So yeah! MRC overcame the 36-degree rainfest at their mediocre venue to summon up blue sky, 60 degrees, and a sweet new race location. Say it with me... CLOSE TO BOSTON = PROMOTER SUCCESS. Lancaster was a 45 minute drive for a lot of people and around 350 cross racers showed up. Awesome.
Even more awesome was everyone fast driving to 6 hours to Granogue when this was in their backyard. This race became the ultimate Cat 2 redemption event after 4 straight weekends of us getting beat on by Cat 1's and pros (not that there's anything wrong with that...Mid A, I'm lookin' at you). There was literally only one sub-35 Cat 1 in the race, Phil Wong. And then a bunch of 35+ Cat 1's, but we all know those guys are slow, I mean, have you seen their races? *
We staged by the best thing in the world (crossresults.com points) and I got second row, but with Manny separating his shoulder there was an open spot on the front row. I didn't roll into it, but I did have a clear shot at open space from the gun, which I converted into second wheel behind Phil in the holeshot.
And that was that.
Phil can't really corner, but he puts out about 4000 watts every time the course is straight. The course was twisty as hell which almost meant I could stay with him -- so I spent lap one chasing back onto his wheel under braking, and when I finally checked where everyone else was... they were GONE.
Alright, so all I gotta do is hang on as long as possible and then roll in for second, my brain said.
So two minutes later, the fatigue of riding 105% of race pace caught up and I STACKED. IT. HARD. Check out the end of the video. I hit the ground and was in immediate panic mode, mainly because I assuming the crash had broken one of my Rival shifters (note to self, stop running SRAM). But no, my bike still worked, and I still had 10 seconds, so it's time to toughen up and try to hold it for 55 minutes!
After 30 minutes of very legitimate "holding it," everyone was gone except Curtis Boivin, who was slowly clawing his way up to me from a back row start. Curtis is still my favorite dude in the world for jumping on a 24-hour team with me on short notice so I figured I would let him catch me. Then I figured I would ride a few laps on the limit drafting him, because he's better than me. I'm a nice guy like that.
But despite his clear superiority, I was still in contact with one lap to go, which meant it was TACTICAL RACING TIME. And immediately Curtis sat up, and I had to lead.
I was perplexed by this, because this meant I could ride at 95% instead of DYING%, which meant I was recovering, which meant I was gonna roast this old man in the sprint.
I figured he was gonna make a move on the road after the flyover (side note: awesome) and lead out the sprint. I knew it was in the bag since 1) I might hold him off on the road and 2) I can totally win a sprint, on gravel, around a corner, from second wheel, anyway. You're screwed, old man!
Then he passed me in a spot that was totally not fair (right before the flyover), we went two-abreast up the flyover, he took the lead, and I promptly got way too gapped coming into the final turn, because bike racing is always harder than you think it's going to be.
We hit the gravel road and I was at least five bike lengths back, and my attempts to "light it up" did nothing except cause my back wheel to slide around disconcertingly. By the time we hit the 40-yard straightaway I was closing on him... about a month too late. He sat up, I went ripping past after the line (of course) and then coasted off into the grass, lay down, and tried to choke on my tongue for a while.
* (tongue firmly in cheek on this one)