Nowak Report: CCC Race #2 Hopkins Park 40+

Last weekend was the second stop on the ChiCrossCup series in DeKalb @ Hopkins Park.  This is the 4th year that we have visited this stop with each year being a very different course.  This year was no different; back was the fly-over (a first in the CCC series last year) but also some new sections thru the woods.  As many of you may not know, last Thursday I was hit by a car on my bike while on my early morning training ride.  Luckily there was not a whole lot of damage to me, just some bruising, swelling, and cuts, but my new Cronus CX was not ridable. I saw my Dr. on Friday and he said that if I felt up for the race on Sunday, he was OK with me doing it.  I woke Sunday feeling better than Sat. so I decided that I would give it a shot.  Worse case is I started the race and pulled out.

Driving to DeKalb it was quite foggy once you got out by Maple Park.  At the venue, there was still a bit of fog when I arrived but it slowly burned off for the start of the 40+ race.  This however left the grass very slick and in some cases a soft upper layer of mud.  The course was a good mix of technical sections with some longer power sections (longer than Jackson Park) and really required 100% concentration throughout.

I did a few laps of the course prior to racing and felt good enough to still give it a go.  I made my way to the start chute to try to scam a start position in the second row.  The typical conversations then ensued:

Them:  "What happened to you?!?"
Me: "Got hit by a car"
Them:  "No s*#$!!!"
Me:  "Yea, but I'm doing ok"
Them:  "Did they get a ticket?!?"
Me:  "Yep."

and so on.

I did end up getting a nice spot in the second row, middle of the pack.  Now here is where I had a "learning experience".  Like I tell the kids that I coach in baseball and basketball, "Always know your competition".  In this case I did, but didn't follow the rule.  The guy in front of me (in the front row) is a notorious BAD starter.  Once again he didn't fail to please.  The whistle blew and I was clipped in right away and powering off.  He on the other hand was fiddling around trying to clip in.  I then had to put a foot down so that I didn't run into him or any others and went from a possible great start to a not so good start (in about 30th).  Over the next lap I worked on passing people (which was difficult to do) while watching the field ride away.  I was much faster than most in the technical sections which was frustrating as I felt I could have stayed with at least the 5th-10th place (or so) riders.  At one point I got as high as 15th, but eventually faded to 19th.

So I ended up picking up a few points for the series overall, but have now dropped from 11th overall to 14th.  Top 10 overall is still in sight so that is still the goal for the season.  I did start the 30+ race right after but after 2.5 laps was not mentally into it and dropped out.

As a team we are still in the top 20 overall, but lost a few points due to off performances by myself and Ben Demong.  Brian McVey had a nice 7th in the Cat 3 and Walt Stoops was 5th (or 6th) in the 60+.

Looks like most everyone else was at the Fall Fling and congrats to everyone who raced those events!!!  Hopefully ABD will begin to have a larger presence at the CCC races.  

Next race is this coming Sunday at Dan Ryan Woods.  For all the details see the CCC website (http://www.chicrosscup.com).  On Thurs. there will be a race preview for the coming Sunday's race.  DRW is a nice course with a good little hill thrown in.

Thanks for reading,

PS.  Also don't forget the ABD 'cross race.  If you are available to volunteer on Oct. 23rd, please let me know.  Still have quite a few spots still open.

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