Photos by Sara
I had heard of this race, but I had not raced it. Sounded like an interesting course riding through a garden of lily pads. Sara came with me and was my support, I told her not to expect much. Usually I will say that something of the sort but do pretty good. Well I have moved up from the CAT 4's to race the CAT 3/4 race so I was wanting a top half finish, and I didn't achieve that. I got to the race, and the CAT 3/4 masters were just about to start. They went off while I was getting ready and I saw from the racers that the course was muddy. Raul looked to be riding well and so did Mark D. Well they came off the course, and Mark D said it was so muddy he had to pit and get water on his bike to get it moving again. Mark also gave me the hint to run the muddy section(which I should of done).
Ok so I try to warm up and not ever really getting a good warm up. I was not able to pre-ride the course, but was confident that my technical skills were not going to be the reasons I did well, or not so good at this race. The race starts I got mid pack to the outside, knowing I should be able to move up some spots in the beginning of the race. I usually have a good start, but then I fade as the race goes on. This year I was planning on doing a good start and then trying to find a place where I could maintain my pace. I get going and we are doing the grassy lanes near the ponds and then I rode into the "muddy" section this was that thick peanut butter farm yard mud. Well had to get off and run, and then on the remount my front wheel went into a hole and I jumped to a bike that wasn't there. In the process my bike computer fell off. I went back and picked it up, since I wasn't going to win this race no need to loose a bike computer. I lost like 10 spots there. Well we get the first lap done, and this was a long course! I mean I think we only did like 5 laps. Most cross races they fit in like 7,8 laps in 45minutes. I was riding with Jud from bike doctor, which was surprising to me cause I thought he was allot faster then me. So we are riding and he is has good speed on the straights and I was doing better then him on the back nine which was more technical. I think after riding a bit behind him, I decide to kick it up a gear, and big ringed it on the gravel sections. This is where my back issues came into play. Then Jud was off beating me pretty good. I hurt my back at the greenbrier race in April and since then it has been a curse I have had to deal with. I am trying to do some core exercise to help; hope it works so am I good for November. So after my back started to flair up, I was kinda in the dumps. One of my big goals was to have the race not hurt my back. So the next two laps I was fading and getting passed by like 2 people. At one point I was all alone kinda strange in a cross race to be by yourself. For the last lap I came up with the strategy of getting out of the saddle and sprinting where I could since it did not engage my back like sitting down and pushing the pedals does. I then was able to catch up to some people and wanted to get this one guy but couldn't at the last second, but I still sprinted to the line.
- Matt Parse got a 5th great result considering he was racing CAT 4's last year I got a 3rd behind him at a race last year.
- Ryan Bannon looking strong like he did last year got a 7th so he should be a good person to watch in the coming weeks.
- I really liked the back 9 of the course, all cross courses are different, but I would loved a course that was like 2/3 back nine stuff, and 1/3 flat gravel.
- Pretty location for a race
- Next week is Hagerstown, I got 4th there last year in the 4's, but still going with the same game plan as this week-try to get in the top half and not to have my back hurt me.