Bridget and I returned to the scene of my first ever Cross race, Alum Creek, where I had my best result of the previous year with a ninth in my first race. I chose to cat up in the CapCity series to make our race day shorter and hopefully the stiffer competition will make me a better cyclist.
To even the field they had a Le Mans-style running start were we grabbed our bikes, flipped them over and jumped on. I had a pretty good start and was feeling pretty good. Suddenly on a 50 foot long off-camber hill I found myself behind a rider that seemingly couldn't ride off-camber! He kept dabbing with one leg awkwardly so I decided to pass on the low side only to find myself trapped by an obstacle! I had to stop while 10 or so rides passed! That is painful.
I found myself behind James Turner who I have seen in the "advanced" group at the Harbin practices. I was on his wheel and we caught a small group of riders. Where perhaps sometimes I follow a wheel too long I saw James attack a surge around them. So I made him my white bunny and decided to chase. He really drove me to pass groups of two to three riders at a time and we worked our way up.
With three laps to go we were together with two riders trying to gain on us. I felt good and told him I would take a pull. But I think James was feeling puketastic and I ended up gapping him. I rode harder to gain more time fearing something might happen and all three riders might pass me.
I would relearn a lesson from last year: Don't just follow wheels! Chasing James reminded me I was in a race. And lesson #2: take your time! I was about to catch up to two more riders just before the finish, BUT, I caught my britches on my saddle as I remounted after the barriers.
Can't wait for next year!