Nov 03 2008
If I’ve learned nothing else over the past 5 years, it’s that the course at Barton Park demands your full attention and respect. You really need to actively race the course or odds are you’ll end up just another statistic; mechanical, injury or ‘other’. Gravelly corners to wash out on. Hidden cobbles to pinch flat. Bottomless chocolate milk puddles. Thin layers of mud over slick river-run rocks.
Regardless, all the best laid plans won’t guarantee that you or your bike will still get out in one piece.
In a surprising turn of events, I was able to get free early enough to get there with enough time to do a pre-ride. Took it slow and tried to commit the course to memory. I’m glad I did. I’d heard that Barton already claimed one serious injury earlier in the day which caused a course change and a 30 minute delay. Ouch.
After warming up, I wasn’t in a huge hurry to get to the line. I still haven’t finished in the points so I go by the number draw. My number, 1, was DFL in the start order so staying warm was a lot easier. Hey, nowhere to go but up.
Got a decent start. A little gap opened up right away and I took it, moving up probably 20 spots right away. Everyone kept it cool as we wound down and away from the gravel road. Same for the tricky right turn after the concrete pad. I can see the whole pack strung out single file, estimating that I’m about 30 back or so. Well, there’s no hurry so I just stuck on the wheel in front of me and saved energy when I could.
The first run through the little singletrack section was a clusterf___. Bikes and people everywhere. I was able to stay clipped in and found a hole to shoot up another 5 spots. So far, so good. I found myself in a pack of maybe 6 or 8 that was moving along at a pretty good clip. I finally had a teammate, Doug Evans, about 30m ahead. Doug always finishes good so I was very happy with where I was.
Winding around the campground, I wanted nothing to do with going through the singletrack again behind anyone who might slip up. I made a break on the pavement to get out in front. Got through the singletrack clean and kept on moving hard.
Finally caught up with Doug, letting him know I was on his wheel. Mike Alligood was with us and the group I was with slowly dropped off over the next few laps. It was basically us three for the rest of the race. At one point I heard that Jeff Standish was just ahead of us, sitting in around 10th. 10th? Really? That really gave me a boost (plus Doug cracking the whip behind me to stay up in the points). I tried egging Mike on to catch Jeff but I don’t think he took the bait.
Finally got lapped on the last lap. We all finished out strong; Doug, myself, and Mike (maybe half a foot behind). Final result? 14th. Sweet. Hey…I’ve got 5 points!
Couple things to take away from this:
Doug and I didn’t realize our relative strengths until a little too late. He was strong through the technical stuff and I was able to pull though on the gravel road and pavement. Maybe we could have moved up some more, maybe not. I’m hoping this wasn’t a fluke and that I’ll be able stay up in the top 20.
We (bicycleattorney) now have 5 people in the top 30 for points. That’s pretty neat. Unfortunately, McCaffrey and Cramer both had mechanicals. If they’d placed like they usually do, we could have had 5 in the top 20 yesterday. That would have been a strong showing.
Wore the glasses yesterday. They worked but based on the pictures…lets just say it’s good I’m married and not single.
That’s about it. Next up: PIR.