The Cross Crusade Cyclocross series started on Sunday, and once again that meant racing at the popular Alpenrose Dairy. And once again that meant near record attendance, some where near 1078 racers in 6 races.
I was back racing with the Masters 35+ A race (the fast old guys). After last week's fiasco with the bike I felt I had gotten the shifters working well, that and the course was pretty dry, so I was feeling better. The course was a little softer than last year, but no mud as the rain had let up the past few days. Either way I was taking no chances, thanks to the guys from Sellwood Cycle I was able to get a second bike built up for the pits. Together, they make the Fluorescent Fleet.
Leading up to the race I was a nervous wreck. I kept trying to convince myself that it was just a race, and meant nothing. But it didn't work. I was nervous, stomach cramps and a headache nervous. Not good. Made we wonder why the hell I do this, but once I got there, rode around a bit, joked with some folks I felt a lot better.
I got a good line up, in the front row, and was feeling good. From the gun I was off the line with the top 5-10 guys until one of them pinched me off against a curb. That just pissed me off, and I motored back up. I worked my way up to around 6th. Then, remember that right shifter from last week? Somebody (me) didn't tighten it up enough and it started flopping around, making the climbs and the decents pretty tough. I wanted to make a bike change but I was afraid to loose too many places. I was looking for someone I could yell to to grab my pit bike so I could have a quick exchange, well, lady luck, or as I now call her, the bitch of misfortune, smiled her gap-toothed grin at me again. While going through the 6-pack. I went down. Luckily right between the barriers, and luckily in front of Bro-man. I yelled "I need a bike change, same bike, in green!" After putting my chain back on and losing 3-4 places I was back on. I came into the pits and Bro-man was waiting like a good pit bitch with the bike change. As I change bikes a group of 4 or so got past me. From there I just did all I could to get as many spots as I could back. I did ok, finishing in 11th. Not too bad.
Overall I felt good, and am happy with an 11th. I think I could have pulled a top 5 finish, and the guy who won it I had beat in HR, so if nothing else I feel like I am up there with the top guys in the field.
The nice thing about the dry course: No bike cleaning to be done!!!