After discovering last week that I am not in as bad of shape as I thought, I tried to line up somewhere other than my traditional back-o-the-pack placing. After the call-up, there were about 15 riders in front of me, including lots of Athlete’s Lounge kits. At the start, I took the inside line and got brake-checked by the guy in front of me, then had to recover some places as we were passed on the outside. I figure I was about 33rd at that point. My strategy was to race conservatively and ride lots of wheels on the flats and false flats on the course and pass in the corners and. In particular, I’ve found I can reliably get a better line in the right-right-left at the back of the parking lot and force the other riders to brake and accelerate though the turns, leaving them unable to turn it on as fast climbing up the little road to the Swift tent.
After passing a few riders on the first half of the course we hit the steps and that’s where those Athlete’s Lounge guys showed their strength. Many of them are faster runners with much better leg speed on the stairs. Lap after lap I’d come into the steps with someone only to have them climb up ahead of me. Luckily the following corners and run up / ride up let me keep their gap on me to a minimum.
About 4 laps in, having picked off about 18 riders or so since the start I found myself with a comfy gap behind myself coming into the Velodrome and let up a bit; only to have two Athlete’s Lounge riders come roaring past me going up the hill. Pat Case soon followed and the four of us fought for 13th place for a lap or so as we moved though the back of the Master C field. Pat slipped out heading into the Velodrome on lap 5(?) and I touched bars with him on the last time around the ride-up as we jockeyed with the A.L. racers and we both had to hop off and run. I kept with the AL guys into the infield/barriers and managed to pass the guy ahead of me in the last corner to get 14th place, which I think is an all-time best result for me in CX.
Lesson learned- take my rest lap sooner if possible in order to be stronger coming into the second half of the race. Work on getting off and on the bike faster and maybe try to run up some stairs to work on leg speed.