I will first start off by saying I have been looking forward to my first cyclocross race for quite some time. Being a huge cycling fan, I have been watching World Cup cx racing for several years and watched several Bamacross races last year which only confirmed my desire to race one myself even more so. And for the record, my first cross race experience was simply awesome and exactly what I have envisioned it being like that…FUN!!!
Being the first year of racing cross, I had to buy myself a new bike before the season started. And in normal Dabbs preparation (Im always late and last minute) I wasn’t able to get my bike until Wednesday before the race. Practicing on it was extremely limited during the week but I was able to get out to Brookside on Saturday to pre ride the course before race day…which would end up being an invaluable experience. Knowing the course and what lines to take or not take was a huge asset on race day!
Race Day…a slightly strange approach from my normal mtb racing days as most xc races start 9a-ish…so a 12:30 start was quite different. I decided to eat a large breakfast and just have a snack before the race vs. trying to eat a full lunch. We were greeted with perfect weather with temps in the low 70’s and sunshine! The warm up was good…about 30min with 15min of ez spinning and 4x :30 spin ups and one warm up lap around the course that got the blood pumping nicely. As racers started to congregate around the starting line I lined up mid pack in the 3’s just so I could watch things develop throughout the first lap. With the 1-2’s starting about 2min before us, it was easy to get a feel for the horse power in the Cat 3 group. With the only hill in the course coming very shortly after the start things quickly spread out…I was able to move up about 5-8 spots by the top which placed me about in the top 10 going into the front section of turns. After the downhill and 180 turn, I was again able to move around 2 more racers, then on the first section of gravel I passed a few more. By the time we got to and through the sandpit I was sitting in 4th position behind a JR, Boyd, and a MellowMushroom rider. I would go around JR on the pavement around the baseball fields due to him being on a ss bike and would sit in on Boyd through the end of the lap. AWESOME first lap! Through the start/finish line area for lap 2, I moved past Boyd and told him to get on, I fully expected him to grab my wheel as he was riding strong and I wasn’t trying to attack but by the top of the climb I had put a small gap on him so I decided I would chase down the MM fella..I would quickly catch him and move around him to take the lead. From there I settled into a nice maintainable pace and tried to ride as clean as possible. As the race progressed I would make note of the riders behind me and what the gaps were when we were on the baseball fields as that was the best place to see where you were positioned against the field. I noticed races were swapping positions behind me and about half way through the race I had established a decent gap on rider 2 and was beginning to catch the last placed 1-2’s and was also lapping some of the racers in my group. At some point I heard 3 laps to go…great!! I would push a little harder on these last 3 laps just b/c I knew the end was near…and at the end of the day, I would cross the line in first place with a comfortable margin over the 2nd placed rider.
So the sandbagger talks begin…one race in, several sandbagger comments, all in good fun…or maybe not…I laugh and know that in a few races I’ll be forced to move up so im going to enjoy this W as long as I can!
Simply a great day on the bike and a great day to be part of Team Momentum!