Sunday turned out to be an excellent day for CapCity Cross's second race of the season at Big Run Park in Columbus, OH. It started off a bit cool but the sun came out, things warmed up nicely and we got to see a lot of good bicycle racing. The course was well laid out to be a heck of a challenge. Lots of climbing. Lots of tight windy sections. There were no "easy" parts to this course.
First off was the C race - the newbies, slower folks, the less coordinated - in short, NOT the Elites. Which of course means me. Because I usually get off to a slow start and then start to claw my way back into the pack I was thinking this time if I start faster than usual, I'll work hard to hold on and then instead of coming back to the pack at mid-race, I'll be riding away from it. Great idea. In THEORY. In practice what this meant was I took off like a shot. For the first 30 yards. Then guys started coming around me. So I was riding a bit above my head to not lose them. Which mean I was burning too many matches too early. But I dug in and kept going. Also for a few laps I had a good race going with a guy I'd jostled with a bit last year - Kelly. He got close to me several times throughout the race and I thought he was going to get by me but I wasn't going to just give it to him. Well, that worked. I managed to hold him off. Kelly, if you're reading this, great race! It is hard to back off when so many people are yelling your name and cheering you on - my lovely bride was especially good at that. On the last lap I headed up this long hill to the finish line (backwards up a soap box derby race hill) she's running beside me yelling that I can't let her beat me up the hill. Last straw, I stood on the pedals and went as hard as I could until the finish line. Then I cramped up so bad in my legs and hands I didn't think I'd be able to control my bike.
I ended up with a solid 6th place finish - not my best placing, but my best for a field this size (about 40 riders). Last year I typically finished mid pack so I have to be happy with my results. I have raced hard before but never had I raced that hard.
Which in turn meant that when I toed the line for the Master's race I could not hang with the guys. I continued to make fast laps but I wasn't going to be in much contention. Then most of the way through the first lap I got a flat in the front. So I lost a bit of ground by heading to the pits and swapping wheels but at this point it was about getting time on the course at race pace. Three laps later the rear tire starts to go low *right after* I get around a guy who it seemed had just cracked. Do I go into the pits and swap the rear and lose the position I had just gained, or keep going and hope it holds? Keep going and hope it holds, which it did. Not a stellar finish, but I'll take it.
Race two, down. Rest and recovery for the Ohio State Championships this upcoming weekend!
On Monday I spent some time in the woods, like at the newly-opened Chestnut Ridge mountain bike trail.
Monday I headed out to this trail, as I finished work early (for once!) and it was a great fall day. I wasn't the only one with that idea as the parking lot was almost full when I finished my laps.
I hope you had a chance to get outside and enjoy and if not, hope you do soon.
Thanks for reading.