This Saturday was Xilinx CX in Longmont. I rode out in the morning with the plan to watch some of my athletes race and get a few laps on the course before the 45+ race at 10:45am.
Got an unexpected call-up on the front row, so today there would be no need to blast through traffic to chase the front of the race. It was a good day for a front-of-the-field start, too. The first part of the course was tricky and narrow and there were lots of opportunities for things to get jammed up. I came off the pavement in 5th or 6th and just followed wheels through the upper portion of the course. By the time we made it to the lower part of the course we had started to gap the rest of the field. Mike Hogan was setting pace with Jeff Hall, David Weber, John Mansell, and probably one or two others. I was riding caboose on this group. Basically, this was a replay of the front of the race last week, minus Rod Yoder and Matt Miller. Coming through the start finish after lap 1 a small gap developed with Jeff Hall and Mike Hogan apparently ready to pull away. I accelerated across the gap and just continued to lay down the power. I think this stretched out our lead and by the end of the lap we had established what appeared to be the front group for the rest of the day. Shortly into the next lap Hogan dropped his chain and Mansell broke his chain in the group behind us. So, things quickly reshuffled and Jeff Hall and I were leading David Weber and Mike Hogan. I never really looked back the rest of the race, I guess I just assumed if we kept pedaling we would hold them off.
Jeff Hall seemed motivated to keep the gap and we traded laps over the remainder of the race. I ended up taking the lead for the last lap and had to start thinking about how to play the end game. We had to deal with a fair amount of lapped rider traffic, which was a little hairy in the technical upper section of the course. We made it through and Hall was still squarely on my wheel as we hit the open part of the course.
The logical assumption was that the race would be won in the last tricky corner before coming on to the pavement for the sprint. I didn't want to leave it to that though. Or, I didn't want Jeff to be fresh when we got there. So as soon as we hit the first big straightaway, I upped the pace. I just kept on the gas hoping to get a small gap and hold it to the end. Somewhere during this section, either the corners, logs, or lapped traffic, I got that gap. At this point it was a drag race and I made sure the gap held. As I hit the barriers a few hundred meteres from the finish, I had about 6-7 seconds. This was plenty and I went clean over the barriers and through the last corner to take the W.