Saturday morning before the CX race at Camp Manatoc was my cousin's memorial 5k run for his son. Rather than running in the event like we did last year we chose to help volunteer in some way. Nick and Tony marshaled the turn around and Lynn and I did the scoring, I'm sure by not running it helped our legs for the cross race that was yet to come in the afternoon. The turn out was great for this race and all the proceeds go to the Riverside School District to help with playground equipment, classroom needs, etc.
That same afternoon our team hosted race #1 of the NEO cyclocross series held at Camp Manatoc in the Cuyahoga Valley in Peninsula. Actually it was a festival weekend dedicated to just off road bike riding. There was an expo held on Saturday with open riding on the trails, kids races, a trail 1/2 marathon and much more. The C race went off promptly at 2:15, the B race at 3:00 and the A race at 4:05. I lined up in the large A field ready for an hour+ of suffering and when the gun went off immediately we were flying trying to get to the front to get into the woods in a good position. The course was a combination of technical singletrack, power sections, sand and a set of barriers. The course had excellent flow and the conditions were perfect. I was together with about 6 for most of the race in good position and we were racing strong and hard. Nate and I did a lot of work together to try and bring the group that was ahead of us back but it wasn't happening. We kept steady and would jump out of corners and ride the singletrack smoothly. In the end I finished in 17th overall, not upset about my placing since it is a 1,2 race with some fast guys in it as always. My legs felt strong through out the race, but with a couple laps to go my back was really on fire, but that's common in cross. Tony was 5th and was in a great race with the top guys and he and Scott Gartman had a great race battling back and forth the whole time.
Sunday was the Big Valley Mountain bike race. This is one of the best mountain bike races and courses around. It's only open for riding and racing one weekend per year and the singletrack is awesome. There is technical stuff, fire roads, steep climbs, roots, run ups and fast downhills with jumps so you can get some air if you so choose..... Each lap is 9 miles and the Novice class does 1 lap, Sport does 2 laps and Expert does 3. I did the Sport 40-49 which would be the same as a Cat. 2-3-4 road race. When the gun went off again it was all out exactly as a cross race, this time for much longer till we entered the single track. My whole first lap I was on the gas, always jumping and pretty much at a red lined pace, technically I rode fine at a high speed for not really racing my mountain bike that much in the past few years and my legs were responding just fine after Saturday's hard cross race. I was in a race with a strong group and that's really motivating. On the second lap I opened up a gap on a long gravel road climb and tried to keep the pressure on for the remainder of the race. Technically I rode sound and still kept the speed up and rolled in for 8th overall out of again, over 30 in the 40-49 group. Tony was 3rd in the Sport 19-29 group and said he felt strong as well.
Team Lake Effect did a great job racing this weekend in both races and a huge thanks go out to Mike Johnson and family and Rudy for all their hard work on the cross course and Lori, John, Brenda and Lynn for scoring, announcing and registering.
Wendy Park cross this Sunday!