SoCal Cross Race 4 - Cross Convert, Ventura
I missed the 3rd race in the series last week due to being in China on business travel. I wasn’t supposed to be back in time to race the 4th, but I ended up with food poisoning in China and was sick for three days. I came back on Wednesday and fought through gastric problems and the 16 hour time change enough to go out and race today. I didn’t have high expectations as I haven’t had any quality riding for almost 2 weeks. Sunday morning I felt good though and loaded up for a 3hr drive to Ventura.
I am currently 2nd in the series so I got called up 2nd for the start. This basically assures me a good position in the front row so I don’t have to fight through 35+ guys to reach the front. Given my “pole” position, I decided I would rail it on the start and stretch as much of a lead as I could. This was working well until about half way through the first lap when I thought I had taken a wrong turn and sat up - letting the 2nd place guy lead the way. I shortly thereafter passed him and lead the race until the last lap. The only eventful thing during the race was a dog on the course that tried to bite me on the last lap when I rolled past him – I understood his reaction as I tried to bite the guy passing me….
On the last lap, Didier was behind me as well as a third guy on a mountain bike. Typically mountain bikes are a disadvantage but this particular course was very rough. The guy pedaling it is also a semi-pro xc mountain biker… This should have been an excellent situation for Didier and I to alternate attacks to wear him down, but I think we were both too tired. The mountain biker came around me and I jumped his wheel - holding on tight. I had saved enough for a sprint so I didn’t mind letting him work hard on the last lap. With about ¼ of a lap to go, I bobbled remounting after the barriers. I lost several seconds and my teammate passed me to try and close the gap on the leader but it was in vain. I hammered as hard as I could and caught back onto Didier’s wheel just before the last corner. He was flying and I dropped a few gears and leapt out of the saddle in full sprint for the line. A near photo finish with me ahead by about half a wheel. I hit a max heart rate of 197 – 8 beats faster than I have seen this year and netting me 2nd place!
Next weekend is a big two day event in Bakersfield that will be 2 races worth of points in the series standings – important indeed!
Pictures – huge thanks to Claire Campaigne for taking all these lovely