I don't know if the bazillions of peeps that read this stellar blog have ever raced at Manions. If you haven't, here's a little slice of this CX nirvana. It's on a hill, 1/3 going up, 1/3 going down, and 1/3rd traversing this hill. It's a good venue with a little bit of everything thrown at you out on course and a well run race to boot!!
Lets start with the obvious. I wanted to start on the front row, which I did. I am going to avoid lining up DFL at all cost this year. The next goal was to hit the pedal on the first try, nailed it. Those two combined had me 3rd for about half a lap. On the "big" descent, I managed to out brake 2nd and take the spot at the bottom going into a right hander. Now, I was content just following the wheel in front of me.
At this point, about halfway through the first lap, 1st looses the front in a turn and gets a dirt sample for his effort so I go around. Not really wanting to be there, I maintain the pace even slowing a bit so I'm not on the front and continue on. I roll across in third after one as planned.
I'm not sure how many laps we did, 7 or 8, but some where on the 3rd lap I started cramping under my ribs and slowed a bit, this got me shuffled back quickly...I think this is from eating a cliff bar to close to the start of the race, or not breathing deep enough, or both...anyway...I push through that and get going again.
I started racing pretty hard with 6th but he eventually got far enough out on the penultimate lap up the climb, which was a pretty steep, long, climb, followed by a 1/4 mile of the bumpiest patch of earth ANYWHERE!!! That kinda took the wind from my sail...8th came by shortly after, this did not make me happy...I get back to his wheel and as we turn for the finish line to start the final lap, he drifts wide, I dive underneath and drill it. A few turns later I look back and he was gone, a small victory.
I didn't have any expectations today because I knew it would be a tough race, mostly from a terrain standpoint and the competition too, it is masters racing after all. So finishing 7th out of 15 is about what I expected. I'm happy with how I rode and I don't think I would have done anything different...well...maybe a little less air pressure in the front but other than that I'm good with it.
I finished 5th out of 16 Sunday. I learned from my mistakes yesterday which made for a better race. The course was run reverse of Saturday with a few changes to keep it a little safe. This made the long grinder of a climb into a high speed descent and yesterdays descent was a manageable power climb.
When the time came to line up, I was there a little early and got the spot I wanted. Once we were off and running, I settle into 2nd. The guy in 1st sat up and slowed while we were on the paved portion, I was not having this today. I grab a fist full of gears and proceed to drill it. About halfway through the first lap, four of us had a gap on the field. On the power climb, the eventual winner comes by me to take 1st. I grab some gears over the top of the climb and get to his wheel. He was able to eventually ride away from me, which left me with 2 others to fight it out for 2nd. Damn those carbon tubies!!!!
For the next 5 laps, the pace was good, I sat on the back of our 3 man race. Rolling into 2 to go, we get to the paved section and the pace drops...I should have gone around but didn't...this allowed another racer to latch on, one that we had kept at bay up until this point...we roll along to the power climb and the new guy goes blazing by all of us like we had the brakes on. No worries, we nail him back straight away.
On the last lap I'm thinkin it's time to give it a go. Mostly because if you never try you never win and partly because 6th was lurking about 12 seconds back of our group...I wasn't going to let him in at any cost. So I formulate a plan of railing inside these guys on the descent to the high speed left hand sweeper...that fizzled due to the overall group speed.
After the descent was a right hand turn that dropped into a dried up pond, momentum carried you wide onto a crappy bumpy line to the left, which for some reason everyone, except me, rode that line... I jammed on the brakes, backed into the turn and dove down the right side which was smooth and drilled to the next turn to take over the front of our group.
I led to the climb for the last time and hit it as hard as I could...which wasn't enough. The other racers got by me right at the top and created a little gap. I put it in the big ring and closed the gap to about 15 feet, which was how it stayed to the finish.
I felt much better today, and there are 2 things I would have done different. 1. Go to the front and pick up the pace when I knew it needed it. 2. make my bid for the second step a little closer to the end and NOT before the BIG EFFIN HILL!!! I think two of the guys I was racing with combined might have been as big as one of my legs...I love cheeseburgers...a bit of a rant...;)
It's a long season and Sunday was encouraging. Let the Boss Cross begin!!