Saturday was the Robidoux Roundup in Krug Park. It was part of the United Dirt Federation series and I raced the XC race. This is a little on the short side compared to what I normally do, in fact, it was the first XC race I've ever done.
Aaron Elwell was there, so I knew who I'd be chasing. It started with a long, paved uphill stretch to string out the field before the singletrack. Otherwise, the entire 7+ miles was tight singletrack. The course was mostly packed dirt without much in the way of rocks or roots. What it was missing in trail obstacles, it made up for in tight turns and steep ups and downs. There was very little trail that would allow you to get into a pedaling rhythm. It was basically all hard accelerations and decelerations. My lower back definitely felt the effort.
Travis led us up the first half of the paved starting hill. I took over for a short stretch and then Aaron powered it up over the top. He went into the singletrack first and immediately started to develop a gap. I was second in with a Nebraska rider hot on my heels. He was not liking that Aaron was riding away and jumped around me. Tom Price was briefly on my wheel, but ended up puncturing and retiring. The Nebraska rider (Ryan Feagon) was unable to close the gap to Aaron and actually started to slow. After 5 or 10 minutes I passed him back and tried to keep Aaron close. Aaron was running about 15-20 seconds in front of me until he stopped with some shifting problems. He sorted it quickly and was more or less on my wheel as we came through at the end of the first lap (of 3). He quickly started to ride away again and developed a 40 second gap over the second lap. The last lap was a little better for me and Aaron only stretched his lead out another 7 seconds. So I finished 47 seconds down on Aaron for the overall and was the first 40-49.
The XC effort is much higher than I am used to from doing the endurance races. I need the work though and I am glad I raced it. Chasing Aaron made sure I worked hard, but I probably wasn't aggressive enough trying to hold his wheel. I may not have been able to stay with him, but I need to work on not being so quick to settle into my own rhythm.
The summer is full of XC races so I'll probably be taking my lumps in them until the endurance stuff ramps back up in August.
On the road, Luke had a good ride at Joe Martin finishing 34th in the overall of the Men 1/2 race. We rode well and improved from day-to-day. Good stuff, especially since he's only a junior!