Buffs and Barriers
After a week off of racing to play swim coach, I was back at it this weekend. With the big news of the ACA/USAC merger hanging in the air, Breeze, myself and a surprising number of people rolled over to the CU Research Park for the USAC Buffs and Barriers Race. Although Breeze's race and some of the senior cats were lightly attended, the open races were pretty full of people trying to earn some more ranking points for Nationals.
The course at the Research Park was short, twisty and very mountain bikey. There were 2-3 dismounts per lap and large rocks strewn about the course. We lined up in a field of nearly 30. I do love that USAC races are lining us up not on points, but on the time we registered. Fair, no, not at all, but I got a first row start! Life is indeed better in the first row. I had free coffee, massage and a head start. Not quite, but it is a heck of lot easier from up there and as we hit what was a pretty single track course, I was top 10. It was a good day out there. My usual competitors were there and as they have been most of the season, Ariel and Brian got a gap early. Brian Hludinski put in a stellar 2nd lap and was off. I guess not putting on 5 races a year suits this guy, go figure. In true former BMX style, Ariel challenged for the 1 lap lead and despite turtling in the dirt held me off and took 10th.
It was a solid race for me. No time on the dirt and only a few tactical issues. I was great on the loose dirt turns and awesome in the grass and mud. My power riding felt like it was back. I have to thank Martha and her RallySport yoga classes. It will be amazing for some to hear, but my cycling needs those restorative yoga classes and since getting back in there, I have felt like a changed man. I took 13th. It was a good field so i am anxious to see if it gives me some points. Breeze also won the 3/4 race and I scored a sweet gift certificate to Great Clips!!!
Sunday's race down in Castle Rock was a Coloado Cross Cup race, so many from the bubble headed down to South Parker. Krughoff, Weber and Dubba chose to be elitist and take the BCS Sprinter down so lesser crossers like myself and Josh Whitney got together to carpool as well. We were searching for the Sprinter on the way down I-25 with a goal of crashing it out, but alas, no luck. Josh and I got to the venue nice and early and got out on the course for a few laps. It seemed like a fun course and despite the ONE mud puddle that sent me to the car wash with my bikes later, it was a dry course. Josh and I hit the trainers and watch a rather surprising number of open men roll in. We were to start with nearly 40 in the field. Not huge, but solid for a race a bit to the south.
As we lined up, it was apparent that I needed to get me some ACA points. This 4th row call up at a local race was killing me. I have had better call ups in the UCI races and after Saturday's front row start I was a bit bummed. The start was up a long road climb of probably 300 meters. The pace off the gun was mild and I think many were worried about really burying themselves on the climb. I should have pinned it and made up some ground but instead I hit the dirt in about 26th or so. We then plunged down a dirt path that in places was wide enough for one, a quick left and then into a chicane section. We were strung out immediately and with one bobble by someone in around 10th in the chicane, the front group was gone.
I rode smart through the first couple laps and then, as I started to loosen up from yesterday, I hit the gas. I was hot on the heels of Ryan Padilla and Garret Suydam as they sliced through the field. Every lap we were moving up and by the time there were 4 to go we were in 16th, 17th and 18th. I could see Doug and Aaron behind me and they were holding even about 15 seconds back so we had to stay on it. As we caught another rider, Ryan and Garret hit it hard and I was gaped. To make it worse it was right by a part of the course I had been struggling with and they were gone. I rode hard through the end and managed a 16th place finish. The win went to Dubba with Allen and Chris Case filling out the podium. Plains to Peak's Spencer Powlison took a well earned 4th and Weber was 5th. My car mate Josh Whitney was about a minute up on me in 13th. A good bit of that minute was on the first two laps, but at least now I will have a call up. It won't be a great one, but 3rd row will be better than 4th.