The weather as I mentioned earlier today provided the absolute, most sincerely awesome conditions for racing the 'cross. I swear to you that you had to rub your eyes to ensure you were not in some muddy field in Belgium. The BoulderRacing team put together such a spectacular course, I ended up calling almost all of my best buds methodically to ensure they had raced that day and hear how happy they were (as it was THAT obvious that the course was labored over). Let me talk a little bit about the course first, before the day...
- 1 fallen log dismount
- a triple dismount of sets of logs
- a set of run up double barriers
- a set of hot triple barriers
- deliciously technical wooded sections
- S-turned pavement sections
- and one full-on Belgie style muddy field with ridiculously sick laid out turns ranging from drag strip straights that caused beautiful rooster tails of mud spitting out the back when you got your Sven on to flow-y carving turns that needed you to ensure you fully dialed in your tires before you toed the line.
So to the race. Truthfully, as egotistical as it sounds, I woke up at 5:20 this AM swore to God I was going to win. The fact I've been devoid of quality training, been on the road this week and am spitting vinegar with angst these days only added to my fire. I didn't care who showed up. I just wanted to unleash something because I wanted to. The weather made me smile in a rather sinister way as I just about salivated thinking about the suffering that would take place.
After some hot laps, I dialed in my Dugasts at roughly 35-38 PSI (F/R). It was clearly a low(er) pressure kind of day as the course demanded absolute flow. You had to be upright today and not even necessarily fast all the time on this course...just precise and on TWO WHEELS all the time to keep your advantages in tact throughout the race. Tire pressure is that insurance system.
We lined up in a moderate field. I'd say 35 to 40. The weather was about 39 degrees and misty rain. Perfect. They did call ups...but not for ACA overall, but from Boulder Racing series overall...which I missed the first race of. So I lined up 2nd row specifically choosing Timmy and and told him sternly: "Homes, just drill the start." I gut a definitive "Yup" in response. I didn't know a lot of the dudes being called up and was sketched as the usual suspects in the front know each other so specifically, we are fluid and safe.
In the line up today, I had what I'd never had before...teammates! PLURAL! And this would be a decisive factor today for our placings. Me, Pete Webber and Brian Hludinski. of Boulder Cycle Sport.
"GO!" says the ACA official and we are off. Timmy as promised punched a hole and in 50 meters I went from back 20 to top 4. Perfect. THANK YOU MAN. We got into the woods first and as we were concerned, a guy we'd never seen before comes barreling in and NASCARs with Timmy and trades paint. Classic. We are all typically so fluid that this was tough to stomach. So with Timmy to the side, I literally did a run through the initial technical sections to get past this guy and set up shop to control him and things. By the time we were out of the technical section and on teh pavement, we'd already got a split of the top 10. NASCAR guy is still in the midst as we barrel down into the muddy fields. It's at this moment I give a 'huh'? He slows down considerably so I yell at the guy to 'UP THE PACE!' I come around him and drop the anvil, flow through the barriers and get back onto the pavement with people shouting at me '20 seconds!' I guess I have a gap.
Flowing into Lap 2, Tim, JJ Clark of Spike Shooter, Jeff Wardell of Excel Sports and my team mate Pete Webber bridge up. Pete launches this attack and I smile as I finally get to sit in. I lamely attempt to block....just slow down a bit...and the 3 come by me. We flow and JJ races hard to bridge to the attacking Webber with Timmy and Jeff in tow and I snap and decide I need to conserve.
By the closing minutes I am still feeling good and trying to up the pace to catch Tim and crew. Webber, my bro, has the worlds worst moment and flats and requires a bike change. He was destined for the W I am certain. At about this time, my OTHER team mat (I can;t believe I have team mates!) Brian Hludzinski bridges up. We work hard lap after lap trading tempo on various parts of the course. Throwing it down. We can see that Brian Maslach of Spike Shooter is coming on us like a freight train in the last lap. I make the call and just throw it down and Brian blocks. I come in in 5th about 30-45 seconds behind the top 4 with a sprint shoot out between the Brians behind me.
Awesome race. Just awesome. Truthfully, I was so in the zone of thinking THIS IS CROSS!!! while I was racing I probably could have placed better! HA! It was just so perfect...the weather..the course...teammates in the mix. I felt....well, I felt at home in some weird way. Not i=one slip today. Technically perfect. Maybe every so slightly cleaner through certain sections but sincerely no complaints. Just more power needed to bridge and stay connected.
More race photos are on their way courtesy of Mark Wollcott Photography who was out there with his SLR's firing strobes like machine guns. But my good bud and fellow Valmont Bike Park advocate Zach Lee captured some awesome pics of the course! Enjoy his digital celluloid!