There were other races much closer than the 5+hr drive up north, but it was by far the most competitive fields, the courses are legit, and worth the trip for the atmosphere.
Saturday was a long day as Darion had a soccer game at 8am in SGF (opposite direction as Des Moines) so up and at 'em early to get him to his game. Headed out immediately after his team's win, picked up Ira (temporarily back in Bolivar for a bit) back in Bolivar, and 5 hrs later we pulled up to Mullets (race site). Had just enough time to grab my number and grab a couple laps before the Masters race at 4pm.
Must have rained recently was the course was super damp making the grass thick and slow and the corners just a tad dicey. Course had a ton of turning (which is great as I need constant practice at this) with enough power sections to open the legs, and three dismounts per lap (well, three for most of us). The temps were climbing and it was hot and humid at the start.
35+ headed out 15 seconds ahead of my group with the 55+ (meaning Tom Price) with the same gap behind us. Solid group of racers as Jim Cochran (5th at Nationals last year) was present and he is a hammer. Race got off to a clean start and 45 minutes later Cochran took the win with me coming in 2nd. His gap was pretty good back to me; after me was a huge gap to 3rd. Felt good, but would have liked to have arrived earlier and got more of a warm up, but it was what it was.
|Jim Cochran has my number and is legit fast|
Temps were much better, but the heavy dew made for a slick course (I switched from MXP to PDX's). Got in a good warm up and toed the start line in a 39 racer quality field. 2nd row start was result of USAC points (which I wish all events would do) and off we went. Slotted in to 5th spot right off the start and then a bit of chaos insured as someone in front of my went down in a 180 off camber turn causing me to slide out; the field behind was stacked up. By the time things got sorted out I had lost a ton of places, but after riding well and pressing all the way to the end was able to snag a top 10 spot (I was 10th). Very satisfied with that effort, but one the last lap I slid out on a corner and jammed my ankle into chain rings (it freaking hurt).
|Start of Saturday's Open race|
***Edited photo from Ken Sherman***
The course was basically the same concept, but ran in reverse and shortened. I thought it made for a harder course with less places to recover, but that just might be me. Cochran opted not to race, but a couple fast guys from Omaha (who didn't race masters the day prior) were in my race. Whistle blows and I pegged it pretty good and after 45 minutes took the win with a manageable gap to 2nd and 3rd.
|Greg and Brady kept the pressure on the entire race|
Ira opted to not race (I actually encouraged him to skip it) as he had some slight nausea from his Saturday wreck. Loaded up with car with the weekend's winning swag and 5hrs later pulled in at home.
Deb had fresh banana bread waiting (she rocks) along with smiles and hugs from the she and the boys.
So up this weekend is my team's 360 Cup weekend in Lawrence, KS. I love this course/venue and hope we have a solid turnout. So far I've gotten 12 'cross races in (and it's not even October yet); I love it so!