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Keene Pumkin Cross Race report

After a hiatus from Fall last week with temps in the 80s, Sunday’s weather was more in keeping with Autumn as temps were in the low 40s with a stiff breeze for our 9:00am start. Keene had received enough rain on Saturday to render the course with some greasy turns, some squishy sections and a section of standing water near the finish line. There were 2 sand sections at the beach, one had a packed down track with no turns that was pretty straight forward if you stayed in the track and the other had a U shaped turn that was pretty hard to ride.

Overall the course was pretty flat, not technical and required more power than finesse. After riding a couple warm up laps I opted to stay with file tread tires which are actually much more versatile than I ever thought they would be. They corner pretty well but slip a little before the knobbies engage on the edges of the tire when initiating a turn.

The start was a drag strip that was a quarter mile before the 1st real turn so things got stretched out quickly. I spent most of the race in 2nd or 3rd place until the last lap when I got jumped by both of the guys who were on my wheel. I had about ¼ of the lap to fix things and pick up the places I had just lost. I was pissed and jumped at my first opportunity right before the last series of turns. Unfortunately, one of the guys jumped with me and edged me out. The other guy we passed right before the final turny section jumped me right before the last couple of turns. I accelerated in response and we were side by side, elbowing each other. Somehow I got the upper hand and went ahead of him through the last turn. The drag race was on to the finish! I dumped a couple of gears, stood up and accelerated, sat down, dumped another gear and jammed some more. Second place had a good gap on me but I was closing in on him fast. There were a lot of lapped riders ahead of me and I saw an opening on the left side next to the barriers. At this point we were neck and neck racing for 2nd place, both out of the saddle and sprinting through traffic for the finish line. I just edged him out. I had just drained the tank and was completely gassed. I was lucky to have pulled that one off. I felt bad for the guy who came in 4th but that’s cross.

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