Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Look at me, I'm a winner...

...Not at all.

But I got a taste of what it must feel like to be a winner.

Last Saturday was the first race of a two-race series: Willamette Valley Cyclocross. This first race was held at Heiser Farm in Dayton.

If not for a scheduling conflict I would have skipped this race in favor of Sunday's Cross Crusade race at Wilsonville (an awesome race by all descriptions). I'm glad I didn't miss the Heiser Farm race. It was a good course with plenty of fun parts-- a nice looong and deep mud puddle and a smaller mushy bog that defied efforts at control and skewed my bike back and forth threatening to sling me off. (Will Cortez put it zenly: "Let go of the brakes and let the bike find its way.") There were a couple of nice, slippery climbs and, I swear barriers that were waist high.

Oh, about that "winner" part? Well, the fields were very small-- about 10 or so in each one so I was assured a top-10 place. I took 8th. (I note with interest that I finished proportionally in about the same overall position that I usually do, no matter the field size.)

The best part was that I got to lead for a portion of the first lap-- I was in the lead! In front! First! (This is a big deal to a somewhat flabby, desk-bound, wish-I -could-get-out-to-ride-more, ugly-duckling like me!) At the first off-camber turn, the leader washed out and fell over and the guy in second (at the time) almost overshot the turn with a "Fuckin' course!!" Then the guy in 3rd moved up ahead of me and he slid out on the following off-camber short and steep descent. So then for a glorious few minutes the clouds parted and the sun shone down on me. I was in that rarified territory: First Place. I began to have visions of scoring that $20 first lap prime, or even the 6-pack. Unfortunately the clouds of reality closed in again on the first straight stretch and the power-wagons behind me dropped me. Then the demons of the "late-feed" showed up and my stomach decided to remind me of why I shouldn't eat anything within an hour of the race.

It was a fun race though and the organizers did a good job of course design.

Next up: Rainier High School-- Race #2 of the Cross Crusade series. Back in with the teeming masses of racers. I had my shining moment of glory, and maybe I can score a repeat if I line up 45 minutes before race start...

Thanks Will, for the photos. I'll bring my camera to the next race and snap a few (possibly blurry) of you.

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