Well, my uncle wrote me Sunday and asked how my race went... Eh, not my best day. Some days it flows (Wendy Park) some days you work like crazy to eek out a result... Kent State Stark Campus.
StarkVelo put together a REALLY nice course. Very similar to last year, except they added some pavement, and moved the barriers around a bit. The fact that it was dry helped (or not, depending) to make a nice fast race.
The race started with a 100m sprint to a sweeping 180, then the long drag to the far side of the course. Drag, well, the serpentine course had a nice flow, before the turn around point, then flow back. I thought the barriers at the top of the hill were a bit strange, but it's fine. A nice S turn around some pines, and slog to the twisty bits. They are really fun up and down and turn around. A hairpin paved section, and back to the pain hill. They moved the second set of barriers to the bottom of the run up hill, very nicely forcing the run. Last year it was nearly ridable in the wet, so the barriers stated the intent nicely. Remount, and quickly get back to some more twisties before the end of the lap. Really? That was a script SV? I never knew.
I got a decent start, and attached to the back end of a nice group that included Zak and Dave. I sat on for about a lap and a half before my lights started fading... I would have loved to hang onto that group, but it was not happening.
Cross is interesting in the way that I could probably sit in that group on the road, but a technical gap here and there, and a small gap becomes unmanageable quickly.
At first I figure they were just moving that little bit quicker than I could, but I'd race my race and bring it back... then a couple guys passed me, then a couple more. Pretty soon, I had about 5 in front of me that I figured I should not have let go... On the up side, I did not give it all up, but started chasing... digging deep to not let any more space open and maybe, just maybe I'd be given a chance to get back into position.
It must have worked somehow, since the group with Dave and Zak pretty much stayed consistent lap by lap, and I think the other guys started to crack. I was able to pick off one by one until there was just 1 left.... with two laps to go. I was closing nicely, and just holding off the guy behind. I slid out in the twisty section before the pain hill... effectively ending that chase, and forcing me to retake the last guy.
My rabbit was gone. So the last lap was mostly about consolidating my place. A rough day on the cross course, though I'm pleased with the place (16th by my reckoning, faulty though that may be). I gave it all out there. I was just hoping for more than I had. Actually, my placing has a good deal to do with who had mechanicals also... at least 2 places for that. Though the Montana Velo guy was impressive. Shifting trouble had him back with me on multiple occasions. Last time he said "I wish it would just break so I could quit." That was the last I saw of him. He went on to catch Jason for sixth place. Impressive ride there.
It was cool to see groups of our Good Guys racing together. Zak and Dave in the group ahead, and Tom H., Tom K. and Derik working together behind me. Those three kept me motivated to keep it moving throughout the race.
Next up is the Cinci UCI3. Time for rest and recovery before the big CX weekend. Hup, Hup!
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