I arrived super tired from long days and nights both Monday and Tuesday and I was worried I wasn’t going to put in a good night. I started to roll around and legs felt fatigued and the worry set it. I set up the trainer and did some light spinning and gradually moved up to harder efforts. I love that part of a cross race: the building tension and the discovery of how my legs will respond AND doing so as I watch an earlier category grind it out. My legs felt far better.
I relaxed, embroed, stretched, did some running, got the rest of the gear together and rolled to the start. We queued up and waited our turn. The call-up came and I got my spot dead center. I have pretty much been able to get the hole shot whenever I want so far this year and I was hoping to keep my string going. At B.D. the hole shot / first few wheels is super important as the field bottle necks making that first turn.
We got the whistle and I started. Unfortunately, I didn’t engage as clean on my pedal and so a split-second hesitation allowed a guy to my left to get level. Side-by-side we barreled for the first corner, but we had the hole. As he had leverage to the inside, I slowed a bit to let him through, and, due to his angle, knowing he would carry his turn wide, I thought I’d cut the corner tighter and take him on the inside. Well I cut it tight alright. Problem was I slammed into the metal fence barrier with my left shoulder. It’s a good thing the barrier isn’t tied to the ground or I would have done something serious. As it was I moved the whole thing about a foot and my bike turned sideways causing the entire field to grab brake. I managed to stay upright and quickly righted the ship and took off. Before long I re-connected with two guys and we were away.
Due to my mishap, we had a good gap. Soon there were two of us. On the first sharp descent into a hard right turn, the guy who I was expecting to battle went down and I found myself all alone with a large gap. My mission was to get into the fields ahead and vanish. It almost worked. I stayed away for 4.5 laps, but the combination of dumb little mistakes that add up to time losses and a lack of pure horsepower conspired to allow a rider to reel me in and pass. I couldn’t match him, but as he wasn’t there last week and not a player in the overall for now, I didn’t worry about him. I focused on a podium and kept hammering.
Finally, on last lap, I made another subtle mistake which caused me to brake a bit more and a guy who was tracking me came around. He got me by about 10 seconds.
Good night, but a sloppy one for me technically. Ironically, it was also my best result ever at B.D. I am super sore and bruised up, but it could be worse … much worse. Long live cross!