Gabriel Keck: This is one of my favorite courses of the season, and once again Reel Theaters didn't disappoint! The course is always a fun mix of slaloming around trees, punchy climbs, beach sand, and fast double track around the lake. The race started in typical fashion with a couple hundred yards of pavement followed by a hairpin turn onto grass to the first hill climb of the course. It was a bit of a bump and grind around that first corner with Richard Feldman, Remi, Tad, Cory, Ian, myself, and Andrew Harris going in hot. We quickly got sorted out after the hairpin whilst hitting the first punchy climb. Then Ian who was at the front crashes out in the first technical corner coming off the hill. We sweep around him, and somewhere around here Richard Feldman gets free of the pack and we only see glimpses of him for the duration of the race. However, it becomes a bit of a throw down in the chase group. Cory gets away by riding strong and smooth through the technical part of the course but once on the doubletrack, the pack closes the gap. I was able to make a move to the front of the chase group about halfway through the fast double track section, and was then working with Tad and Harris (who is coming on strong this season!) on the road section. After drafting a bit, I moved to the front and put in an effort. As this was just a lap into the 8 lap race, I wanted to stay with the chase group, but when a gap opened, I decided to give it a go and see if I could get away.
At every turn I saw that I was inching away from them, but Feldman was increasing his gap on me. It soon became a race where I had no chance of closing ground on 1st, but very worried that I would be caught by the chase group. At this point I tried to relax and simply ride as smooth as I possibly could. No hard braking into corners, no aggressive turns, just focusing on keeping my heart rate down in the technical sections and giving it all I had on the flats and hills. This helped the race go quickly, and soon it was bell lap. I finished with Feldman nowhere in sight, but with Tad and Harris close behind to round out the podium. Fun course, fun racing, and good times racing out there with Cory, who will be bringing some of the Cross Crusade fitness back to the local races!
I've had a solid start to the cx season, and I think it has to do with my racing the Bogus Basin Hill Climb race for the first time. It's one of the last road races of the season, and for me, a little over an hour in duration, pretty much like a cx race. Doing the Tuesday evening Bogus Basin training rides that lead up to the race got the fitness dialed in. And I was then able to maintaining this fitness with consistent mtn bike rides on Tues and Thurs evenings plus a Bogus hill climb or Lost River Cycling (LRC) road ride on the weekends. This took me into the cx season with a solid base of fitness. This doesn't mean that cx racing is any less painful, it just means that I feel I can recover more quickly from a hard effort or chase and then do it again...
|Gabe calmly reeling in Harris|