Race Report from Cross of the North – CO

Starting a ‘cross race when it was 90 degrees was counter-intuitive. I think that’s why the chief USAC referee said at the start line (and his name is hush-hush) “If you’ve got people out there, they can give you hand-ups anywhere. I’m not going to police that today”. Dang. I should’a’ had some people. More on that later. Anyway, finally I started NOT in the back but on the second row in the 35+ Cat 3 field due to my hard work at CX last year. And this despite the fact I’d missed the TT¬†Saturday¬†to determine start position. Barely making it to the start line in time, I felt OK and was ready. The course was the USGP course held in Fort Collins last October. I was stoked to race it finally after just hosting and watching last year. I started 10th-ish and then quickly moved to 5th after the fumblety-bumblety that is a ‘cross start. The course was incredibly dry, extremely bumpy, audaciously sandy, and quite technically difficult. Perfect. The dude in front of me crashed 2 times in the first half lap and covered the whole course with his yard sales. After the second one, which also took me out, I regained and passed him finally. Then I noticed that the front of my bike was unusually chattery. Why is my skewer lever dangling out there like that? OH! Thank you lawyer tabs for saving my collar bone. A few seconds to re-secure the wheel after my tangle with Mr. Crash-happy, and losing 2 places, I was back at it. It was a good day on the bike. I felt focused and had good acceleration so I just went after it. The goal was to stay smooth and not make mistakes–cuz on this course that equals fast; then to attack the climbs. This netted me catching and sticking with 1st and 2nd place for the 3rd and 2nd to last of 6 laps. We were all together, and the announcer confirmed it. So, now I thought, let’s get ’em!! But I was pretty much on my limit. And this is when I screamed at Kacey (who was screaming at me to go faster), “Get me some water!!”. Did I mention it was 90 degrees? Yah, and Kacey never came through. Dang. Well, anyway, 1 and 2 (who had water ;)) had a little more power than me and I was slightly gapped in the last lap. We’re talking 10 seconds. Uh, and, that’s the way it ended. Dang. But 3rd ain’t bad at all and it was a pretty big field and competitive riding for sure. I didn’t realize until the results afterwards that we had a 1 minute gap on 4th!! Super fun to go fast on a very hard course. Kacey did his best, too, and cheered a ton. And then I may have drunk 2/3 of his beer right after the finish. This was punishment for not giving me water. I kinda feel bad now. I’ll buy him lunch!


Cat 3 35+

-Ryan Hughs