|Photo credit: denS @ dennisbike.com|
After a stressful interstate move that saw me logging a paltry 11 training hours in July and an even more disappointing 3 hours in August, my cyclocross season got off to a very slow start. Combining the lost fitness because of the reduced volume with the "interesting" call-up procedures in the Mid-Atlantic I was literally and figuratively not where I wanted to be. After working my way up the PACX standings and finally earning a front row call-up for Crossasuarus Awesome!, my performance at that race -- marked by getting a little too intimate with terra firma FOUR times -- relegated me back to a second row start at Stoudt's. No worries, though. I got a good start and was solidly top 10 going into the holeshot, probably sitting 7th wheel or so. I was feeling good, legs were strong, head was right. For the first time in a long time, things seemed to slow down -- in a good way. I didn't feel panicked. I felt ready.
The first time down the first descent, Charles Kline overcooked the turn a bit, sliding out and, I believe, taking another rider with him. I move up two spots. Then, going up Goat Hill on the second of the three sadistic ascents each lap someone stalled. Not sure if it was a gearing issue or what, but that bobble allowed me to pass that racer and Kelly Cline. Over the next half lap or so, I close the gap to Reuther and ride his wheel for another quarter lap at which point his bike starts to mis-shift and he needs to pit. As Reuther pits, I move into second and hold on for the rest of the race, which is another 4-5 laps. Craig Cozza, the race leader, just kept opening the gap between himself and me. At lap 3, the gap was 00:20, by the end of the race, it was over a minute. That guy is crazy FAST! On the plus side, during those last laps, I could see Blair Saunders trying to close the gap and was psyched to be able to hold him off.
|photo credit: denS|