Some think 2 races in one weekend is a lot. Add another and it is more suffering. I have been participating in this weekend of suffering since its inception in 2007. The third race was added in 2008. Over the past five years, I have seen this event grow and the cycolcross scene in this area multiply tenfold. It has been a real treat. This year served up the deepest competition yet, and the hardest courses. But don't worry, I will still come back for more.
Day one is always hard after traveling from the west coast. 6 hours in the airplane, layovers, driving up from Louisville. Friday was no different, except the course was harder than ever before. It was steep climbing and very heavy, boggy grass. It was just brutal. There was a pretty big selection made of 6 or so of us. And by the end, it had sorted out very differently than it had started. I ended up 5th.
Day two's course amazes me. They are able to put together a really quality course in a very small park. It's a mega effort with course tape and fencing, but always done well. This year was no exception, except the sand was missing. I kind of liked the sand, but the boggy mud in the back sufficed for a small challenge. It was different than last year, but I found that I rode it better than the past. My cornering was spot on Saturday and I had a great race. I was fighting for second, but got gapped in the last half lap and couldn't close it down. A very close third.
Day three is the day of pain. No matter what. The third day of racing hurts, but this year, it hurt more than normal. The grass was like velcro. Making your legs burn. The uphill to the finish before the sand was more brutal than normal, sucking all your energy and then challenging you to make it through the sand. I think I was 50% on that. It was hard. It was challenging. And it was a mental fight. I came unglued from the leaders as the initial attacks and accelerations were made, but I kept fighting. I was willing myself to get back on. Anything can happen in cross. Never give up. I landed in between the barriers on lap 3. Didn't quite clear them and put myself down. Caitlyn got away, but her draft was pretty worthless anyhow. She is teeny tiny. But I got up, got my shoe fastened again and started chasing. It was relentless. And in the end, I stayed in 5th. A solid weekend of great racing. Pushing the limits and going in the pain cave. Deep in the pain cave. And from this, I will be stronger. Thanks UCI3! Job well done!
ALL PHOTOS BY LYNE LAMOUREUX! FANTASTIC JOB LYNE!!! LOVE YOUR WORK!!!