We have much to be thankful for this year. Firstly, we all have good health and we get fantastic support from all of our family and friends! Cate and Nick are very patient and good natured about getting dragged to races every weekend, especially Nick, since his broken arm prevents him from even being able to ride, much less race now. We'd also like to thank our great sponsors, Fluid, FRS, American Classic wheels, Vredestein tires, and Blue Competition Cycles. Also our teammate Rob Gilbert, who has been a great addition, putting up great results and representing the team in very positive way. Yesterday morning we headed out to Turkey CX, a new race that was put on in a very grassroots manner at Bear Creek Lake Park in Lakewood. In order to shorten the schedule, they just ran Men's and Women's A, B, and C categories, roughly working out to Open, Cat 3 and Cat 4 with no age group distinctions. We were curious as to what turnout would be like since this was about 30 minutes from Boulder and on a holiday. Turns out it was a great alternative to Turkey Trot 5k's however, as Carl's Men's B race had about 35 starters. The course was a mixture of wide dirt path/road and narrow, twisty, rocky singletrack with a pair of barriers and later a large log just before a big climb. It was a really fun event, with kind of a throwback vibe to 5 years ago when 'cross was more about just tearing around a dirt course with your friends. Not that we don't appreciate the high quality courses and larger fields these days, but sometimes it's nice to indulge in nostalgia.
This was an interesting race since I wasn't lining up with any of my regular 35+ or 45+ Open field. I only knew 2 riders and rarely race them so didn't know what to expect. There were even a number of juniors in the field. I ended up on the second row at the start, determined to ride aggressively and try to move up on the long wide start before we got into the singletrack and I ended up comfortably in 4th wheel. I could see two juniors at the front, pulling away as we made our way through the backside trees. I was able to ride the big climb on the first lap and moved into 3rd as we headed back towards the start/finish. Unfortunately, I endo'd in the sand pit that I had ridden every lap in warmup. Guess I hadn't tried it at race speed and the small jump heading in took me down. Two riders got past me, and I tore off to get those spots back. I managed to pass one fairly quickly, then got by the other running up the big climb.
At that point, I dug in, trying to get my way back to the two leaders. Often, junior racers will start really fast, but lack the endurance and crack on the last lap. It was not to be this day, however, probably in part because we only raced for 34 minutes. I rolled across the line in what I thought was 3rd place, only to find out that one of them had flatted, so I actually got 2nd. Not the way I would prefer to beat someone, but I guess that's racing and I'll take it!
As a side note, I'd like to thank my 'secret weapon' Peak Sports in Boulder. Doctors Jenny and Andy Harmon keep my body loose and tuned up. Each year, I start seeing them in early November to fix the wear and tear from racing each weekend and each year my results start to improve at that point. I don't think that's a coincidence--I would strongly recommend them to anyone on the front range!
Not surprisingly my field was small, only about 10 riders, but I had some great competition with Rebecca Gross and Kate Powlison showing up. I got a good start and Rebecca and I got a gap on the field. I knew Rebecca knew the trails we were riding so I didn't hesitate to follow her line through the single track. We rode together the whole time, which is a huge boost in confidence for me as I am rarely in contact with Rebecca during an entire race! I put in a few attacks but either an ill-timed crash would happen or she would get back around me. Of course post race there was a lot of "shoulda, woulda, coulda" happening in my head but in reality I felt like I raced really well and had a great time. It was the perfect start to our day!