After sitting around a bit to recover, and some mild whining and complaining to my wife about the TT, it was time to get ready to race again. This time on the short track, or STXC. Basically this is a CX race without barriers or sand. It is a curvy course through the grass, taking advantage of the minimal elevation changes around [Note: My Garmin recorded a total elevation gain of 7 feet]. As a matter of fact, a number of racers opted to race on their CX bikes. I locked out my fork and called it good enough.
I recalled from last year that this race seriously stresses your anaerobic system. The plan was initially to race "20 minutes + 2 laps" but was changed at the start to "follow the laps remaining sign" which eventually led to some confusion with the Elites and Experts on course at the same time. The sport racers later began with the instructions of "Count your own laps"!
I think I lined up in the second row, and at the start all Expert racers hit the course at the same time. Chaos ensued as this pack approached the first bend. Two riders became interwoven with each other and some stakes with ribbon. It was a crunch of plastic, metal, and man. I believe they got up and finished, but it was enough to put a bit of hesitation in your mind.
My goal for this race was to push hard, and finish without wrecking. I knew trying to keep up with the front guys (or in this case "catch up") would cause me to pop. I rode at a good consistent pace, picking off riders when I could, and looking for the leaders of my group, who were way out there.
|Here you can see the "Jet intake" method of breathing control being used.|
At about lap 3, a rider on a CX bike in front of me slid out on a turn, and I had to pause and get around. There wasn't much of an associated adrenaline rush there, as I was already redlining.
Around lap 5 (of 6) I caught up to the KLM rider from the earlier race, and pushed hard to try to put some space between us. I knew 30 seconds was a lot to manage in 1.5 laps, but every little bit would help.
I finished this race in about 24 minutes, 5 minutes less than the TT, but it sure felt much harder. I ended up in 3rd place in this race. I made back 18 seconds of the ~30 I lost crashing in the TT, but still lost another minute to the top 2 in the group.
|My HR profile from the race.|
Day 1 results