October 7, 2017
In my first attempt at racing last weekend I had fun and was happy to catch up to a bunch of guys I hadn’t seen since last season so I figured I’d keep it going. I traveled down to Baltimore today to race Charm City Cross in Druid Hill Park. It was a hot and humid day, the course was challenging (one of the best courses I’ve ever raced) and the competition was very strong. After my first race I realized I could push harder but I still wasn’t quite sure where my level was. My goal was to ride hard and dig deeper, but I knew I was not quite good enough to push the leaders. Best bet would be to tack onto the back of the lead group and follow as long as I could.
I shot off at the gun and was able to jump onto the back of the lead group (just as I’d hoped) and stay there through the majority of the opening lap. As we started lap 2, I was in 6th place, with the 5 guys in front several seconds ahead but moving away. I had a gang of racers breathing down my neck when I instituted the second part of my plan – ride hard and dig deep. I pushed the pace but still several riders attacked around me. I kept at it and battled back and forth with several of these guys, and along the way we distanced most of the others chasing us. One guy got away from us and moved up into the lead pack (wish I had the fitness to make that move!) leaving me fighting for 7th place.
As we were in the final lap it was down to me and one other guy when I noticed my pedal was loosening. Luckily I was approaching the pit so I was able to go through and switch to my spare bike and jump right back out onto the rider I was battling. I immediately attacked him and he chased me hard to the finish straight where I opened up my sprint and surprise of surprises, our efforts had brought us up to one of the leaders who I ended up outsprinting to take 6th place!
It was a great race. I pushed “REAL deep” and had a very strong result against such tough competition. It was a fun day where I learned a lot more about my fitness. I also had time to hang out with some guys and enjoy watching the professionals take on the same course. It was a terrific day. I guess I’ll do some more.