Front page! Now that's a good way to start the 2008 race season! Flying the colors of the new team, on the front page of todays Vail Daily!
This weekend was the beginning race of the season, for me at least, and oddly enough it was a series of cross races out in Eagle. Sounds good to me, nothing like jump-starting the season with the violent efforts of cyclocross! And bonus, it's pretty close to Harry and Danielle's house, so it was a good excuse to visit. Sadly, Jessica couldn't come, but Neo and I hopped in the car and pointed it West on Friday evening. Hoping for decent weather and driving. The weather turned out "fine"; I classify it as fine, anytime the pass isn't completely closed.
Saturday's race was in Eagle, so in the morning, me, Harry, and the dogs rolled out to the race. It was Harry's first cross race, and it's always fun introducing people to cross-spectating. It's generally way more fun to watch than your typical road race, especially for newbies.
Up first was the 35+ race, another first for me, racing in the "old-man's category". I only got one slow lap in, to check out the course, and make sure I had decent gearing, since it was pretty sloppy. Plus, I figured I'd warm up in that race. I didn't know how competitive I would be running the single speed. Before I knew it, I was cranking through the (admittedly small)field. And I ended up in second. I seemed faster then the leader, in just about every sector of the course, except the long downhill paved section. There, I was definitely handicapped by the gearing. And I was pushing hard, but not maxing it, knowing I was going to race immediately after this one. So I finished up 2nd.
The course was fun. There was a long back-and-forth section that was cut out right through nearly 2 feet of snow. Followed immediately by a looooong run through the snow. As the promoter loved to point out, it was payback for the sand run at the Boulder Reservoir course. I think he won that argument... It was an absolutely gorgeous day! The weather was perfect! The only problem was the nice weather was making the course muddier and muddier lap after lap.
15 minutes after the finish of the 35+ race I was back on the line for the start of the single speed race. It turned out to be just me and one other guy. We started about a minute behind the Cat4s and I was quickly winding my way through them. With the way the course cut through the snow, it was tough to pass, so I was slowed a good bit. Before I knew it, I was up into 3rd in the Cat4s. It wasn't far, but I didn't press the issue to get up to the leaders. Plus, I was just plain starting to feel the back to back efforts. So easily won the single speed category. Check out the sweet bridge on the course!
By the beginning of the second race, Harry had caught on and was turning into a super-fan. He had even tracked down the free beer supplied by Oskar Blues!
It was definitely muddy by the end of the singlespeed race, and it was turning into quite some work pushing that gear through the slippery mud. But at least it was "mountain mud"... way better than "front range peanut butter mud"!
The rest of Saturday was a good time chillin' with Harry and Danielle. We even checked out the sweet new property they are hoping to buy. Festivities didn't get too out of hand, since I am a loser, and was planning on racing Sunday as well. It was cooler on Sunday, but somehow the weather was holding and it was still pretty nice. I rolled up to the race start, and literally got out of the car (1.5hrs before my scheduled race), to hear them saying that the "only pro guy" was just finishing up with the Cat3's. They had moved some categories up, due to low numbers. Including the pros, even though I had signed up for the Open race the day before. No worries, they were super cool, and when Jake had agreed to jump in again to race me, it was all good. Other than the total lack of warm-up, and losing 1.5hrs of digesting my lunch. But that was cool of the official and Larry hung out to run the race, with just the two of us, both on single speeds no less. There was some back and forth, but I couldn't even think of finding a rhythm on that particular course. And I was definitely feeling the efforts of the day before. But hey... 2nd place... and the front page.
So a good weekend, and a good start to the season. The legs felt like they were coming along nicely, especially for mid-March, with no race miles in them. Neo and I packed up, and came home just in time for the latest March snow storm...