I really enjoy the course at Fair Hill Cross (First State Velo Sport Xross) which is the 6th stop on the MAC calendar this year. Last year was my first time racing there and even though I crashed hard at the start ( last years recap ) I still had one of the best races of my carer. My love for the course is probably due to the fact that the venue suits me pretty well. There are a lot of open sections, really fast whoop section that flow, a few steep stand-up kickers, and ridable barriers.
Strava Jawn: http://www.strava.com/activities/94434381
Mens B 2/3/4 Youtube Race Video:
We got there hella early for the Mens 4/5 race as we gave Bob a ride down.
The start of the Womens 3/4 race had me on edge. They lined them up 9 across, bars were touching bars, and I honestly think I was more scared for the start then they were.
I was told I had to actually write something for the team blog… I hope this is legible!?!
I was lucky enough to get a call-up to the front row based on MAC points and hopped this would keep me out of harm’s way on the start. After the whistle blew I got off the line quick and wanted to sit in and not take the front. I slotted in 3rd behind Sean Pasieka and John Dove and let them set the tempo. After the long start gravel road, the course took a left onto the grass followed by a long sweeping right off-camber turn with a lot of chewed up grass which made it tricky at high-speed. Right before the wooded section Andrew made a move past me which caught me off guard and I ran directly over a large root and hit rim HARD… pinch flatting ran through the brain. Coming out of the woods Sean had a slight gap on us and I jumped past Andrew and John to get back to his wheel.
I sat on his wheel through the tricky off-camber up & downs and through the fast whoop flow-y section. I was feeling good. You then make a tricky left on a off-camber turn then a fast right followed by a fast downhill to a #GETRAD table top where all the kids were heckling. After a few tight/odd turns there were two ridable little logs followed by another quick downhill. They had changed this portion up a bit from the year before and we went through a small mud-bog to into a really tough false flat section of the course. At this point Andrew crushed past both Sean and I and took to the front. We got back on the road section and I sat on Seans wheel pacing myself.
Our group of 5 at the front with Eric K and Bernie right behind me had a solid gap on the field with no one really insight. Everything stayed together until a few turns before the table top when Bernie slid out in a corner which I believe held Eric K up. Game time. Once I saw this I knew we had to put a gap in as those two are very strong riders. Andrew had a small gap on Sean and I by maybe 3 or 4 seconds. As we got back on the start/finish gravel road to start our 3rd lap Sean gave me the ‘Pull Through’ sign. I came through and stood up and put some work in trying to make it up to Andrews wheel/make Sean work to sit in. After a couple turns on the grass I got to Andrew’s wheel and was still feeling like the legs had more. I knew I could ride the flow-y whoops faster than I had been behind other people and made my move to the front right before the semi-technical wooded/dirt section. Coming out of the woods I put in another big effort and tried to make a gap. New game plan, go for broke.
I worked hard that next lap increasing the gap on Andrew as it looked like Sean had fallen back. With 3 to go (even though the announcer kept saying 2) I had a 30+ second gap on the chasing group of 3 and the legs/lungs were in good shape to keep this pace. I kept pushing as hard as I could on straights and about 90% on corners trying to not make a big mistake. Even though I watched the leader of the womens race burp her front on the table top I continued to get rad on the ‘jump’ doing some sweet style airs as to NOT get heckled by my teammates.
With 2 to go I gave a quick look and saw someone else had bridged up to Andrew and Eric but the gap was sizable. All that was running through my head was ‘Don’t mess this up dummy.’ So with that in my head I took even less risks and went a lot slower through any of the tricky sections while still pushing as hard as I could on the straights. After the table top I got distracted by a spectator talking to me, fumbled, then had to get off the bike and run…Fuuuuuuu?!@ I actually said/yelled this then proceeded to apologize for expletive language in front of his child. This rattled me a bit as I had too much going on in my head other than the normal pain and ‘just keep pedaling.’
With one to go I could tell the gap had got cut in half by me playing it safe but I felt I could easily keep it as long as I didn’t do something stupid. The thought of dropping a chain, getting a flat, or some other random mechanical continued to play in my brain. I played it safe over the tabletop the last lap and didn’t #GETRAD. I made my way past some lapped traffic, and made the turn back towards the barriers where I got a glimpse of the chase group. Still good. Only a few corners to go and this is mine… I took those corners more gingerly than I have taken anything in a race, turned onto the gravel section with Larry waving his MAC leaders jersey in my face, took one last look over my shoulder and gave it a little effort to get to the line. I sat up, zipped up the skin-suit and gave a little hands up over the line (I didn’t want to take the hand off too far as the gravel was deep and falling as you win a race would be the absolute pits). I turned around and watched the sprint for 2nd and then it hit me, I finally got a win in a 2/3/4 MAC race. Hell Yah!