Part 2 of the Waterford Weekend, written by Tyler Carlton:
After staying up late Saturday night to watch that mess of a football game against Connecticut we were back at it Sunday morning for day 2 of the Waterford Hills CX. Sunday’s UM crew consisted of Danny and me racing 4’s, Harvey racing 3’s, and Zack taking plenty of photos. The weather was pretty chilly out there, with an average temp of 55°F according to the Garmin. To change things up a bit the race directors announced that we’d be running the course from Saturday backwards. Also, they threw in a couple extra chicanes to slow things down a bit before the barriers. The change of direction, as well as a lot of the racing lines getting nice and worn in, made for faster lap times throughout the field.
We rolled up to the start line and patiently waited for things to get underway. I wasn’t really paying attention when people started lining up, so I missed my chance at getting a spot in the front row. Not all was lost though as Danny grabbed a front row spot, so I lined up behind him as I knew that he wouldn’t waste too much time getting to the front.
Eventually the whistle blew and we started the dash down the pavement for the first corner. Everyone made it through cleanly and I ended up a few spots behind Danny with both of us being somewhere in the top 10. The first trip through the barriers, which came really close to the start, was a bit chaotic as the whole field was still pretty much together.
After about half a lap Danny made a big move on the pavement in the section right before the biggest climb on the course, which we took in the grass rather than the pavement like on Saturday. The hill was one of the parts of the course that I focused on surviving rather than trying to hammer up it, so I let Danny go and wouldn’t really see him again until the finish.
As the first lap came to a close I was pretty happy to find myself still solidly within the top 10. My goal was to just keep riding within my abilities and try to hold my position. I dropped a few positions on the second lap, but overall was still doing well and feeling much better than Saturday. I was cautious though as in the past the third lap is where I had started coming unraveled. I just kept trying to execute my plan of going hard in some sections and taking it easier in others. Lap three came to a close and I was relieved that the suffering was over halfway done and I had managed to not fall apart yet. Lap four was more of the same, trying not to explode while simultaneously making sure I didn’t get caught from behind.
I hit the brisk headwind on the finish straight yet again and heard one of the more glorious sounds in cx, the bell for the final lap. I was on pace for my best cx finish yet and all I had to do was make it around one more lap without getting caught. Now I had one of the racers in the 44+ category in my sights so I used him as a bit of a rabbit to chase around the course. I caught him with a few turns to go, but more importantly I hadn’t let anyone catch me. As we approached the finish line a bit of a half-hearted sprint ensued, but I didn’t really put too much into it since I knew he wasn’t in my category and I was done tuckered out.
It ended up being my best cross race by far. I ended up crossing the line in 8th out of 28 riders in the 19-44 cat 4 field, so it was my first top 10 finish in CX. My average heart rate came in at 187 bpm, which was actually my lowest average so far this season. Also, Danny came up big yet again and took home his 2nd win in as many days and 3rd straight podium finish. After the race it was time to get changed and watch Harvey take the course with the rest of the cat 3 men.