This past weekend was the finale of the Oklahoma Grand Prix Cyclocross Series. The TLC boys did an incredible job putting a fun, dogged, unique cyclocross race together for the local racing scene.
In fact, all the local races this year had their own unique-ness and approach. I've only been racing cross 6 years, but this year it felt like all the local Oklahoma courses had their own challenges, terrains, and a lot more technical aspects added in then in recent years. It was a physically and techincally challenging year!
Going into Sunday's Undercross, and looking at the Elite Men's standings, I wasn't going to hold off Mr Drummond for 2nd place - but only had to finish to seal in 3rd and a place on the overall podium. So, I decided to double up and do the 30+ Men's Race as well.
We rolled in waves with the 40+ first, then 30+, then Single Speed/50+ after. Chris was able to quickly jump up and get with Jake in the 40+ race. And the rest of us at the lead of the 30+ group (8 of us) were lined out and pretty close the whole first lap.
After we started getting lines dialed, and that first hero lap in, I was able to start consistnetly pulling away from a couple of guys that had come from Arkansas (THANKS for coming to OK cross). It was a 40 min race, and lap times were right at 7 minutes - so we only did 5 laps. I was close to a group of 3 at the head of the 40 race - Raton, Sammy and Chris Siemens forever. I could see Raton and Sammy 1-2ing Chris and getting seperation.
On the last lap I was able to roll up to Chris and we had an outright battle that had me turn my 2nd fastest lap! That was a blast to have an ending like that to the race. I ended up 2nd in the 30+ race, and Chris finished well enough to seal the overal win in the 40+ OKGP Series (congrats!)
Legs felt really good in the 30+ race so I was pretty optimistic for the 1/2 race. At the start, in tongue in cheek fashion, after we got to the 180 pavement turn around I zipped past Chris, Jake, Dylan and Ray into the course. But - honestly - I corner like shit compared to those guys. I was laughing as I went past and it didn't take until past the mid-field barrier/logs for them to easily be clear of me.
There is plenty of Skill work that needs to be addressed the next 12 months to be able to battle with those guys.
As I got a couple laps into the race it was clear that I didn't have the punch I needed in the few really steep uphill 180s to make a dent. Ryan, Pete, Raton and Cody were able to catch and pass. I was able to hunt down on Cody for a while until the last lap when I gave up the ghost. All of those guys continue to ride stronger and stronger.
But, I was able to finish the race, and enjoyed getting to step onto the Elite Men's Series final podium for the first time.
Have learned a lot in the skills area and training area *during* the season that I'm processing, and adjusting as I think about next year.
One CX race left on my schedule - the 2/3/4 race Sunday at Ruts and Guts. Then it's time for 2017 road focus.