HPCX (Day 1): I won. I still can't believe it. My first CX win at this level. My first CX win since a win in my third ever CX race in the Cat4/5 40+ race at Providence in 2012. Even though it was 5 days ago at this point, I'm having trouble finding the words to describe it. For now, let me just thank my teammate Bob Reuther and my amazing sponsor/shop, Bike Line. First, Bob should be recognized for all the amazing work he does in helping to train so many area athletes whether they're on our Bike Line team or not, and for not chasing during this race and pulling some of the contenders back up to the head of the race. And, secondly, Bike Line has been a great sponsor, providing expert advice and service to me and to our local cycling community.
I got another good start, and traded places early with Reuther, Schlauch, Frank and Pflug. Not necessarily an organized paceline effort, but I think everyone got a turn at pace making. Noting where I was riding well, I took a turn at the front on the long sweeping right at what I considered the bottom of the course. This was just before a section with two greasy off-camber sections that were a little sketchy at speed. Noticing that I needed to brake behind others here more than in other sections of the course, I started here to put down a little more power. From what I remember, this is where I gained a little gap that just grew and grew. Apparently, at one point, there was a crash that put Eric and Monte on the ground. Monte would later say that this was what allowed me to get the gap. I suppose I would argue that as the gap began well before this section of the course and continued for another 2-3 laps. As the gap remained and/or continued to grow, I would notice the group of four chasers lined up neatly behind Bob. Being the great teammate that Bob is, it became clear to me that he was not chasing as he did not want to bring the others back up to me. I just couldn't understand why the others didn't mount a chase of their own. After the race, I talked to Bob about it. As the series points leader -- by a LOT -- he didn't see me winning as a threat, but didn't want to pull some of the other guys up to the front just to possibly have them beat either of us in a sprint. He said he rode at 90% and let things unfold as they did. Clear and rational thinking even when on the rivet, or at least close to the rivet. Regardless of the hows and whys, it was a great win and great validation of the work I've been putting in.