Opening weekend this season was the Kick It CX at Rhyolite Park in Castle Rock. There isn't anything too technical or intimidating about this course, so it was definitely a good place for me to shake off the summer rust and get racing again. I started second row, and was able to get through the first tricky turns without losing any ground. Once we hit the grass, I moved up several places as we approached the first run-up. After the run-up and steep drop, there's a long, winding climb up to the high point on the course, where I moved up into sixth or seventh place, right on the back of the lead group. At this point I was feeling strong, but I ran into a bit of bad luck in the sand pit. Most of the pack got through clean, but I got caught up in traffic in the sand, and couldn't quite ever catch back on to the leaders.
Whatever good feelings I had as I completed the first lap faded quickly. I didn't feel like I was redlining, but as I tackled the steep run up for the second time, my legs got very heavy, and I spent the next three laps moving backwards. On the final lap I was able to give it some gas, and I picked up three or four spots, finishing right in the middle of the pack.
US Open of Cyclocross
Not a great day for me, unfortunately. Of the four or five times I've raced at the Res, this was the toughest course I've faced. Lots of sand as usual, but no clear lines through them early in the morning, so I spent a lot of time off the bike, running up and down the beach. I ended up right behind guys who stalled out/crashed in the same muddy ravine crossing two of the three times I went through it, crashing pretty hard myself the second time. From there I was feeling strong and steadily picking up places, but I flatted about halfway through the second lap, just past the pit, and ended up with a DNF.
Better day than yesterday, despite a tough start getting taken out twice by other crashes at the bottom of each of the first two descents (feels like the theme of the weekend!). That pushed me from a third row call up to near the back of the pack in the first two or three minutes. From there my only goal was to ride hard and steady for the rest of the race, and take advantage of the opportunity to practice some trickier terrain at race pace. I moved up two or three spots per lap, and was happy with my ride. Just have to work on getting out in front early and avoid some of the messy traffic.