Woke up to a beautiful November day and headed out into the Virginia countryside. Today's race was at a winery called Vint Hill. Once again, a different type of cyclocross course to the two races I did last weekend. Todays course was around undulating open farm land with only one area that you needed to get off the bike due to technical areas, as well as the obligitorary twin planks. Total distance was around 2.5k per lap and there were plenty of twists and turns. Bike handling was very important if you wanted to be competitive.
They combined the Mens 35+ A grade with 45+ so it was pretty quick at the start. The course was basically dry and due to the type of grass, very slippery. The start had a long 400m drag to the first corner, a left hander, which then had another sharp turn to the right. I got a pretty good start and hit the first corner around 8th. The ground was very uneven and bumpy, and riding a cyclocross bike with a non suspension front fork at 40k an hour is like riding a bucking bronco. I got through the first technical section ok, electing to jump off the bike and run. I managed to work my way up to 5th and seemed to be clear of 6th by about 150m. It was taking about 8 mins to do a lap so I was looking at holding that position. With 2 laps to go, I was about 150m behind 4th and not making any indent into his lead. The top 3 were gone into the distance.
With 2 laps to go, I thought I would ride through the technical part (for the first time), instead of taking it easy and running through it. The front wheel slipped out from under me on the shiny grass and over I went. I quickly regained my footing, and jumped back on the bike, however my chain had come off and the front wheel was rubbing on the front brake shoe. It took me precious seconds to get the bike back moving and lost 3 places while I was standing over the bike fixing it. I jumped back on to chase however my legs had gone and it took everything to hold off the rest of the field coming up behind me. I managed to finish 8th, about 3 mins (after 60 mins) behind the leader, but really got smacked as was nowhere in the race. Good fun, but hard work as there are plenty of dead patches along the course and riding the cyclocross bike for an hour over bumpy uneven ground really leaves you sore and exhausted.
Oh well, there is always next week