It seemed as if the cycling gods were not smiling on me as this race approached. First, the race got moved to the Boulder Reservoir. I’ve successfully avoided racing there for several years because I hadn't liked it previously. A lot of sand and sometimes goatheads. Second, some cold weather and snow were supposed to move in. I’m not really fond of racing in snow. But hey, at least the sand would be frozen, right?
Race day came, but the snow didn’t. It was cold, but dry. My legs didn’t feel great during my warmup, but I at least felt like I was riding the sand reasonably well. I got off to a pretty good start – 3rd wheel going into the first section of sand. I nearly lost my rear wheel coming off the pavement, but I saved it. I think it kind of shook me though, and it showed in my tentative riding.
I battled near the front for the first lap, but my legs felt heavy and I was starting to get overtaken. On the second lap, someone came up on the inside of a corner, overcooked it, and stopped dead in the tape. I was riding pretty close, and ran into him. The crash managed to mess up my front brake enough that I couldn’t ride, so I ran to the pit to grab my spare. Someone I knew happened to be working the pits for another friend and he grabbed my bike. I told him what was wrong, and he had it fixed up by the next time I went by the pit. We performed a flawless bike exchange, and I was on my way. I owe Eric a beer. It was unbelievable how smooth that went.
By this point I was pretty cooked and I could see that my closest competition in the overall standings was up the road. It was pretty frustrating, but I charged ahead hoping that he would slip back or I could pick up some places. When I crossed the line I thought for sure I had lost the overall by maybe one place. It’s devastating to have that happen due to a mechanical problem (although my poor riding was probably more to blame).
The promoter of the race uses a chip timing system that, when it works correctly, provides instant unofficial results via a laptop. After I dusted myself off and congratulated my friends, I went over to check the results. Low and behold, I did just enough to keep the overall lead! My competition finished in 8th, which meant I needed to finish 11th or better. I finished 10th. It is super exciting to pull that off. I wish I could have had a better series finale performance, but I’ll take it.
As usual, the amateur racing scene doesn’t pay too well. I won a free pair of shoes ( that I can’t get in the wide width that I need), a jersey, socks, and a small plaque.
One more race weekend to go –the state championships. I’m gunning for the podium.