Saturday was the Miller Paul Marut 5k run and the first cyclocross race of the season hosted at Camp Manatoc. We decided to just help out at the M&M 5k and save our legs for the cross race and the mountain bike race the next day. There was around 225 racers all together for the M&M 5k race, which was great minus the weather. It was cold, raining and very windy, which proabably scared most people away. Down in Peninsula, the weather was completely different. It was sunny, warmer and the wind wasn't as bad as at home. The cross races started later in the day with the C race going off at 2:15, the B's going off at 3 and the A race going off at 4:05 becuase of the mountain bike festival taking place. The course was half power sections, half single track with lots of roots and holes. It looked very fast and it had a double sand pit and a good ol' set of barriers right after. I was thinking to myself actually that I was going to get a flat or a mechanical because it's always my luck that the first couple races of the cross season, I have that happen during the race. I was just there to of course race and give it my all, but most importantly to have fun; which I have been doing all year so far.
The A race had about 30 people in it including a pro mountain biker from Jamis Bicycles. The start was blazing fast. I was about mid pack when we all took off but managed to squeeze through a couple of racers to get up front more. A couple of laps into the race, I was feeling pretty good. There were a couple racers, including some of my teammates that were on their way to the pit area becuase of all the roots and holes causing flat tires and mechanicals. At the end of the race, I managed to finish 5th overall and had a great battle the whole race with Scott and Brent. It was fun and great job guys. Dad finished great as well. He looked great throughout the whole race and finished 17th in a very stacked field. Thankfully there were no mechanicals for myself or my Dad today. We were really hoping that the next day's race was going to be just as good.
The next day was the Big Valley Mountain Bike Race. Lots of racers and a lot of spectators as well. Dad and I raced the the Sport race which is about equal to a cat 2/3 road race. Our races took off at around 1:30 because of the race announcer was loving to hear himself talk. The order of the waves for the race was Expert race, 30-39 Sport, 19-29 Sport, 30-39, 40-49, 50+, and 18 and under. Each wave was seperated by two minutes. I raced in the 19-29 group and came very close to getting the hole shot in the start. In a little over a mile into the race, we already caught up to the 30-39 group. It was mad chaos through the single track at this time. There were a lot of frustrating guys and a lot of sticks and leaves crunching from people passing the person infront of them who would not move over to let anyone through. Once the chaos settled down a little bit, a couple guys flew past me through an open field and I tried to keep with them but it didn't happen. They were there and gone. So at this point I found myself in third and this is where I was really trying to keep it at. After the first lap, I was feeling very good. Everything was working awesome. My legs were responding, my bike was working great, and I had alot of fuel in me to get me through another lap. About the middle of the second lap, I rode up to a huge hill that consisted of lots of roots. I did not attempt to ride this becuase I did not want to waste time. As I was running my bike up the hill, my right quad started to cramp big time. I looked down at it and could see my muscle knotting up. As I was trying to make my way up, another 19-29 racer past me. He rode up the whole hill and must have taken that perfect line to do so. Trying to ignore the cramp, I jumped up back on my bike and started to spin to loosen up my cramp. A couple minutes after the hill, I caught back up to the other racer that past me and worked with him for a little while. When my legs felt a lot better, I told him that I was coming through and from there I felt like I had a second wind. I felt great for the rest of the race and finished 3rd overall in the 19-29 Sport group. Dad raced another great race as well finishing 8th in the 40-49 Sport. We both loved this race because it was fast, the race was competative, and most importantly, it was fun. This whole weekend was fun and everyone from the team did an awesome job. Next week is Wendy Park Cross and hopefully it will be just as good as this weekend.