Sunday, December 6, 2009
Cat 3 State CX Champs (edited!)
I'm a bit speechless right now...don't know how to sum up the race or the day without launching into some narcissism. Oh well, I'll just plow forward:
Today was a long, euro-style cyclocross course complete with mid- to low- thirties temperatures, gray clouds overhead, and a course which was completely different than yesterdays pre-ride. After helping Yielding set-up the course, we went to eat some awesome barbecue and some of the best chili I've every eaten at Montague's (really you should go there sometime). The belly full of protein wasn't the best pre-ride meal, but it did the job as I got to ride around the course for about an hour on saturday. You may not believe me if you raced on sunday, but it really wasn't very soft at all on saturday. That S section after the hill climb was just a little soft. I hardly anticipated what was to come the following day: a total mud-fest.
Looking at the field before the cat 3 race, I had the feeling that it could be anybody's day. A small bobble or a ambitious turn could really handicap. The KC dudes looked intimidating, Martin had a road course, Matt James crushes in the mud, Gino and Chris C. didn't have much of a disadvantage on their single speeds as there was only one climb, Scott P. and Drew B. seemed ready to pounce (as evidenced by Scott's BRUTAL acceleration at the start and eventual hole-shot), and that's about all I remember from the start.My game plan was to ride very steady the first half of the race and try not to fall, then accelerate a bit the second half, but to keep all my focus on riding solid. I held second or third wheels for the first two laps, then took my obligatory pull across the long road section. Sometime during the 3rd lap a leaders group formed with me, Matt James, Martin, Alex Edwards, and Travis Donn. I led most of the next few laps and slowly Matt James and I found ourselves on our own with 2 or 3 to go. Matt and I raced wheel-to-wheel a few times in the B races last year (actually in almost identical conditions to today, except I think it was snowing and colder). We ended up working together and both focused on riding swift (not fast) and solid.Neither of us attacked but during the last lap, while I was in front by 5 or 10 seconds, I think Matt must have bobbled going up the hill-climb and next thing I knew a 30 second-ish gap had opened. It was almost robotic, but my body just zeroed in on riding steady and the next thing I knew, I was crossing the line with tons of friends cheering for me in first place!
It was an incredibly fun day to get cheered for by teammates, friends and strangers, be able to cheer for the P12s, race hard, win a race, and just act like a child and animal...playful and hungry.
Racing has been my self-renewing compulsion over the past year and I'm stoked on the life that has come with it.
A HUGE thank to everyone who helped make this an incredible season...especially my amazing team and support from my incredibly supportive wife!