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OK, here we go again. Contests #1 and #2 produced some entertaining stories, so we're going to do another. Up for the best report this time around are a pair of Hutchinson Pirahnas and a sweet Richard Sachs designed CFR T-shirt.

Full rules and details here.

Race reports from this weekend and next should be submitted here!

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What a race this weekend. Pile up at the mass start. another rider rolled a tire in the first corner taking out a few riders with him. I was able to miss him. only to go down in the s-turns trying to avoid another pile up. All this was half way through the first lap. No rain, no mud, just sunshine and crashes left and right. So went the Halloween torture cross.
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chris thomas
christhomasphoto@gmail.com
What: Surf City Cyclocross, Men's C (what these NorCal hippy freaks call Cat 4)
Where: Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, Interlaken, CA
When: Halloween, 9am
Who: Me and 30 new friends
How: Second to last place, baby!

I was in San Jose at the World Fantasy Convention, commuting with my nerdy people and talking about the importance of gun play and crashing zeppelins in your modern fantasy novel, all done in a bar the size of a tennis court. This was awesome, but it meant I wasn't in Oceanside at Storm the Beach, getting wet and sandy.

However! Being a super nerd, I took to the Internets to find out if anyone else does this cross thing, and found out there would be a double-header weekend race about fifty minutes south. I wasn't able to race in Seattle in September because it's a pain to fly with a bike, but it's really easy to drive with one. So, I loaded up the car with bike and books and salty snacks, did a few days of nerd stuff, then excused myself from Friday night's festivities to do something that no one ever really considers at a nerd convention: physical activity.

The drive was foggy and cold and just a little freaky, but once I got over Hecker Pass, the sun came out and Santa Cruz County spread out like a gorgeous quilt of farms and fields all the way to the sea. It stayed cold all morning, so that meant bundling up, even though everyone else was walking around in short sleeves like it was nothing (curse you Northern Californians and your thick blood!)

The course wound through the fairgrounds, so we had plenty of twists on grass, straightaways on dirt and through the equestrian show grounds, slaloms through the stables (including one sweet straightaway down the central aisle of the horse barn), barricades (short and spaced enough that a lot of guys just bunny-hopped them) and one really technical bit: a Spiral of Despair (which looked like the one on YouTube) on grass that emptied out onto a short and steep climb that killed me every lap.

The start was tricky: rather than stack up at the finish line, we were sent about two hundred yards down course to the bottom of a broad hill that narrowed into a steep bottleneck climb. Even if you made good time going up the hill, you had to power through the bottleneck or get bogged down as everyone lost momentum and clipped out. I was a little bummed about doing this as a run-up, but I was a guest and couldn't yell too much.

Even though I'd taken two warm-up laps, it was tricky to find a good line at first, just because the terrain was different from what I was used to. Our grass is bumpy, but there's no risk of sliding. Here, you assumed that if it was green, it was slick from dew. It was like Rustic Park first thing in the morning, but with off-camber sections that lead to sharp downhills with a few hairpin tree turns thrown in just to keep you on your toes. Whatever time I made at the barricades I lost negotiating these turns without bailing. I managed to find one rabbit; even though I couldn't catch him, I only kept ten seconds behind.

And then there was that hill. It was a little shorter than the run-up we use at Rustic, so you could ride it if you had the speed. I never got it, though, no matter how hard I tried. Having local fans lining the hill yelling, "Ride it! Ride it!" while I fought to keep a grip on the ground didn't help. I gave it an honest effort, and got Not Last Place (though last place had a mechanical, but what the hell).

Afterwards, it was time to watch the locals race, including their own costumed laps. My favorites: Spy Vs. Spy, a family done up as a powerboat pursued by a shark, and a pregnant Brownie (also winner of the Most Inappropriate category). It was a good, vibrant scene, and I returned to the convention, ready to get my bibs off and my nerd back on.
race report: cross crusade # 7, Portland Int'l Raceway
mood: bummed

Today I stopped being a racer, and became a racer-shaped object.

I rested well Friday night, which is what I wanted for a Sunday race. I ate decently and had no serious IBD-related issues. I went to the race early, wearing additional clothing to stay warm while I cheered on friends. When it was time to warm up I stripped off the street knickers and applied a second coating of embrocation (and enjoyed helping three other racers, including two who were visiting from Team Beer-Sacramento, learn how to embrocate as well). I made sure to stop eating solid food around two hours before my race, and had a final drink and bathroom stop well before call-ups. I walked sections of the course, noting that the mud would be come good and soupy by the time three hundred people had ridden and run through it (and that was before the womens' race). I took an easy, long warm-up, first stretching and then doing moderate laps in the start area and around the backside to the first run-up. I did only a couple of "hot" laps, and followed up with some more gentle stretching before waiting to be called up. Call-ups for the women took a long time. After series leaders in each category were called up, The rest of the women were called up by random ending number, and that put me squarely in the middle of the Beginner's pack. I worried that I would knock someone down if we got too close to each other and slipped in the mud.

In the moments before we were sent off, the clouds blew by quickly and the sky darkened dramatically. The rain, which had held off since my arrival earlier that day, began in earnest. A collective groan arose from the hundreds of women before we were sent off by category.

The rain did not help. Neither did the fact that, as soon as I'd stopped warming up and waited around for call-ups, I got cold in a hurry. (Note to self: next time, get a really cheap jacket at Goodwill and bring to call-ups. Try to toss it far away just before my race starts. If I can't find it afterwards, well, it came from Goodwill.)

I managed to stay upright through the early, slippery paved parts of the course. When we got to the mud, it bogged down quickly, and things began to go downhill. I was already fighting my head, trying to stay focused on my mantra ("Keep Going", painted on my handlebar) and struggling to maintain the upper hand. Riding through the mud took so much effort that I was spent before I'd gone a third of the way around the course. And it was a long course, the longest of the entire series, at over 2.5 miles a lap. I came to the first run-up (shown, here, during a previous heat before the mud really began to degrade):




It is actually steeper than it looks, nearly as steep as the run-up at Alpenrose and another half-length longer. By the time the women were racing the mud had turned to grease. I went down on my knees twice on the way up, and the second time I nearly toppled off to the side because my bike had accumulated about thirty pounds of mud since the start. (This is why the pros have two bikes, and trained helpers to clean and hand off each in turn.)

I made it to the top, and I began to hate racing. I carried on, not out of some noble triumph of spirit but because I was freezing cold and moving helped me to stay almost warm.

I slogged my way around and down the backside of the hill, to another short incline that I was able to ride up -- thick, goopy mud is where I definitely felt some kind of advantage with my slightly wider tires and no worries of a derailleur to break. Then it went from bad to worse. Every turn was sickly, dangerously off-camber and slick as goose-shit (actually, there WAS goose-shit scattered around the fields). Occasionally, there were watery bogs so deep that my rims would disappear. Racers on older road bikes converted for 'cross were in trouble here, because their bottom brackets would actually submerge below the water-line. My higher bottom bracket cleared the water, but it was really hard to keep my momentum going, even with the relatively easy gear I'd selected (32 x 19). At one point, my legs began to burn so badly that I stopped pedaling to coast -- and immediately came to a halt in calf-high water. My foot went down, and the shock of cold water seeping into my shoe sent my resolve tumbling. Still, I kept going; I sure as hell didn't want to stop in a foot of standing water.

The mudfest continued and became simply impossible. I kept fighting the mud on more off-camber corners, trying hard not to go down with my bike. At length, I had to stop trying to pedal, get off and walk the bike through the mud -- lifting and running with it wasn't going to happen at this point. I breathed a sigh of relief when I finally made it back to something resembling pavement, only to see the next run-up:




At this point I knew that I would not, could not, finish the race, and that all I could manage was to tough it out for one full lap. I nearly cried as I dismounted and dragged my sorry ass up the hill and over each barrier. Banana slugs could have lapped me by then. I made it to the top, fell down on another off-camber corner slick as snot, and winced when I got back up; my "trick" right knee was complaining, and loudly. That was it. I was done. I crawled across the finish line, pulled off the course as far as I could, and signaled to the official "D-N-F", spelling out each letter in sign language to make my point. I didn't know which I felt more -- disgusted with myself for quitting, or wrung out from the utter stupidity of the effort. Either way, I felt like crap.

I was cold and wet and grumpy. I retrieved my things; pulled off my sopping VB jersey and slipped on a dry wool one; pulled my street knickers on over my wet cycling togs; said my goodbyes at the Team beer tent and threaded my squishy-footed way through the maze of tents and booths to the exit. On the way, I decided to stop for a waffle; if I couldn't handle beer (and I couldn't just then, because my stomach wasn't feeling so great), at least I could eat something warm and toasty. It helped a little. If I wasn't in such a foul mood, I might have stayed for the Singlespeed CX World Championships, which were due to start in about an hour; but Sweetie had gotten us theater tickets and I needed to get home so I'd have enough time to shower, change and rest a little before we went out. Plus, I was really cold and wet and wasn't in the mood to stick around anyway.

I got home and discovered that Sweetie wasn't feeling well herself; we made plans to trade the tickets for another night and stayed home. It's just as well. Tonight I am bone-tired, my joints are achy from the cold and I am feeling truly beat-up by a stupidly impossible course on a cold, very soggy day. I hope I will feel a little better tomorrow after a good night's sleep.

Next week I am scheduled to race the final Cross Crusade race at Barton Park, assuming I can get a ride there and back. I am hoping that I will want to by the time next Sunday comes around.
Race number 5 of the Utah Cyclocross Series rolled around. I'd missed the last two races and was itching to get my tires in some mud. Plus this was the Halloween weekend and awesome costumes were sure to be had. I slacked off and didn't get my costume ready in time, though I wish I had because a frameset was up for grabs for the best costume. The frameset was won by the guy dressed as a triathlete, complete with aero helmet, bars and speedo. He even dismounted, took a quick lap in the river and continued on with the race.


Other great costumes were to be had, including various super heros, bottle of beer, and sumo wrestlers.


I've been sick all week but I wasn't about to let another race go by, especially at one of my favorite venues; the Wheeler Historic Farm. It's a great course with lots of single track for the mountain bike guys and a good amount of dirt and gravel road for the roadies. It's been cold all week with periodic rain and snow storms. I hoped the storms would carry into Saturday but they petered out on Friday. I lined up with my new team "Clammy Chamois", a bunch of like minded guys that just want to race and belly up to a nice bratwurst after we're done. At the start line we got the usual bit of banter out of the way and the sign to go. After a little false start and we were on our way. The course starts off with a fast semi-paved, mild up-hill road before it empties off into single track. The one thing about this course that's a bit of a bummer is with the field of 65 riders we quickly got bottle-necked on a tight off-camber bit of single-track. I opted to run it since the line up of bikes wasn't going anywhere fast. I'm still not sure if I saved much time because there wasn't much of a place to remount once I got to the top of the hill and someone behind me kept yelling that I better keep going. I think I lost all of the places I gained while trying to get remounted and back on the course. Back down a steep bit I was glad that I had aired down my tires a bit more after pre-riding the course because my tires stuck like glue even in the somewhat muddy conditions.

I settled into a decent pace and was having a lot of fun. My legs didn't have quite the pep they normally do, I assume do to my week-long cold. Into the drops for the roads, then down through the trees on the tight swoopy single-track. I did a fast dismount and quick run up a hill with barriers. I hopped back on the bike in time to see our resident cross fan and hand-up guy wearing his bushy sniper suit and holding something out.

Since I knew I wasn't in contention for anything but a mid-pack finish I went for the hand-up, I couldn't even see what it was. Then, just as I spotted the cheap pair of sunglasses I was grabbing for I went down. Over the handlebars while hearing the crowd both cheer and groan. I shoved those stupid sunglasses in my jersey, and got back on my bike for the next downhill section, only I hadn't realized that my left shifter hood was now at a right-angle to my bars. I crashed through the course tape trying to slow down, banged the shifter back into place and got back on. When I tried to get on the pedals I realized my chain had fallen off in the crash. Geez, by now it felt like I'd been in the same spot for about ten minutes, with practically everyone passing me, I was starting to wonder if I'd be lapped in the first lap. I finally got everything back in order and was able to get going. I thought I'd be good and rested, but seems I did everything in such a panic that I still pretty winded. Believe it or not I actually got to a point where I was able to pedal again and make it through the rest of the first lap. I started trading places with a 16 year old. He'd get by me on the flats, then he'd bungle up in the single track and I'd get by him. Just when I thought I'd lost him he'd get by me again just in time to slow me down on some technical feature.
I made it through with one lap to go, surprisingly without being lapped, so I decided to put some distance between me and the kid. I felt like that old guy in the cartoons, "Go away kid, you're botherin' me." I tried to really put in a hard effort but my legs just weren't having it. I got through about 3/4 of the lap and the kid caught up to me again. We made it through the last bit of single track and back on to the road for the final stretch. The kid and one other racer were just up ahead so I dumped gears as fast as I could and pedaled like mad. They were sprinting, I was sprinting, but I was catching them fast. Just as I was about to pass the other racer on the inside he squeezed me out. I managed to get around him on the outside but not in time to catch the kid. I think I caught the other guy at the line but it wasn't worth contesting 50th place so I didn't bother checking to make sure they got it right. Though it didn't mean anything in the end I was glad I was actually able to do some racing in the end. I caught my breath, checked the results and cooked up some brats while we cheered on the ladies that were racing next.

Cyclocross Epiphany at Cyclesmart International

That's what it was. It was an epiphany. It was a life changing moment, or perhaps it was a string of moments. Two days in a row I lined up at the back of the pack. Two days in a row something marred my start. The first day, it was the person in front of me going backwards. The second day, it was me going backwards (my pedal seemed to have disappeared when my foot went looking for it). Despite the crap starts, both days I hammered as hard as I could for as long as I could to get into a group. Both days, I managed to do a fairly decent job of this, but my legs felt like wet noodles by the time I was finally merged up with others.


Saturday I ended up riding most of the race with a woman wearing a 7 Cycles kit, her name was Marilyn. I know this because everyone everywhere was cheering for her. I felt like the big bad wolf or something and she was little red riding hood. Anyhow, for 5 laps she would get ahead of me in the sand and on the run up, and then I would chase her down on the power sections. We bridged up to another rider, and on the final lap, I put in a hard effort through the sand and the other rider (Natalia Gardiol) and I gapped Marilyn. Natalia attacked and clung to her wheel until the pavement homestretch. If you know me well, you know the next thing that happened...I took her on the pavement.


Sunday, after finally getting hooked onto the end of the main train, we entered the sand and I was completely red lined. I thought I was going to be able to ride the sand, but in my current state of system failure, that wasn't possible. I stalled and had a few seconds of complete and utter motionlessness. How stupid! I finally managed to get my body moving again, but it was awkward, and bobbled my bike and tripped in the sand, and tripped over my body and my bike. What a spectacle I must have been. When I emerged from the sand I was certainly near last wheel. So I dug in. Again. I passed a bunch of people and bridged up as far as I could possibly go. At this point I was with Michelle Kersbergen, and we were eventually joined by Brynna Nestor. The three of us rode together for essentially the next 5 laps. On the 2nd to last lap, Brynna gapped Michelle and I. I was behind Michelle, and I expected (hoped?) Michelle to close, but she didn't. Neither did I. Michelle and I entered the sand. I crashed. Michelle got away. I chased. I caught and passed Michelle on the pavement and put in a hard effort to stay away. It worked. I spent the rest of the final lap with my sites set on Brynna. I didn't know if she was attainable or not. She had gained a substantial lead. I tried to just ride smart through the technical sections. On the "ride" up, which I ran every time, I concentrated on not dropping my bike and on stretching out my strides, and remounting quickly at the top. On the top section I concentrated on not getting bounced around too much on the roots. When we hit smooth pavement and smooth grass I concentrated on making up ground. She was maintaining a pretty constant 8 second or so lead on me. I knew it was going to come down to the sand. The sand, the sand. 5 laps in riding, 5 laps out running. I had to make a decision to make up time. Run or ride. One or the other, and commit. I chose the ride. I dove into the sand on a tight inside line on a deep rut in the sand and my momentum carried me about 1/3 way through and then I pedaled like a mad woman. I made it through and I had halved the distance to my competition. At this point in the course there is about 90 seconds of riding remaining. My legs were starting to seriously burn. I dug. My goal prior to starting the race was top twenty (I had never been top twenty at Northampton in the elite women's field). In my mind, I was picturing Brynna as number 20, and me as 21. I had to get her. I finally caught her as we transitioned from the grass onto the pavement. My legs were rubber. I feared I wouldn't have enough left....but I did. I was 18th.

Mary McConneloug won both days. My house guest for the weekend (at my in-laws, gracious hosts that they are!) got 2nd on Sunday and 3rd on Saturday. She is riding great this year! The field was filled with some amazingly fast girls. There are girls that hit the top ten of these races that are pretty darn new to cross, and will be fun to watch develop in the next few years. For instance, the whole Minute Man Road Club women's team. WTF did these girls all come from? They take up the first two rows of call ups for God's sake. Granted, they earned these call ups. Very fast girls.

Okay, okay. The epiphany. Here it is: I don't suck.
Blam. Blam. Blam. There it goes again, slamming my ass into the ground. Ouch, ouch, ouch, I can't take this much longer, oh!, hang on, we're moving up. sweet.
OK, enough of that, up in the air and spin, spin, spin, much better. This is awesome, fresh air, no impacts, just a little pressure as we go round and round. Like a frickin ferris wheel, whoo hoo!
Holy crap, what's that? Oh sh&& I'm on the ground again, slamming down but now it's wet and muddy! now I'm sliding all over, mud's getting into my pores, I'm soaked! That's great, just perfect, just when I thought my skin might recover from the last time. Thanks. Nice.
Well, at least I'm back up in the air now, spinning. Still wet and muddy but maybe I'll dry out before we quit. Whoa! what's this? sand? dang dangitty dang. sand in my pores, sand in my liner sand in my tongue. That's going to take forever to get out. This isn't fair now, can I quit? Turn in my resignation? I don't think I'll last the season at this rate.
Yoww! what just happened? Did I clip a big piece of wood? maaan, that's going to leave a mark, or two, or six.
Just get me home please. And don't put me in a plastic bag for a week like last time. There's a growth near the toes, name is Steve, and he's not friendly.

I forgot to introduce myself. My name is Sidi. Sidi Dominator the Second. I'm 3 years old but I look 40. My skin is cracked and there's a hole at the big toe. Next time you see me at the start line, tell my owner something like “dude, time for some new shoes?”. Time for a new sport?
And then the Whistle blew.

And NoHo (Cycle-Smart International) was officially underway.

I moved up a bit after the initial delay but only to get boxed in against the fencing. So I had to hit cruise control a second as the leaders were way up the road already, nice and strung out. Floating along, all boxed in when people freaking STOP dead infront of me to "ride up" the ramp.

SERIOUSLY? We went from rolling along at a pretty good clip to being basically stopped. Jamming on the brakes I barely avoided stacking the tire into the guy's cassette in front of me. It wasn't a good situation. Then of course it was a massive sprint out of that. I moved up a fair bit until I got boxed in there on the grass before the left hand turn. Everyone was moving up on the outside. I managed to gain a few spots- hit the turn and sprint towards the sand pit. People were stacked and piled up at the Post at the apex. Some tried riding it, I said screw it - first lap, we're running that sumbitch. Off, flying around, the carnage and tangled bikes parted as I hit the apex and I planted and cornered and ran to the other side and did a longer acceleration on foot than most and was up to speed and passing people again. Passing people running and then having enough speed to accelerate past them was pretty cool. Hit the next turn and back. I tried to keep moving up. I could see G-ride ahead at one point, pretty far ahead, but not that far ahead, cool, I made up a boat load of spots. It took a while to catch Essenfeld, I don't remember where I passed him but he was up there somewhere.

We hit the pavement again and I settled in. No passing here. but it wasn't a cake walk. We flew into the run up and came to a virtual stop. I managed to wind up on the right side and found perfect stairs in there. And effortlessly just walked up. Seriously. It felt effortless.

I hand not pre-ridden the course this year. We didn't get there with enough time. But I'd heard it was basically the same, some minor tweaks to the off camber downhill line but more or less classic NoHo (of the last few years with a start wrinkle put in). The roots felt good on the tires - I didn't bottom out much so I probably had a touch too much air in them and the grass was a bit bumpy so i could have had gone with a few pounds less, but either way it wasn't a big loss, the roots felt luxurious on the tubulars, relative to my previous years. I was moving up, passing when I could. Following lines assuming someone else had pre-ridden it. Found the big divot and rode through it on the set up for the right hand turn after the gazebo.

NO BRAKES

Hit the down hill, yelled at the dudes in front of me "NO BRAKES" and they didn't put them on. Until we hit the left? Seriously? Braking for that left hand turn over the tracks? Seriously? No F'n way. Hit the track crossing, past the pits. Jamming on the pedals. Holding the gaps, staying in line. Around the tree, right hand u-turn 90 degree left over the tracks and UP THE HILL. It was touch and go making it up on the first lap no dab. But god damn it, i rode that fucking hill every time clean. I was even happy with the 8.2 one of the spectators gave me. Hell I'll take an 8.2. Esp since at that moment the guy who kept reeling me back on the roadies sections kept dabbing and riding that and then walking the top section (he eventually rode off and finished a couple places ahead of me).
Winding through the woods and paths I was unprepared for the lack of barriers up there. Woah. No barriers? Sweet. Hit the pavement, sprinted to stay on wheels, stuck like glue and rode on down to the first jump. first time through I BMXed it. I kept those tires stuck to the surface. NO AIR.

no air

Air is slow. If you bike is in the air you can't be pedaling or controlling where it is going. Landing can roll you a tubular or worse. Soups got a shot of me (he said he got it) when I deliberately caught air when I noticed him crouched in the photog position (the cane laying on his knee gave him away). We'll see if it shows up some time. That was the last lap.

getting some air


So over that, hit the next turn wide and cut it and felt great- passed a few there. Hit the barriers. But that was a surprise. Oh, here they are. Took the inside (right hand) line first. Whoops, that's the slow way to get on and try and make the immediate 180 turn. Second time through I did the same thing. Then I got smart and started taking the outside and that was way faster for me. I could hit the turn without slowing down.

The next section heading to the sand was slow and windy. I tried to sit on wheels when I could but people were dying and I jumped around when I could. Hit the sand with speed and Cut left to right. I'd heard mention of a line to the left of the second pit where there was some grass. I beelined for it and found it. AWESOME. I so totally rocked that sand. Brilliant. Railed it out of there sand flying everywhere. Hit the return and headed back to the finish line. On the pavement I think Rob was there with me, or maybe that was the next lap. I've got an automatic reaction to sort of make it harder for people to stay on my draft unless it is a team mate. Even then I'll sometimes do it to G-ride. So we head through the finish line and back to the run up. Still decent traffic, but I had a clear shot at the right hand again. Vaulted up. Man that felt effortless again. I LOVE THAT RUN UP! I wish it was 2x as long. I was just killing it there and the right hand side of the run up was a perfect set up for a decent line headed to the roots.

Racing people here and there, Cole finally caught up to me thought. One of the few people who actually caught and passed me. He got me and gave me a little road runner meep meep as we dove down off the pavement up top heading down. Cole can hand the damn bike. He's a monster with it. So I figured I'd follow his line. Oh, that's the line i was taking. Okay. Damn didn't learn anything new. After the barriers he kind of wasn't going that hard. It was easy sitting on his wheel. But hell he finishes way ahead of me usually, maybe this is the secret. I hung out behind him for a while. A couple guys caught up to us and I decided I wanted my line through the sand and nailed it again, and I wanted first choice on the run up. There was one time on the run up that I had to take the left. It might have been this lap. I don't remember quite specifically.

Either way it was a battle and I decided to not wait for Cole, and he faded fast. Next time past the MRC camp I heard him say "out of gas" at least i think it was Cole.

Then I started a one two battle with a guy in a green skinsuit. Back and forth. he was very strong on the flats and "roadie" sections of the course but technically very weak and couldn't ride the "ride up" very well if at all. Turned out he couldn't run the run up well either.

the ride-up with green skinsuit guy


He'd get a gap going into the pavement and I'd get everything and more back on the run up. back and forth. He finally put in a really hard acceleration or just a moderate one with me sliding a bit. Not sure which. Probably the latter. Kevin Buckley came up to me and as did a few others. Man Kevin's been killing me this year. There's just 2 to go or something. One of two things, he's having a bad day or i'm having a good day. I think more the latter. So we come out of the turn by the barriers and a EnCoeur-SkiVelo dude stacks it into the tape. We'd been shadowing him for a while. Kevin and the couple guys he was with jump around me. One of the guys being the green skinsuit roadie. He hits the sand first, "I'm thinking looks good he rode the first section just fine" we hit the second and he's taking the prefered outside line. But wait. Someone staked it in closer. And he bogs down and comes to a complete stop. I had a full head of steam and plenty of power to make it through. Had to do a wacky foot dismount. I got mad at him. But I nailed the wacky foot remount and gapped the whole group. They came all came by me at some point again though. Finally that SkiVelo dude gets by me. I think he attacked me on the paved path before the road section up top. He got a gap. Just a second or two. I was chasing, and he was motoring. I made up a bit of ground going through the sand.

We're on bell lap now. I know if I can just keep him sort of close I've got a good shot of getting him in a sprint for the line. He opens it up on the grass going to the pavement the whole time a friend of his was shouting instructions and encouragement in French. He hits the pavement and has a good gap. More than I wanted him to have. But I dug down. I got the rpms up. and started the sprint. Rpms up, shift, rpms up, Standup and wind it up. He looked back before i had gotten to the 46x12. I was coming for him fast. It was going to be close. He looked back, and I was headed right for his wheel to grab a draft and he dove a bit left to the barriers and I just let out a big braveheart roar and dropped it in the 12 and stood up and cranked with every muscle in my body. I pulled up even and timed it perfectly. I beat him at the line despite his bike lunge.

I didn't care what place it was, other than it probably was better than I normally do. And I raced hard the whole time. I raced. It was amazing. The whole race i was battling. I had to think, I had to dig deeper than I knew I could a couple times. I rested (but maybe shouldn't have) sitting on Cole's wheel. I had maybe the most fun/best race this season. If I had started up with G-ride and hadn't had to battle from dead last? Who knows. As it was I battled from the very last row of 81 very fast Elite Masters and beat 30+ people and had a blast. Can't ask for much more in a race.

-that's my report from this race: http://crossresults.com/?n=results&sn=r&raceID=919
photo credits for my race report: Mark Suprenant.
Who won?
OK, after recovering from whatever virus it was that erased most of last week from my brain, the votes are being tallied, protests being reviewed and a winner will be announced soon!

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