A full weekend of CX, two days in Tulsa and one in KC.
Friday: Ruts 'n' Guts
Friday night was a dusty, bumpy, dark affair. I started out fairly well sitting pretty good in the first few riders. The main "barrier" on this course was constructed by stealing flat rocks from a nearby rock wall and piling them across the course. It was a single barrier so all the riders at the front were hopping it. Let's just say I don't bunny hop well and I don't practice it. Somehow I got over the wall the first lap and unfortunately convinced myself I should continue to hop it. Second time through...game over, express elevator to Hell going down, total endo. In the process I managed to take out Shadd and almost Andrew too. Needless to say, that kind of jacked things up for the rest of the race. I nursed a crushed carbon wheel through the rest of the race and tried to make the best of it. I was able to continue at a fair pace but struggled seeing in some of the darker parts of the course. Guess i need some prescription Oakleys. I rode most of the race trailing a small group with no one behind me. Finished up 8th, probably 30 seconds or so behind the group going for 2nd-6th. Brian Fawley took the win solo. Shadd rallied from me crashing him and beat all the chasers for 2nd. Teammate Bill Marshall finished in the money at 16th.
Saturday: New Cross on the Block
This was a totally different race than Friday. It was completely wide open grass and gravel. There were a couple of relatively short uphill sections and one steep run-up. For me the feature was the temperature--85+ degrees. I don't dig the heat. At least they allowed water handups on the uphill, small favors. The field was about half the size, but the top 8 from Friday were there, minus Shadd.
I started a little less effectively and was probably between 10-15 back for the first half of the first lap. Brian Fawley wasted no time getting a gap, and a chase group started to form behind him. Initially, the group was small, 3-4 riders. But, everyone was looking at each other and we were going pretty slow. Several riders came back to the group over the next lap or so. Finally, Andrew Coe applied some pressure and the group started to fracture. Andrew got a small gap and then Johnny Sundt crossed to him. No chase seemed to be developing so I made my own bid to cross the gap. I towed a couple of riders with me, but when they refused to share the work, I upped it again and crossed solo to Andrew.
As I caught him, Andrew said he was hurting and let me by. I built a few seconds gap but then lost it sliding out in a corner. He was back on my wheel for a while but ultimately faded back. He was having cramping issues and had a rough day. From here, Fawley, Sundt, and I were fairly evenly spaced and seemed to be going about the same speed. Things stayed like that the rest of race and I rolled in for 3rd. There was a battle behind, which KCCX came out on the losing side of due to ill-timed punctures. Tom fell from 4th to 6th, and Bill fell from 8th to 10th. Will Gault, teammate living in Tulsa (and our gracious host Friday night) finished 8th on the day.
Anyone got a camel-toe filter for Photoshop, WTF?!
Sunday: Boulevard Cup
After driving home Saturday night, it was catch a few Zzzzs and get up to do it again out at Wyandotte County Park. KCCX/Verge had some fresh soldiers with Shadd and Luke Lininger lining up. It was a strong local field with the addition of the Nebraska crew. The course had some familiar elements from past years as well as some new challenges. On the whole it probably rewarded fitness over technical ability, but of course required both.
Bill set the pace off the start line and I slotted in about five back. Mark Savery from Nebraska set a blistering pace on the first lap and split the group. First Shadd, then me, grabbed Mark's wheel and waited to see how things would develop. Mark started to fade and Shadd took over at the head of the race. After he got a few seconds I punched it up to him and it was just the two of us. Shadd set a fast pace for a most of a lap and our gap started to grow. We settled into a good steady rhythm and watched for a response from behind.
Over the next few laps we slowly grew the gap to the chase. Smooth and steady was the recipe for the remainder and we rolled home with a sizable advantage over Brian Jensen who beat out Mark and Matt from Nebraska for 3rd. Ultimately, Shadd and I crossed the line simultaneously for a tie. Tom didn't finish due to a knee issue and Luke had mechanical issues. Bill gutted it out and finished up in the top 10.
Post-Boulevard, I had Guts 2.0 as something evil took up residence in my intestines. So for dinner, I enjoyed an appetizer of an artichoke followed by Pepto for the main course. As I write this I am impatiently waiting for the pink stuff to do it's thing.