I raced at the Sherwood Forrest Equestrian Center on Sunday. It was the third Cross Crusade series race and it was very hard. Not only was there a big hill, but the course followed horse trails — which means lots of bumps from hoof indentations when the ground was soft. About the only smooth part of the course was the partially graveled climb to the top of the course which was deja vu from Ranier last week.
This week I staged at the back of the pack which is more appropriate to my current abilities. On the start, I was able to move up some places through the off camber turns but then I didn’t have much to answer with through the middle of the course. Then the hill pretty much finished me off. I might have been dead last after a lap.
Actually, I probably wasn’t last since it seemed like a couple of people passed me on the second lap. I managed to sort of race with a few people through those early laps and made a couple of passes. I saw plenty of guys on the side of the course with mechanical problems so the course took a heavy toll. The ironic thing is that I’m not counting how many guys are in front of me so dudes dropping out for mechanicals don’t help my estimation of my results. I look at how many finishers there were between me and last place. The more, the merrier. A whole stack of DNFs after the last finisher don’t mean jack to me.
I went back and forth with David Klipper Hart a couple of times. He’d get me on the hill and then I’d catch up and then eventually pass him in the middle section. After a few laps of this, I was able to stay ahead of him up the hill and distance him through the technical sections.
Each lap jackhammered my arms and back and the hill was a culminating insult to my lumbar region. Ouch, ouch, and ouch. On the plus side, my handling is okay though there are some spots know I need to work on. My fitness is a big sucking pit of despair and I can only do so much about that. At least I didn’t have any thoughts about abandoning the race. And Molly Cameron mercifully lapped me (for the second time) a minute or so prior to the finish line, thus denying me the “pleasure” of an extra lap.
Let me just say that these races are humbling. I knew I wasn’t going to be in the front but I had expected to be somewhat further up the field that I am. It’s still fun to get out and race and see all the cool cats in my race and hang with the team.