I zipped home after my daughter’s soccer game and loaded up the car. Hoping I could use my new tubulars–I was disappointed the night before when I realized that my rear came with Shimano vs Campy–after two calls to clarify they still didn’t get it right. It’s ok I guess as the course, though a little technial, didn’t have many sharp objects causing pinch flats.
So I got in the truck and headed out at for my race. 2 1/2 Hours later and multiple wrong turns I finally pulled in completely frustrated with about 30min to sign-up and warm-up. The warm-up…well, it’s already 93-degrees so it was more about course recon than anything.
This year, the Saturday Lion of Fairfax race was competing against the Sunday CCCX race and it was evident as the field was quite small. I was fine with it as this was my first race of the CX season. The course takes you through the baseball fields along the outside boundary of the school then up and down a steep run-up, a few off-chamber turns then literally through the school sidewalks before heading back out the fields to complete a lap.
The gun fires and we’re off–a decent start in the heat and I found myself a bit stuck behind someone and not willing to dish out the extra effort required to pass. That proved costly as the break of 6 was just in front of him and he let it go. Once it cleared, I made a pass and just found the comfortable pain zone. Clark Natwick was kind enough to provide hand-ups and support–and I needed it as the heat after 15min of effort we taking a toll. Mouth dry, a little blurry eyed–I kept the focus. A few guys fell off the front group and the field was stringing out by the half-way point. There are number of places to check on who’s gain/losing and it seemed most were holding steady. I did catch two from the front group and continued to hold off the chasers as we hit two laps to go. I saw a DFL guy clawing his way through the group behind me as we hit the bell lap–little did I know he had flatted out of the front group. Man, the last thing you want on a hot day like this is real race on the last lap. Well, it was on.
I started to add a little extra effort–careful not to pop. He was fast and though my power was good, he was making up big time in the corners. As we hit the fields, I just kept my head down–he was on me now as we hit the barriers and I guess he bobbled as I gapped him and just held him off to the line for 3rd. I was pretty excited–first to stay focused in the heat and not give-up and second that, even though the field was small, I had a solid finish in my first race.
In a couple of weeks, I’ll have my first real test of fitness and how I stack up against a deep field as I race the first NorCal CX pts race. Should be stacked field with all the big hitters.