I put my big boy pants on this year, and have committed to racing cyclocross at the “A” level. With this change, comes a change in goals. Getting on the podium? Maybe last year racing the weekend warrior “Killer Bs”. This year, it’s don’t be DFL and don’t get lapped. Even those are tall orders when you line up against the local hotshots. The parking lot scuttlebutt was that heavy hitters would be in attendance – Jeremiah “Skinnylegs and All” Bishop, Joe “I Knew Him Back When” Dombrowski, and Ted “200 on 100″ King (google that last one, and watch the video). The fates showed mercy, with only Bishop in attendance disguised as some sort of demented Muppet with an aero helmet.
The Winchester course is a really good one. It feels longer than some of the others in the region, and requires a full bag of tricks. It’s got a lot of fast corners, the required barriers that force most of us off the bike (tho Bishop was hopping them still on the bike),
a steep “Belgian wall” that folks were riding up,
and some dusty singletrack. The start to the A race is aggressive, with a fair amount of jostling and contact, certainly more than I’m used to in the Killer Bs. I’m usually a slow starter, and today just tried to ride within myself and pick off other racers if possible.
Editors note: Jared didn’t hesitate to reach for and obtain one of the “Marshmallow Handups” which made the crowd cheer. Typically in ‘Cross races there are beer handups but this was a ‘dry’ park.
By halfway through the race, I’d managed to claw my way up past a few guys. I traded spots with Sunny Gill (Bike Doctor) for the latter half of the race. I could see when the course double-backed that Bishop was close to lapping us. Damn! The catch never happened (I heard he flatted), but that sort of pressure is a reminder of the distance between the front and the back of this race. I put up as good of a fight as I could at the end,
but Sunny took me in the sprint. I came up 21st of 29 finishers and 35 starters. I’ll take it! Even though my race was the last of the day, people were still out cheering, and the support from teammates and friends was awesome while I was out there suffering.