The state race this year brought us back to Hermann, Mo for the third time in a row. I love the venue as there are many ways to lay a course out there. The stairs are a given. The sand is a given. Usually some sort of steep hill and a fair amount of pavement. Jeff Yeilding uses his imagination to do the rest and he is pretty creative. Jeff laid out an amazing course that was 2 miles in length and was a lot of fun to ride. He included a section of 5 barriers which were ridable. A double barrier section which was not. Sand was added to the already existing sand pit which made it very deep, and with a 180 turn right at the beginning of the pit it to was not ridable.
I did a couple pre laps to check the course. Most of it was not a problem. There were a few corners that were very slick from the thaw that had been taking place during the day. The run up for me was a ride up. I was able to ride it every lap in my preride but wasn't sure if this was the fastest method. The sandpit was a complete bog and zapped your energy. The slick corners I found just had to be ridden with caution.... I really just didn't want to fall down and get dirty. Everything else was all about corner speed, keeping momentum, and riding consistent laps.
Before the race started I had told myself I wanted a top 10. This was only the second Cat3 race I have done this year. The other was the Hermann night race and I finished 7th there. With many of the competitors being the same I thought my goal was with in reach.
Since I was starting on the front row I figured I would start the race just like the did at the night race. Full tilt. When the whistle blew I launched hard and dropped the hammer. I went down the pavement like I was approaching the finish line of a crit. In the drops and out of the saddle cranking hard. I got to the grass first and made sure to keep it smooth through the first few corners. I held the lead through mud bog and all the way to the base of the run up. A KCCX rider passed me at the corner before the run up, I swung it wide to get a small run at the hill to make sure I was able to ride all the way to the top. At the top of the hill my HR was pretty high so I backed it off a notch on the way back down through the slick corners.
Photo by Eville Mike
Struggling to regain my composure several more riders came by. It seems as if my plan of attack wasn't working out like it did for the night race. Its also pretty evident that I was lacking in some top end fitness. It took a few laps but I slowly started to find speed through corners and be able to charge out of them. There were a few riders behind me that I was keeping my eye on during this first few laps. By the end of the third lap I started put significant time on them which was a huge boost for me. I started looking forward trying to make up ground on the rider in front of me. When I caught this rider(GINO) we were at the steep hill. Gino let me by at the bottom of the run up since he knew I was riding it which was awesome of him. When I got to the top of the hill I quickly looked left over the course to see where the next rider was at. There ws a big shark Jersey going through the slick corner at the bottom.
Since my momentum seemed to being getting better I hammered it down the hill and pushed a little faster through the slip n slid. The next rider was in sight so I kept the pressure on. Before the base of the stairs I got around him and kept moving forward. Since I was again at a high point in the course I looked ahead to see where the next rider was.... and didn't see a thing. The legs were feeling really good by this point so I kept them moving.
With 2 to go I was letting it all hang out. Leaning through the corner more, pushing harder down the straights, braking less, running faster over obstacles. With 1 to go I was only now jut catching glimpses of the riders in front of me. There was a lot of ground to make up in one lap. I still gave it all I had just hoping that maybe I could catch someone. My last time through the sandpit I remounted and looked over my shoulder. No one behind me.... and no one on front. At a steady pace I finished the lap and the race with a position of 12th.
It wasn't the the top 10 I was looking for, and I know what mistake I made that probably cost me this goal. My start. I should have taken it easier and let the race unfold around me a little more. No matter what happened, I had a good ass time.
TeamSeagal kept it real as usual and had the cheering sections kicking mucho ass like always.
Andy from the team had an awesome ride and finished 2nd in the cat4 race. Jason finished a few spots ahead of me in the 3's race.
There are a few more races this year, some real, one non, and all should be a good time. After the new year gravel rides are in order and hoping to kick out several hundred miles worth before spring.
1 day ago