Two Races in One Day!
The Route 1 Velo Cycling Club hosted the first-ever Hyattsville Cross Race on Sunday near Washington DC. They put together a fast, technical course that required both power and skill. The race is not apart of either the Mabra or MAC cyclocross series so the fields were not as big and the competition not as steep. I registered in my usual category at 10am (3/4 35+) but also figured this would be a great opportunity to do a double and jump into a higher category race and test the waters.
The race organisers made the decision to do call-ups (invitation to the front row based on points earned throughout the season) based on the current Mabra standings. I got off to a very nice start as we ripped through the short prolouge and entered the course. Stephen Robinson, who has beaten me in the two races we have competed against each other in this year, was clearly going to be the favorite to take the victory. He immediately went on the offensive and started the selection. I was able to stay near him while Kenneth Morris, similiar to last week, was hanging close on my wheel. Over the next couple laps, Stephen would pull away on the flats while I would pull him back on the technical sections. Kenneth was still there glued to my wheel. I considered talking to Kenneth and trying to work with him to catch Stephen seeing how sections of the course were flat and fast and favored drafting but decided against it. I gambled that he would struggle to hang on by having to make up the small gaps from sprinting in and out of corners and technical sections over time. My goal was to stay in front and be ready for any mistake that Stephen might make. Unfortunately, he did not make any and I could not reel him in on the final lap. With Kenneth really close near the end, I dismounted and ran the sand section to assure no major mistake, maintained my slight lead, and powered home for the 2nd spot on the podium (and a $50 gift certificate to the local bike shop).
The 1/2/3 35+ race was a 12:15 start which gave me a little over an hour to recover and get ready. After the 3/4 podium presentation I choked down a PB&J sandwich and got off my feet for a bit before starting my usual routine of warming up. My goals in this race were quite simple given the fact that I had just raced earlier...survive...and not come in last! As I mentioned earlier, this was not a Mabra or MAC sanctioned race so many of the big guns were not in town so I felt if I rode steady and smart I could make it through while learning alot. I got a decent start even though I was near the back of the pack and after a lap found myself settling in with 3 other guys. I was happy to sit 4th wheel for a couple laps and assess the situation. I was trying to find an effort level that I could sit on and maintain throughout the race because I didn't think I could handle the hard spikes consistently. I was able to stay with this group and actually felt strong on the last lap. I made a hard charge over the barriers and passed a couple of the guys. I then sat on the wheel of the next rider and waited to make a move around him near the end. I could tell he was hurting so I slipped by him immediately after the sand section and made my move to drive it to the finish as all 3 of them chased. I rounded the corner to hit the pavement section where you have to navigate a sharp right hand turn to face the long sprint finish and realized that Keith Rohr was in reach. I clicked down the gears and prepared to give it all I had to try and clip Keith at the finish line but unfortunately he took the corner too wide, got caught up in the tape and hit the pavement. I avoided the crash and sprinted to the finish line holding off all chasers for a very satisfying 11th place. Congratulations to good friend Mike Birner of Ben's Performance Bike Shop for taking his first victory of the season!