Good weekend with friends and family. It all started with an old friend dropping into town instead of just flying home on his return trip (Penn State to Seattle). Nice to know that the Midwest is not always the "fly over" part of the nation. I showed Matt the city on Friday and then had him crew for me at my 1st cross race of the year. I raced cross one day last year at Spooky Cross and that was on my MTB. This year I was already and the hardest part was trying to figure out what race or "cat" to try. Cat4 is the beginners and juniors, but I know that the top guys would still be faster. On the other hand, Cat3 would be too fast, but maybe the field would be bigger and I could blend in. In the end, my decision was made on the basis that my racing age for cross is 45 (next year's age). Since they had a 45+ category, maybe I could have fun and actually race for a place.My pre-race warm-up consists of using my fingers to open up the upper respiratory passages (thanks for the nice picture Matt). We had 10 old guys in this race and we started 1:30 behind the Cat3's. The 35+ started :45sec in front of us. The course was very hilly and I quickly found that my 39tooth gearing was terrible. I probably only used 3-4 gears the entire race. At the start, the top 2 guys took off and I only saw them towards the end as they lapped me. I was able to stay with #4 for awhile, but in the end couldn't reel him in. I thought I was 5th and the initial results had me as 5th, but the final results put me into 4th. I don't know if one of the 2-4 DNF'd, or if there was a problem, but I was happy with the result. The positives, were my dismounts, barriers jumps and the sand pit (I rode it each time). The negatives, were the bike gearing and some tactics.
Saturday night was fun with more friends over for BBQ and the Penn State vs. Hawkeye game. I dropped Seattle Matt off at the airport on Sunday morning. I hope that the race action put the drive to get back on the bike into him (I'm sure it will). I then re-loaded and headed to the Sunday cross race. This course looked flat and fast. We picked up two new riders in the 45+ category and 11 of us took the line. I decided that I needed to push harder if I was going to see 3rd or 4th place. We went out hard off the line and 1st and 2nd place checked out. It was a race for 3rd and I was in 6th. I jumped on a wheel and it felt like he was towing me around, but 3rd was getting away, so I moved past into 4th and pushed harder. I held it for a lap before I made a mistake and was paying attention to my cleat problems and just drove off course. Damm!!! Lost two places before I could get back on course.
I was also gassed by this point, so I slowed it down and maintained for 10min. I saw Kim West drop out, so that put me in 5th (flat tire or crash?). With 20minutes to go, I was 100 yards back from 4th and put in a hard effort to bridge across. I was within 30yards and headed into the barriers. They were a tricky off-camber, downhill double barrier. It felt like you were approaching at 20mph. I unclipped my right leg and swung it over the bike, tried to unclip the left foot and I was locked in. After a big "Oh Shit", I locked the brakes and laid the bike down, sliding right up to the barrier. That was it....4th place was gone and I was tired. I ended up 5th. Tired, but smiling.
Saturday's sand pit.Overall, it was a fun weekend. I learned a lot about racing cross and got a two really good hour workouts in. I need to get a smaller front ring and new pedals that shed mud better.
Next weekend is Take a Kid MTBing on Saturday and SugarBottom Scramble on Sunday.