Race Report: Minuteman Cross, Cat 4 35/45+ - Lancaster, MA

With not much of a warmup (sigh) because I was running around the course photographing the open Cat 4 race, I lined up 6th row, which was closer to the front than I thought I'd be with only one other cycocross race under my belt. Did my best on the first lap to just maintain position, passing some people on that first big climb then being passed later on in the turny bits of the course.

Somewhere in lap 2, Mark Van Lier passed by me (from starting in row 8) and I gave chase. Tried keeping him in sight the rest of the race. Played cat-and-mouse with Sweeney for a while too.

Lap 3, as I exited the last barn turn and approached the copse of trees by the bleachers, I snagged my left brake handle in the tape, stretching out 6 ft or so diagonally across the track - dang stuff broke so easy in the wind but wouldn't when I got caught in it. It slowed some BikeBarn guy down a half-second while I cursed a blue streak and finally freed myself.

Had to do a half dozen foot-plants on turns but was glad I had the instinct to do so, woulda definitely bit it in a few cases if I didn't.

I can hardly remember going up and over the flyover, I guess it wasn't an issue for me.

Last lap, I tried to stick with Scott but couldn't, Van Liere was out of sight but I had some guy on my tail so he would have to do for me to have any last acts of heroism. As we left the corner field before the finishing straight, he was actually breathing louder than I was, so I began to hit the gas. He matched my every move, likely tucked in behind me tight to stay out of the wind.

I kept shifting up and going faster and still I could hear his huffing and puffing behind me and as I hit the line, I practiced throwing my bars "just in case" but I don't think he was coming around.

Result: 34th of 76 overall and 17th of 40 in the 45+.

I'm very pleased with how I did. My ankle/foot did not pose a problem (but did need a bag of ice when I got home) and each lap was faster than the one before (9:19, 9:09, 9:08 and 9:06). My only self-criticism was that even though my remounts went without a hitch, I did flop my ass down on the seat really hard every time - I'm lucky that the barriers were in the forgiving wood chips.

Later, when the results were up, I did not find myself on the print-out so I pestered JD between races and he reviewed the tape, found me and even complemented me on the throw.

The rest of the day, I spent taking shots of the rest of the action. I took so many shots, it required quite a few man-hours of editing to create the gallery I posted online.

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