After running Northampton last year, I was looking forward to this year. I think it was one of the few races where I didn't flat last year and scored a 17th in the C (cat 4) race. This was going to be my first race as a Cat 3, racing against other underachieving older guys. The great thing about having a Cat 3/4 35+ race is that it allows us to take very seriously something that almost no one else cares about.
Adam Myerson and Cycle-Smart do a great job with this race. It is an awesome venue and a fun course. It was pretty much like last year, except for our entry and exit into the sand pit. Variance on sand pits seems to be the theme of the year, as evidence by Gloucester.
I was lined up in Row 2. The hole shot here isn't as important as other place because things can accordion because of the hairpin right and then S turn into the downhill. There is a stretch where you can pass a lot of people, which is what I did since my start was less than stellar, but not sucky like usual. Entering the sand I was about 15th. Gewilli had the hole shot, and Coley was placed well using his daredevil sprinting skills.
Things started to separate pretty quickly, but not as quickly as in the Cat 4s. Here people that are behind don't necessarily stay that way.
I ran a pretty clean course, except for some minor screw ups which can cost major against better competition. On the steep ride/run up, I got stuck behind people on laps 2 and 3, meaning that I lost all momentum on my dismount and basically stopped. I also had a problem behind someone on the run up where I lost momentum. This was my fault because I had the opportunity to pass people and not be behind them, but did not because I was content to ride behind earlier in the race, biding my time. Loser mentality that I need to change.
In the last two laps, I was paired with another guy and we rode together pretty tightly. I was taking better turns, and making up time where I would lose time before. On the last lap, I was in front of him, and decided that if he was going to stay with him, I would try to make it hurt as much as possible. I would sprint hard out of every turn and try to keep the hammer down. He was strong into the barriers, and passed me at the barriers on the last lap. Fine by me because I wanted to either drop him completely, or be second wheel into the sprint.
In the sprint, I was able to just put my head done and hammer. Last week I lost the sprint by half a wheel, so I was determined not to do the same this week. I put the turbos on (as much as I have), and was able to drop him and take 7th pretty comfortably.
Results from the race can be found here:
Positives were developing a "killer" attitude during the last two laps. Negatives were not having that attitude from the start. Another positive is feeling the flow of the bike and the course, and feeling connected to the whole thing. Hard to describe, but the sense that you are riding and not fighting the course.
Coley won second place in a sprint, or lost first place in a sprint (depending on your point of view). A lot of other MRC'ers in attendance. Funny to think Cross season is half over. But, still more fun to be had.