Woke up this morning in San Francisco to pouring rain. The change had come through and it was wet. I momentarily thought about getting an earlier plane to New York, however I talked myself into doing the race.
The race was only 2k from my hotel, which as 5k from San Fran airport. So the plan was get up at 7am, get ready, ride to race at 8.30, do a couple of practice laps, race at 10am then head back to the hotel, pack and catch the 3pm flight to New York.
I kitted up and headed off from the Hilton on the bike. After 100m, I was drenched. It was going to be a tough morning. The race was over a longer course than yesterday- 10min laps, and it was all mud. There were already races happening and the riders were almost unrecognizable with the mud. Lucky the rain washed some of it off.
The masters 45+A grade had over 70 starters. The whole day had over 800 entrants! The yanks are very well organised with computer signin, RFID stickers on your helmet that track your laps and finish, and seeded starts as it is a series. They line the first 32 riders in each grade in 4 rows of 8. As I was a ring-in, I got to go behind the seeds. The start was from a carpark up a big long hill on asphalt, like the hospital hill. I got a good start picking up a lot of places around the "seed"s by putting the power on up the hill. Hit the off road around 10th.
The course was all mud. There was water and mud streaming across the course. Wheels slipping, guys's doing face plants in front of you bringing others down as they put the front brakes on into a off camber muddy corner. I managed to avoid all the carnage(just) and did the first two laps following wheels. This was a very technical course with no straights, little muddy hills, sand pits, boards and quite a bit of jumping off the bike and running. With 1 and a half laps to go I started to ride a bit harder. I got to 6th ( they were counting us through) as we went through the start/finish. Last lap and I was 10m behind 5th (which is in the money) and about 250m behind the leaders. I passed the guy and hit the line 5th about 1min behind the winner.
Better fun than yesterdays race. Much tougher course and more mud than I have ever ridden through. Imagine riding through a wet off season cricket pitch in the middle of Manly oval for 2k laps and you get the idea. One thing cyclocross does is test (and improve) your bike handling. Great fun.
Afterwards I was covered in mud. I found a toilet block with showers (cold) and went and stood under them to get the mud off, then put the bike under it as it had to get packed for the plane.
No riding this week as are travelling, however have entered 2 more cc races in Virginia next sat/Sun. Hopefully can continue to improve
Ps no photos as it was too wet to take the blackberry