Thursday we made the trip down to Cincinnati for the OVCX UCI3 weekend of racing. It just poured rain on the way down and into the night, briefly stopping at times during the day on Friday, so you can imagine what Devou Park, (which was where the first race took place), was going to look like and eventually become after all the races finished up. First, Devou Park in Kentucky is very beautiful and old and completely surrounded by a beautiful rolling golf course. The course snaked it's way through portions of the golf course as well, in some spots only a few feet away from greens and tee boxes and even some cart paths were used as road sections.
This part of Cinci and Kentucky were supposed to get 5 1/2 inches of rain Thursday and Friday then clear up overnight into Saturday.........
Scott and Tony both raced in the deep mud and came away with very good finishing positionings, Scott was 12th in the Cat. 4 race and Tony was 4th. in the Cat. 2-3 race, both racing very strong in the nasty conditions. I on the other hand wimped out and saved my ammo and my bike for Saturday and Sunday.
Saturday was Sunset Park in Middletown, North of Cincinnati. The weather had cleared overnight and was warm and sunny at the start of the first race and surprisingly very dry for the amount of rain that had fallen in the previous days. This course is all enclosed in a city park and is more of a technical course with lots of up and down 18o's and back to back sand pits and is also a great spectator course, you can see just about the whole race going on if you sit somewhere in the middle of the course.
Tony raced the 2-3 race again and finished 11th. in a very large field and said his legs were not responding well the whole race, most likely from the mudfest the day before.
I lined up in the Elite Masters 35-45+ 1-2-3 race and while looking around knew this was going to be hard. We took off hard up the road climb and I had a good position going into the grass and held my position for over half of the race. At about 1/2 hour going full throttle I had to back it off a little and thats when I started getting passed. Technically I rode a good race, but being anerobic for that amount of time I wasnt able to motor up the climb on the road and the steep mud climb in the back of the course like I was able to earlier in the race. I finished strong though (for me) and wasn't close to being lapped by the strong leaders.
Sunday was Harbin Park in Fairfield, just Northwest of Cinci. They changed the course somewhat from last year and took away a few of the long grinder uphills that were pure legbusters and threw in a few more technical sections, not to say that there weren't any leg buster uphills, cuz there were a few of those too. this course had a few mud pits, sand runs and a wood chip bowl section that you had to bunnyhop in and out of. I liked this course mucho more than the course they had laid out last year.
Tony raced the 2-3 race again and his legs felt much better than the day before he said. The field was much larger than the days before too and he managed to finish 10th. in a hard fought 45+ minutes. He said he battled with with a few other riders, all knowing that they were in the top 10 and none of them wanted to concede their positions. in the end Tony attacked on the finishing stretch to land the top 10 spot, Nice work T.
I switched gears in this race and signed up for the Mens Cat.3 Masters 35+ rather than doing the Elite race and just tailgunning, but I also chose not to do the Mens Cat.3 Masters 45+ which is my group since I am a 3 and my racing age is 46. I think I made the correct decision too, although on the starting line the racers were looking pretty fit and strong, as it should be for these UCI races. We took off 30 seconds after the 2-3's and soon I worked my way up into that group and was chasing the leaders of the 35+ group that I was in. I felt strong and technically I was riding a good race, I do want to emphasize race too because I dont consider doing the Elite 1,2,3 race a race for me, since all I'm doing is riding alone most of the time hoping not to get lapped by Elite Cat.1 35+ guys, I'm not trying to fool myself or anyone anymore, I don't belong in that group, the Cat 2-3 race, yes, the Masters 35+ Cat 3 race, yes, but not the Elite group. The whole 45 minutes or whatever it was that I was racing, I was having fun, no doubt anerobic and pushing myself to the limit, but so were the guys ahead of me and we were of the same ability, thats racing and thats why there are age and category classifications, so I was extremely happy with my decision and the way the race went for me. in the end I finished 7th in the Masters Cat.3 35+ and somewhere in the middle of the 2-3 group as well and had fun RACING.
Overall it was a great weekend watching my teammates race and all of our friends from the Cleveland area race scene. Props though go out to 14 year old teammate Robert Sroka for racing in the Mens 2-3 group and racing extremely strong in a very fast field, this kid is no doubt going to be one of the strongest racers in this area in a few years, keep up the awesome work Robert and it was fun racing with you at Harbin.
This weekend is the Cross Your Heart and Hope to Die race presented by Spin in Willoughby, no doubt to be a great event.