Finally got my first cyclocross race under my belt. The weather was pretty much perfect. Almost a full day's worth of rain on Friday, with showers tapering off about fifteen minutes before the start of the race left the course sufficiently saturated and ready to be turned from grass to mud. Temps were hovering somewhere near 60.
Heather and her dad came along to watch, and we got there somewhere around 9:20. That gave me plenty of time to get a lap around the course to get a feel for how things would be. It wasn't too hard to imagine that things would be muddy.
Morningside Velo at the starting line. L-R Robbie Sedgewick, Alex Braunstein, Brian Janaszek, Me
I was fortunate to get a spot in the first row before the race started, and once they set us off, I was in fourth or fifth place and a gap was already forming between us and the rest of the pack. There were maybe two other people close behind me: some guy I didn't know, and Brian.
When we got to the first run-up, Brian passed me. Somewhere not too far after that, the other guy passed me, too. Before the end of the first lap, though, I had managed to pull back in front of Mr. Unknown. Brian was still in front of me, hanging pretty close to some other guy.
By the end of the second lap, the guy behind me was pretty far back, and the rest of the group was nowhere in sight. I wasn't too far from Brian and the guy he was battling, but I knew that I didn't have the legs to catch up with them.
Me, shortly before eating it on the last lap.
On the fourth and final lap, I guess I had built up enough distance between me and my closest trailer that when I wiped out on one of the switchbacks and dropped my chain, I was able to stop and get everything back to where it needed to be without any threat of being passed.
I ended up finishing 6th in a field of 26. That was way better than I would ever have expected. I might not make it out for another race this season (I screwed up and made other plans before realizing there was another race tomorrow), which really stinks, but it was lots of fun and great incentive to try and get to more races next season.
The Portland: post-race, pre-bath.
Up next: Dirty Dozen.