For anyone that hasn't had the pleasure of showing up at 6:00am to set up a cross course, and then stand around for the next 6 hours waiting for your race to start, in below freezing conditions, only one thing to say: don't try this at home; we are professionals.
Most people have said what there is to say about the day: cold. At least there was no wind, but it seemed to get colder as the day progressed. Racing was a relief compared to standing around. How cold was it? Plenty of beer to go around, and I didn't want to drink any of it. The coffee, however, looked pretty good. And I hate Dunkin Donuts coffee (I think you have to be a native to tolerate the stuff).
It is very rewarding to be in a position to give a race back to people and see them enjoy it. Everyone seems to like the course and the small changes we made to it. I got to add my own imprint by doing the "corkscrew" feature at the top of the hill where neutral support was located. It is a lot of fun looking at a landscape (or canvas) and letting your creativity work.
My race was decent for a time. I was seeded 13th based on Colin's point system. Whatever. I was still in the second row. Start goes and I head to the back. WTF!!! What is my deal? I'm pathetic.
A Masters 35+ race is an interesting thing compared to the 3/4s. Generally in the 3/4, once I pass people, they stay passed. Plus, people don't usually come up from behind and pass me into the race. Not so here. Much more fluid and dynamic. Makes for a more fun experience.
I settled into a good group of four guys, and we were about 9-14th places. I was feeling pretty good lung-wise, but the legs were a bit dead from being there so long. Not much snap to them. More like a diesel engine: once I got going, I was good. But, it took some time to get there.
Funniest moment was when a rider from Corner Cycle had his child there, who yelled "Go faster daddy!" Even though we were well into the race, everyone in our pack had a chuckle at that.
I was starting to feel stronger when my chain popped off the front chain ring going down the bumpy hairpin by the second barriers. I didn't panic and tried to shift it back on. But, my cassette wouldn't turn. I dismount to check out the damage, and somehow my chain is inside my cassette AND outside my chain ring. Huh, that's different. No panicking, I fix the problem, but lose about 30 seconds in the process, and lose my group. Time to chase, but with 1 1/2 laps to go, not much time to do it.
I was able to make up some ground, but nothing substantial. I checked behind me and saw Doug A. from Joe's Garage behind me. He can ride, but I had a good enough gap that he wasn't going to catch me. I rolled into 13th place, which is exactly where I was seeded. That's symmetry. Mildly disappointing given the mechanical. But, at least it wasn't like Bart Wellens from this weekend. After watching the race on cycling.tv today on my trainer, I think he had a pretty good shot at Nys.
One more major race weekend in Rhode Island, and then maybe Natz Schmatz if enough people sign up. I am hoping that they do. I am also hoping to podium at least once this weekend. I've been close at Sterling, Noho, and a few others since upgrading. It would be good to bag one. Need to pull a better start and give myself a chance. Then let the games begin.