I had to put off writing this blog because of general busyness in my life. And despite being the Men’s B CX State Champ, that busyness wasn’t meetings with potential new sponsors or paid appearances at post-championship criteriums or anything. It was just the same old, same old. How can that be? C’mon Specialized! I was riding your bike, wheels, tire, gloves, tights, shoes and socks!
The forecast was finally for some proper ‘cross weather — cold, rain/snow mix and mud everywhere. The drive down to the Tourist Park in Marquette was pretty sketchy, but we got down there in time to register and get all set up. The course was quite long — something like 1.7 mile loops. It was generally very fast, except for the nasty little switchback descent towards the river. There were a few long stretches of pavement that offered some brief sections of respite and recovery. Well, mostly.
The race started largely like the second day of the Keweenaw Cup. Pletka shot off the front with the Pugsley rider on his tail. (The Pug rider was on his mountain bike again that day.) I was in third position just before heading into the first short section of singletrack, but two riders slotted in front of me. I was okay with that, because Pletka wasn’t getting away. We went through the first set of barriers and onto one of the pavement sections and the group I was in started slowing down and Pletka was getting away. I knew I couldn’t let that happen during the very first lap, so I sprinted past the three riders in my way to grab his wheel. I was a little faster coming out of the second set of barriers, and grabbed the lead. That only stuck for the next half of a lap, because I nearly missed a turn and got a little tangled up in the tape. Pletka passed me back and I sat on his wheel for a little while.
The first set of barriers was out close to the road as a way of grabbing a little free publicity for the sponsors and trying to showcase the event. Right after the barriers was a gentle grassy slope leading to the pavement again. Pletka was putting a lot into his singlespeed to make it up that, but I was able to slip to a little easier gear and spin my way up it. I didn’t have to work so hard up that slope. To compound that, when we hit the pavement, I was able to grab a few more gears and still be comfortable. After that, I just slowly increased my lead. Pletka eventually fell behind the Pugsley rider and that’s how we finished.
There was only one time I nearly screwed it up. There was a sharp left turn off the pavement onto a rough, short downhill section. One lap I started to slide out on the wet grass, but managed to save it. Consequently, I took that corner a little more cautiously during the last two laps.
So I won 3 of my 5 CX races this year, including the big one. That was enough to even secure me 5th place for series. Not bad for only riding 3 of the 7 races. That blows me away, especially when I remember I was thinking about racing class C this year. I’m not required to move up to class A, but I’m pretty sure I will. I’ll get smoked, but it will be good competition to get me ready for CX Nationals, which is looking more and more like my big season goal for next year. The Wednesday night practices definitely did the trick this year!
And that closes the books on my 2010 racing season. Some races went really well (like CX season), some went okay (like the Deer Chase) and some were less than stellar (I’m looking at you, Superior Bike Fest crit! You too, Cable Crit-Cross!) Overall, I’m really pleased with this year, but ready to stash the bike for a little while and do some other things.
Unless Specialized wants to talk about a sponsored trip to this year’s nationals out in Oregon. I’m free that weekend — call me!