Dawndi, Hadley and I packed up and made the trip to Alton on Saturday for the first cross race of the season. What a great feeling to have the season start :)
The "A" race and last race of the day saw a surprise showing of Josh Johnson and legend Ethan Froese from Columbia. Jay Strothman was there and several others to round out a small field of 10 to 12 riders.
Conservative start with Jay taking the lead.
Somewhere in lap 2 I think I passed Jay and was then alone in front for a lap or two.
The rain from the night before made for a soft and marginally muddy day. There was enough mud to get plenty dirty and there was some slippin and sliddin going on. I rode aggressive and took some risks, caused me to slide out and fall a few times but good to test the limits of the bike. I had one bad lap where I went down twice.
Josh eventually bridged the gap passed me and followed his wheel for the next lap. We hit the long mud section before the finish where I sucked the entire day, this allowed Josh to get a good gap I could not recover from. See ya, he stayed off the front to take the win.
The remaining 4 laps I worked to hold my 2nd place position as Jay was clearly on a mission to catch me. With 1 to go he closed the gap and we were side by side for the last lap. On the back side of the course there was a long brick straight fast section. I made my move there, attacked and got the gap I thought would be enough to hold him off to the finish line.
Not enough, he closed it back on the muddy down hill section then passed me at the beginning of long muddy section before the finish. He had to unclip on the short steep hill just before the left hand turn on to the paved section before the finish.
I made it up clipped in, closed some the gap and the sprint was on!
We were both going all out.... I was gaining as we approached the finish line but ran out of runway, Jay takes 2nd I cross in 3rd.
O' so close.
That was a fun race from start to finish!
Thanks to Mark from Alton and his crew for a fun day.
Photos courtsey of Mike