Thursday, December 01, 2005

Reston Cross

Capital 'Cross Classic

Lake Fairfax Park
Reston, VA

My very first 'cross race was at Reston two year ago. It's always a fun course & a hard race...and that's just what I was looking for last weekend.

I like courses that emphasize bike handling ability.
There were a few technical sections mixed in with some longer power stretches.
I could have used another dismount, but I can’t complain about the course.
It was fast and flowed, but was not easy, and most definitely not a grass crit.

I did a few recon laps and practiced the trickier turns over and over. I got them pretty well dialed in and felt confident about my lines and speed.

I got a good spot in the scrum and started the race pretty well. After a few turns I found myself at the front of the group that had not made the front of the race. The gap wasn’t much and I thought about burying myself to get on the tail of the lead group, but that would have blown me up pretty quickly.

Instead I rode my own pace, pretty much at my sustainable limit, and let a handful of guys go as they jumped to bridge the gap. The first technical section strung out the field and opened more gaps.

For the next few laps I kept the effort steady and held my position, just behind a couple of guys and just in front of Dave Fahnestock and Wayne Scott. I tried to keep my focus in front of me and eventually I caught up to Montana Norvell as we headed up the road to finish a lap.

When we hit the grass I passed him and just tried to up the pace a little. I got a little gap and once we hit the next technical section it opened up even more as I focused on riding cleanly through the slick stuff.

That was the story of the rest of the race. Each lap I tried to go just a little bit harder on the power sections and kept it smooth in the technical sections. I was hurting, but my confidence was growing as I seemed to be getting stronger as the race progressed.

Starting the last lap I was getting closer to my teammate Dusty Labarr. With encouragement from Georgia Gould…who was yelling at me to catch Dusty and make him suffer 8-) I finally closed the gap just before the short & steep little muddy rise. When we hit the road I started sprinting and we went shoulder to shoulder all the way to the line. It was close, but I got him by just inches.

While it was only for 19th place it was still a lot of fun and good racing. As I’ve said before one of the beauties of ‘cross is that no matter where you are in the field you’re still doing some pretty intense racing. The encouraging thing that I took away from Reston was that I got stronger late in the race. Normally I start strong and just try to hang on, but on Sunday I saved just a little bit for the last few laps.

So that’s two 19th places in MAC races this season. Next year the plan is to do all the MAC races in order to score some early points and get call-up’s. I like the scrum and all, but it makes it a lot harder to get clear of the fray and get a result.

This weekend is the Fair Hill double. I’m looking forward to the races, but my real focus is the following weekend at Nationals. At Fair Hill I’ll look to get in a couple of solid rides, but not go too deep. I want to make sure that I get fully recovered and am fresh for Providence.

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