During the week leading up to this race it looked like it was going to be a soaker. We hadn't really had a true mudfest cx race this year but when in Seattle in the fall.......It turned out to be almost a carbon copy of last years race. It rained pretty much every day leading up to the race but by Sunday morning it was clear and dry. There was some muddy sections but not even as much as last year. It was going to be fast course. I won this race last year as a 3 but had no real hopes of that this year. I'm still adjusting to racing in the 1/2 field and I just wanted to try to improve and hang with the leaders as long as I could. For those that can't remember or care this is how this year's races have gone so far.
Labor Day CX Championships - sick as a dog but raced anyway. I lasted two laps before becoming to nauseous and dizzy to keep going.
MFG#1 - Rolled Tubie - long run to pits
SCX#1 - Had derailleur hanger ripped off bike - Decided NOT to run almost full length of course to pits. DNF
MFG#2 - Strained calf muscle (only hurt to run but there was a lot of beach to run)
SCX#2 - Broke right shifter/brake ($$$) long run to pits.
MFG#3 - Taken out by spectator. Still finished but talk about getting the wind taken out of your sails...and gut.
What could happen to mess things up today... Stay tuned!
I got a super shitty start and entered the course at the back of the herd. Unfortunately I was starting to get used to being there so I wasn't too frustrated at this point. during the first lap I just focused on staying calm and making sure not to lose contact with the guys up front. There were plenty of sections on the course to make moves. During the first two laps I felt good and was able to pass a few guys on the flat, fast sections and during the climb on the back side of the course. Things were going pretty well so far.
On lap three about four guys up front (the usual suspects) attacked and three guys in front of me failed to respond. Last year I would have hit the gas to made sure I was with anyone that attacked but with all the bad luck I'd had so far this year my mojo was gone and I just sat in. I was resolved to just go just hard enough to not get passed by anyone else and just finish the race. I was starting to wallow in self pity, thinking about what excuse I'd end up with for another bad race......Poor Sean!! Then I thought, "WTF am I doing?? I didn't want to get use to racing like this. I had nothing to lose so I just hit the gas and and after 30 seconds or so hooked up with John (Apex) and Craig (Cycle-U) along with a couple of guys from the 35+ field. We worked together and traded pulls on the flat section of the course. I was pretty happy with this for a few laps but then I noticed that a group of 6 to 8 guys behind us were really hammering it to catch back on. I didn't want to get caught so on the paved section before the tennis courts I hit the gas and got a gap. Why didn't I just start the race this way?? I was racing hard, taking good lines and, well, racing! It was the first time this year that I actually felt like like I did the past two years. I was not going to catch the leaders but at least I was putting in a good effort.
I ended up crossing the line in 10th, which was my best finish so far this year and was pretty happy....mainly for finishing with the same bike I started with. :)