Chris Cross, race #2 of the DeStad series, was at Clinton Lake near Lawrence, Kansas. The course was an interesting mix of mountain biking, road racing, and good ole cross skills. There were plenty of techinical turns and a few areas to push watts, but in general, not a lot of really fast sections. The weather was ideal: partly cloudy skies, temps in the upper 70’s and a strong south wind–course layout kept wind from being a factor, although it provided a nice push up the start/finish stretch.
I went into the race excited to be racing but a bit concerned. The week-long trip to New Orleans left me mentally and physically drained. I rode on Thursday and Friday and felt great. Then, on Saturday, everything caught up with me. I wasted away the day sitting on the sofa. My body was ready for a break and there was nothing I could do about it. Around 4:30, I managed to slide off the sofa and suited up for an easy spin to try and wake up. I ended up racing the sunset to Independence. The hard effort proved that I was OK and ready to race, maybe. =)
I arrived at Clinton early enough to kick out a few warm-up laps. All indications were good and the extra laps helped me dial in tire pressure. As we gathered in the staging area, I saw that the field was big again this week. (Results showed 60 starters.)
I lined up on the outside of row two, thinking the outside line would be fastest through the first turn. But I didn’t get a chance to find out because I got pinched in behind a rider that couldn’t clip in. I settled into 15-20th place and worked to find that magic place that’s somewhere between black-out dizzy and puking on the front tire and a Sunday ride in the park. I worked my way through traffic as we wandered through the woods. When we popped out into open fields, I saw that a lead group of 5 had opened up a sizeable gap. I was able to close ground with each lap but I only came within 100 meters of forth place by the finish.
The top 4 finishers are the same guys (perhaps in the same order) that I chased two weeks ago at Diamond Blackfan. I guess I know the competition. Next week is the Boulevard Cup in Kansas City, Kansas. It’ll be fun to race the National’s course a year later.