Sunday, October 15
Cross Crusade #2
Hillsboro Stadium hosted the 2nd cross race in the 'Cross Crusade' Series out in a suburb of Portland - Hillsboro. I woke up on Sunday with the rain coming down pretty good, I was excited about this, because it would be my first cross race of the season with rain and mud. (Coincidentally, the Crusade race at Hillsboro last year was also pouring rain). I actually like the inclement weather as I seem to do better at these events when the weather is really bad. Incidentally, it rained the whole time I warmed up and through out most of the race. As soon as the Bs were done, the sun started peaking through the clouds and the As had a partially sunny race (still equally as sloppy though).
The course consisted of a pavement start, which degraded into a dirt/gravel road which then turned into some really bumpy double track which then turned into some really slippery single track. This continued for awhile with some more gravelly road and long flat paved straight-aways along with prerequisite '6-pack' barriers and runups over logs and a few grass stretches for good measure. The course is really one that is oriented to the roadies in the group (something that I am really not) because of the aforementioned long flat gravel and pavement sections that really favor putting it into the big ring and sprinting. I actually did pretty good during these stretches. Also, the inclement weather provided an 'anti roadie' remedy - the rain turned the off-camber mud sections to the most slippery snot like mud you can imagine. I witnessed so many slow and high speed crashes that bikes & bodies became barriers to avoid and overcome as much as the natural and man made ones! I went down once around a corner when my rear tire slid out and tried to pass my front - thankfully, it was slow speed and didn't really make me lose any places (and neither the bike or myself were hurt).
I had a pretty good start this week - not quite on the front line, but pretty close, so when the start bell went off I was able to attack. As I've stated before, no matter how hard I try, I am not a good starter, so a good 20 or so guys were in front of me during the first part of the race. On the first corner someone went down and I narrowly avoided missing him. I stayed with the front pack into the dirt and began to slowly work my way up. Each lap I worked my way of further occasionally losing a place to some rider that came from behind. Thankfully this has a tendency to serve as a huge motivator which got me to 'givr' a bit more, thus moving me further up in the group. I battled one particular guy for a couple of laps- the two of us trading position before finally dropping him in what was probably the 5th lap.
Results: Each lap was just under 2 miles long. We did 6 laps in the 45 minute timeframe - thus just over 11 miles. I finished at 5th place (out of 89 riders). The best cross result this year and if memory serves me, better than my best results from last year. Hopefully race #1 was just a fluke and I'll continue to compete at this level.
Until next week!