I had two races under my belt and things had gone pretty well. For some reason my issues have happened before clipping in and heading out on the course. Registration lines have been long and slow. I was lucky to get 15 minutes of warm up for my first race. I showed up for the 2nd a lot earlier and was able to get through the line, only to somehow lose arm number one minute later. I took too long looking for that and got in another quality 15 minute warm up. The Velodrome is only 15 minutes from my house so I made sure to leave extra early. I got a great spot, walked over to registration and found another mile ass long line.
Once again the weather called for some nasty conditions but it was warm and sunny so I stood in line patiently with no gripes. I got my number and headed over to use the bathroom. I set my bike, helmet and number down and when I came back out my number was gone.....WTF!! I'm guessing that for some reason, someone thought it was lost??? and thought they should help it out. I have no idea. I quickly rode back to the registration line and grabbed someone to talk to. He was really cool and told me he would see if someone turned it in and if not, issue me another number. I ended up getting new number and guess what? I had about 30 minutes to dress, hydrate, warm up and get to the start. Are you starting to see a pattern here?
Anyway, I did get one lap on the course before our start. we had about 85 in our field and the officials had a computer generated list with all our numbers randomly entered. They called each number one by one for line up. Number after number was read off and I kept waiting. I finally got called up and was probably placed about 65 or 70 back. A whole shot was probably not in my future. My starts have gone really well and we started out on a really long, wide, paved sections which then turns sharp right onto a long, wide grass section before you enter into the velodrome. That should give this roadie plenty of time to move up if hit on all cylinders and kept it going. The gun went off and that is what I did. By the time we came off the start section I had move all the way up into the top ten!! The only problem was with no real warm up and a crazy, long sprint I had burned through a couple of matches. Right after you hit the enclosed area of the velodrome you take a hard right and prepare for a short climb over a series of logs. The crowd that was there was going nuts. As I started my dismount a guy in front of my completed lost it and hit the deck hard. I had no where to go and down I went. It was my first had cx crash. I was tangled up with him a bit and it took me a few seconds to regroup. I stumble over the logs, remounted and realized I hadn't lost any spots but did lose some time. This didn't help to calm me down. The rest of the lap was just spent trying to get by slower riders in the field that left one minute before us(There were probably close to 170 of us on the course at the same time). I was hoping I would start to feel better by the time we hit the long paved section at the start. When we finished lap one I was still not feeling good. I did manager to fly by a lot more slower riders from the 1st field but as we re-entered the velodrome I hadn't moved up on anyone in my field. After the log section I got passed by about five guys from my field. Phil and Chris from Lenovo went by me and I was hoping I could at least sit on their wheels for a lap. The sped away. On the back side of the track there were a couple of off camber little up and down sections. Once again a guy went down hard right in front of me and down I went. I had to push my bike up the hill and a couple more guys got by me. The next couple of laps were about the same. As we flew by the finish and were told we had one lap to go I was finally started to feel good. I was moving though the course pretty well and was getting by a few of the guy that had passed me. The finish is on a long grass strip right down the middle of the velodrome infield. It ran right by the big Deschutes beer garden . The cheering and the cowbells were deafening. I flew by a few guys and hit the finish. I was done. I ended up moving though a lot of guys (mainly at the start) and ended up 18th. I was actually really happy with it. Maybe I shouldn't have shot of the start so hard. If I didn't, I may have not moved up so far and might have never been able to get out of the top 50. Who knows. I was pretty happy with the race. It was now time to change and hit the beer garden for the rest of the races.(and carbo load for the race I was doing at 9:45 the next morning) It started to pour half way through the next race and never stopped. The Pro race was insane. The mud was thick. There was standing water on the track and crashes were not a rare occurrence. The crowd stayed out in force. If you've never been, I highly recommend you put it on your calendar for next year. Whether you race or just come to watch, you will not be disappointed.
All photos by Denise Phillips - VeloShots