That about sums things up for today. Could've been better, but could've been much worse.
Butt cold of course. About 20F when I arrived at 7:00am for the Bay State CX in Sterling, MA. Holy crap. The ground was frozen solid. Not much wind, but enough to make you want to take up bowling or something warm. At least the sun was out, with the tease of warming up. It did get warmer, probably up to 25F. The warm-up was more to see the course than to actually stay warm. As soon as you stopped, the warming effect was lost. Good thing the Super Strength Greyhound Juice was in effect. Kept the legs moderately toasty while surveying what Tom Stevens had in store.
Many of the old features with some new features. All in all, fun stuff. The run-up (frozen), the horse jump (frozen), the newly dubbed Subway and "Mind the Gap" barriers, and gravely tight turns. Plus, a few new items to break up the long straights, and a start on the track.
The first bit of contention started with the Verge staging guy lined up the 3/4s behind the 4s. Bad move. The race director came up to him and said that he had it wrong, that of course you put the faster guys in front of the slower guys. But, we were already staged, which meant a lot of traffic.
I had my usual so-so start. Some guy was leaning on me, and I wanted to flick him into the tape. But, not a good idea at the start. Made it around the track safe enough and into the downhill-run-up combo. I saw a pile up happening, so I figured to dismount early and run past people. As soon as I started down the short hill, my feet flew from under me on the froze ground. I slid down the hill, and so did other people behind me. I fell pretty hard on my right side, mostly back, and it is pretty sore right now.
After that debacle, I started to try to move through the crowd, which was not easy. It was as if there was someone in the trees with a gun the way people were going down around me. The course wasn't very technical, but icy and lots of inexperienced riders to go through. By this time I had no idea where I was in my race because we were all mixed together.
The next bit of excitement happened on a hairpin downhill by the pits. Guy in front of me goes down, and I have no where to go but over his bike. This was where riding over roots and such came in very handy, as I was able to ride directly over his bike very cleanly. However, by the time I was over his bike, I was in the trees, which presented a problem. After extracting myself from the trees, I was back on the course and able to find some room to groove.
Into the last lap, I heard a couple of clubmates who weren't racing yelling that the "leaders" were right in front of me. I didn't quite believe that, but figured I was in a decent position so I had better keep the gas on. I was able to catch a few more people, including a teammate on the last lap toward the end. Generally, I was powering past people on the straight sections pretty easily. I was almost able to catch the guy that was next, but ran out of real estate.
I looked at my watch and saw that I only raced for about 36:30 out of a 40 minute race. That was a major drag, as one more lap and I could have made up some more ground. What made it more depressing was that I was 4th in the 3/4 35+, missing the podium by one. I know that one more lap and I would have had 3rd. Tends to be a common feature of races now that I get short-changed on time.
All in all, it could have been a lot worse. I'm a bit disappointed for missing the podium. Second week in a row that I finished one spot "out of the money". But, I'm happy I was able to pull through so many people during the race. Gives me some confidence going forward.
Positives: Not giving up when things got sucky. Racing more aggressive. Riding over someone's bike.
Negatives: Lousy start. Not knowing how to ice skate. Still need to work on turns.
Two races in three days. One more to go!