I have competed in the first 3 Chicago Cross Cup races. So far so good!
I started 93rd out of 100. OUCH. I was in the 13th row, and there was a guy with a cape and Superman outfit in front of me... not a good sign.
Right after the whistle, there was a crash on the left side that I was stuck behind. After that, it was slow going. There were immediately a few 180's that brought people to a walking pace. I tried to get around as many people as possible, but it was a hard battle - especially in a 30 minute race. All in all, I fought myself up to 16th place and bought myself a better start for the next race.
I averaged 234W for the duration of the race, which sort of sucked. I was hoping to be closer to 250-270... but, oh well.
I started in the 4-ish row for this race. No guy in a cape in front of me this time! I completely missed my pedal at the start. As I was fumbling around, trying to get clipped in (and muttering every curse word under the sun), I watched as about 30 riders rolled by me onto the technical twisty course. The traffic was BAD the first lap. My first lap time was 6:36.
I managed to get by the majority of those guys during the lap and had a pretty open course for the next 3 laps, which were all just above 6 minutes each. I continued to pick guys off throughout the race. I passed the guy that was in second with about 1/2 lap to go. The guy that was in first was just a little too far up the course for me to catch. I ended up in 2nd - about 8 second behind the winner.
I averaged 269W for this race, which I was really happy with. My legs felt great and my nutrition was on-point.
I started in the second row this time! I didn't miss my pedal and was in 5th place going onto the course! Sweet! It was a good thing, too, because this course immediately went to an uphill singletrack section that I'm sure would have been hell if you were in the back. I passed one guy before we hit the singletrack, and another 2 guys on the singletrack. I chased up to 2nd place and got around him after the first set of barriers. I caught the leader 3/4 of the way into the first lap, and got him but couldn't lose him.
At this point I was feeling pretty good. Perhaps too good. I made a huge dig going into the uphill singletrack on the second lap hoping to shake my shadow, but he was GLUED to my rear wheel. The dig was costly. I was totally redlined and this guy didn't seem to be phased by it. I stayed in the lead for the majority of the next 2 laps, trying to keep the pace high - railing corners and accelerating on open stretches so he couldn't get by me.
With 1/4 lap to go, he made a really nice attack and got by me on the left. I followed him but didn't think I would have a chance to try and get by him until the "sprint". Did I mention my heart rate was like 190 at this point?... So, calling my effort at the end a sprint might be a stretch...
He was clearly trying to get a gap before the "sprint" and was really pushing his bike in the corners leading up to the finish. In the second to last corner, his bike washed out. I was able to sneak by his carnage and soft-pedaled across the line! We had a 37 second gap on 3rd place.
I average 250W. It seemed a little low but my nutrition was a little wacky for this race.
The day after the race, I was granted my upgrade for CAT 3 in CX. This Sunday I will be running with the 3's! Stay tuned for my report from Carpenter Park.
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