A bad start proved too much to overcome today at Estabrook Park. I felt well-prepared for my seventh cyclocross race of the year—not over-confident, but I’ve done it enough now to know what to expect. I had a decent spot on the starting line but, for whatever reason, as we sprinted away I took forever to clip into my left pedal. It just wouldn’t engage, and in about 30 seconds of chaos my chances for a high finish were already gone.
Estabrook was not a very technical course, so every mistake was magnified by the speed with which the other racers continued. Having lost time at the start there were few opportunities for me to regain positions. I was fairly smooth through the trees at the north end of the park, through the barriers and the corkscrew. I was fast on the singletrack that led to the run-up and fast enough on the run-up itself. But just about everyone was fast: unlike last Sunday’s race in Sheboygan, today’s race brought out all of the top riders in Masters 45+ Cat 4. In this field I would have been happy to crack the Top 10. But what I have to live with is 15th out of 26.
It’s now looking pretty unlikely that I will finish the season in the Top 10 on series points, and that’s OK. I expect to skip next Saturday’s race at Cam-Rock, but I may give the Silver Lake Border Battle a try next Sunday. I would like to compete in the state championship race at Hales Corners on Nov. 20 and Silver Lake would be a final tuneup. But the series continues after the state championship and into December with three days of racing in Dane County. I can’t commit to that. The weather, the travel, the expense … I just don’t see it.
My hiking boots are already paid for, and they’re calling to me.