After reading Jeff Winkler’s Kansas City Cross rankings posts, I’ve come to accept that I’m racing square in the middle of the Cat 3 races. Winkler’s system uses data from crossresults.com and is based on an accumulating points system. Interestingly, his results are spot on with how I feel during the races: not fast enough to be at the front but clearly not bringing up the rear, either.
On Saturday, I drove north of Platte City to Platt Ridge Park for the 3rd race in the Boss Cross series. Last year, this race ran in freezing temps and snow covered ground. What a difference a year can make; this year it was sunny, blue skies with temps in the 60’s. Despite the great weather, the ground was still mushy from the recent rain. Not muddy, by any measure, just soft and spongy. That translates to big power. Throw in a few steep hills and you get one tough course.
Only 16 racers lined up for the Cat-3 event with a lot of the big names there. It was great to see fellow BSR racer Luke on the line. I didn’t really want to race against him, but I’ve wanted to see him in action for some time…just not in the same event as me. Nick Cole, from Tradewind Energy, was on the line, too. Tough field!
I scored the hole shot and led the first ½ lap, or so. Then, Nick, Luke, Travis and what seemed like the entire rest of the field pounced and shot past me. I pulled myself together and caught the next wheel up only to realize that these guys were riding on a completely different level. I settled into my own pace and focused on riding my own race. Doug Stone passed me during the 4th lap, and seeing him gave me a little extra motivation–he has been finishing several places ahead of me, so it was reassuring to realize that I had been racing ahead of him. I was able to muster up a little extra kick for the last two laps and passed a few more places. Otherwise, I was never really in this race. The reality of my fitness level set in when I caught a glimpse of Nick smoking up behind me. He finally caught me and lapped me on the last lap. “Don’t let Luke lap me, too,” echoed through my head as I pushed around the last lap. He never caught me but I know he was there! I crossed the line in 10th place, about where I thought I should be racing and in line with Winkler’s math.