Updated: Oct 29, 2018
This past weekend was the 2nd (of 8) race in the 2018 Sacramento Cyclocross Series. I lined up fresh off a win with 13 others in the A35+ category. The previous week's podium were all in attendance, along with the regulars and a couple of new faces (more on that later). The course was mostly grass with lots of off camber twists and turns, and a few other features such as a gnarly downhill onto the beach and a fallen tree that could be hopped. My goal was to be first into the downhill section (1/3 lap in) so that I could get through the sand cleanly and create some separation from the main field. Then I'd work with whoever stuck with me and see what happens.
At the start of the race, I was working more than I wanted to get to the front, so I let up and a couple guys got in front of me. It felt like a much harder start than usual, probably because everyone had the same plan as me. Well, I did burn a couple of matches but I made it to the front before the downhill section and I made it through the sand cleanly, but I still had to dismount and climb 30 or so feet back up on the rutted and rocky hillside. At the top, I had one other person with me Aaron Casados (Form+Data), and a few others close behind. At this point, I was already gassed and all I could do was follow AC for about a lap before I had to let him go. Aaron was looking strong, sprinting out of the turns and just hammering it. He made it look easy while I felt like I was getting beat up by all the undulations of the course. I thought to myself that there's no way he can keep this pace only 2 laps into the race and off he went.
The next couple of laps I was trying to find a way to recover but also keep pressure on the guys just a few seconds behind me. I noticed with each turn, Lars Lofgren (Avout Racing) was inching his way closer to me and I knew it would only be a matter of time before he caught me. Sure enough, he did and I muttered something like "go get him" but Lars actually encouraged me to hop on with him to keep the 4th place guy away. I took his offer and held on as long as I could but eventually, he pulled away. At this point, I was in flight or fight mode and all I cared about was taking that last step on the podium. I was not feeling well and I had another guy in close pursuit, maybe about 5-10 seconds back. The final 15 minutes seemed like 60 but I kept my gap on 4th and finished a respectable 26 seconds off the winning time (and 20 seconds ahead of 4th). I was very happy with 3rd considering how bad I felt and how punishing the course actually was. The winner of the race had recently upgraded to the A35's after a very strong showing against the B field the week before. Nice upgrade! I enjoy the friendly rivalry and strong competition that comes with this series. It's going to be a tight one with no guarantees week after week. I wouldn't want it any other way. Thanks for reading!
Next up, Sac CX #3 - Orangevale Park (Sat. 10/27).