Today, Carl had his first race in the 40+ (non-championship) B Race. This is essentially a 'practice' race that allows riders to preview the course at race speed and also lets them get in two races while they're here. Kristal won the B Race 4 years ago at Nationals in Kansas City, so we don't let her race it anymore! Carl's Report:
I was able to jump on the course for a couple laps two hours before my race. The ice was virtually all gone, and there was lots of greasy mud instead. After talking to our good friend, long time cx racer Brook Watts that morning, I had gone with the Rhinos as my tire choice. With Vredestein and American Classic as sponsors, we have a full quiver of options--it proved to be the perfect selection!
The callups were done according to the last number on the rider's bibs, so for instance, all the #'s ending in '3' got called up first. They kept calling numbers, but never mine. Eventually, I got to roll up in the fourth row. That's roughly where I'll be in Saturday's race, so I was okay with it, figuring it made for good practice. At the sound of the whistle, I found I was behind one of the worst starters in the world. Guys were charging off on both sides of me as he bobbled and struggled. I finally got past him and flew up the paved start straight, trying to make up lost time. I knew I'd have to ride aggressively to have any chance.
I was able to pick off dozens of riders in the first 3 laps, and had Kristal in the pits, along with lots of other friends along the course shouting encouragement, positions, and splits. That all helps a lot in keeping your concentration and motivation up! Nationals is always really cool to race, because the Colorado contingent all cheers for and helps each other, regardless of team. We probably appreciate that even more now that we're on our own team!
The course had two short, sharp climbs, lots of muddy turns that required comfort with drifting, and two descents that were really fun and fast and seemed to make a lot of riders nervous. Eventually, I slotted into 8th place in the final two laps, which would turn out to be my finishing spot. I was totally psyched with that result--the 'race predictor' had me finishing in 23rd, so I definitely rode well.
Tonight we were able to go to dinner with an old friend who moved to Madison last year, now we're resting up. Tomorrow is our 'free day', so Kristal will go preride the course some more and we'll cheer on some Colorado friends.
Thanks for reading!