This year, I went into the race a little worried about my fitness as I had not raced since 11/9 due to some travel/work stuff and no local races the weekend prior. Cyclocross is very much about participation, it is very hard to mimic the demands of the event in training (mostly because it hurts too much!) so with 20 days between races I knew I might need to reset my "governor" with a solid set of openers Friday and a very dynamic and aggressive warm up Saturday.
I got to the site 2 hours pre-race and did my normal WU routine with a couple of laps on the mostly frozen course and then some hard efforts on the trainer. The "sensations" were good...I thought.
I got my normal front row call up for being top 10 in Verge points and knew a good start would be important before the BIG run up about 400 meters into the race. Normally my start skills are all A game, but today I slipped the pedal and dropped about 5 wheels back around the cinder track (that was now full on mud from the sun warming things up). i hit the run up behind Mark Mc., Stotz and John Mosher. About 6th wheel. But immediately felt "off". I was kicking the pedals and I think I even did a double tap remount on lap 1. I was suffering at a 9+ out of 10 level, but moving at a 7 out of 10 level....
For the next 3-4 laps I rode 3-8 seconds back of Mark Mc (Stotz was gone and having a great ride!) and even when Kevin Hines went by me I could not stay on his wheel...I was going to have to fight for this position.
I never did catch Mark and with 2 to go he PUNCHED and passed like 3 fading riders.
I would solo in for 8th place about 10 seconds up on my teammate Stephan.
Based on how the day "felt" I will take it. This will solidify my position for the last 2 Verge races in Rhode Island next weekend.
Below are a few pics thanks to my athlete David Lundin:
The Steep and slippery run up.
the fast, icy right-hander at the bottom of the hill.