The International Horse Park in Conyers was the place for the first race of the 2006 cyclocross season here in Georgia. It was around 43 degrees when I got to the venue but it warmed up to at least 65 by the C race which was around 12pm; beautiful weather.
The course was unique in that there was no pavement and most of the level surfaces were grass. There was a nice sandy climb and decent that led into a stair stepped sequence of short power climbs. That effort took about a minute and it would be the decisive place for a lot of riders. From there it was a nice recovery downhill to a left hand turn and up another hill to the 1st barrier section. At the top there was little momentum and you had to basically step over the boards. Another downhill section, back through the pits and a twisty wooded section (dirt) and a wide grassy turn that carried a lot of speed, into a left hand bend to a forced run-up which had a nice log in place. The run up was short and this was my favorite part since I could unclip and coast the bike to the log, dismount at speed and then run up the hill--very fluid. From here you went out on the level parade grounds and another barrier section and a wide open area with a slight headwind, around to the start/finish.
Our race (masters 35+) had around 25 people in it and started quickly since many folks wanted to get to the steep sand section first. I was 3rd in line but after the sand was able to get a small gap with another rider. We were together for the first lap, trading and then he slowed down a bit on the parade grounds and about 5 guys were catching up. Into the sand hill again I was able to gap the rest and continue along unmolested for the remainder of the race. I felt smooth and in control. In think I ended up with a 30-45 second gap.
I really wanted to win this race for Dave Abney. I was not able to make the funeral or the wake and wanted to do something cycling related for him. I was thinking about him during the race, sitting in his hospital room joking about what he would eat after his treatment, looking sick but optimistic, and it made me feel committed and strong.
in terms of power, my CPU took a break at the start as the referee was talking to us so I missed the first 10 minutes. For the 40 minutes I did get, I had an average power of 289 W which corresponds to the predictions. I still have a bit to work on like power after 30 minutes, but all in all it was a fun race and I was lucky enough to win.
Now a little time to speak to the Three Philosophers and wait for my daughter to wake up.