Since the last time I did a race report, I raced the Sundance I-cup, two Wednesday night races, and now the Draper I-cup. The Sundance race can be summed up by the conversation I had with Ricky the following Monday:
Ricky (after looking at the results): What happened to you on Saturday?
Me: Nothing. That's what happened.
Yeah, so the race was kinda like that. I felt like I had a good lead-up to the race, I felt good during warmup, and I thought I had a good start up the pavement. A few people passed me during the race, but I thought we had a big group at the start line, and I figured that at least half of them were behind me. I was able to push pretty hard till lap 3, when I felt a few cramps coming on, which got bad on the last climb up the pavement, but didn't cost me any places. It wasn't until I eventually checked the results that I realized I finished much closer to the back of the pack than the front (of the finishers - I'm still convinced that we had quite a few DNF's, which don't show up on the results sheet). Frustrating because I felt like I raced about as well as I could, but still had a pretty mediocre finish. I had a mechanical with my MRP chain guide, which cost me about 3-4 minutes, but honestly didn't make much of a difference in the results.
Then, I raced at Soldier Hollow and Sundance on Wednesday nights in the Expert B's. Does racing with the B's mean I'm sandbagging? Who knows. Who cares. Last year, I was forced into the Expert A's, and finished DFL a couple times. In my first B race at Soldier Hollow race this year, I finished 3rd behind Dan Z (who recently recorded a fast time on the Dry Loop Time Trial) and Rick. At Sundance the next Wednesday, I finished 2nd behind Dan (Rick didn't show, and World Champ Brandon mechanicalled (yes, that is a word) before he even started). I raced Sundance on my Single Speed, which was my first race ever on my SS. It was fun and painful, and took a bit longer to recover from. For those of you who ride every day on a SS, hats off to you. So anyway, comparing my finishing times to the Expert A class, I'd still be pretty darn close to DFL, so I'm stuck in limbo between the classes. For now, I'd rather battle for a finishing place that has some significance in the B's rather than race alone off the back in the A's.
Today, I raced in the Draper I-cup. If you check the results (Monday's version), you'll see that I had the race of my life - tied for first in Expert 30-39. I've never raced that fast. Seriously, NEVER. And maybe someday, I actually will (race that fast) - without the assistance of a clerical error.
To cut to the chase, I actually finished in 11th, out of 26 finishers (not 1st), with a time of 2:03:50. I felt pretty good today. Started out reasonably enough and slowly worked my way up for most of the day. I really like this race - especially the insane start that quickly funnels down into singletrack. Even with a huge lineup at the start, I felt like our entire group was flying up the singletrack, so I never really felt like I was being held up. Eventually got into a good battle with Chad A. (who lamented about having a bad day... and then outgunned me to the finish). I definitely will need to find the next gear to hang with the podium finishers, but I think I'm making some progress. I had a couple minor mishaps today: once when my rear tire washed out on the long left-hand switchback at the end of the new single-track descent, and another when I smacked my left hand into a tree (the same hand I jacked up in my Rawrod crash). None of them actually knocked me to the ground - just enough to stop me and make me restart.
I'm happy with the result today, but really, it just goes to show that you can't look at your result to meter your success, because your result often just depends on who shows up (more accurately, who happens to finish).