Today was a gorgeous day to have a bike race. It started off VERY chilly but it settled in to be a little warmer and a nice temp for racing. It was so tricky as I actually changed clothes 3 times and my number 3 times till I was finally confident with what to wear. What is this - the prom???
Thanks to a call up for the NJBA Cup points I got a sweet spot right on the front row but in the middle of some nice wheel sucking gravel. I went pretty hard off the start but quickly settled into 7th position or so. The course was nice and flowy and outside of one turn you didn't need any brakes. Things were going well and I felt pretty good. On the 1st lap I got one guy but kept on it as I saw a few just ahead. There was a group of two working together and at one point I heard the lead guy say come on, just stay on my wheel, so I knew someone was falling apart. I stayed on these guys and even rubbed wheels in the slow stuff but when it got to the roadie section they pulled away. I then closed the gap and it went like this for a few laps. They were so close yet so far. I was doing all I could to not pop trying to get these guys. I knew if I stayed there long enough maybe I could cause one of them to bobble and I could take advantage of it.
3 laps to go the guy in front of me slid out in a corner and fell. That's what I was looking for. This made me have to slow for a second but then I put down the hammer as I passed the rider and he was struggling to get back on. It seemed like the downed rider was having issues as he slipped back, but in the last lap he turned it on and was closing the gap. This was as I was also trying to close the gap in front of me. Neither of us got close enough and with all the effor that we put down, that's how it stuck.
Cruised in for a 5th place finish of 18 starters. Afterwards I thought the best I would have done was maybe 7th. Guess I was wrong. I was even in the field cheering for the 35+ race when my podium was going on, and my buddy Nick had to come get me and let me know I had to get on the podium. I walked away with a sweet horseshoe trophy and some nice schwag. Definitely a great course with only 3 muddy sections - 2 being caused by their bike wash.
It was great to see a bunch of teammates out there as well as a bunch of familar faces from the local MTB scene riding lots of fast non-circles. And thanks go out to Nick who took the pics and retrieved me from cheering when I needed to be on the podium. Thanks!!!