Event: Crosstoberfest Location: Raynham, MA Category: Men's 4/5 Weather Conditions: Sweet Total riders: ~92
This was a first time event for me so I wasn't sure what to expect. I get a little nervous for new events so I try to establish small victories to boost my confidence.
1. Get there nice and early to get a primo parking spot. Check! 2. Take my time getting ready.....no rushing. Check! 3. Check out 100% of the course. Check! 4. Ask so many questions that the promoters stop making eye contact. Check!
The weather was great....actually almost too hot for the race. It would cool down later on for the other races. It had rained slightly so the dust was under control. The key features of the course were: 1. Pretty much flat 2. One long section of bumpy riding......=> decrease tire pressure 3. Long straight sections at the start with tight maze sections in the back side....pretty much 50/50 4. One maze was in in the sand. They tried packing it down but it would loosen up from the riding. Two very tight turns at the core were sketchy 5. Three sets of obstacles to dismount/remount on
On the pre-ride, I felt pretty confident on all sections but knew my weakness would be on the bumpy straight sections.... I would have to focus on working hard on these sections and not subconsciously ease off. I found that I could ride the sand section pretty hard and as long as I stayed focused, I could carve out the tight turns pretty well. I checked out the start and found the starting gear for myself. There was a decent amount of time before the course would tighten up at a right hand turn so I would have to work hard to stay at least top 5 if not go right into the lead which would be ideal.
I lined up in the front row and since there was no advantage on staying right or left, I picked the center slot. It's nice having front row. 30 seconds was called. I was waiting for a whistle. They always use a whistle. NOPE. They used some sort of weird siren. Gosh darn it! I paused a bit but recovered. Top 5 going into the first turn. Top 3 into the tight right hand turn. Moved into 2nd on the bumpy straight away. Held my position until the sand section. Sure enough, the leader backed off.... I charged, accelerating as I pinned the outer and inner loops. Moved into first spot. It felt nice. I was putting in a hard first lap.... The goal was to maintain that hard pace for the rest of the race. I was putting some distance on the rest of the field but could feel other riders making up ground. Two riders finally came up to me on the flat bumpy section. They looked pretty comfortable and they were going to make this stick. We stuck together for a while. I was losing time on the straight sections but was making it all up on the turns and sand area. It took them a few laps to figure out how hard they could ride the sand but when they did, I was TOAST! I tried like heck to make up ground expecting that they might ease back but that never happened. I was very aware of a few riders trying to get up to me. Not going to happen my friends.
I got third! I would have preferred 2nd or 1st but I will have to earn that. A podium will suffice.
This is the second year for the event and I must say that it was put together very well. They had 261 participants, live music, beer tent, great food, great sponsors, coffee wagons, up to date scoring..... Too notch. I highly recommend it.