The folks from Cheshire Cycle throw a really great party at Cheshire CX. They get great spectator and sponsor support and the course is really fun with some great singletrack, fast corners, technical corners, and a 50 meter run up where the spectators and hecklers tend to congregate. My plan was to do the single speed event and then the 1,2,3 race. The single speed event was staged 2 minutes behind the Cat 4 field. As we came into the run up on the first lap three of us had caught a number of the Cat 4's and were having a good time riding together through traffic. The race was only 35 minutes so I didn't want to drag the others around for too long. I decided to put in a hard effort on the uphill section of lap 2 and from then on I was solo single speed, chasing the stronger Cat 4's. I held on for the win and came close to catching the Cat 4 winner.
I hung around cheering for the other finishers and then headed back to my car to get my wallet and license to register for the 1,2,3 race. By the time I made it back to registration the 3,4 race was underway and Graham Garber was off the front. I was definitely surprised to see him in that race but once I spoke to the registration folks I understood why. Graham and Hunter Pronovost (promoter/organizer of the race) were the only two people registered for the 1,2,3 so they decided to bag the race and Graham entered the 3,4 to avoid making his day a total loss. Oh well, no second race for me.
Sunday I was pre-reg'd for the Durham CX race. It's a new event run by the Laurel Bicycle Club. They've been around for 30+ years and my former employer is their supporting shop so I wanted to make a point of supporting their effort. Plus, they were running around at Cheshire CX trying to get as many people as possible to come out for their race.
When I arrived, I was faced with a major dilemna. Not being able to double up on Saturday kind of bummed me out. I had my geared bike and really wanted to get two races on Sunday. The only option though was the 3,4 race because they did not have anyone interested in the 1,2,3.
I lined up with 15 or 20 other riders, including a few strong Masters riders that I know but who I don't usually race against. For the first 3 laps I yo yo'd between 2nd and 5th with one guy driving the pace the whole time. The course was really fun but also quite hilly. Not as bad as Catamount but still hillier than most CX races. I noticed I was the strongest on the climbs so I decided to test the others a bit on the 4th lap and was able to shed two of the five from our group. For the last 3 laps it was three of riding together. I spent a fair amount of time at the front but didn't push too hard in the windy spots, hoping to save something for the last lap and the second race. I let the other two lead most of the 5th lap all the way to the tough uphill on the final lap. I put in a really hard effort from the back on the hill and built enough of a gap that I was able to hold them off all the way to the finish.
I spoke to Diane Fortini at the finish and told her I'd prefer not to be scored since I really belonged in the 1,2,3 field but she insisted since I am a 3 that it was ok and she would score me.
So, after writing a post about how lame it is to race in a category where you expect to be on the podium, I did exactly that. I suck.
On a positive note, you should all try to fit both Cheshire and Durham into your calendars for next year. Just like Mansfield Hollow, these two races are run by passionate people who want to see us out there enjoying ourselves (in a sick, painful way). They had good prizes, good courses, and reasonable entry fees. Support the little man next year!