Monday, November 19, 2012

Did I really just win a race?

I haven’t done any race reports this year, but now seems like a good place to start. I’ve been having a great cyclocross season with several top 10’s and even a second place at Interlocken. I started out the season hoping that I could just hang with this group that readily kicked my ass last year, and now I’m a contender.

Saturday was another race at the Valmont bike park in Boulder. I got off to a slow start and soon found myself around 10th. I burned some matches early and was able to get into a lead group of about 7, but I wasn’t feeling great. I thought I was going to have to go into damage control mode, but soon people started fading and making mistakes. After a few laps, there were just 3 of us up front with a small gap to the chasers.

I sat in third for a while, happy to let the others set the pace. When the 2nd place rider was having trouble holding on to the wheel in front of him, I came around him and closed the gap. The guy in first made a couple attacks, but I was comfortable and able to cover them. At the top of the course with 2 laps to go, he really slowed down. I took the cue to pull around and set the pace for the descent. He pulled back around me on the last lap and put in another surge to try and drop me again. As strong as he was, I could always make up some ground and catch him on the technical stuff. (I never thought I’d be talking about out-riding people on technical terrain.) I sat on his wheel for most of the rest of the lap. I knew my legs were good, and I was hoping they were better than his.

On my warmup laps, I had paid attention to where I thought the last good place for passing was. When we got to that point on the last lap I gave it everything I had and pulled into first. I never looked back until the last corner, and I could see he was still close. One last explosion to make it across the line, and I won by less than a second.

This win means a lot to me. My skills were good, my legs were good, and I really rode smart and executed a game plan to beat some really tough competition. I was really frustrated last year after upgrading and feeling like I’d never see the front end of the race again. I’ve been working super hard this year and it’s amazing to feel the hard work pay off. I have enough upgrade points to upgrade to a Cat 2 now. Wow. That’s still a little hard to believe. I’m hoping I can finish out the season as a Cat 3 and then upgrade to Cat 2 for next year.

2012-11-17 Valmont first place
Not even enough time to throw my hands in the air.