First, it was my last race of the year. Meaning, I probably won't see some of the folks I see at cx races for a while. Second, I was really curious about the course at Dretzka Park (it is anew venue). Third, it was only 15 minutes from my front door.
Thankfully, Mike, Heidi, and the Magnus crew set up a two-tent and trailer heated wonderland. Sure, you could still see your breath, but it made warming up and hanging out actually possible. I am very thankful for that tent. Even with that tent I ended up with some frost bite from the day. The tips of a few fingers are still numb. It was cold. It was beer-turning-to-ice-in-the-spout-of-the-bottle-while-you-drink-it cold.
I've got clothes that allow me to ride outside quite comfortably at such temperatures, but cx is different than just riding. In cx, feeling the bike is very important because of all the technical handling. I don't know of a glove that gives the feel needed for cx that can keep hands warm in such temps. Other than my hands I was good though. I had a nice warm-up in the tent. And, this course suited me and I think it was well thought out.
It had long straights, a good hill climb, off camber hill turns, a longish sandpit, well-thought out barrier placement, and perhaps the best thing that a lot of course designers forget--it had about 6 back to back short 180 turns. These turns were technically difficult and more importantly, they offered a place to catch your breath so you could really lay it out the rest of the course. Combine all that with frozen grass and you got a fun course on your hands.
I had a great start and was next to Tyson in the first sweeping turn. I conceded the first corner to him because I knew he was going to win the race. I stayed on his wheel for a bit, than got passed by Al and Angry Andy. I slid out in a corner and gave up some time to them but could still see them. Eventually, Mark passed me, but I worked back up to Andy. We wen't back and forth for a while. We both had different strengths on the course. It was lots of fun. Then Andy, somehow, found moisture on the course. He got dirt in his cleat and it froze solid. He couldn't clip in anymore. I think I could have gotten him anyway, but after that he didn't have a chance. That stunk because we were having fun going back and forth.
I finished 4th in our race and apparently 3rd for the 35+ 1,2s. Coming in 3rd for my category brought me one of the more unusual prize packs I have received.
That's a Timex woman's watch, a pack of blister pads, embrocation (my second this year and enough for 4 years), and a non-resealable bag of Gatorade mix that makes 6 gallons of drink. I love it when bike shops clean out their inventory and it becomes prizes. If anybody wants the watch or the embro, let me know. I actually will get some blisters when I start trail running in the spring, and I'll find a way to store the drink mix.
So, the season is done. My consistent upper end mediocrity secured a 3rd place finish for the overall series. that wasn't a goal, just nice happenstance. I felt better this year than I thought I was going to. I got on the podium, had 5 top 5 finishes, and 9 top 9 finishes.
Thanks for reading about the season. It's time for fat bikes and skis!