OK there was a local first time race today, 5 miles from home. I was planning to race Tomorrow (sunday) in the MEGA HUMONGOUS cross crusade opener at the Alpenrose dairy, and my plan was to check out the local race today, pre-ride the course, and see if I wanted to plan for it next year. Then the more I thought about it, i thought you know this could be the only chance to race with less that 200 on the course at a time. *The Crusade race has upwards of 212 starters for Masters 35+ C. anyway my thought was to check it out and then thinking the group would be small, I should just do it.
The pre ride was nice. the course had a bit of everything. Race track tarmac, grassy fields (not my favorite) a sandy climb/runnup, some sweet uphill through old Fir trees with nice tight turns, and a 20 ft ramp to a 40 foot river crossing that had had an 18 inch wide gravel bar built about 1 inch above the water level, to a sandy rise on the other side. Needless to say, after 2 laps pre race I decided to go ahead and take advantage of the small group (20) and I still had time after to make it back to town for the kids Soccer game.
The race was nice.
I started second row of 3 per row. so 6th right, but by the time we left the Tarmac , I think, I was dead last. and I did all I could to keep the last guy in my sights. each lap It seemed I was exactly the same distance behind him.(about 100 ft) He would pull away a bit on the bumpy grass fields and the run up, and I would make it up on the curvy climb thru the trees. lap after lap. then on lap 3 he passed another rider, and I in half a mile passed that guy as well,
I was no longer last.
On the 4th lap I passed another guy, near the end of the lap. And still the rider I had marked was about 100 feet away. at this point they call 2 laps to go. Really I say to myself. The guy I just passed stays pretty close to me, but he does not pass. Then on the sandy run/ride up I dismount as usual, and he becomes frustrated that my running is not fast enough for his riding up this hill. He outloud from behind me states, “you know that hill is rideable”? “I know” I said, “I tried it twice in practice and did not make It so it became a run up”. Then he states, “well If I am behind you on the next lap , ill ride right by you up the hill”. I think to myself, That’s motivation right.
That’s about as close as he got, the rest of the course was more to my liking, with the twisty hill up the forested section, then the river cross, and another half mile back to the race track for the finish. He never got closer than 100 feet to me after that, and just to be sure I surged on the last 2 straights on the tarmac (in case they pulled us from the last lap). Indeed lap 5 was the last for us, as they pulled us at the 45 min. mark. the front of the race was about half a lap ahead.
The field was 20 riders, and I finished at 18. I averaged 13 mph. over 10 miles. I think even though the field was smaller, those that were there were more serious than the typical race with 200 in the field. IE in a field of 200 there are 50 serious and 150 just to be there and have fun, out of 20 it seemed like there were no dogs in the field. Unless you count me of course.
My only injury was on a dismount, (last lap) I had a hard time clearing my leg from the saddle and got the point of said saddle in the center of my calf muscle. This was on the last lap with about a mile to go. Still hurts 7 hours later.
Cool things I saw:
A 12 year old that gave the cat C riders a run for their money. He came in 8 of 8 but the others really had to work to put him in 8th.
A guy on a cross bike that went up a tabletop section and pulled up on the bars at the top and went straight up till his rear tire was all but off the ground, then he careened sideways in slow motion till he came down on his side on the side of the course.
And the Cat A ladies that did 8 laps in an hour, one less than the A guys.
As for tomorrow, and the race I had originally scheduled? I will be there whether I ride or not, depending on how the legs feel. If I don’t have it in warm up, Ill just hang out, eat a hot dog and ring my giant cow bell. As I type the rain is coming in pretty well right now. If the course tomorrow gets wet enough all the newly spread fill dirt could become a MUD BATH. They are expecting close to 2000 riders total.