What's more boring than reading a race report? Reading two.
Made it down to the Howard County Double Cross a couple of weekends ago (actually, I just did Saturday's Schooley Mill, but the "Double Cross" bit is so clever I like to say it that way) and enjoyed my best finish of the year.
To tell the truth, I was en fuego that day. Having registered about four minutes before the deadline, I started with a number in the 60s, all the way back in the second to last row. I mean, I was w a y back there. But I chose the right gear and had the outside line so was able to sprint around probably half the field before hitting the narrows.
And it really was a great day. Pleasant weather, friendly company, warm, clean bathrooms, and a course that was a little muddy in places, but mostly just fast, and I felt invincible as I picked my way forward, taking riders in ones and twos through the turns and in larger numbers up the long power section on the front side.
Early on, there was one rider leading and a group of three chasing, about 15 seconds back. It was probably on the third lap that I caught the chasing group of three. I was feeling so good when I caught them that I choose not to hang out long, sprinting around them on the flats before the long descent in a wild frenzy that scared the lead rider and nearly landed me in a tree. They caught me again before the run-up, but I was able to distance them for good on the next lap.
From there, only one of the three posed any threat, and the lone leader proved to have too much of a gap to overcome. But finishing second, and prancing up one place further on the podium than I've previously been felt mighty fine. (Though I can't help but wonder how it would have turned out had I enjoyed a first or second row start...)
dismounts per lap in this race. Seemed
a lot. ... It may have been the SU shorts that
gave me new power.)
moment. Photo courtesy of Micha.)
With the nice result in MABRAland I was all excited for the PA State Championships this last weekend in Allentown. All excited for the pole position start (was leading the 3/4 series going into Saturday). All excited for what looked to be a dry, fast course under sunny skies. I wasn't near as excited afterwards.
Despite my pole position start, I really sucked it up. Perhaps sucked it up all the worse because of my nice position. Anyway, going into the narrows I was probably 20 riders back. Absurd. But I picked my way through and after a couple of laps a rather odd situation developed--10 riders off the front, riding in a group, and then a long stretch afterward to the next rider. And that's pretty much how things stayed. There was a little bit of jockeying for position, I tried to come around to the front twice, for instance, but everyone continued to regroup and we held in a line of 10 until the last lap.
Then things got faster. I couldn't hold the pace. Finished an embarrassing ninth. Easily my worst result of the year (besides the Mercer Cup, but I'm not sure that counts...crossresults.com agrees).
Such a strange race. Dry, fast conditions with a strong, strong wind blowing across the course. And I just felt terrible. Didn't have that extra gear, that extra top-end power that I had the week before. I'd like to blame it on the Turkey Trot 5k I ran a couple of days earlier (finished in 18:20, though I'm a little suspicious that the course may have been short), but whatever... Just one of those days.
And I lost my lead in the series standings.
We'll see if Bergey shows up at Marysville. Saturday, and then we're done for '09.