With the race today in Woodstock being the second to last in the Chicago Cyclocross Cup series, I became a little sad. Sad about the fact that this season will be over very soon. Sad about the fact that it will be very cold very soon. And sad about the fact that all of the great people that I have met this year, I won't see on a weekly basis.
Enough of the sob story, lets talk racin'! The course today was huge! It also offered a bit of everything, everything except sand. Personally I think my bike has seen enough sand this year, and my shifters will wholeheartedly agree. From the nice wide start/finish chute into the two climbs on "singletrack", that spit you out onto a false flat on the asphalt, then into a bumpy grass section with the token pinwheel thrown in. I knew the race was going to be fast, but I didn't think it was going to be that fast.
The off-camber sections were nice since they were actually rideable without any fear of serious personal bodily injury. Although the barriers seemed a tad bit too close together, maybe it was just me. I loved that fact that there were power sections followed by recovery sections, that led back into some more power sections. I just wish I had the power to put down today.
As for the team we all lined up in the second row today. When I say all, let me clarify, just Tony, Patrick and myself for the A's race. We all had a great start with me just getting ahead of Tony and Patrick initially. Tony came past me as we entered the woods the first time and took up position just a few riders ahead. I dug deep on the climb but hadn't realized there was a false flat. Ouch! He opened up a gap that wasn't to be closed today. Going into the pinwheel, Tony was just ahead and Patrick just behind, but slower traffic allowed the gap to grow even further. Through the end of lap one and Tony still led myself then Patrick.
Apparently Patrick had different plans though on the second lap. As we climber the second singletrack climb he came past me like a rocket. I worked for the next few minutes to bring him back, then settled into a rhythm, albeit a painful rhythm. The whole time Tony was dangling just ahead of us.
As we came around with one to go I put in a big acceleration in an effort to bridge up and Patrick and I got rid of some dead weight, or so I thought. Patrick passed me going through the barriers as I struggled with their placement again and I was left to chase back to his wheel. The ground down by the lake was getting a bit soggy at this point and my legs apparently were also. Patrick accelerated and I tried to go, to no avail. He slid out of my reach by about 20 feet or so as we crested the final climb out from the lake. At this point I figured I would have an easy finish as there was no one behind me. Well, there shouldn't have been anyone behind me, I thought we dropped everyone. Yeah, not so much. Someone slipped past me before the last off-camber section so that I finished in 23rd, Patrick in 21st, and Tony in 20th.
Jorge recieved yet another call up in the B's race which is incredible since he has only raced 'cross 8 times so far. His power and fluidity are something to behold. He just seems to float through the tough sections, often times with a smile! Off the start he was sitting in 10th, but he wouldn't be able to hold it for the remainder of the race. As the race progressed he slowly slipped back a few positions each lap.
The top ten finish that he wants so bad was not going to happen today. A bad knee and consecutive work weeks of 60-80 hours are taking the their toll on him. Hopefully the week of from racing and the holiday will afford him the time to repair his body and rest his mind. I'm not sure where he finished, but probably from 20-25th is a good guess.
I think we are all looking forward to a week of no racing and no driving. The rest and time with our families will be good. The race at Montrose can usually be pretty ugly with the weather conditions and the course turning into a muddy, sloppy mess. The week off should give everyone time to tend to both their bodies and their bikes. This has been a long season, longer than we have ever had locally for 'cross and rest week will surely be welcomed.