Today was the first cross race to be held in Shawnee Mission Park, the storied Kansas City park that has hosted numerous [other] sporting events. The race was sponsored by Midwest Cancer Care, with proceeds going to the LIVESTRONG Army of Kansas City to help fight cancer in the metro. About the only thing wrong with this race was the heat. After enjoying temps in the 50’s and 60’s, racing with temps touching 90 was tough. Plus, with no rain in over 2 weeks, the course was hard packed and dusty.
Last week, I dropped out of Boss Cross 2 after racing for less than 6 minutes. A little mishap in a turn followed by an interesting ride across a rock-lined ditch pretty much sealed my fate–DNF, first lap. After blowing it last week, I was ready to race today.
My first warm-up lap was, um, bumpy. The ground was unbelievably hard and littered with ditches, holes, and grass clumps. I burped a little air out of the tires, and hit another lap. Better, but by no means smooth. Otherwise, the course was pretty fun, with flowing lines, long straight sections, and 3 different sets of barriers. The starting run/finish was a rutted and rocky stretch of service road that led to a hard left-hand turn. From there, it was either slightly up or down, and grass, grass, grass with a few stretches of paved bike path.
Thirty-three racers lined up the the Cat 3/4 race, with at least one, uh, sand bagger racing with us (Kent!). I got a great start and was 4th or 5th to the first turn. The guy in front of me washed out in the next corner and almost took me down with him. I slowed to get around him, which allowed 2 or 3 to shoot past me. Other than a few slides in the corners, that was about it for excitement. I held my position through the next 5 laps, swapping places with a couple of guys, but no real movement up or down. It was 40 minutes of hard tempo riding. I rolled across the finish line in 6th place–there was the slight oversight of letting a guy zip me at the line. I didn’t know he was behind me and lost a place for my lack of attention. Lesson learned: always sprint the line!