(Photos courtesy of Ilya Cantor)
Sunday I traveled down to Jamesburg NJ for the HPCX race. It was a bigger race - 0r so I'm told and I guess so as 73 people toed the line awaiting the gun to go off. As the call ups began I got further and further back on the starting line. I guess I probably started off in 55th or so. I had a LOT of people in front of me and as I'm usually cold the first lap I didn't start gaining positions until lap 2.
As I warmed up I looked for better lines and found some that people obviously weren't using. I used my mtb skills to the best of my ability to hug the tree trunks and harder lines to gain time which seemed to work. I also threw out my mentality of high psi will help since I did a preride and it was not hooking up anywhere. I dropped my psi to 25 psi and that seemed to work well. It was so low that I knew where every root was as I felt the solid thud. I kept cranking hard as I was hoping the wheel would hold up and it did.
The course was overly muddy and was leg draining the whole lap. There may have been one 300' section where you could actually gain momentum and keep some speed, then back to the mud pit you went. I just kept myself entertained and tried to ride the hard lines that everyone esle was running or falling on. I think it worked.
The main battle I had was with a fellow mountain biker Felipe. He had beaten me last week and was in the same position as me. It was his 2nd CX race and beat me by two spots last week and I was hoping to stay ahead of him this week. The 2nd lap I saw him ahead and put in an attack and gapped him well and put him out of my sight. 3rd lap was steady and solid but the 4th lap I was fading and he was coming on strong. Every turn I put more power down and saw him getting closer and closer. On the last downhill I knew he was going to try and pass which was fine as I thought I could use the pavement hill up to the finish to outpower him and beat him to the line. Just as I thought he passed me in the mud and I moaned and groaned and tried to make it seem like I was shot as he passed. I jumped right on his wheel, let a little gap open up, and then attacked on the hill. I was closing the gap and winding up the power when my right foot comes flying out doing the can-can. Well...there went all of my momentum. By the time I clipped back in there was no way to get him so I checked who was on my wheel and just pedaled to the finish.
I'm still pretty satisfied with how I did, given how new I am at this discipline. 34th of 73 continues my streak of dead middle of the pack sexyness. At least I do midpack of the B's well. Up next is the Horseshoe Scramble and Hidden Valley CX races back to back.
The one thing I know for sure. The more I do cyclocross racing, the more I love endurance racing!!!