I had initially thought about heading to Taneytown for last weekend's races but due to Thanksgiving and my work schedule, it just didn't make sense to drive up for the races. So that meant two things. My freshness was good, but I really had not been on the cross bike for two weeks. Then there is Capital 'Cross Classic. Two years ago the race greeted me with sub 40 degree weather and 4 inches of snow. This year we were not going to be as fortunate, another crisp morning in Reston, which guaranteed the course would be fast.
A brief recap of the journey thus far... I was sitting fourth in the 45+ 3/4 overall series, with Eric Sloman seven points ahead of me and Steve Klose thirty-six behind, not that the 45+ means anything, but hell if they are going to track it, I might as well act like it matters. Crossresults predictor gave me a solid 61st. This season that forecasting model has been off by about 20 to 30, so I have been finishing in somewhere between 5th and 10th of the 45+. I have started in the back quarter of the field in every race and accumulated over 200 kills to date.
Back to Sunday....Giving myself plenty of time for breakfast and coffee, I rolled into Lake Fairfax Park in Reston. As I alluded to earlier, today was a much different day since the last time I raced here. The morning was a little crisp but the sky was clear and the fog was lifting. The early Christmas gift of six inches of snow I had prayed for did not come true, not even a little rain. Guess I am on Santa’s naughty list.....
I had left all hope of a decent starting point back home in a notebook entitled "2011 Cross Lessons Learned"...that early season points will get me a good spot next year. So I signed in and got my back side of the pack number, 360. After a quick pinning of the number I once again forwent the warm-up lap, figuring the excellent video from cxhairs.com would suffice. I did walk over to the illustrious "Chute" to see what all of the humbug was about. My timing was impeccable; the CAT4 race had just begun. I stood there and watched as they road down with ease, so I was not too concerned about my race.
I made it back to the truck, hopped on the trainer. Yes, imagine that, I do at least some type of warm-up. After wearing far too many articles of clothing at Ed Sander, I decided to go sans arm and leg warmers. Good decision on my part. Made my way down to the start finish and began to stage. I ran into most of my nemeses and victims and was reminded that my jersey not only had my number but also a bull-eye on the back.
The race started and we were off. The first part of the course was fairly easy to negotiate, after three months of racing, the skill level of the pack had greatly increased. Very few were getting tied up in the tape and most handled the curves. Up and over the barriers, I had Dave Tambeaux in sight and Knight Elsberry right behind me. The front of the field was already gone; I figured the normal Jon Hicks crew was leading the way. We crossed back to the south side of the course over the bridge and to the run up. The only odd part of the race so far, is that Dave, Knight and I had passed four of five riders that seem to have already sat up. Odd, why were they not racing? Why such a passive stance? Up and over the hill, paced by a violinist, the next obstacle was going to be "The Chute" followed by a pretty decent mud section. No problem, we jetted down the chute, hit the mud and powered on. The only place that I had an issue was on the far side of the race, there was a pretty significant climb, and the first two times were simple but the third a little more challenging.
The third lap, which I was hoping was the penultimate, actually became the middle lap. When we started, I was hoping for four laps but the race was going to be five. We came to "my" problem area again and while climbing, I lost contact and put a foot down, giving Knight no room. Sorry, wasn't on purpose. We both dismounted, he took the lead and it was the last time I saw him. I think he actually climbed another 10 spots after passing me.
The fifth lap approached, I was feeling okay, but not great after redlining for the last 4 laps. All went well up till the problem spot; I just dismounted and ran up it giving a Kelly Benefits rider a little advantage. So it came down to a sprint for 39th and 40th. I had enough left to get a jump and hold onto 39th.
Like I said earlier, Knight clawed another 10 positions up for 29th. Gary Moon rocked it to 20th, his kill points has to have climbed to close to 400. Jon Hicks and crew got top honors, giving them the podium and automatic upgrades to CAT 2. I may have maintained enough points to be tied for third in the overall 45+ series. The rest of the results can be found at http://thebikelaneteam.wordpress.com/. It was great to see Doug Owens, Thom Moore, and Adam Austin; all of whom I have battled all year round. Cross season has come to an end for me. I have lots of lessons learned and a plan for next year. I am taking a full week off and then transitioning to road. Jefferson Cup is about 198 training hours away.
Kudos to Bruce Buckley and the Bikelane crew who setup this course. Each week the MABRA Series 8 has stepped it up and Capital Cross was no exception. Great job guys, excellent race.