So the day finally came that I have been anticipating since, a monster of a sandy hill and a tight 180 turn in a sandpit. I was competing in both the C and B categories tonight. My aim was to do well in C’s and use the B race to fine tune my ‘cross legs for the rest of the season. The hole shot is critical in ‘cross and I only managed to place fifth of sixth rounding hill at the first turn. I was on the inside and the rider in front of my went straight over his bars blocking the whole inside line bringing me to a complete stop. By the time I recovered I was down in about twelfth place. Thoughts of victory were gone in that first turn. When we hit the creek crossing for the first time the field bottlenecked and I ended up, no exaggeration, waiting my turn as riders crossed three abreast. After that, much of the race was a blur. It took a few laps before I found my rhythm. The creek crossing was a focal point for the crowd and a herd of screaming cowbell toting ‘cross fans made for a gladiatorial atmosphere. After thirty lung scorching minutes it was over, all too soon.
Results weren’t available on the night as the new electronic scoring system was bedding in but I found out later that I had managed a respectable 2nd place in the 35+ category. Can’t be disappointed with that at the first race of the season.
After a quick bike clean up and check over I was back at the start line less than thirty minutes later for the 45 minute B race. I took a steadier approach and felt fully in control as I picked off riders lap by lap. I purposefully started at the back and worked my way up about fifteen places during the race as I gained in confidence and commitment. By the end of the B race the creek crossing was a total leap of faith as the lights failed to illuminate the entry bank. Both legs were submerged half way to your knees in mud as you jumped in. Perfect. The hurdles area was also in complete darkness by the later laps with lights shining in your eyes as you tried to line up for them. Again this just added to the challenge.