Today may have been the first mudbath of the season, but there was mostly only light rain yesterday and this morning was partly cloudy, leaving the course tacky and bumpy with a single small mud hole in the process of drying out. The course layout was a more of a shorter power course than we’ve seen at this venue in the past. The defining power section was the uphill drag from the bottom to the top of the course. This section too consisted of about 40 seconds of constant hard pedaling, which is quite a long time for a cyclocross course. The average speed was high, at 15.6 mph, and I used my 48T big ring exclusively.
I managed to hold on to 5th place in the CCC Racer standings for the first two races, and am enjoying my (surely temporary) front row callup. I didn’t kill myself at the start, and was on the singletrack in about tenth. I was able to stay with the large front group of ten until the third lap. Some places were exchanged, and I was in seventh at one point, working with JJ Clark, and Colby Pierce chasing a few seconds back.
JJ worked a few seconds ahead of me, and Colby began coming up quickly. As he came by, it was obvious he was on another level at that point, and after trying fruitlessly to hang on, I let him go on his merry way. There was lots of daylight behind, so I kept the pace ‘on’, but held off a little bit for the race tomorrow, finishing 9th (I think).
There were a few mechanicals I noticed on course, including some punctured low pressure tubulars from landscaping edging on the course. My tubeless setup gave me my biggest problem yet, as I nearly crashed around the tight, fast, paved turn near the Punk Rock band (YES! Cyclocross is this awesome) when my front tire folded over from too little pressure. After the race I found a profuse sealant leak from one point on the tire bead, and I assume I bottomed out and got a piece of gravel lodged in there and was losing a bit of pressure. The rear tire (carbon bead, tighter fit), was flawless a the same pressure (31 psi), without a single burp or squirt of sealant.
Update: Someone posted a great HD video of the race, embedded below.