Hi, there. I'm Patrick and this is how my weekend went.
I raced the C race at All Hollows Cross on Saturday morning and the B race at Kinder Kross on Sunday.
After struggling with deciding on a costume for All Hallows Cross, I finally settled on going at "Patrick Bartlett, the third Bartlett brother after Matt and Chad gave their approval.
I arrived in Hughesville, MD for All Hollows Cross with an hour to spare before my race. It was in the upper 30s and my hands were already numb by the time I exited my car. I surveyed the course before registration opened. The single track made me grin. The horse rings made me frown. I opted to only ride the course once and focus on how I'd approach the horse rings.
I started the race in the second row back. At the whistle, I gunned it, gaining a few spots as we approached the first turn. As we entered the sand pit, most riders tried riding the whole ring, while I dismounted and ran the second half. This gained me two or three spots. As I passed the finish line for the first time, Matt yelled that I was within reach of the top 5. I couldn't help but think that a podium spot was within reach. As I hit the barriers for the first time, I fudged an immediate left turn, costing me a position. I rebounded and took my spot back. Once I hit the single track portion, I was at home, cruising over roots, not even touching the brakes as I swung around corners.
For the second, third, and fourth laps, I maintained my position. After a few laps in the horse rings, I managed to find a path in the sand that allowed me to stay on the inside of turns, allowing me a spot or two or to close gaps. By the fifth lap, I had secured a top ten position, as I couldn't see a single person behind me. I caught up to a Coppi rider and racer sporting a Bike Rack jersey. We dropped the Coppi guy and stayed neck and neck for the remainder of the lap. We struck up a conversation on the last lap, discussing our strengths, who was up front, taking guesses at who would win the sprint. We lapped some riders as we made our final approach to the horse rings. I pulled ahead, coming out of the first horse rink. Mid-way through the second one, I fell as I foolishly attempted to ride all the way through. As I unclipped out of my pedal and lifted myself, the Bike Rack rider passed me. I hurried to exit the ring and remounted just in time to catch back up to him. By the last turn, I was gassed and I indicated I didn't have the energy to sprint. He pulled ahead by about ten yards before I decided I couldn't go down without a fight. So I dug deep and pulled out the last bit of energy I could find to pass him and move a place ahead.
I collapsed, feeling good about how I raced. Several people told me top ten. I ended up 8th out of 51. Not bad, considering just a month ago, I couldn't even muster a top 50.
Kinder Kross was not so kind to me. I decided to race it at the last minute, as I knew Nate would be there and there were still plenty of spots open in the B race. This was my first foray in the 3/4s, and despite still feeling destroyed from the day before, I decided to just have fun and don't worry about placing. An initial run of the course confirmed my anticipations of a poor performance. It was the complete opposite of the previous day's course. Lots of turns, off cambers, and very windy.
As the race started, I found myself in the back of the pack, unable to keep up with my more experienced peers. As I made my way through the first few turns, the gap between me and the main pack only grew. I conceded this race early, but I still held my own against a small pack in the rear, getting some distance on a group of five or so. By the second lap, I was zapped. Not aiding the situation was the fact that I was now running a 1x10 gearing that was not enough as I struggled to make it up even the smallest hills. As I came around on the section of fire road towards the rear of the course, I hit a bump, knocking my chain off. The one C3 rider directly behind me took advantage and whizzed past me while I tried to reset my chain. I tried to reset it a few times to no avail. It wouldn't stay on. As the rest of the 3/4s passed me, I accepted defeat and walked back to the finish line.
My first DNF was kind of hard to swallow. I knew it was going to happen sooner or later, particularly in this race. At least it happened in a race in which I wasn't attempting to be competitive. I'll be looking for redemption come this weekend at Tacchino.