This past weekend featured one of the premiere races in the U.S. and the race that wraps up Holy Week, KMC CX Festival. Holding both UCI C.1 and C.2 point totals, world cup level courses, and some of the deepest fields in the U.S., the attraction is very high for the best riders in the nation. Due to the amazing atmosphere, competition, and location, it has always been one of my favorite races as well.
This past weekend was a family affair. My whole family (mom, dad, sister, and our two German Short-Haired Pointers- Coco and Pepper) had been planning to make it out to this weekend since the middle of summer. Everyone raced, even the dogs…okay not really the dogs, but they think they did;)….but that kept everyone busy and exhausted at the end of the day. My mom and sister took on the cat 3/4, 40+ Women and my dad raced the 45+ Masters group. Everyone did very well in their races and it was really fun being able to get out of the hotel room and watch them during the AM.
Leading up to the weekend, weather reporters were having a heck of a time reporting about the current hurricane on the East Coast. Mud, heavy rain, and flooding were predicted, cars were being washed away on the news, and I thought that the races would resemble something along the lines of a mud wrestling match. In preparation for this, I made sure to pack plenty of Challenge Limus mud tires, and threw in a set of Baby Limus just in case conditions dried out a bit. Let’s just say that the days leading up to Providence I had more than ample time spent gluing new tubulars. As I landed in Providence, weather reports started to change and all I saw of the rain was a cold mist, resembling some of the finest Belgian weather. I was excited that there was potential for mud, especially on such a demanding course as Providence. As Saturday morning came, I woke up to overcast skies and no rain and a course that held tacky conditions and hardly any water, resulting in a drier course than I thought it would be.
My warm up was done, I was topped off with Skratch, and the first call for Elite Men to staging was projected over the race venues speaker system. All of the Elite riders had gathered in the staging area preparing for the grid call up. Lining up on the fourth row, I had some work to do to get into the top 15. Once the whistle blew it was a mad dash for the whole shot. The start of the race was extra fast because after about 500 meters of racing, the group was fed straight into a single rider wide, very steep and loose run-up. After a bit of a standstill, the race was back on and my fight to make up places and land myself within the top 15 continued.
Trying to race as smart as possible and conserve energy on the fast pavement straights, I had finally made it on the back of the group of 13-15th at the bottom of the run up. Without much time to recover, I ran the run up, attempted to jump back on my bike but got off balance and threw my leg into the back of my saddle. The next moment I found myself on the ground scrambling to regain my footing to avoid loosing the group I was just with. With one mistake in the bank, that was it, and I was left fighting alone in the next wind stretch. Recollecting myself, I latched onto the group behind me in order to do everything to save my position within the top twenty. Fading just slightly, but not giving up until the finish, I wrapped up the race in 21st.
Check out the complete Elite Men’s race on video replay here!
Just the opposite of what I thought would happen…. I woke up to sunny skies. During the AM I followed my normal routine and headed over to the course to cheer on my family as they battled their age groups and classes. The course had completely dried out, offering an even faster surface than the previous day. After I spent plenty of time at the course getting inspired by my family and amazingly delicious Espresso from the Rapha trailer, I headed back to the hotel to get ready for my race.
Once my warm up was done, I headed over to the staging area. The start was slightly different today and featured a prologue lap that would hopefully string out the field before we headed into the woods. The woods/ back side of the course featured several technical aspects, including a steep/ loose ride up, and a descent to carry us down the previous days run up. These two aspects made for some really great course changes and rewarded those who rode very aggressively.
When the whistle blew I took off as fast as possible but there was not much room to move up. After a lap on the course, we had arrived into the woods to the first technical ride up, I hit it with all of the speed I had and somehow wove through the group to pick up 4-5 places, landing myself on the back of the 16 rider chase group. Without backing off, I was giving everything to maintain my position.
The large group stayed together for some time during the race, but it was a fight to stay on the back due to the “accordian effect” in tight areas of the course. With about 5 to go, I found myself slightly off the back riding with Summerhill and Troy Wells, and then Lindine and a few others. We had formed a 5-6 rider group that was battling for the top 15. As we continued riding together the pace remained fast. With 2.5 laps to go, I bobbled and had to dismount on the technical ride up, losing time on the group. Giving it just one more fight to get on the group, I was left with nothing left in the tank and fell off the pace.
As riders passed, I just kept the pedals turning, reanalyzing my goals to just finishing the day. With one final lap left I dug in once more to latch on the back to a two rider group. Attempting to redeem my race one more time I moved to the front and took the lead into the finish.
So thats a wrap! The 2015 KMC CX Festival is in the books. Im happy to move on because I didn’t quite have the races that I wanted to have on paper, but I was really able to work on other aspects of my racing and training that will definitely benefit me for the rest of the season. While continuously working on my fitness and my racing experience, I really look forward to the rest of the season and what it will hold. Oh, and spending time with the whole family is something to remember too.
Next up, the Trek CXC Cup in Waterloo, Wi! Beyond that, check out the Calendar!
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