Sunday, December 7, 2008

Two To Go

Today marked the finale of the Colorado season, a little bittersweet, I'm definitely going to miss mixing it up every weekend with the "old guys who don't train and work 40+ hours a week"group. What won't be missed ? The cold, dark early morning drive up from the Springs and goatheads mostly.

Jen came up with me and we packed the weasel along for good measure. Sheila joined Jim so we had our own personal cheerleading crew out on the loop. The course was a superb mix of techy sections strung together with areas that demanded flat out power, seemed as though the ground was still holding some moisture from the snow we had Thursday so it compacted really nicely in spots and was crazy-fast. Two sections of barrier work and a "fun"sand pit with a 180° turn in the middle. There were heaps of very sharp turns that required concentration, all in all it felt a lot like back East. We had cool overcast conditions and a really large field, I don't think I'm terribly superstitious but I felt like circumstances were falling into place today. I do like even numbers, especially two's and eights. My number today was 228, hmmm..nice. Also thanks so much to Doug in Santa Cruz for the skinsuit. I've been denying the power of the one piece for the past two seasons and it came to head in the snow last weekend when my baggy jersey was becoming very droopy and flapping all over the place from all the moisture ( inside and outside ). I couldn't deal any longer. There is power in the skinsuit, it is faster, it's a fact.

I was dumbfounded to get a call up (I think because most of the really fast guys must have upgraded to 35+ Opens), I picked a spot way left in the third row. The folks at DBC like the long, slightly uphill dragstrips on pavement. Staging was done in seconds and the whistle went off. I slid back slightly to somewhere in the middle of the field probably erasing any advantage of the callup but no need to panic. The laps were long and we were expecting 5 to 6 loops within our 45 minutes. I was feeling really, really good on the bike today. I was running the Griffo's a bit on the firm side but there were a few hard shots with roots and and few curbs so I didn't want to risk a pinch flat. A serpentine short uphill section was proving pretty difficult for a few riders and I was caught behind a couple of them failing on lap 2. I was sitting at the back of a group of 5 during lap 3 and decided to punch it around these guys so I'd have a clear shot in these turns, it worked very well, I had a bit of open road in front of me but nearly blew to the sky and was seeing stars after the effort.

At 2 to go, our group was coming into lapped traffic so our line was immediately strung out and became difficult to tell what positions were being held. At 1 to go I was in a bit of no-mans land, there were 2 about 100 meters ahead and 3 guys just about 4 or 5 bike lengths behind me. On the last section of the bombed out-super rough decent, one of the guys behind me passes me like I'm going backwards. I bridge up to him on the 180 turn before the start finish and I watch as he pushes the chain into the big ring and stands up, "great." I stand up and am able to grab his wheel, I sit in and let him tow me to the line until it's time to come around. I get by him about 2 bike lengths before the line and come through in 16th place. I am super pleased with today's race, no major mistakes and just working the race the best I can. I'm completely aware that even this top 20 finish today isn't going to net me anything worthy to write home about in KC next week but who cares ? I had heaps of fun today although as the girls said after the race "It didn't really look like you were having such a good time out there". But I reassured them that it's a very unlikely pairing of pleasure and pain and that's the beauty of cross.

To all the 35+4's, I really hope to see some of you next week but I know for most of you, today was the conclusion of the season, so hope you have a relaxing "off-season", I can't wait to see you all next September when the circus starts up again. Stay in touch

Thanks for reading

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