After a weekend off, which I spent training and rebooting mentally I was looking forward to getting back between the tape. I was especially looking forward to the weekend because I convinced Kerry Shields, Emily’s dad, to drive his RV up (Henceforth I will refer to Kerry Shields as Kerm). Bill and Taylor the DCCX promoters allowed us to stay in the RV at the venue last year and it worked out well so I was looking forward to the same thing this year.
Doug flew in from Seattle on Thursday and we all convened at the venue on Friday afternoon. Kerm and I got out for a bike path spin through Rock Creek Park, into Potomac park, past the National Monument, the Capital, and the White House. That was my first time in and around the Pennsylvania Ave section and it was nice to check up on the things we gracious taxpayers afford the politicians of the great US of A.
A friend of Kerry’s, and DC local, invited us over for dinner, which was nice because we were already bored of venue life within the first couple hours. I managed to walk through his screen door and knock it off the tracks, broke a wine glass in the process, and clobbered another unsuspecting guest with the screen door in the process. After thoroughly making an ass out of myself we all gathered by a patio fire eating dinner and I sat there hoping that was not an indication of my luck for the racing ahead.
RV life is great. It is almost like making every race a home race, they do say “home is where you park it.” I got on course for some practice laps and tire selection on the dusty course. I tried the Donnelly LAS and the MXP, which I ran at higher and lower pressure. I settled on the Donnelly MXP at 29 rear and 26 front. The dust was deep in some sections and while the file tread was adequate I wanted to have some tread on top to give some extra protection against blind roots and small rocks. Also, the tread was biting in on some of the steep power sections and making me feel more confident in terms of grip.
My plan was to get off the line quick and put the pace at full gas for the first few laps to make the selection. I managed to grab the holeshot and put my plan into action. A group of four riders, Tristan Cowie, Justin Lindine, Anthony Clark, and I, formed at the front and we grew our gap to 25 sections.
For the entire second half of the race, five laps to go, I kept waiting for the pace to lull and I was going to launch but Anthony Clark took to pulling us around until one lap to go. The pace finally lulled after a few shuffles in position. This allowed me to go and put the hammer down. I stretched a 10-second gap and was able to roll across the line. I was followed by a sprint finish for 2nd by Anthony and Tristan Cowie, which is precisely what I wanted to avoid.
In traditional DCCX fashion we had to get our bikes up on the podium…
That evening we went out on the town to celebrate my Dad’s bday, which was Monday. We set out for brick oven pizza but the Saturday night crowd deferred us to plan b, which was tacos! My Dad made a cake for himself and brought it along and we were more than happy to help him put a dent in it.
Sunday was the exact same schedule. I got on course around 2pm and went with the same setup as yesterday. The course was slightly different, running the majority of the sections in reverse and also the addition of some more flowy corners and longer pedaling straights.
My game plan going into day two was to get off the line quick and really push it to try and get away early.
I managed to get the holeshot again and gradually get a gap. By lap three I had 10 seconds and with five laps to go I had 25 seconds or so. Feeling comfortable I sat in for the long haul until I crossed a broken road on the course and caught a sharp edge. I immediately punctured and had to ride the most twisty half of the course with a front flat.
Just as I was approaching the pit entrance the chasing three of Tristan, Justin, and Anthony caught me. I popped in to say hi to Doug, grabbed a fresh Super Jake and latched on to the back of the three.
After settling in for a few laps I was looking for another opportunity to get away. With two laps to go Anthony was setting the pace again but I didn’t want to go to the line in a sprint. I was riding this one steep down hairpin steep up section, which was dusty and not especially grippy. The other boys were running. By riding I wasn’t faster but I didn’t have to run. The barrier section followed this steep uphill and thus I attacked after the barriers hoping their legs were feeling the effects of running up the hill.
I slowly put a little time in and by the time I came through on bell lap I had a comfortable lead. Enough so that I had to give the people what they wanted and I rode the stairs at the end of the lap, which resulted in loud cheers that put I smile on my face. I love Cyclocross!
This wasn’t during the race but just to give you an idea it looked something like this…
Two races and two wins is definitely a boost of confidence going into the last two rounds of the US Cup of CX. I am sitting in 3rd in the overall and I have my sights set on that top step.
Cincy CX is up next weekend and the Day 1 course suits me well, even without rain. I am looking forward to getting back to Harbin Park on Halloween for a few tricks and treats.