Winchester Cross. I had a good week of training leading up, and had a good ride and a really productive practice yesterday. The problem with the practice was that, at the end, I did exactly one barrier and immediately my left leg felt like someone lit it on fire. Outstanding.
Apart from wiping the f out in the turn before the pit in the pre-ride, thanks to a root that I was glad to have found, the pre-ride was great. Felt like I'd be able to go fast through all the sections. Got a good warmup, the Advil that I took for my quad seemed to be doing the trick - good to go.
I thought being really up front would be good since there are a lot of places where big pileups can happen, so when the whistle blew I pedaled my ass off and took the hole shot, which I was stoked about. Good choice since a huge stack up in the turn that I'd biffed on the pre-ride. Once I had the lead, the plan was to ride a good hard pace, ride the turns aggressively, not blow myself up, but try to whittle the group down.
Things went according to plan and I pretty much led most of the first three laps. I haven't felt like I've ridden a cx bike that well in a long time, was just really happy about the way that part was going. Quad was HATING the barriers, but I could deal with it.
John M twisted the throttle hard in the beginning of lap four and got a gap. Later in the lap another guy came around. I felt like just continuing to go hard and flat split laps would pay off. Three of us were riding together, with John getting a bit ahead and the guy in second staying close. Coming out of the barriers, one of the guys asked me "1 to go, right?" I thought we'd have two left. Despite nearly coming to a stop to try and find the lap counter, I'd never seen it. Well, the first time I saw it was onto the finishing stretch, when it said "0". Fuck. Really? So I got pantsed in the surprise sprint. Worse than that was just never realizing where we were in the race, and that there was so little race left when John went that I should have gone with him no matter how bad it hurt. The last few races, I've been completely completely fried at the end. Today, not at all. Just so incredibly stupid. FWIW, John is wicked fast and strong, it would take something special to beat him.
So now John's kicked out of that field, I'm in second for the series by a tire width, and feeling pretty freaking stupid. Would love to have been able to race the Master's 1/2/3 to exorcise the nasty from the first race, but that wasn't happening with the quad. It hurts a lot less than it did last Sunday, so hopefully it's net improving.
The bell on the bell lap is worthless because there are about 100 people ringing cow bells anyway (which is awesome, by the way - don't stop the bells) and I didn't think it was super great to have the lap counter on the ground. But with us doing consistent 8:00 laps, it should have been obvious that we'd do 5 laps, and I should have been all over that. Just dumb and great race legs and great bike driving juju thrown away. Dammit.
This is starting to feel as frustrating as golf.