I'm so glad I opted for Baker's Orchard CX race over Heck of the North. The conditions screamed for cyclo-cross...wet, windy, cold, and MUDDY! I wasn't sure I should even do a lap to check out the course but eventually decided to do so. After one lap at a leisurely pace I and my bike were covered in mud. It was going to be an interesting race!
I finally got an ok start, my previous ones have somewhat sucked. I think I was 3rd into the hole shot. I would be passed by two riders during the first lap. It takes me a bit to find my groove and chill out. But once that happens I am pretty consistent. I started to pick off the 45+ riders that started a minute in front of us and some of the 1/2/3 women that started 2 minutes in front of us.
Racing a single speed I tend to stand a lot to climb or accelerate but with the muddy conditions standing was tricky. The tires would tend to just spin with too much torque and not enough weight on the rear wheel. On some of the climbs I'm sure I looked like a cat trying to discharge a hairball but it worked and I got up all the hills without dismounting. Every lap I gained confidence in my tires, Clement PDX. Hands down my favorite cross tire I've every used....awesome.
I eventually passed one single speeder than another putting me in 3rd place. But they didn't make it easy! Both riders stayed strong and pushed me the last laps. I could hear people cheering for them so they were real close. I buried myself the last lap, specifically the last straight section into the wind. I was tapped. I was able to maintain 3rd and got my first podium of the season! I had a blast. Yep Cross is Boss. Super cool my family came too and seemingly enjoys it as well.
For whatever reason I feel a bit down on gravel racing. Can't really pinpoint why as I still love riding gravel and love the wide variety of riders it brings. Next spring I'm sure that will change. It's super cool we have so many riding options!