I sucked it up after the Smith Farms race and decided to get up at 5:00 a.m. pack up the car and drive down to Louisville, KY for the Kentucky State Cyclocross Championships. Sort of a last minute WTF or WWMCD - What would Molly Cameron Do? I planned to pack up and get out of town by 6:15 a.m. I had to bring all my breakfast with me, so I could maintain what food I had been eating before my bike races. I would just wait till around 8 or 9 a.m. and stop somewhere and eat - a good plan.
This race was the OVCX Finale and the last race at the River Road Club, which I didn't want to miss. It was more OVCX points and all hands on deck. Many of the KY, Cincy and Indiana speed demons were registered for the CAT 3 race, so I figured I would go down and give it a go since I had great legs and a great finish the day prior.
It was a 30 deg. (cold morning), with many racers putting way too many clothes on and complaining about the cold. I didn't mind and was prepared to sport some arm warmers and shorts for the day. I got a great warm up and manged to really get the legs going before lining up at the start line. Their were call ups, then a "ok everyone else" I managed to be smart and get a great start line placement second row right next to James B from the Cincy Trek Store. We were off and I had a great top 10 spot into the first sloppy slipery ish corner. I held it until I got stuck behind some folks that couldn't pedal around a corner or pedal into the sand pits or up and around the trees. I went all out the first two laps, which was my goal, then settle in and see who I could keep from passing me. My man Ray was keeping me motivated and keeping me informed of my place in the group of 30 or so. I figured if I could stay in the top 10 of this field I would have a great finish to a great year. I managed to ride really well and give it all I had. I know some of the slipery icy corners proved trouble for lots of guys in my race, that usually beat me by 4 or 6 places. Chewning and James both spent some time on the ground. I tried to pull Chewning up to somewhere at one point, but that didn't happen. I came around and was all excited and yelled, "get on, come on let's go" three or four turns I looked around near the tallest barriers I have ever had to pole vault across (see Amanda leaping over them in the pic) and he was gone. I am not sure what happened. The bell lap I was relieved I had just enough gas to get back around the course and try to pick off one more guy in the last lap and shed the two or three that were on my back wheel. The worst area of ice, near the wheel pit I managed to avoid falling and picking the right line every lap - - - except for the last lap. Bammmm - down I go, with Ray standing there watching me, right where he told me to be careful and watch my line. So funny. I got up as fast as I could as the three dudes behind me started to come around. I fought through the next three corners and the off camber slick stuff to pass them again and go after the guy in front of me. I managed to get around him at some point and cross the finish line in a satisfying stellar 13th place and 110 points for the day. It was an overwhelming sense of accomplishment to finish this race and the ovcx season of races. I pretty much spent the entire ovcx series racing against guys half my age and some of them not even born when I was graduating HS. I feel great about my overall result and individual race results.
Just as fun as my race was the great afternoon after my race.
I got to play the "Pay It Forward" game and loan out my Ridley Crosswind with my Mavic SL clincher wheels to my buddy Ray. You see, he broke his rear derail in his CAT 4 race. So he got permission to race the Elite Race (his first) and the first Elite race for my bike (ha ha). I also got to use my (borowed from work) CycloCross Electric Bullhorn to yell and motivate Ray and Katsu during their Elite Race. I really let Ray have it and had a blast keeping him motivated for the hour he and Katsu were out there killing themselves. Ray even managed to finish in the money. He still owe's me the 500 for pitting for him. Katsu had a great finish to the OVCX series. I'll be racing with and against both these guys at some MTB races I am sure in 2010. I hung out with Brian Collier from Bio Wheels for the first half of the elite race and we chatted about our season, training and riding and race results for the year. Great guy. It was a pleasure racing with Gers and Collier all year. Those guys certainly kept me motivated this year.
Joe Ballante was my hero this year, always starting in the "Senior" group (kidding Joe) behind me. Which meant nothing, since 80% of the time he filled that 30 sec. start gap and caught me at some point during the OVCX races. I managed to hold him off I think only twice this year. The KY State Championships was not one of these days - he came flying by me, mid race. I tried like hell to stay in his jet stream as he came by me...but could only hang on for 3/4 of a lap. He's had a great Cross year and it was great to see how someone can look/ride/act PRO but still be a nice guy. I just might have to line up against Joe next year.
Right after the Elite race, the course was torn down and the Awards Ceremony and raffle prizes were given out. I was there to take home some Zipp 303's and a frame, that was not to be since Amanda McKay stole them from me. I did manage to win some super sweet monagramed Zipp arm warmers.
It was a great way to end the weekend (winning something both Saturday and Sunday - ha) and driving home 3 hours feeling satisfied with my ovcx season of racing.
Thanks to Karen Hamilton for the pics - my wife, cheerleader and photog did not make the trip.