these 'cross racing days are a lot more relaxed when you're not rushing around to be ready for a 10 am start. hit the road aound 8 to head out to leesburg so i could shoot the C race and cheer on some fellow city bikes riders. took a spin around the course with mike before the C race and saw a lot of differences from last years' race... one more steep climb in the first half of the course, but since they were dry they were all rideable, a new section around the back half of the course that replaced a grassy section in the first half of the course, and a new finish with 2 climbs and a couple of tight turns. took a spill in the final turn, so i got early notice that this could a potential problem in the race.
shot the C race - won by my city bikes teammate, mike scardaville - then watched the first part of the masters race then started warming up in preparation for my first B race. lined up in the 3rd row at the start since my intention for the race was to play it safe, stay out of trouble, and get a feel for the Bs. there were a bunch of call-ups, but a lot of no-shows amongst them and 2 pro women who decided to add the men's B race to their racing for the weekend: sue haywood (trek/vw) and georgia gould (kona).
at the whistle were off and heading up the hill on the road toward the course... i'm sitting about 2/3rds of the way down the 20-30 rider pack but then around the first corner of the course a rider ahead of me overshoots and gets caught in the tape, tangling 4 or 5 of us up. we got sorted out pretty quickly and headed towards the barriers and off towards the back section of the course. once we settled in i started to pick up my pace a bit and pick off riders on the short steep climbs on the back side of the course. took one turn a little too wide and almost hit a short wooden post on the outside of the course.
by the end of the first lap i was somewhere around 15th, and then by the end of the 2nd lap i was up to 10th and was actually closing on a large group of riders that made up the main chase. i managed to pick up one more place as a rider dropped off the back, but i wasn't able to get any closer to the rest of the group. 3 laps in i finally got a look at the lap cards which were showing 3 laps to go. with a lap and a half to go the last rider that i passed came back around me and i while i closed the gap down a couple of times i was fading pretty badly and wasn't able to catch him again. the chase for 9th place may not have worked, but it got me a pretty good gap on the riders behind me and i finished in 10th (of 25 according to the results posted later in the day).