This past Sunday was the first time I have raced on dirt this year. Well dirt is a loose term for the actual surface I would be racing on. There was probably 50 feet of actual dirt and another mile of ice, snow, and slop to get through before hitting the start/finish and doing it all over again. The race was supposed to be a 45 minute race and it ended up being just about that.
We took off from the start and I was in the third row of 24 people. The racers in front of me cleared out and gassed it and I jumped on their wheel. Up the pavement climb it went hot and not something my body was used to. I have done close to zero high end efforts this year and I felt it. My body was in shock. I ignored it and pressed on harder to pass a couple on the second lap but then my body was telling me to slow down. I had to. I had zero warmup and I was actually happy to go as hard as I did for that long. So at that point I settled in and tried to get the diesel going - which is the wrong type of motor but it's what I had. The worst part is that with each hard effort I could feel my worn cassete misshifting and not letting me use the gears I needed. Frustrating to say the least. Then my chain dropped. Ok - so it was a day to shake the bugs out.
In the end I kept the motor going but still finished pretty well. I was 8th of 24 and pretty happy with the result. A rider came up on me hard in the last lap but I rode steady and smooth to keep him from passing as I charged to the line just ahead of him. I know I could have done a lot better if a few more things came together but it reminds me that I still have the drive and legs to be competitive out there even in early season form.