i had so much fun at the Boulevard Cup on Sunday it's been hard to think about anything else since. The weather was amazing, the course was great, the crowds were big and the racing was hot.
Lets relive the glorious day that was last Sunday.
the 3/4 race (my race) had 48 starters! That's equal to the fields at Jinglecross last year. At Saturdays 360 cup i started last row so i was determined not to let that happen again. ps, i had a video camera strapped to my stem for the 360 cup, hopefully i get the footage and can post it soon, it should be pretty entertaining.
With 25 minutes to go i was lingering near the start. With 17 minutes to go i was lined up on the second row and very happy about that. Right beside me was J Doug. I believe he said his racing philosophy was 'fly and die', meaning pacing yourself is for wimps. I have a friend who has the same philosophy when it comes to drinking, but thats another story.
The whistle blows and J Doug is true to his word and takes off fast. I'm sitting about 8th after a few turns. Then we hit a tight s turn and the field is basically stopped. Dave can sense everyone coming in too hot and says 'were bottled up guys'. He said it so casually but people seemed to listen, like he was the boss, Dave is the bomb.
Dave and i get thru pretty quickly but we were the lucky few. I'm sure this helped open a gap to a lot of folks behind us. By the end of the first lap Wichita Bob is riding off into the sunset never to be seen again, but i'm in the first chase group. There are 4 of us. The course was totally awesome and had lots of long fast sections so it was conducive to working together and drafting. Dave pulled most of the first lap or two so i eventually moved to the front to do my part. I was feeling good. Pretty soon we lost Dave. He had a great race the day before, taking 3rd to Wichita Bob despite several crahes, and the day before that he did some sort of threshold test so he was pretty pooped come Sunday.
Soon after that Carl was yo-yo'ing off the back. Carl is strong but he would run the sand while we would ride it, so i think that's what hurt him. It was quickly down to James and I. All these names have become pretty familiar over the past month or so. It's been a lot of fun.
James and i were in cruse control and worked well together for the rest of the race. It was awesome. One thing that was not awesome was my less then stellar performance on the technical stuff (minus the sand, which we both rocked), maybe i had too much air in my tires or maybe i just suck at tech, it was disappointing but it was never a game changer.
I was completely focused on what was going on but i also couldn't stop thinking to myself, "this is awesome, this is awesome, this is awesome." I mean, im in a two man chase, fighting for 2nd place at one of the biggest local races of the year. Maybe the biggest. There's an announcer calling out the race action. The course is packed with spectators drunk on free boulevard been and cheering wildly. I was living my dream. When i first started to read about Cyclocross and guys like Ryan Trebon and Sven Nys, well, i was fascinated. Now here i was, having my own little moment.
The race goes on and even though James makes several comments about trying to catch Wichita Bob i know we are riding for 2nd. We keep the pace high and work together till the very end. This one was going to come down to a sprint finish and this course was set up to have a great sprint. The final stretch was about 100 yards of pavement followed by about 20 yards of grass, then the finish line. It was all relatively strait so you could totally haul a**. I lead into the pavement but kept the speed medium. I'm not sure if this was the right strategy (ive done very few sprint finishes that counted for anything significant) but i didn't want to be to tired when he made his eventual move to try and come around me. So i rode medium and tried to spot his move. I looked underneath, listened, tried to anticipatet. Nothing came. He was still right behind me.
So with about 20 yards of pavement left i down shifted and poured my life into the pedals. It was liberating. it felt like i was going fast. We hit the grass and i started to feel over-geared. i glance back (X was quick to point that out after the finish, i guess looking back is bad) i can tell it's going to be close. He moving up my right side. Keep mashing, keep mashing, keep mashing. The finish line is close, but so is James, he's basically even with me now. Here comes the line! BIKE THROW!!!........ he beat me.
I knew it immediately.
I'd love to see a picture of the finish because i think i had a great bike throw and i think he did to, but i knew he beat me. Couldn't have been by more than 6 inches.
Cest la vie.
Despite losing the sprint i was all smiles. I just took 3rd out of about 48 dudes!!! and on top of that it was a ridiculously fun race to be a part of and hopefully a lot of fun to watch as well.
After that we hung out, watched the open race, drank lots of great beer, played some Dungeons and Dragons and enjoyed the awesomeness that is Boulevard Cup. Seriously, Boulevard Cup, bad ass.