It's on! Start was normal but jammed up. I was near the back of the 35+ group so the goal was to keep an eye on Alex and Osgood. Both have been riding the strongest lately and would be the biggest threat. Osgood was insight but Alex was up about 10-15 guys. Got by some guys then settled in until the long climb before the barriers. The pace was high and everyone was laying it down on the open sections. I couldn't make much ground until we hit the sand. Not in the sand itself, but after. I was riding the steps while most if not all were running. It paid off. I was on the gas sooner and able to go faster before the asphalt straight. I past 4-5 guys quickly and was now hunting down the leaders.
They were ahead of me by quite a bit so bringing them back was going to take time. I put my head down and kept looking forward. Even so, I could see Osgood and Simon on the turns and knew they wouldn't give up. Both are fighters and wanted the win too. I had to look ahead and hit my marks, the race was in front of me. Midway thru lap 2, on the grassy climb, I see guys down. It's Alex and Steve? How did they crash here? (visit http://www.themichiganscene.blogspot.com/ for more details) So now only 2 remain, Wade and Brian. Don't know much about Wade but Brian was having a great season and if he was on this was not going to be easy. Lap 2 is done and I'm gaining ground. I think I catch mid lap and stay on Brian's wheel until just before the sand. He takes a wide line around the pines and I come along side. He yells to go so the gas gets pushed. Through the sand, up the steps and full throttle. I'm opening a small gap behind and am leading the race!
From Lap 4 to 6 the focus is on going as hard as possible without blowing up. I can still see Osgood and Simon behind and Adam Mac is coming into view ahead. He would be my new carrot. On lap 5 I catch a glimpse of Alex with Osgood? Were did he come from? Is he on the lead lap? Just keep racing. By the end of lap 6 Alex has bridged up. I ask if he is on the lead lap and he says 'Yep'. We have a race now.
Lap 7 and 8 Alex sits in and I finally catch Adam Mac at the beginning of the lap. Adam is slower on the turns but onto the straights he is gapping me off and I can't pass before we get into the turns. Going into lap 9 Alex comes around down the start finish. Adam falls back to third wheel and I'm bracing for the move. I'm holding Alex's wheel fine and feel he's not going all out. I sit and wait for the moment. I feel the moment is though the sand and first up the steps on the last lap. All is going to plan until mistake 2 of 2. Alex and I hit the sand, I go for the pass and wash the front wheel a bit. I lose about 10 feet. He's first over the steps and he is going now! I give all I can but can't close quick enough. He makes the horseshoe turn and is headed for the finish straight. I stand and go again but the gap isn't coming down. I'm second again!
I'm happy with how I raced. I gave my all and almost puked when it was all over. Alex was the stronger man and having battled make after the crash proved it. Thank you Adam McIntyre for the class move and letting Alex and I race.
Thank you Tailwinds for all you do. I appreciate having cyclocross in our state. I hope that others will realize that it's what we make of it. Not what 'you' can create. Change is good but others need to believe and help make the scene happen.
Thank you to the racers, fans, my wife and boys. I've had fun this season. It's been a battle for me personally. On more than one occasion I thought about dropping down to Cat 3. I didn't like being last every week, I hated getting lapped. I stayed put and dug deep and I'm a better person for it.
Not sure about the others fields but this seasons Masters 35+ was great. The guys raced hard, clean and made every weekend a pleasure. I understand cyclocross and racing isn't 'please and thank you'. When racers respect each other thou it makes for a good scene.
Maybe next year I'll be ready to race sooner? Time will tell.
Next stop BRX. I'll be in the 36 miler. I plan on winning and I'm shooting for the overall.
Haters keep hating. It keeps a smile on my face.