After the Sterling weekend I spent the week in Barre, MA just “chllin out, maxin, relaxin all cool.” I did some fun road riding on some awesome back woods, middle mass roads. The weather was even pretty cooperative, which is always a plus.
Thursday I headed south from Barre to Warwick to meet up with Chris Kreidl. We had a romantic dinner then settled in to our hotel.
Friday was course pre ride day. Crystal showed up and we got on course in the middle of the afternoon. The course was fun. All the soil was sandy so the incoming rain wasn’t going to make for a muddy race, just a wet race. The sand almost tacked up from the rain, which was cool. There was a big beach run, about 50yds, and lots of tight turns. The only down side was the amount of roots that started to show from racing wear one the course. This lead to some unsettling rim bottoming out but luckily my Challenge Lymuses held up and no damage to my HED Ardennes wheels #rocksolid.
Saturday morning I spun some before heading over to the course for the 2pm race time. Crystal set the bar high by taking the win in the women’s race.
We toed the line and I was determined to have a good start, since I had a nice front row spot. I managed a 3rd wheel start, which was good heading into the first technical bit and then hitting the beach run. The race stayed together the first 3/4 of the race with a bigger group of 6, which eventually widdled down to 4. The course was relatively flat so there was nothing but technical ability to separate riders. Coming into the final lap Curtis White jumped around Dan Timmerman at a crucial point before hitting some very tight turns prior to the finish straight. With no room to pass I just sat in third and watched Dan and Curtis fight. Curtis hit the final, down hill, straight into the finish first and that was it. Podium= Curtis, Dan, Myself.
I wasn’t unhappy with the race. I was in it until the end. I just didn’t play my cards right. It is always good to know that fitness isn’t an issue but it is also frustrating when you think you could have ended up in a better finishing spot if you would have thought the finale out better.
So Optum finished up Saturday with a win and a third. Not bad.
Sunday it was the same format. I had to completely pack up from the hotel because I was driving home to pa after the race, to then drive down to NC for Hendersonville GPCX.
With no rain and a lot of wind the course was definitely drying out. The wind was gusting at 20mph, which coincidentally played a huge part in the race, adding a whole new dynamic.
Crystal again set the bar high. This time finishing 2nd and loosing a sprint finish by inches!
Tim Johnson was turning heads at the venue spinning around on a cannondale cx bike with a left suspension fork. Enter :Funny Story. Background info, the entire Cannondale trailer was there. The fork he was spinning on was a little low on air pressure, however, because we were at a cross race there wasn’t a shock pump to be found so he opted not to race the fork. #prototype
The gun went off and I had another good 3rd wheel start. This time about a lap and a half in Justin Lindine got to the front and went H.A.M. stringing it out in the cross wind sections and by the time he looked back at Curtis and I to pull through we had 10-15 sec on the rest of the race.
We raced the middle of the race trying to maintain that gap and then, with two to go, Curtis applied some pressure. He got a little gap and held it for the lap. I managed to bridge up 1/4 of the way into the last lap as Curtis sat up some to regroup. I got in front for the sand run but bobbled and Curtis then took the lead into a cross wind. I tried to gap him but he held my wheel. I came into the final twisting turning section in the front. There was a parallel straight running opposite the finish straight and I knew I had to hold him off on that section and then the win was mine. Unfortunately, he got on top of it a little quicker than I did and managed to edge me out in on of the last corners. He got onto the finish straight first and subsequently took the W.
Again, I was happy with 2nd but again, knowing I could have been on the top step if I would have done something a little differently is always a little bitter-sweet.
Thanks to Chris Kreidl and Caleb Anthony who handled all the bike work/ pit crew duty to perfection. Thanks to SRAM and Cannondale Cyclocross world for helping us scrape together enough supplies to get through the weekend.
Also, bug thanks to Gnarly Monkey for live broadcasting of the race. My mommom and Poppop were very happy to watch me race from the comfort of their home. Thom Parsons from Dirtwire.tv was on top of it too with on the spot interviews. Promoting the sport when it counts!
Next up for me is Hendersonville, one of my favorite races. And Crystal heads back over to Europe for the Christmas races. Stay tuned!