Race Report: Cross Crusade #7 (Barton Park)
We’re finally getting some mud in our ’cross races. Barton was my favorite race last year. There were no surprises this year — I think the course was identical — but that’s OK. This might be the most perfect ’cross recipe: deep/fine mud, singletrack, a white-knuckle drop, two monster runups, long stretches of either pavement or double track. It rewards good riding but has enough off-bike work to suppress the off-season roadies.
I was in the third callup group, so I started with pretty good staging. Maybe my ideal staging: far enough forward to clear the inevitable pileups, but not so far forward that I get passed a lot early in the race. My brain is such that I can psych myself up when I chase, but I lose hope quickly when I get passed.
None of my usual bike buddies were riding, but Jenny and the kids were on hand. Orion was giving me “race faces” while I staged. the guys around me got a charge out of that. I felt loose and goofy. I was out to have fun, placement be damned.
My legs were tired but not as tired as everyone else apparently. Seems like a lot of guys were either familiar faces from yesterday at Edgefield, or raced Apple Core in Salem. I also mistimed the start (noted the wrong start time) so I thought we had another lap left at the end. I took it real easy on the runups and then picked off the heroes when they recovered.
One of the pit mechanics was shouting out places, he hollered “60” at me on my first lap, “40” on my second, and then 34/35 for the last three. I started strong and felt fresh the whole race. Finished with maybe my second-best place ever (after yesterday!): 26 of 156.
Photo by Ian Masterson