If you’d told me Friday, I’d get second in my cyclocross race on Saturday and in my age group in Sunday’s duathlon at the VB Winter Endurance Challenge, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. After an injury-plagued and otherwise busy fall, my form was truly suspect. I had no idea how I’d race. Even now that I’m back on the bike and running again, my training opportunities are hit or miss because I’m so busy at work.
I raced Bs on Saturday because the 1pm start would be at the warmest time of the day and it was frigid. The arctic air mass pummeling the eastern U.S. delivered highs of about 25 degrees. The start was a typical sprint, I was 4th wheel into the stadium and up the tall berm behind the soccer field. Then Tyler slipped out on the off-camber turn and I rode beneath him into 2nd and was on the lead rider, who was already fading. I went around him on the pavement and hit it hard, figuring I need to put distance on everyone before I blew up too. The course was much faster than I’d expected because it was mostly frozen.
I rolled almost two laps solo when Tyler finally bridged. We worked together and put more distance on the field. The young man (he’s 17) was really strong. I was better on the technical sections, but just holding on the rest of the time. (Pic above as we cross the barriers, from teammate Mike Park.) He attacked me a few times, but I was able to scratch back to him. We caught Kevin, from the A-field, and rode with him for a while. I made my mistake on the second to last lap. I’d been letting Tyler attack me and resting between the attacks. Going into the big berm, I stupidly decided to attack and slipped out in the same place he did. He gapped me there. I almost got back to him right after the barriers with a lap to go, but the effort cooked me. I should have been more patient. Lesson learned.
I rolled the last lap and finished second. Tyler is riding strong and I wish him luck with the Hincapie junior development squad.
Sunday dawned slightly warmer (a bit over freezing), but more overcast and windier, so it really felt just as cold. I’m an OK runner, but definitely felt Saturday’s effort in my legs as I ran. I turned my first 5K in 23:18, about a minute slower than last week, then had a slow transition. I initially felt good on the bike and passed a bunch of people. Then Justin Raynes blew through me and my hamstrings started to tighten. I noticeably slowed. A few more people came by, including NCVC’s Greg Faber, who came by me like I was standing still after I beat him the day before. Ouch. But then again, he didn’t run; he was racing on a team. I lost a contact on the second lap, which made reading the ground a lot more difficult. I lose my depth perception.
Still my bike was 12th fastest, but not what I’d hoped. (Photo of the end of my bike by Kevin.) Back out on the second run I kept a steady pace until the 3rd mile when the wheels came off. I passed one guy and was passed by another guy, but that was it. Toward the end, as I slogged the last few hundred meters, the first place woman was closing in on me, but she ran out of course. I finished the last 5k in a slow 25:49 for a total time of 1:32.27. I do wish I ran better.
Results from the weekend are here. Props to my Tripower teammates Mike Hosang (pictured below by Mike Park) and Tim Starkey for winning the 35+ and 45+ cross races on Saturday, young Zach (now on Siegler’s junior squad) for his 3rd in the Cs and Lynn for a strong 2nd in the women’s field behind DeeDee.
On Sunday, Sally schooled me on the runs as team McSilly ran away to a second in the coed teams. JimmyD‘s woman Karen was 3rd overall. Ryan H and Dinterman duked it out for 1st and 2nd overall with Ryan taking the W. It also was nice to see Mr. Russell down from Staunton tuning up for his Xterra season.
Much to my surprise, this fun weekend was the idea of Beach tourism officials. They deserve props for it and for ponying up the cash for what was one of the richest cross races in Virginia this year. Thanks to Kale Running too and Kevin for their hard work in making the Virginia Beach Winter Endurance Challenge happen. (And thanks to all those who made the long drive from DC, Maryland and even New York to race.)
As for me, I’m happy with second place (for now).