First race of the year, and it was pretty hard. Actually, the race was easy, I was just a mess. My legs were really flat, and I don't think I've ever been dead last coming down the initial straight. I'll just tell myself I was taking it easy (right).
The course, like I said, was pretty easy. Very flat, lots of tight twisty stuff, a couple of ride-able sandy sections, and the occasional ice patch with dudes and chicks hitting the ground like it was the secret to 80 degree weather again. I think if I had been feeling a little whippier, I would have really liked the course as it should suit my typical "power" game. "Power" is in quotes, because it's not a strength per se, it's just the least weak of my weaknesses.
Anyway, the race was 50 minutes, so that's 20 minutes longer than the 4 race. Surprisingly, my back didn't tighten up, but I was a bit more careful to stretch out my hamstrings before the start. I tried to warm up well, but I'm not sure if I accomplished that or not. I also decided to embrocate, which I think I will keep in my backpack until the next cold and WET race. If it's just cold, I'll stick to leg warmers. Maybe next season I'll get a fleece-lined CX skinsuit. Anyway, I have to admit that I did start a bit slower on purpose, mainly because I didn't know what kind of engine I was going to have for 50 minutes, and the fact that there was only 10 fellas in the Cat3s. I think getting the hole shot is only useful for glory and if there are more than 25+ racers or so. FYI to the non-cx'ers, hole shot is where you win the sprint on the opening lap straightaway. It can be a wonderful thing to have, especially in Cat4s, where invariably dudes will come in way too hot and overcook the first grass corner and crash, causing massive losses of skin and bike parts.
I passed a couple of guys, and then battled with Edward Smith for a great majority of the race. He was racing his 2nd race of the day, so I really had no excuse to be suffering like he was. Eventually I pulled away from him, as I could see he was tired, and seemed to be burning a lot of matches. 50 minutes is a long time, and maybe that will work to my advantage as I do like to add some strategy and have fun while I'm out there. In the Cat4's and their 30 minute race, all you can do is hammer and try not to make mistakes. There just isn't enough time to assess your situation and work it to your advantage. By the time I cleared Edward, it was halfway through the last lap and Jon Sink (6th) was out of sight. I had just been lapped (it's been awhile since that happened!), so I just held my position. I will remark that the Open guys (eg. FAST) were on the course at the same time as us. I could often feel someone behind me in the corners, and then whoosh they were by me in a hurry. Maybe someday I'll be able to run with those dogs, but I gotta get a handle on the 3's for now.
TCPC represented very well, with 6/10 guys in the Cat3 race, it looked like a group ride. We took 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th. I was in the middle at 7th. 7/10 doesn't sound that great, but I was fairly happy with it. I'm starting to make a list of things I want to put some attention to before next season starts.