It wasn’t really a cross race but it counted for cross BAR points … Krugar’s Kermesse. It’s a dirt crit — no dismounts — on farm roads. Think of field access roads. Think of bumpy ground. Think of loose corners. Think of 5:00 laps.
The 35+ A field was pretty small with only a baker’s dozen lining up for the start. The A men went off before us and the SS and A women went off after us.
Everyone got a front row start and I was almost the hole shot but felt content to let a couple of guys set the pace early. Ron Babcock from Portland Velo stayed at the front for a long time. He actually was at the front for most of the race. He finished first as well. He’s rather strong. Anyway, I settled in around 3-4th wheel. This is a training race and as such, I was just going to see what happened. My legs felt pretty good early so I made moves to cover gaps but stayed out of the wind.
On the first lap, I took out a guy’s wheel in a corner. I feel bad for him but he was pulling a rookie crit faux pas. He dove down to take the inside of the corner and I just came down through the apex. Bam. He’s down. On the first lap of a cross race, you don’t go diving into loose sharp corners. You just might hit the deck if you do.
Ron put the hurt on the field early but after a few laps, things seemed to settle down a bit. I was staying frosty and keeping close to the front. Toward the middle of the race, my teammate Bill decided to mix things up and pushed the pace some. I was hurting pretty good and it was at this point I figured it was time to dial it back and ride with the caboose. I took a look and found I was the end of the front group. Uh oh. I was committed.
We eventually picked up a couple of A riders for a total of six (4 masters, 2 As). Ron pushed the pace while his teammate and Bill took some turns at the front. Just before we took two to go, there was a pileup. The first man though (A racer) was okay but the next four went down. I got by with lost momentum but was still upright. I hoped I could keep the gap — maybe catch the A that made it through. By the time I bridged up, Ron and Bill were back on my wheel. I let them through and tried to hang on. I was dangling at the bell but managed to pull it together to stay with them most of the final lap. I finished a couple seconds behind them for third place.
I understand that if I’m hurting, then everyone else must be as well. But I’m pretty positive that Bill and Ron weren’t suffereing quite as much as I was.
Oh, and a typical cross race has lots of transitions that slows things and keeps the pace a little slower overall. Well, this race was balls out 100% start to finish. Nary a hill on the course. And it was bumpy. My hands are a mess. I’ve got blisters and a cramp in my date hand.
But pretty solid for a first race.
Edit: The photo has Bill in front, Ron next, other PV rider third, and me hanging on to fourth.