Time for another race season. My season opener this year, as it was last year, was the Green Mountain Sports CX in Golden.
I started the day out by working as an official. This is a new thing for me. For the past few years, I've wanted to do some officiating and I finally made the time to take the test this spring. Why would I want to do such a thankless job? I feel like it's a good chance for me to do something to support the sport besides just showing up in lycra. I don't know how to balance racing and officiating just yet, but I'm giving it a try.
There are some racers who understand the officials and the thankless work they do, and there are those that don't. The latter should spend some time with the officials some day so they can learn to not be such pricks. (Thankfully, that's a small number of racers.) On the flip-side, I wish all officials would suit up and do some racing. There are things that may not be apparent to a non-racing official but may be obvious if they saw things from the other side of the scorers table. In the end, I think our officials do a fantastic job day-in and day-out and we wouldn't be able to have safe and fair competition without them.
A little side note about appreciative racers: I've volunteered at a few CX races before and now worked as an official, and generally you'll get some "thank you's" from participants. It's much appreciated. Yesterday as he crossed the finish line after an hour long suffer-fest, Aaron Bouplon used some precious breaths to thank the officials. I don't know Boops, but he always seems super nice at the races and really appreciates being able to race. I've heard him share his thanks on many occasions, and it's a really nice gesture.
On to the race. I took off my officiating hat, put on my lycra, and set out on the course for some warmup laps. In record high heat (90+), I don't know if "warmup" is the right term. I usually like to take a couple laps a low speed and then do some stuff at race pace to pick my lines and open up my legs. I just couldn't seem to get my engine to turn over in the heat. I was a little drained from being out in the sun all day (oh, and an Ommegang brewmaster's dinner the night before didn't help).
They used last years results to do call-ups, so I actually got the front row. My plan was to just settle in mid pack the first couple laps and then find some motivation to "race".
It's a tricky course for me - really loose and bumpy. I wish I could find something near-by to practice corning in loose dirt like that because I know I was going way too slow for a lot of sections. In addition to the loosyness, good passing sections were also limited. That made it really easy for me to get complacent, sit on someone's wheel for a while and recover until there was a good place for me to pass.
I was really unmotivated to race until someone near the start/finish was trying to encourage his friend to drop me. Then he had to go and say the Velonews magazine (my team) sucked. I decided that was good time to start going hard and I put at least 30 seconds into that dude that lap. Sometimes it's all about finding a reason to go hard. :)
I finished in the top 15, which surprised me. I'm on racing hiatus until mid-October. I probably won't be that fit, and I probably wont be that motivated to train, but I still hope to get out there and dominate the mid-pack. :)