by Brian Bressler
I shot out of bed while it was still dark. Drove 1.5 hours to the course. Hundreds of crazy deprived CXers were everywhere and parking was impossible. I warmed up on my trainer along the side of the road (where I finally found a place to park) and listened to my adrenaline fueled heart. Checked tire pressure: 27.5psi in front 28.5psi in the rear. Took a lap on the heals of the previous race, dialed in a couple of the corners and made my way to the start. With no points for a call up, everyone queued by bib number. Mine put me in the second to last row. All 69 riders jumped off the line and surged for 20 seconds before a bottleneck mashed us all together, three riders through at a time at a walking pace. Once through, it was elbows out and wide open throttle. The cornering drills and good brakes really paid off as a majority of my passes were made coming into and accelerating out of off-camber corners. Twice, I came in way to hot on a slow turn, washed out the front end and gave myself some grass rash. The barriers were in the middle of a super tight S-bend where it was faster to run through most of it…again lots of passes through the barriers thanks to good running and mounting drills. Once I started lapping slower traffic it was total mayhem. The sprints to the bottleneck sections became even more critical as at least twice I was on the wheel of a nemesis only to end up behind a slower lapped rider going up steep single track.
My legs felt good and powerful. I was passed by only one rider and later passed him back. I had enough juice at the end for a mad uphill charge where I spun out my 42x12 and made one last pass at the line. I came through in 6thplace, 1:31 behind the leader.
I wasn’t as devastated and utterly destroyed as I anticipated. I left too much on the table. Next time I’ll have good call-up, I’ll I dig deeper, accelerate harder and put the pain down. Love it.