Cross Crusade #3
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Well I thought I did it... As of last night, the results from the race showed me in 10th place (my best ever in an A race (cross crusade or otherwise). As of one day later, the results have been revised and it looks like I've been bumped down to 12th. Oh well, still my best placing in a cross crusade race. Just not as impressive as a top 10.
Enough of that, on to the race. It was out in Rainer Oregon, a small town about 45-60 miles west of Portland. For yet another weekend, we enjoyed freakishly sunny weather for race #3 of the Cross Crusade series. It was another big day - over 1100 competitors for the event.
It started out cold and then got rapidly warmer as the 2:50 race approached. I couldn't figure out what to wear - long sleeve skin suit or short sleeve jersey. I finally went with the jersey and was glad that I did as it was warm and there was a huge climb.
More about the course (and the climb). It was a really fast course and long by 'cross standards 2.3 miles per lap. I did 8 laps which equaled abit over 18 miles in 1:07. Most cross races are in the neighborhood of 12-14.
I had a pretty good start (no call up but still relatively close to the front). Race start and we are off. All 70 or so of us struggling to get pole position as we take a sharp left turn up the hill and onto the 'real' course. Up the hill to the top, a sharp left into the single track: bunny hop, skip, jump, barely holding on over the bumps and jumps. Then down the hill fast past the tent and into the meadow. Over the first barrier, through the woods and back on to the school grounds where we hit the 6 pack. After that it is a quick downhill which leads to the bottom of the the hill.
The hill is the game changer. The race is won or lost based on this hill. It starts at the lowest point of the course and goes all the way to the top. Fans on both sides, screaming, clanging cowbells. A wall of sound and encouragement. I pick the less traveled line and pass a couple of riders and power up to the top past the OBRA tent. This trend continues on each lap (my hill training apparently has been paying off) and I gain position as the race continues.
I feel my pace pick up on each lap, but on lap 7 I start feeling the tell tale signs of my legs cramping up. I start using all my mental & physical tricks to keep my mind (and quads) from cramping into a massive charlie horse. I go past he OBRA tent and hear 1 more lap. I can do one more lap...
I throw down the hammer and push through the last lap blowing through a couple more guys and getting passed by a couple. I finish in what apparently is 12th place, my best crusade A+ race so far.