Monday, September 12, 2011

Race 2: Cedar Hill State Park

Race: Cedar Hill State Park
Date: 9-11-11
Finish: 3rd
Previous Finish: 12th

I had a game plan going into this race. This race had a mile long start, which quite honestly had me worried just a little. I have never been a great sprinter and this was going to be a loooong sprint. So after seeing the start in person saturday morning, I altered my plan just a tad. My new plan was to ride hard enough to stay in the top five as we headed into the woods and back to the jeep road. I knew that if I could do that, then I had a real good shot at a top 5 finish.

Just like LBH, there were 40 guys in my race. I made sure I was on the front line at the start again this race. I wanted to start in the middle but ended starting on the far left. This actually worked better than if I had stayed in the middle. When the whistle blew off I went. Absent from this race was not catching my shorts on the saddle and not clipping in my left foot. So off we went and I was sitting 4th around the first turn. I could have passed for third a couple times but held back for now. Finally I enter the trail and the first turn there is very very loose. I slide a bit but keep hammering. I was right on 3rd place and I could have passed again but held back until we got back on the jeep road to head to bluebonnet prairie.

Once on the jeep road I pass third and keep trucking. First and second were still in sight so I just kept the hammer down. As we entered the downhill switch backs I kept my speed up and rested my legs for the up hill switch backs that were coming up. I started catching 1st and 2nd in the uphill sections and that felt good. By this point I was already catching guys in the flight that started before us so I was having to deal with getting by them already. Fortunately I was able to move past them quickly and cleanly each time. I held third for at least half the race. At the 8/12 split 2 guys in the flight before me took each other out and I avoided that easily as I was prepared for it as I knew that corner was really really soft. Shortly after that 4th place tried to pass me and nearly took us out and I let him know that was pretty crappy of him. I let him go shortly after this and kept on him as best as I could. I was continually catching and passing guys from the earlier flight and that was boosting my confidence a lot.

As we neared the trail head I had 3rd in my sights and was catching him. But as we entered the climbs just past the trail head I was loosing steam and he pulled me a bit. As I entered the finish straight, a guy comes up beside me to pass and in my head I said, ‘OH HELL NO, you are not passing me’, so I dug deep and started to sprint. I started to pull ahead of him and he gave up and I beat him by 30 seconds.

My official finish position was 3rd. Somewhere along the race one of the first two dropped out for one reason or another.

Things that went well: Had another good start. Rode smart and stayed out of trouble. Pushed the entire race, rested when I could and just hammered.
Things I could do better: corners. especially dry loose corners. I was very wary of the conditions and did my best to keep my speed up without going over my head.

All in all I am very happy. I finished 12th at LBH and I finished 3rd here. This race was tough. The last mile or so was mainly climbs and I was able to sprint hard at the finish.

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