The weather was super warm for Seattle Cyclocross, around 70 with higher than normal humidity. Walking from the parking lot, all you could see is a few riders and a cloud of dust rising up.
They stacked Qty (3) fields of 80 people in rows of 8 for a 240 person mass start on a 2.8K circuit. Getting the privilege to start at the back of the pack, lets just say I wasn't going to get a hole shot and just wanted to not eat it on the first couple of corners.
The gun went off and took quite some time before I could even start and by the time I got to go, the leaders were at least 1000 meters into the course. Taking off, I stayed with my line, but played it safe not wanting to go down with a stream of people behind me.
This is the first corner 200 meters into the course. Imagine 240 people all taking this corner...it was a mess, but that is why it is called Cyclocross. At least it wasn't pouring rain and super slick.
About 2 mins later was the token stair run up. Luckily this race had a short stair climb, but watching 8 people wide scale these things was a sight to see.
As I was 2 mins into lap 5 I heard the announcer say the leaders of the CAT 4/5 were on their last lap....errg my goal was to stay on the lead lap. Mid way through this lap the bouncing had taken its toll and could barely hold onto the hoods of my handlebars and had to slow down so I didn't go down.
Into the last corner I hear, "inside leaders coming through" as I went wide and sped up on the straight away, the top 3 of the CAT 4/5 took me in the last 50 feet and my race was done. Soo close, almost held the lead lap.
True to form I had 1 bike part rattle itself off during the race, but all the bolts stayed fastened and my front wheel didn't fall off this time. But the cap for my shifter had enough of life and bailed...
However, I take some solace that the start of the race had 1000 meter head start on me, and considering I haven't trained routinely since June I was pretty excited where I ended up. It the end, that one beat me up more than usual.
Post race I took a walk down pit lane. It is always interesting to see such a wide range of bike on the course. From Carbon framed Shimano Di2 shifting bikes with MADFIBER wheels, to the generic REI brand cross bike. In the end, if your motor works well, you are in business. It still amazes me how strong those carbon wheelsets are and what they can withstand.