Remember how when you're training you're supposed to have B priority races? For most people this means that you train right through the race and don't worry about how you finish. For me this means gaining 4lbs drinking beer the week before and posthumously designating it a B race after you get your ass handed to you on a platter.
Is there a such thing as a B-minus priority race?
As Colin correctly mentions (and I had totally forgotten about), Coyote Hill is the singletrack crown jewel of the Root66 series which, in typical New England style, means when the course isn't jackhammering you with wet roots, it's probably beating you over the head with them to keep you honest while you power over 25% grade roller after 25% grade roller. Did I mention the 120 degree corner every 20 feet?
In sharp contrast to the rest of the course, the opening climb is smooth, sustained and only moderately steep. "Yaaay, something I'm actually good at!" ...and off I went, settled in right at my threshold and cruised by most of the field without any trouble to hit the hole at about 3rd spot for the singletrack. Sweet.
The chase group I found myself in (someone was already way off the front) was pretty seriously interested in putting the English Channel between themselves and the rest of the field, and laid it down hard through the first two sections of singletrack. Hanging on the back, I felt good aerobically, but could feel my boost depeleting by the second. The enducrance racing mantra of "No wrecks, no mechs., no pulling big gears" was certainly not applying in the third category, and as a result it probably wouldn't be long before the other two started to slip as well. Good thing I'm doing this just to get stronger, right?
The kicker that turned the race from, "huh, I might actually pull this off half decently" to "oi, it's gonna be a long one" was the greasy mud run-up 3/4 of the way through the first lap. If you've ever seen my cyclocross results, you'll understand that getting off the bike is a fate worse than death for my race performance--my legs get all wobbly, heart rate spikes, breath shortens--bad scene all around. Running is a whole lot cheaper than bike racing. If I liked doing it, I wouldn't own bikes and I'd have a downpayment on a house. Anyway, throw in some slippery mud and a couple miles of technical singletrack on either end of 30 seconds running up a hill and I'm in sloppily-executed trail riding hell.
By halfway through lap two, my lowered gearing was generating some nice suspension resonance in the woop-de-doos and Colin passed me on a short power climb, then dropped me when I bobbled a descent and had to untangle myself from my bike.
At least I was still ahead of that guy (Jeff) in the "Gamache" jersey who ALWAYS beats me by ONE PLACE (dammit), but by the start of lap three he was riding my wheel hard. I put a good chunk of time into him on the climb, and tried to really open it up on the descent, which was working nicely until I caught my bars on a tree and went for a nice ride on my face (seriously I need to stop doing that EVERY race), much to Gamache's delight. ...and that was the end of that.
The rest of the Davis sq. crew had solid days, with George riding to 5th in Cat2 40-49, despite being terrified that I was going to put that stick in his spokes:
and Gerald took 3rd in is cat2 age group
Kate, despite flatting in the last lap, ran to a 3rd place finish:
Arik was out as well, but as the results are all screwed up online right now, I can say no more...
The photos here.