Rain overnight was not heavy and the wind picked up to at least give hope to decent trail conditions for today's race at Addison Oaks. I am fortunate that the race is only about 15 minutes away by car so I could sit home for a while instead of driving a few hours to get to the race. It also meant I had a good idea of the weather and how it had affected the trail.
I arrived while the Elites and Experts were out on the course and they didn't look particularly muddy coming around on each lap. Talking to a couple of them afterward though got mixed opinions, from tacky to slick and some said each lap was getting worse. I changed and did a little preride to check it out for myself. It seemed dry to me, at least the part I rode.
Staging at the start line I surveyed the number of guys in my group and counted nine. That meant to win the MMBA CPS series all I had to do was finish, no matter who won. I had enough spares back in my car to make sure I could almost rebuild the entire bike if I had to to make sure I would cross the finish line. My strategy went from winning to not doing anything stupid.
Three of went off the front together at the start, not really pushing the pace and actually joking with each other as to who would take the lead out. I ended up in the front up the hill into the singletrack with the other two right behind me. After about a half a lap I slowed a little and let the other two go by, no sense pushing it. Later in the lap I passed the second place guy and it stayed that way for the rest of the race. I ended up about 50 seconds behind first and about a minute in front of third. That stopped my consecutive CPS wins at seven. I was also about a minute and a half slower per lap this year than last.
The racing age groups puts those 50+ in a hard situation. The current structure has Experts at 40+ and most of above 50 do not want to race against someone 10 year or more younger than ourselves. Plus we no longer want to dedicate the time required to be competitive with the longer distance of the Experts. The Sport group becomes the resting place for a lot of older racers that may have been Experts when younger. This in turn causes some frustration for other racers moving out of Beginner into Sport or the older Sport racers who find it difficult to race against former Experts.
A couple of weeks ago I approached the CPS committee about adding a 50+ Expert class but at a reduced distance. Many other race series reduce the distance for the older age groups. In fact, at the World Master's Championship the time for those 50+ is only about one hour. I checked with those on the starting line today and a lot of them thought the idea was a good one. I also talked to the CPS committee chairman today and the committee seems to think it makes sense and will be discussing it further. Maybe next year I will be racing earlier in the day.