So a few weeks ago I fronted like the season was over, giving you a recap and all that. Problem was, there were still a few weeks of cyclocross season left. Ya'll heard about the course in Easthampton, MA, but the next weekend saw the close of the New England Cyclocross season, in Rhode Island. NE Cyclocross is dominated by one organizer, the clothing company VERGE, which sanctions seven races from mid-October to early December. Last weekend was a double weekend, with two days of racing at the same location, with different courses.
Saturday was a vision of how 'Cross should be, as the temps warmed up from an overnight low in the teens. The sun came out, and soon a huge section of grassy switchbacks turned into mud. I'm not a great rider, technically, and I had the wrong tires on for mud, so I had some difficulties. I got a pretty bad start and watched a bunch of people pass me in the first muddy section. Once we got back into the trees I managed to pick up a bunch of spots, and started clawing my way towards the front of the field. Playing catch-up is basically death in 'Cross, so I resettled my sights on a top ten finish. Unfortunately, after ditching a group of five or six, I missed a remount, and both my feet slipped off the front of the pedals. This is a painful and dangerous mistake to make, even on a bike that's only going 10-15 miles an hour at the time. I went for a spectacular, ass-over-teakettle tumble, and found myself right back in that group of five! I attacked them again with one lap to go and shed most of them, except for Colin Reuters, who hung on to beat me for 12th. 13th wasn't what I had in mind, as it basically squashed my chances of ending the season in the top ten of the series standing. But I knew that Sunday would be more my day.
And it was. On the same course as last year (when I came in 8th) I got a good start and suddenly found myself in...4th place on the road! Then Josh Lipka had a mechanical and I was racing in 3rd. I couldn't believe it. And it wasn't to last. I got caught by Josh Awerbach (see an earlier post with a certain eBay link), and then in the last lap Jeremy Dunn passed me and proceeded to soft pedal. I should have reattacked, but didn't. That drop in speed let Lipka back on, and he went by me at the line to leave me...7th.
So, a whole year of training and racing to move up one spot? Somewhat frustrating, but as I'd underachieved, I think, through this entire 'cross season, I was happy to pick up that finish and some upgrade points. I was also ready to put racing in the bag (for real) for the season; I did the final tally and here's the list, with places.
So that's it. Final count, as I make it, is 38 races throughout 2007. It's a good thing I've developed a new obsession in the past two weeks, because running, biking, and swimming are, for the moment, untenable to me. I've been XC-Skiing all over Putney's 40K of trails, and goddamn if it isn't the best workout (short of cyclocross for sheer intensity) I've ever experienced. The Northeast just got about three feet of snow over the past week, so expect to see some posts about a new addiction. I'm already prowling the internet for places to race on my skis. Who knows, maybe next year I'll never stop the racing, just keep changing the medium...