Master Men’s 45-49 and Men’s Single Speed
Lakewood, Washington (25 miles south of Seattle) offered a cyclocross paradise with cool temperatures, endless rain, ankle deep mud, twisty descents, and two massive run ups.
Master Men’s 45-49. 4th Place.
There was never a dull moment in this race and playing into this was the amount of rain that had come down over the preceding days including the heaviest downpour about an hour before the race’s start. The conditions were perfect and I was excited to see what would happen.
I had a fourth row call up, 36 of 71 riders (points are tough to get riding cyclocross in So Cal), and the goal was simply to pass as many people as possible while keeping a technically clean race. So that is what I did, put my head down, buried the needle, and shot through the rain and mud. Around the third lap I found myself in a pack of three riders, one of them was wearing the 2018 championship stars and stripes jersey (Adam Myerson), and realized that this was the 5,6,7 positions. I figured this was going to be a battle for that last podium spot and settled in.
Eventually though I made use of a long climb to keep moving forward, dropping that group and now catching the 4th place rider. He seemed tired, I knew I was tired, but it was Nationals and the battle for fourth commenced over the last two laps. The two of us yo-yoed about, usually with me getting a few second gap but then him latching right back onto on my wheel. Factoring into this was my increasing inability to shift gears as the mud and grit were taking a toll.
Finally, on the last lap I opened up a maybe 10 second gap, but on the final descent I had my biggest blunder of the race. The descent was Z shaped where at the top you did a large off camber drop then turned/launched into the second portion; so on the top portion I got off my line and slid into the protective hay bail, landing on my feet and running the last 15 yards of the descent. Luckily I maintained a few second lead and from there it was all out for the last part of the course which included one last flyover, a 40 yard sand pit, and a bumpy false flat.
I was hoping to crack the top ten so crossing the finish line in fourth place was a sweet surprise.
Men’s Single Speed. 15th Place.
This race started with being called up in 67th position of what would eventually be some 140 riders. Although the conditions were a little drier than my previous race, the course still offered plenty of mud and I figured the first lap or two would be chaos, and it was. Within that chaos though the plan was again to pass as many riders as I could. By the time it was over I pedaled, ran, and slid my way into 15th place.
Note: The Men’s single speed race can be viewed on youtube.
The Men’s Single Speed starts around 5:33:00.
If the link doesn't work can search on youtube “USA Cycling 2019 Cyclocross National Championships - Saturday”