The highlight of my cycling summer was yesterday – the Maskenthine XC Classic. Its a big deal for me – I was one of the original designers of the trail and to have a successful event on it is quite special. Its also cool to see all these folks come together to maintain the trail and make the race special. And this year was even better as I could finally race at our club’s event.
After some pretty good success this year I was really looking forward to this race. I have a first, two seconds, a third, and a DNF so far this year and I was hungry for a win. If I didn’t win, I wanted my team mate Jerry Hoff to win with me second. Jerry, like I have said here before, is a good guy who works hard. He is very modest about his abilities so its easy to be happy for him when he wins – even when he beats me.
The event itself couldn’t have gone smoother. We had plenty of volunteers, plenty of riders, and nearly perfect weather.
Now, onto the race. Darrel Webb lined us up and started the 35+ and 45+ together. I honestly thought it would not work as well as it did but as it worked out some of the 35+ guys turned into good rabbits during the race. Dennis O’meara again tried to get the holeshot but Jerry and I stuck on his wheel. I felt good so I went for it getting into the singletrack first.
With Jerry right on my tail we dove into the first lap. We picked off some of the marathon riders who started two minutes ahead. Then we passed some riders in Cat 3, some were 35+ guys and some of the open class Cat 3 riders who were a minute ahead.
The problem is that Jerry is just *that* much faster than I am through the corners so he doesn’t have to work as hard as I do. As we got about 3/4 through the lap he was getting itchy through the corners and tried to take me. I managed to keep him behind me and kicked up my pace.
When we got into the prairie section we caught up to teammate John Spray and passed him. Jerry saw his opening and took both of us. With John behind and pushing me I kept Jerry in sight until I made a stupid mistake. Through the technical section I hit a pedal on a log in an uphill section and lost my pedal. I had to dismount and run up the hill and do my best cyclocross remount to get going. The damage was done though and Jerry was 20+ seconds ahead of me.
And that is how it finished. Jerry was first and about 25 second ahead. John thankfully pushed me hard through the last couple of climbs when we were trading places with 14-year-old Micah Holmes. Speaking of Micah – he and his brother Jesse are ones to watch in the next few years. Those boys are tough.
Looking at the results from the rest of the day helped me make a decision, and do something I have really wanted to do. If I can schedule any more races this year they’ll be as a Category 3 rider, but I’ll be a Cat 2 in 2011. Jerry and I would have placed 2nd and 3rd in the Cat 2 race this year so its time.
I have some work to do – I need to focus on threshold efforts for next year and really hammer the handling skills.
But its time to start looking at cyclocross. I was pretty resigned with the fact that I was not going to be able to get a bike this year so CX might be out. But, Nick Cleveland offered to let me race on a Gary Fisher Presidio this fall – SWEET! So, full steam ahead and bring on the mud.