Raced at Boughton Farms yesterday, the series season final. Got there early, and got a bunch of prelaps in to scope out the course. Really long at about 2.2 miles or so, crossing frozen fields that were melting as the day went on.. claiming quite a few rear derailluers.
I don't have final numbers, but I think there were 22 in the A field. No call ups, so I was lined up on the second row behind one of the guys sitting in last place overall. OK. I had a path to move up, and this time was ready when Lynn said 1, and everyone was already moving. I did wait until 1... and paid as we all sprinted the 100m to the first single track, and came to a stand still. It was enough for Matt Weeks to open the gap he would maintain through the entire race. Starts do count when you get dumped into something like that right away.
Since there were at least 8 derailluers broken in the B race, they had rerouted the course for the A race... making it shorter by about 200m, to cut out the worst mud portion. The reroute was really no better... and I rode through it on the first lap, and then ran it every other time, shouldering it most of those trips.
In short order the race had sorted itself out. Brent was up in the top 5 battling it out through multiple tubbie flats. Jason and Zak had recovered from a start worse than mine, and were making up places. Derek was coming back from his typical great start, and I was being chased by Nate and Scott from Lake Effect.
Jason broke his derailluer, taking him out of contention at about the third lap. I was chasing Derek hoping to catch him so we could work together to drop the Lake Effects. With 3 to go, Derek took a bike change that brought me back to him, but Nate must have found his third of fourth gear, as he was towing Scott back up to us. I got by Derek with 2 to go, and encouraged him that the Lake Effects were hot on our tail. It didn't help as Derek was cooked.
With 1 to Nate got by me, but I was on his wheel. Chris Riccardi got between us going into the first single track, but we were wheel to wheel heading into the first field crossings. Nate opened a small gap before the mud run, that I tried to manage. By the time we exited the second single track, the gap was up over 200m.... though it looked like Nate had sat up a bit. I dropped the gears and went in pursuit as best I could at this point in the race.
I thought Nate would go back work once he saw me coming as he headed into the last three field crossings. I was still closing though. At the big ice puddle bypass, he was noodling along, and I thought I could close that gap... and maybe sneak by him at the line. So I pushed hard and hoped he wouldn't look back. As we made the last corner about 50 feet before the line, he looked over his shoulder and saw me... with enough warning to push to the line and take that place by about a bike length. Just enough... and I was toast.
Another very satisfying race. I think I came in 13th, though results have not been posted yet. Out of 9 cyclocross races, I'm pretty pleased with 6 of them. Two I didn't race to my potential, and one I made an equipment mistake. Well, it's possible all three were equipment related... I'll never know for sure. I think I ended up 12th in the series overall. As I said three races ago, that was completely out of my control.
Special thanks go out to the Lake Effect folks for all the work they do. It's great to have this series, and great that the other teams are taking some of the load off... Solon, Stark, Chagrin River Cycling and Team Spin. Making this a real nice area to race 'cross.
Also thanks to all the B and C racers that hang out and yell for/at us. It really does make a difference.
Off season now. Time to get caught up on a bunch of things I've been ignoring.
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