I did not know it, but we had at least 2 ex-professional mountain bike riders (Dave Irving and Chris Wiley) in the race today. Our field was really large and with my teammate Gerard racing down from the 45+ category and Brady Rodgers racing down from the A's it would end up being a very competitive race.
From the start it was a grind. My power meter registered 900W at the start and 1000W at the top of the paved hill, so that initial push from the start was intense. I was hoping that Brady would do what he did and push the pace in order to force a break. During the first lap a small gap opened up between Chris, Brady and I with Gerard and Dave being about 10-20 seconds behind. Gerard had a small problem at the start so he really did well to make up for that and get in a good position.
After the initial hill there was a downhill which I averaged 28mph on each lap. From this you barrel into a rooted dirt section that twists and turns and eventually dumped you out onto another paved section leading to a sharp right dirt off-camber on wood chips (very soft) and over a large log. Many could bunnyhop the log but not me.
A small paved section led to a right hand turn through some more muddy dirt sections then it was onto grass, down a gravel road to the two sharp, off camber turns that led into the beach. These turns gave me fits each lap and I think my front tire washed out 2-3 times.
The beach itself was not that bad since you could ride almost all the way across. But, if you had your gears pre-set, you could ride the hill out of the beach. Shortly after the hill was a short downhill that had a crazy entrance to the two barriers. I found no good way to dismount but the A guys later made it look easy. From here is was a remount on a hill and then the paved hill, grinding back up to the finish.
We three did not race very smart in hindsight. Well, Chris did, he won. Brady decided to attack us on the hill after the first lap but his gap eventually closed. I was hoping we would work together to distance ourselves from Gerard and Dave (who I was told had a great sprint). Instead it was a series of small attacks until Chris and Brady pulled away from me and I could not close. They did not get very far away, but in cyclocross 40 seconds is a lot.
What happened next also did not make me happy. Gerard and Dave were gaining. At this point I had third place, but as Gerard came, so did Dave. I don't really know what to think of this now, but at the time I was not happy with Gerard for chasing me down and bringing dave with him. Dave eventually dropped Gerard and passed Brady for second on an incredible last lap ride! I think Dave would have caught me anyway, but I was hoping Gerard could have blocked a bit to lessen that chance. In the end neither gerard nor I made the podium which sucks. I understand Gerard's point of view better now so I know how to race in that situation better next time.
So, Dave eventually pips Brady at the line for second. If Chris, Brady and I would have worked together we all would have been on the podium. But, Chris won and it was to his advantage that things worked the way he did. My wife said he did not look like he was hurting a bit which is not what you want to hear.
I think the race came out like it should have. Chris and Dave are ex-pros and even though I have beated Chris once, he will be hard to beat in the future because he will just get better. Dave is new to me and when he passed me I was tired so I don't know, but he is strong and is last lap push was awesome. Brady and I have raced together many time before in cyclocross and he is always strong and unpredictable. He attacks a lot which I like, but I think he he and I cooperated better we could have beaten Chris (maybe). Gerard dominates most of the races he enters. He is capable of making up 1 minute easy on the group if there is confusion.
It should be a wonderful next 4 races and I can expect that wins will be hard to come by now.