3rd @ States

Well this race was bittersweet for me since I really wanted to bring the Cat.3 45+ Masters jersey to NE Ohio. The day before the race we previewed the course by riding and doing some hot laps to find our lines and open it up. The course was bone dry and we had our lines picked, tire pressure dialed in and we were feeling pretty confident leaving the park heading back to the motel to head out to chow with Rudy, Julie and Robert.

Race morning we awoke to 28 degrees with a heavy frost and the weather folks calling for 40's near noon and that was my start time. We got to the park for the early races and the course was still pretty firm but as it warmed up the course started to get muddy and like ice in some spot's especially in the singletrack which caused me to change tire pressure three times and pick new lines on my practice laps. As noon approached they threw in a Junior race which set us back 30 minutes...and when you have a pre-race routine and get set back a half hour it throws you off a little, but oh well it's happened before and everyone else had to deal with the same issues.

Once we got called to the start line in the huge Cat.3 fields of Opens, Masters 35+ and Masters 45+ it was hard to see to he front of the starting line from way back to where we were. The 3 opens took off and it was 30 second start intervals in between groups, so 35's took off and then us. As soon as the whistle blew I was on the gas hard up the long road start and into the sweeping grass turn and into the twists and turns of the front section of the course. I was with the leaders of the 45+ group and we had already started to mix in with the 35+ guys. I was keeping the couple 45+ guys close and we were moving up nicely. Through the twists, over the two logs into the singletrack and down the steep 180 run down and up near the road. We took the inside of the run up and remounted the bikes right at the top of the hill and stomped on it once again. Through the twists and into the grass climb through the twists across the road and into the sand. I took the inside line near the tape in the sand and wouldn't you know, I got pushed hard into the tape and totally got tangled up. Guys were flying by and I see last years State jersey pass......dammit! I stayed composed, got my bike unwrapped and took off in hot pursuit. Adrenaline was pumping now and I was making up spots fairly quick. I heard the announcer say as I was approaching the asphalt by the finish that last years State champ was closing in on 2nd.......I was only a few rider's behind last years champ so I buried myself and caught him. I sat on him through the maze area and hit the barriers side by side with him and attacked hard over the barriers and never saw him again. The next few laps I was chasing hard and knew who 2nd was and where he was. On the last lap there were two Cat.3 Opens between me and 2nd. At the 180 run down and up I passed one 3 and was close to 2nd in my 45+ group. I tried my best to catch him on the last 1/4 lap and closed it to within a few seconds on the grass climb near the pit. Through the twists I was right behind, over the road and into the sand I was still right behind but still couldn't pass. Once onto the asphalt I nailed it, got passed the Cat.3 but was just right behind the 2nd. Master 45+. Awesome racing to say the least. I didn't win but made the podium and I'll take it....

Team Lake Effect stood on the podium in nearly all of the races and represented NE Ohio well. Julie won the Cat. 3-4 open, placed well in the singlespeed and Elite womens races. Robert won the 15-16 Junior race and placed well in the Cat.3 open. Nate Loman was 3rd in the Cat.3 35+,Rudy got money in the Elite Masters and Jeff Craft was 3rd Elite Master. Nate Szabo raced strong in the Cat.3 open but had a nasty crash but finished. Matt Weeks was 2nd Elite behind John Card, J.Proppe was top 10 and Tony was close behind in the Elite race.

Congratulations to all of my team mates and everyone from NE Ohio on some great racing!

1 comment:

lunasphere said...

nice write up bill...and I suppose I could write up just about the same description of the start, being in the top 4-5 hitting the rabbit hole, going down on the first lap on a slick corner and getting tangled with some of the open 3's on the second lap...but that is CX I suppose...and I too wanted to defend my state champ jersey...I was closing but time ran out...see you soon...