The weather this weekend was just awesome. It was sunny and 55 both days, so I made the most of it.
Saturday, I waited until the last minute (spending time with my little dude) and headed up to race CX at Ham Lake...on my hardtail of course. I got there 20 minutes before the start, but as seems to be the norm, it ended up starting late.
The course was pan flat but fun with some pavement and some doubletrack in the woods. The start was a bit of a cluster: down hill 2-3 bikes wide with a barrier about 1/4 mile up. I got to the line late and was in the 4th row or so but a few nice guys pushed me into the 2nd row before the start. I stayed near the middle of the 40 man pack because I had never dismounted for a high speed barrier before...I ended up making it! After the first several laps, I found myself in a group of ~8-10 riders. While I easily broke away in the twisty wooded areas, they would work together and easily haul me back on the 1/2 mile flat stretch of pavement. At that point, I just decided to ride in the group. It was basically a tempo ride pace from there on, as we slowly picked off and dropped people. In the end, Patty Cakes (GP rider Pat Lemiux) and I were the only ones left out of the group, and he outsprinted me for 6th place.
Once again, I had fun, worked hard but not too hard, was the only A racer on a mtbk, and learned a lot about CX. Equipment lessons learned for next time (rules I broke this time): water bottles, cages, and knee warmers aren't necessary or cool =)
You can read about Sundays adventure at Battle Creek here. Riding that 100 foot retaining wall was cool!