Saco W 1/2/3/4 25 minutes + 5 laps
Cat 1/2/3 starters - 9
Cat 4 starters - 2
Finished - 5th
We arrived in Saco early and I walked around the course to see what I was in for. The course was relatively flat, but had three VERY tricky corners, that were going to cause issues for me - one through a parking lot around an island, and two 90 degree narrow left-hand turns. I have been having trouble with the technical corners in every crit this season...
I will also point out that Saturday was the HOTTEST, most HUMID day of the summer here in New England. Mike raced twice in the morning, and the heat took a toll on him. By the time my race started at 11:00 am, it felt like we were in an oven.
With only 4 women pre-reg'd for the race, I was glad to see a total of 11 take the start (including the 2 Cat 4s). The bad news - 4 were from IBC! Jen was there racing in the 4s and went off the gun; I jumped on her wheel to take the best lines through the corners on the first lap since we weren't able to pre-ride the course. We both dropped back after that, and I got nervous traveling through the tight corners at speed, fell into my bad habit of dropping off the back, and then chasing really hard getting back out. On one lap, I could hear Mike yelling at me to get into the middle of the pack.
After I attempted an attack on the first prime lap (and failed), I finally decided to try and learn something, and stuck to Jen R's wheel like glue, matching pedal stroke for pedal stroke - by the end of the race, I no longer had to chase out of the corners! Jen is a very steady wheel, and I thanked her after the race.
The pack stayed pretty much together for the whole race (although we did lose Jen). Getting ready for the final lap, the attacks started fast and furious. I told myself that I just needed to hang on at all costs, and dug as deep as I could to stay attached, and get past a couple of women.
Approaching the second to last corner, I heard scraping metal and knew there was a crash ahead - I slowed, preparing for evasive tactics, and ended up having to take the turn on the sidewalk, and then someone's front lawn to avoid a woman who was dragging herself off of the road. I kept on to the finish, but the crash had completely disjointed the field, separating finishers by quite a bit.
I was surprised to have finished 5th in my field, but happy with such a good result in a 1/2/3 race. I've had a terrific season this year, and am now looking despeartely forward to getting out on my 'cross bike for some more thrashings!
Mike also had a couple of great races (4/5 and Masters 35+), and after a really good season, upgraded to a Cat 3!
For more great race day photos, check out EJS Photography - these folks took some great pictures, and were really nice to talk to as well!