Manzanita Park in Prundale, Ca. was the venue for the first test of the '06 'cross season. HRS Rock Lobster was in full effect, putting themselves on the podium in all categories.
My race began in the blazing midday sun and was held on a loose, sandy and dusty course. Luckily, we had some big talent in Barry Wicks and a flying Chris Mcgovern to contend with. As Josh and myself are flying to NY on thursday for our first UCI races of the season, it was good to get a dose of the pain we can expect next weekend.
Wicks started hard and looked ready to ride away with it from the gun. I was in third spot and decided to try and move onto his wheel and stick as long as possible and hope some of the guys would come up too. Barry was ripping and I spent two laps sucking wheel the best I could. It was cool to be there and it was hurting a bit, but not too bad, yet. Barry slipped his bars a little and while asking for a tool from his girlfriend, I went around him and punched it a little. He rode my wheel for a lap and then started working on his bike as I tried to keep the pace high as I could tell that Chris McGovern was about to make contact.
At this point I was getting a bit tired and decided to fall in between the two "fast guys" and try to recover a little. I wasn't recovering and Chris was getting a little sloppy, but still pedaling really hard. He bobbled in the middle of the lap four to go and Wicks just rolled away. I was too tired to bridge and was hoping I could last till the end and maybe sneak away on the last lap. Maybe riding with Barry took more out of me than I knew but I lost contact with Chris at about two to go and it looked like he was going to succeed in making the bridge back to the front. I would end up getting some luck when he pinched the rear with a lap and a half remaining and I could speed past him, into second place.
The race was still not over, and although I didn't catch Barry, I was concerned with the late race charge from Mark Noble who probably would have caught and passed me had we a couple more laps remaining. That is one tough mofo. Luckily we only race an hour and I was able to grit it out to second place.
So now it's recovery time and packing up for the first trip to the East Coast. Will keep you posted on the adventures.