Jake and I rolled up to the Schooley Mill cyclocross race today. The course was dry and revamped from last year. I really enjoyed the changes. Course had excellent flow.
At 11am I did the “Elite” 45+. I got a good start and was in the top 5 in the first lap. It was a good course for me with good technical turns that let me recover and go faster than guys with more raw power. But I may have gone out a bit too fast. I lost a few places over the next lap and ended up with Chris Huhn of Evo, we were making our way toward Pete Lindeman who was fading a bit. With 1. 5 laps to go I got gapped off those guys go partially because of some lapped traffic and partially just lack of wattage. I finished 13th overall, but was 5th among the cat 3s (the top 5 were all Cat 1s and 2s, like Blair Saunders and Randy Root). I was satisfied if not thrilled.
At noon Jake did the 15-18 jr race. He and I had a good opener ride yesterday and he had produced some good power numbers so I thought he would have a good day. He rode well. He actually closed a gap from 3rd to 2nd after making it through some traffic from the 1/2/3 women, and was pulling back the leader when with 1.25 laps to go he rolled his rear tire on a severe off-camber. He was able to roll the tire back on the rim and get to the pit as I raced across the course to get there for the transfer. He finished on the pit bike but 1st and 2nd were gone. He was 3rd but dissappointed because he had the legs to contend for 1st and 2nd.
As a result, he had a stomach full of anger and wanted his revenge so decided to do the Cat 3/4 race.
So I offered to let him ride my bike. We raised the saddle on my bike (multiple inches). I don’t know if I was more worried about him or my bike at the chaotic start of the 3/4 ;-). Brad Evans was on the front row and Eric Blomquist was back in the scrum with Jake for the first time in his official Coppi jersey (Jake was #46 but somehow ended up on the 4th row). Jake got shuffled a bit on the first lap and was back around 40th or low 40s by my count. Eric had fared better and was in the high 20s/low 30s. But Jake started moving forward. He was moving forward at a good clip.
With 3 laps to go I yelled to Eric that Jake was coming up to them. Jake got to Eric's group with about 2 to go. Eric was an incredible teammate. He sat up so Jake would have a wheel. For the last 2 laps Eric pulled Jake even though Jake was telling him to go. There was a good wind and Eric's help made a difference.
here they fight the wind up the pavement seeing 1 to go (Jake not really getting any draft, just digging to hold on) I took this with my blackberry but I really dig this photo. I really captures the story of a cross race. One lap to go and you can only put your head down and dig into a deep dark place.
A group was coming up behind them and Jake said with 1/2 a lap to go he had to go around Eric who I guess was fading a bit. Jake finished 23rd and Eric 24th, which is awesome and scores them both series points. They left everything out on the course.
Eric is an awesome teammate. He helped pull Jake to his first top 25 in a big men's 3/4 race.
Jake was coated in salt after his 2 races.
Brad was disappointed but rode to a hard-earned 8th in the 3/4.
It was a fun day. Jon Burns heckled harder than he raced. Mark Skubis and Ryan Newall (of The Service Course) rode well in the 3/4 35+ with Ryan using his tapering training to score 14th and Mark 25th. Adam Austin rocked the 3/4 masters as well. Dave Pederson rocked the real "Elite" masters 35+, which was won by ex-pro roadie Dave Fuentes, then Andrew rode well in the 1/2/3 race, which was won by current pro Joe Dombroski (Jake’s quote as we walked to the car: “he’s going to win the Tour one day”). Sarah Crosskey got 2nd in the Women's 4 race after not racing for most of the season.
Pretty leaves when we got home.
Here's a shout out thanks to Loren and all the other wives (Jon Burns' wife, e.g.) who let us do this.