harder but to tell the truth I enjoyed it more to ride with him. Jovid decided to sprint to the finish line and dang it, I could not get around him.
|Jovid accelerating out of the turn © Ryan Stubenrauch|
|J.D. trying to crest the hill © Ryan Stubenrauch|
|Jovid climbing the hill © Ryan Stubenrauch|
There was also a short Kids course set up nearby! Kids from old enough to straddle a walk-along bike to 7 or 8 I think raced three laps. I thought that this was an awesome idea and a great way to make 'cross even more family-friendly.
Time to line up for my race. What we previously referred to as the B group is on this day the Cat 3 Masters, 35+ and 45+. The old men got to race by themselves. Which I would have thought was a good thing. However, the OVCX guys "took me to school", meaning I got shelled from the starting whistle. Holy crap. My lack of training plan reared it's ugly head that day. I did manage to claw back a few positions so I didn't end up DFL but I felt like it. Without trying hard I'm sure I could come up with a few decent excuses - legs weren't there that day, course didn't suit me - but ultimately there is no excuse. That is just where my fitness and abilities placed me.
So I have a few things to work on. In the short term I have got to really develop my cornering technique as this is one area where I'm losing time and really killing my momentum. Long term is in order to do better I really have to get some sort of training plan together. Now the question is: Do I want to get better bad enough to make changes in my work and life schedule OR am I going to be content with my general abilities and just out there to have fun and challenge myself a bit? To this question I don't have a firm answer but I think I am somewhere in the middle, pointing a bit to making changes. If that is the case I have to figure out how, when, where and STICK WITH IT. (I'm shouting at myself, not you readers).
What I am sticking with is asking new people to contribute to the Wounded Warrior Project. While I'm out riding my bike in the woods wearing goofy spandex, our nation's military men and women are getting injured with life-changing injuries. While I am debating if I can squeeze in a "training plan", our warriors are facing serious life and death situations. I think it's incumbent on us to take care of our fighting men and women. I hope you do as well and will contribute now to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Special thanks to Ryan Stubenrauch for the photos.
Thanks for reading.