I raced Fruitlands Cup of Cyclocross on Saturday. It went very, very badly. Apparently not sleeping, not eating, and not riding for a week and then riding the most physically demanding cross course in New England is not a good plan. I was sad from the gun and got sadder. My major achievement was not dropping out in the hope of "getting open" for Orchard Cross, The Biggest Grassroots Race in New England (tm), the following day.
It kinda sorta worked.
It certainly made me appreciate riding quite a bit better on a quite a bit easier course.
Rumors that Orchard Cross was much more power-oriented than years past proved to be a bit overblown -- I thought it still felt much closer to "balanced" that "disgusting roadie power fest and I hate you guys."
The holeshot was a total downhill sketchfest on tractor ruts. I survived. I might have advanced my position (27th? seriously I am staged 27th in a local 1/2/3 this is what I have become?!?!) a bit in this process, but I was mainly stoked about coming out upright.
Lap one was obviously full blast. I dangled in the generally vicinity of the Kevin Sweeney group, which seemed like a decent place to be. I certainly never got any closer than tailgunning it, though, and I kept electing to not pedal hard and "catch back on in the technical sections" -- so of course after a few laps of this, I didn't really get back on in the tech sections, and you know what, maybe I'll just ride by myself for a while.
I turned a corner in the Orchard on lap 3 to find an apparently dead Doug Thorp lying on his back and an apparently murderous Mike Wissell remounting. So that was great, temporarily.
After half an hour my back stopped working (note: 15 minutes longer than yesterday) which really put a damper in my zest for suffering. Andrew Lysaght closed the ten second gap I had been holding for a few laps and dropped me like a stone. He still has to pay me rent, though.
From there on out I mainly rode around waiting for the race to end, shralping the berm, and coating my rims in mud once a lap in the bike wash runoff just to experience the joy of carbon braking surfaces in the wet.
Entering the final lap it was clear that I could mail it in and maintain my position.
Entering the final time up the runup, though, zombie Doug Thorp was suddenly five seconds behind me, which was really bad news because if he had appeared that rapidly, it meant he was going a lot faster than me and probably hungry for BRAINS.
So then I had to ride my damn face off for the last four minutes of the race to save my brains. Which I just barely did -- holding a gap that was measured in bike lengths and not seconds into the final turn, but no one comes around me after the last turn, so WHATEVER.
Then I talked to Thom about how Orchard Cross is huge and it's super cool.
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