After two weeks without cross I was so, so ready to get back on my bike. A whole lot of rain overnight and in the morning had me psyched for some technical messiness. Sure enough, the course was kind of slick and totally jungle cross -- a nice payback for me after the Autobahn at Gloucester.
Unfortunately, with Canton on Sunday and rain covering the doppler, the cross scene pussied out big time. We ended up with a grand total of 10 3/4 men on the start line, which might have been the biggest field of the day. Too bad, since it was a fun course and not pouring rain.
You know who did show up, though? The B Men of the Blogosphere (look for our calendar next spring!). So, I got to throw down against a bunch of e-quaintances without pack fodder in the way... good times.
I used my awesome start skills to get a 3rd row spot, truly a feat when 10 people are on the line. Zank took it out fast, but some lucky moves in the sand pit got me into the top 5 before the train left the station, and when the caboose fell off I went around to hang on in 4th.
Josh went to front and roadied it up, which is to say rode really fast and then crashed. So that put him back in 3rd. Mike and Ronnie were starting to look like they were taking off so I went around Josh and came sprinting through after one lap to get back with Ronnie and Mike, just in time to turn into a vicious headwind and be grateful that I'm a dirty wheelsucker.
The second lap was kind of relaxed, I don't think anyone really wanted to do any work since we were all at the front and we had a long way to go. Josh caught back on also, but then next thing I know I hear him go "uggggggghfffffffffffff" behind me and we're back down to 3.
After 2 laps I Ronnie was giving Mike a little too much space for my liking, so I tried to get up to Mike's wheel and predictably overdid it, pulling through just enough to get to lead into the headwind. So I rode slowly into it, like a true wussbag mountain biker, thinking skinny thoughts.
On the sandpit I had the best sand ride of my life, I don't even know what happened but it was about twice as fast as my usual thrash-fest. I looked back and saw Zank was gapped so I decided there was no point in coming back easily so I put my head down and got my jungle cross on. It was a great course for me, climbs, corners, singletrack and some good recovery sections, and when I hit the runup at the end of the lap someone said to me "no one in sight."
I wasn't expecting that kind of gap, and I did hear them cheering for someone else shortly after -- but I was shifting into holy-crap-I'm-can-win-this adrenaline mode. So I solo'ed four more solid laps and brought home the big bad Bloggers-at-Danielson crown.
My last lap was marred by Feltslave's season-ending barrier crash, sadly, I came though the barriers-in-the-shed and I saw a guy sitting there with an official, then I heard him say "I need to lie down" and saw his kit and as I was riding away I slowly figured out that Matt might have gone down pretty hard. By the time I was at the runup for the last time I could already hear sirens, and soon after they were driving out into the woods after him. Definitely a sad reminder of how easy it is to make a small mistake and get really hurt on a bike. I know I'll be jumping extra high on barriers all season now.
I ended up scoring some Pedro's degreaser and 12 GU's for the win, not a bad deal given the abysmal turnout. Everyone else headed to Canton for the big show Sunday, while I headed west to Vermont to meet the NY crowd...
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