What a way to start of 'cross season except to go out to Lobdell Frisbee Park for Cap City Cross' first race of the season (www.capcitycross.com/12/Lobdell.html). Lobdell Frisbee Park is a multi-tiered setting, having the start/finish at the lower level. Steep run up after barrier section to the second tier which is still headed uphill, only not as steep. Some swithcbacks and such, just to keep it interesting. Go past the pits, climb up to the third tier and more climbing in the grass, up and down. Saps the strength from the legs. Nice S-turn and then start your descent to the second tier. Most C and B racers had some trepidation here as it was hardpack with some loses stone but teammate Rich Hamrick utilized his many years at a motocrosser to find a great line here. Get a great head of steam going, jam it in the big ring, hope your tires held through the sweepers. Pass the pits again, a few more jukes. Descend again from the intermediate tier to the bottom and get flying into a left hand sweeper, a few more back and forth then sprint like crazy to the finish line.
I raced the Master's open race in a small but tough field. I thought the running I had been putting in during the off-season would help, but it seems nothing prepares you for those really steep run-ups. And as you push through the burning quads to get up that run-up and hop back on your bike you don't get a break because it's all uphill. This was a course that really pushed your climbing legs. I felt pretty fair most of the race here but it was taking it's toll. When we got to the descents I was able to make up time here. That was fun. I was able to carry quite a bit of speed. The second descent, from second tier to the bottom, was where I was able to get around my main competitor throughout out the race (and he'd get past me on the uphill). Fly down the hill, hit that sweeper going so fast and put out your left foot like you were on a motocross course. The descents let my legs recover enough where I could put in some efforts headed to the finish line.
Cap City Cross is a pretty grassroots type of event so the pits are what you'd find in most regional races - just an area in the ground where you can put your wheels or pit bike. Again, teammate Rich Hamrick comes to the rescue. He hung out in the pits the whole time and when it felt like my rear tire was too low where the tire is rolling around a bit too much, he and his son help execute the most pro bike swap in this series, I think. Rich's son Josh caught my bike while Rich had my bike ready to go. I hop on and I'm right where I was, on the tail of Scott from BioWheels (sorry, results not posted yet and I forget his last name).
Finished 8th if I recall correctly. I did ride stronger than last year, making up time on guys that normally leave me behind. But by the last few laps the legs were hurting so much it seems I have work to do. Take away - work on climbing more and steep run-ups, and buy your teammate a beer of four.
Two weeks from now is Cap City Cross race #2 at Alum Creek. I'm looking forward to it!