It was definitely fall when Jay and I loaded up the car on Saturday morning. The air was crisp and the clouds grey as we readied ourselves for the long drive to Canada, aka Duluth, for the Spirit Mtn CX. We picked up my kid bro Zach on the way. He's a total dynamo, picking up on cycling almost the minute he jumped on his Javelin for the first time. Spirit was his second race ever, my 2nd CX of the year.
The course was perfect! I had a ton of fun flyin' through the mud and over the barriers, practicing my skills on each obstacle. The colors of the leaves were electric all around the course, and the sun broke through to warm us up and light up the field.
This was only my second cross race this year, but I've already seen such a difference from last year. I did 5 cross races last year on my single speed mtn. bike, with platform pedals and tennis shoes....I finished at the back of the pack every time, but I had so much fun! Sure, I had to stop before each barrier, step off my bike, jump, stop, remount, go....but I loved it. This year, I started the season w/ the Hollywood Cross Clinic and learned from the greatest crossers in the state! Jay (of course), Hard Dog, Margo, Patty Cakes, Vegas, Doug, and Fred were among the teachers at the clinic, breaking the skills down to the core, building us up and over each obstacle. It was just the direction I needed to give me focus on my week days and skills to practice again and again.So, come time for the first barrier of the race, I was off my bike, over, and back on faster than I ever thought I could do. All I focused on during the entire race was my dismount and remount - trying to polish it up each lap. It paid off big time, allowing me to pass 4 riders on the barriers alone! I couldn't believe it! I had such a great time!
I wound up finishing 2nd in the Women's 3/4 to June Sayers (she's so rad!). Holy Crap - The only time I did that last year was when there were only 2 women in the race. I'm still shocked with myself. I got 17th overall in a field of 25, my kid bro got 14th overall (not sure for his cat). Nice job Zach! The course was at the bottom of the mountain, with the perfect amount of climbs and descents, no hike-a-bikes, and a handful of barriers. Unfortunately, there was a spring that ran down the mountain, creating some sloppy-a$$ sections. We were soggy and sloppy by the time we were done, and the bikes needed some major washing. Zach n I cleaned up quick and got back up the mountain to cheer Jay on as he rocked the single speed.
Doug Swanson was so far gone from the start that they probably could have just given him the win right away - it was completely unchallenged. Nice work, Doug!
Jay rode neck n neck w/ Charlie for the entire race, sitting in 4th/5th, as a pair of guys fought hard to find Doug. The third place rider cracked hard and Jay n Charlie gained on him within just a lap or so. When they took 'em over, he jumped on their tail, hanging on and recovering until the finish. Little good did it do him, though, as Hwood kicked it up another notch, beating him to the finish on his SS. Jay finished 4th overall, and 1st in the 35+. Nice job, baby! You were great! Next up....Boom Island!
Crossin' and Lovin'