Nov 09 2009
I’d been daydreaming, fantasizing probably, of a strong showing from November on out. My plan was to start a gradual ramp-up of both speed and results until nationals in mid-December. The first step was Saturday – OBRA Championships – down in Salem.
Starting last Thursday, it starting raining at a pretty solid clip. Combined with a flat course, I guessed it would be a grind-it-out type of day. I woke up early, after a lousy night’s sleep, to head down to work registration for the race. I was tired, had a mediocre breakfast, and just kind of felt ‘blah’.
The morning started off cold, sunny (!?), and windy. Race reports came back that the course was long with a few nasty headwinds but otherwise ok. Oh how they lied.
First, Owen did the Junior race. I can’t tell you how proud I am that he finished 2 laps of that. Amazing. Among the 10-12 year old boys, he ended up 9th out of 10. But for someone who is a month shy of 9 years old riding a 27 pound bike…I don’t know. Over the barriers, through the mud, through the sand pit and motocross course. Through those conditions, it takes a lot to finish it out and stay happy doing it. I need to get him a real CX bike this winter.
My race was the last race of the day. The sunny skies gave way to dark clouds and then opened up and collectively shat rain all over the course. It was my intention to start out hard and hang with that top third of the pack. Some solid riders came down for the race so I knew it would be a pretty fast, all-out race.
Off the start, the pack sorted itself out pretty quickly. It didn’t take long to get into the mud. Bikes were bouncing all over the place as the mud had a strong say in what direction you headed in. Some of the time, it was best to just hold on and try to coax it into the right direction.
By midway though the 1st lap, a group of 6 or 8 representing the middle third of the race was together. Ok. Winning this little grupetto would be good. So I buckled down and got to work.
A few of us took turns at the lead of this group over the next couple laps. I found myself up front in the rough, windy, and slick back stretch. Then, heading out of the mud and on pavement to the sand pit, I was suddenly last.
…and then 2 seconds off. I’d gain it back only to lose it again about 200m later.
Lap 4…5 seconds off. Lap 5…10 seconds off.
When you’re in a pack, someone is always driving the pace. And if you’re not, you can try and sit in, take a break from the wind and ‘rest’. Once you’re on your own though…you have to work for everything yourself. It wears you down fast, which is why is critical to stay in a group.
It can get so frustrating. There they are. Right there. 30 yards away and I. Cant. Get. Them.
So I spend the last lap or 2 churning away by myself. I didn’t technically get lapped by Barry Wicks but he was close enough to finishing that I was pulled 1 lap short. It was a mercy pull but a pull nonetheless. I’m guessing I could have argued it and asked to keep going but I doubt it would have made a difference in the standings. Ugh.
So after a forgettable race, Barton park is this coming weekend. It’s the Cross Crusade finals. I love Barton park, as I typically do well there. THis year? Who knows.