I've had a couple days to recoup from Rainer. Lets just say, I don't climb well to start with, and this course had a ton of vertical in it. Add too it a bit of under the weather feeling on Saturday and an overall lack of training, and Sunday turns into a 45 minute session in trying not to barf a lung.
Race started out okay. B-Rat and Jeff Henderson were both in my cat this week again. The new start gate system worked pretty well and it was refreshing not have to show up the start line 30 minutes early. My number was mid pack and due to the course layout I was top 30 by the time we started heading downhill. My hole shots this year have been decent and I caught up to Brian when we got to the team tent. The two of us worked to pick folks off during the next half of the lap. Brian unfortunately dumped on the left hand corner entering the woods (the one with the blackberries) and I was lucky enough to get around the carnage.
Approaching "The Hill" I saw the lead riders just starting to crest the top when I hit the transition at the bottom. Slower traffic was in the right line so I attempted to move left and had my front tire suddenly go out from under me. My nemesis loose gravel strikes again! I hit the deck fairly hard, and take the brunt of the impact on my right knee. My race for the front ended there.
To add insult to injury, Murray from Tireless Velo was following my line and attempted to run me over in my moment of vulnerability. We don't have any video footage, but I'm pretty sure he was cackling gleefully as it happened. I actually have a distinct tire tread abrasion / bruise on my right hip from the assault.
The crash and collision took the wind out of my sails, and I hoofed it up the hill as there wasn't any way I'd be able to mount and get moving again where I was. I saw B-Rat and Jeff pass me shortly after I got back on the bike. Murray was lucky enough to recover from the crash (I think he went down too) and caught back up to me at the end of the first lap. We caught back up after the finish and had a good laugh over the incident.
The next 4 laps were pretty much hell. Nicely summed up in this photo by Heidi Swift. My legs hurt, my lungs hurt, my knee was bleeding and starting to swell. You know, all the types of things that make cross great.
I coast across the finish line and hear Candi cheer me on from the OBRA table. Its awesome to hear people do that even when you are far far out of the placing... especially when you are suffering.
A short stop at the medical tent to clean out the wound, a change of clothes, a waffle, and some coffee round out the morning.
The afternoon I get to spend as a raving lunatic screaming my lungs out for the rest of my friends. What a way to spend a Sunday. :)