Upright. Flow. The feeling of rubber carving and sticking to dirt and grass. Technically as perfect as I could run a race. Maybe sections here and there cleaner, but tight nonetheless. That is what I felt today! Completeness! I'll get to the good stuff in a moment.
Today was Race 1 of 2 f the Frisco BCR race series. I have the full access hall pass for the weekend while Amy mans the kids and home front. I love you Aim! Held at the Nordic Center, the course at was 9000+ feet so the Front Rangers would certainly be at a disadvantage. The course was short and fairly well balanced between pavement, dirt and pure grass sections. It was in my opinion also fairly well balanced between full gas and recovery sections. The quad log barriers were a bit too short in distance IMHO though.
The Men's 35 A's was stacked today. the Call ups of the Top 10 were done and my shitty first 3 races did not allow me to get the tap to the line. I lined up 2nd row.
Dean counted out ....15 seconds!....GO! We're off. Up the pavement we screamed to a climb and into a continued dirt climb to a single barrier at about 20"! Dudes were floundering over that which bummed me out and I overtook a boat load there but the group was super tight still. This would be the theme for the day. Tight pack racing. Hurdling the single barrier you ran up another 10' to remount down hill for 20' before jamming hard right at the bottom to get back on to a paved climb. The attacks would happen here. Often.
First lap and we have 2 groups of about 5-8....then gaps to groups off the back. About 5-10 seconds in between. This race by lap 2 is turning into a knife fight. Altitude or not, the balance of racers is so level it's fantastic and people want a piece of it. This will turn out to be one of the funnest/strategic races I've done in a long time.
Each lap is attack attack attack. I would fly through the barriers, get nice gaps on dudes who were not as fluid but these same dudes would bridge back and repeat lap after lap. I changed my strategy while I was sitting in top 15 at about the mid way point. Oh, and the top 15 were separated by 20-25 seconds. It was that tight. We could see each other on sections where they'd send you past each other after switch backs. My strategy change was to sit in on the 2nd to last lap and let the power roadies do their thing with me in their slipstream. On the paved hill after the run up, I threw a hail of bullets and attacked on the hill. The only guy who could go was former national champ Karl Kiester...who has inexplicable class. He would throw, then I would throw. I would be recovering behind him stare at his stripes on his sleeves. He is an institution of racing. He and I end up splitting away on the bell lap and closed out our business with an 8th and 9th respectively. Shortly behind the 1-7 racers including Timmy who pulled out another W. Nice work boy!!
9th. I will take that amongst these men any day! It was just such a satisfactory feeling to know
(a): I could focus on a clean race where equipment and rider flowed.
(b): That the engine was responsive for me when I needed it late in the race and I could commit to strategy and execute on it. Za Plan is working.
Today was a rare day as I could actually stay and support my team mates and the Boulder Cycle Sport folks. I became a SUPER FAN. Man, my race day usually consist of getting to the race, heavily focus on my race, then race and pack up and go to get back to the fam. Today, I could see the Cat 3, Women and Pro drama. SICK! In the 3's Matt Opperman had a heroic ride after some moron took him out so dramatically....I literally saw his feet in the air and him land on his shoulder/back. Insane. he dug deep to crawl back to a near top 10 in a HUGE field.
The ride of the day though was my boy Brandon in the Pro race. SICK. B finished 1:20 ahead of 2nd place. It was a display of technical execution. Surgical. Attack, grow gap and maintain technical smoothness to never yield an inch. Lap after lap this grew. Pitting was super fun for Brandon.
A GREAT day and looking forward to tomorrow. Race 2. Recovering with Brandon and Taro as we speak with the feet up after a killer dinner and celebratory beer.
Complete. My season began today.