Written by Doug Southwick Thursday, 01 October 2015 17:13
I decide to sign up for the "B" race instead of Masters being that very few people pre-reg'd for Masters. Even with a 1pm start time, I once again get to the venue later than I planned. The wife and the toddler are here too, which will make the day more fun. So, I'm off to sign in and get in one pre-ride lap which also served as my warm up.
This is my second year racing Cross and today is my first ever call up that is good enough to land me the last spot on the first row. We are off and sprinting and I'm 5th or 6th onto the grass. Previously, I've had only one top 10 finish so my goal is don't let people pass! I've always started either at the back or near the back so it's really nice to have some room to ride compared to dealing with lots of traffic and bottlenecks.
More than half of the course is on super bumpy, mostly flat grass but, there is also a good amount of double track dirt that has a few descents and climbs including a run up. The dirt is fun, the grass, not so much. I have a guy on my wheel and there's a growing gap in front of me. At the end of lap #1, I see a beer hand up and I grab it and drink it (my first beer handup at a cross race!). Right after that is the "Spiral of Death" section which, I don’t have a clue how they set up but, you end up doing a bunch of tight circles. I'm getting dizzy and remember I have a rather empty stomach. Hmm, I'm thinking no more beer till the finish.
On the grass I'm trying to be smooth and fast but in the dirt I try to push hard, stay off the brakes, and even take some risks. In the last dirt section (slight uphill) I sprint to get some speed up before it's back onto the grass. I'm able to get some space in front of the guy behind me, and soon realize I'm starting to catch the guy in front of me. On lap #3 I catch and pass him, and notice I'm not that far behind the next guy. I'm able to pass that next guy on the start of lap #4 and attack when I do. I want him off my wheel! I take a super tight corner too fast and end up stopping because my bar is in the tape (not the best way to drop someone).
About 3/4 thru the lap, I did get a gap on him (right after that dirt sprint section) and as I go by my wife yells "You're in 3rd!". What? Wait! I thought I was in 4th? At this point I am able see two guys in front of me but I thought the leader was way ahead. Ok, now I just need to keep this pace for another 1 1/4 laps. Pain is temporary, right? On the last lap I dig deep, I'm not gaining on the leaders but the gap behind me grows and I feel up to the task but dang is my throat dry as the Sahara. I end up finishing in 3rd and obviously am pretty happy with my first ever cross podium! I check my gps later and see my 4th and 5th lap times were a minute faster than my first three which exceeds a personal goal of consistent lap times (compared to getting slower every lap).
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