Sunday, September 07, 2008
Today was the last race of the USAC series and just like the first race, it started off in the mud. But this time it was from rain, not snow. The four laps of the Stony Creek XC course were projected to be fast but the early morning rain through the first two laps changed that.
There were nine in our class, which was surprisingly large given the weather. We took off and I assumed my now normal position in about fourth place, all of us running nose to tail. Once we got to the first section of singletrack I could sense the leader slowing a bit on the greasy conditions. One of the guys in front of me had a chain problem and I assumed third place.
We came out of the single track and the three of us began to pull away from the rest as I attempted to draft in the wet conditions. The large amount of muddy spray from the rider in front of me caused me to back off some to retain some vision.
As we were coming to the second singletrack section I made a move to pass the other two and get there first. I was familiar with the course and felt confident in my abilities to push the pace a little harder. I opened up a small lead and held it into the third and final section of singletrack but the other two caught and passed me shortly before the end of the first lap and I couldn't respond.
Assuming that one of those two would take the win, I could relax and cruise through the rest of the race, knowing that I had the series won based on points. I stayed in third for the next three laps and ended up with a really nice mirrored plaque for the series, a state championship medal, and a free entry to the sold out Iceman race in November.
As a bonus, the local cider mills opened this weekend and the drive home from the race had me pass by two of them. I stopped in and treated myself to two fresh doughnuts and also picked up a half gallon of cider.
There are a few more races around the state, including Addison Oaks where I am one of the trail coordinators. I'm not sure if I will race it but maybe I'll try something different at that race just for fun. The cyclocross season starts up next weekend and I may race one or two of these events. It's been a few years since I've done one. And of course we have the Lake Orion High School race next month and then Iceman on November 10th.