Well I've raced in four races this year, and I feel like I'm racing a bit better this year than last, and I am certainly having as much, if not more, fun that I was last year.
I didn't ride my bike as much during the summer as I did last year. I took up running this year and a number of Saturdays and Sundays that might have been riding days were instead running days. I think this helped a bit with the run-ups and maybe a bit with the stamina. And I am very happy about it because I really enjoy the running. ( and running races give away better stuff that cycling rides although they are certainly more expensive than 'cross races.)
I do though need to put in more biking miles next year before the season starts. Noel and I are discussing next year's goals and I think we are going to put a century or two back in as goals next year. This should help focus the summer training. Additionally I'm going to look into learning how to swim well so that I can add triathlons to the training routine. As I tell folks, I can swim - if you push me off a dock, I won't drown - but I don't know how to do it efficiently and for long distances. Also I am going to be adding a half marathon and a full marathon to the schedule next year. I did the Annapolis 10 miler a couple months ago and think I will train for the National Half Marathon and then the New York Marathon with the Prostate Cancer Foundation. (If I haven't told you my Dad was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer and in a couple months will be short one prostate. Fortunately all indications are that he will be fine.)
Ed Sanders Cross
I tried out the Master's B race at Ed Sanders and I can say that this was clearly a mistake. The guys in the race we just too strong for me and I got spit out the back pretty quickly. That being said, Ed Sanders is one of the most fun courses in the region. With the boggy goodness in the front half and the hills and great cheering on the "back nine" it's an excellent course. The race beat me up pretty good, but it was alot of fun and it was great to have the girls out there cheering for me. They also snaged some great waffles from the folks heckling/announcing on the back nine.
I felt a bit wonky after the race and not 100%. It was a fun race but I didn't feel my best afterwards.
Hayttsville / Arrow Bikes Cross
Arrow Bikes did an amazing job with their inaugural race. They set the race up in Magruder Park in Hyattsville which was nearly completely flat. They were able to find a good number of technical features they could incorporate into the course. They also threw in a nice death spiral on the back side of the course. It could have been a grass crit, but they structured the race really well and there were alot of spots where you had to hold it and alot where you could chase down the guys in front of you. It turned out to be alot of fun for me becuase even though I was on the back of the group there was a group of three guys I was racing with. Near the end of the race one of the guys was on my wheel and I felt like after I made one of the last turns he was going to over take me. Low and behold the turn before we turned onto road to the line, he came around me and beat me to the line. I just didn't have enough gas to catch him down the line.
This was a great race and alot of fun and I will be sure to hit it next year.
Granogue is one of the best races in the mid atlantic and this year's race was epic. It had been raining for three days before the race and was 40 degrees and raining when the race started yesterday. The mud was great and during the first race of the day, the course hadn't been chewed up too much yet, but it was very slippery and it was tough getting traction.
They modified the course from last year and added more off camber switchbacks on the side of the bill hill under the tower. Staying up and doing it with speed proved to be a significant challenge, especially the later in the race, but it certainly rewarded technical skills. The run up on the front side of the course was brutal. It was completely soup by the time the race started. It took all your effort just to get through it. And then the SRAM run up on in the second part of the race was just plain brutal. It was long and slippery and seemed to never end, and was followed by the switchbacks.
All in all a great race and totally worth doing if you're considering the trip. Below are some photos from the morning races.