Last night I was just thinking that I would really like to get on the podium at a cyclocross race. Any race. Any class. I didn't really think that this would happen until next year. I didn't think that I was in good enough shape to get in a top three of a cross race unless there were only 3 or 4 riders in the field.
Well, there were more than 3 riders racing Master C today at the Veloshop Rickreall Rampage. There were 13, not a huge group by any measurement. But, I finished 3rd. Here is the proof:
Maybe this is no big deal to many of you. But I would just like to post where I was not too long ago. My placement at the Cross Crusade series final in 2005 was 58th out of 66--in BEGINNER class. It was a typical finish for me during my first season racing cross. Basically, I really sucked.
Never before have I been in the top 3 in any athletic event including high school. Never. Not that I haven't tried, it just hadn't happened. So I regardless of the lack of competitors compared to a Cross Crusade race, I am proud of earning a 3rd place at the race today.
I raced hard, got a decent hole shot and managed to be in third place by the end of the first lap. The two guys that took first and second were also first and second into the singletrack on the first lap and managed to escape a slight pile up in there by the guy that had been in front of me. By the time I got out of the forest they were about 50 to 60 yards in front of me. While I never got much further behind the second place guy I never saw the first place guy again. I never gained on the second place guy until the last two laps, but by then it was too late to catch him. If I had only been a bit more aggressive on the first lap before the forest...I had an opportunity to get third then. Had I been one spot higher into the forested singletrack I would have avoided the traffic jam--but whatever--that is small potatoes stuff. 4th place was well over a minute behind me at the finish. The course was really made for a bigger guy like me that doesn't like steep run ups but had decent skills on singletrack and good power.
I am sorry if this is a bit braggish when I didn't even win the race. I know that some, like Kristin don't even say when they win the race! She is more modest than I.
But in the end, I don't care. I got 3rd and you didn't... ;)
Here is one important message for all cyclocrossers: Buy a set of tubular wheels and tires.
While others on clinchers were complaining about losing crowns on their teeth, I was gliding along happily. Maybe not gliding, but it was much better running on 25 to 30 lbs of pressure than 50 or 60. Oh and Tufo tire sealant works well. I got a puncture during the race and it sealed it up and I kept on going. I lost a bit of air. In the end, my rear tire had only 18 pounds of pressure in it when I checked it after the race, but it never lost any more air. Geesh, racing with 18 lbs of pressure in a rear tire and finishing the race without damaging the rim, much less coming in third...amazing! Tubulars and cross go together like peanut butter and jelly. It is easily the best thing I have going for me on my bike this year.
Here are some photos--these were from the next group of racers after my race. Juniors, and B's I think.