Guess rumor got out to the folks at Overdrive Cycling that I’d be attending this years Princeton Valley Cyclo-cross race in Eau Claire on the Sat after Thanksgiving.
Figured if Smithers , Trevor Koss & the rest of crew doing the 60minute race got a good margin from the get go, I’d be out of the running. Guess what!? They were right!!
In something that may only come as a small surprise, I wasn’t on the start line when they said go. Got there a nice half hour before the race just enough time to register & warm up on the cold 30 degree day.
It was a short course with laps only 5+ minutes long, I wanted to get in one good solid pre race lap before the start. No one was at the start line when I took off. As I rounded the back side of the course up on the hill I could see people starting to line up. And about 3/4 thru the lap, I heard a bunch of loud cheers. I thought, boy I hope that was just a rousing pre-start cheer. To my dismay in short order I see a string of racers leading it out across the pavement & onto the golf course.
No need to imagine the expletive that escaped my lips without a filter. Quickly you adjust your expectations from contending to just getting back out of the DFL place.
So hence the chase began, when I crossed the timer, it had me some 80 to 90 seconds back. So it took 2 laps to start reeling in & passing guys, it usually came in groups of two or three.
Outside a few bad choices on the twisty corners & chicanes that make the Princeton Valley course a very good cyclocross course I was able to keep up a strong effort for 8 of the 11 laps. I’d regularly see Smithers where the course would cut back on itself, not falling further back or gaining anything on him either.
Finally the effort of chasing caught up to me in the final 3 laps & wasn’t able to finish on the same level that I started. Had the powertap in play so it made for some good analytics to diagnose after the race. If someone says racing with a a power meter doesn’t makes sense? Take a look at the power file afterwards & see if there’s not some clues as to what specific training you could be doing to make improvements.
Despite having next to zero cyclo-cross specific efforts (on/off type intervals – sprinting for short distances & then coasting, sprinting than coasting, etc.) because of working on increasing my 60min threshold output lately. My legs felt fantastic for the race. Much to my surprise building up my threshold even alittle bit over the months of Oct/Nov paid dividends in making the harder efforts much more manageable.
As the race finished I was able to move up to 6th, just a few seconds short on the 5th place guy. The always speedy Trevor Koss took the win as he threw down a really hard race from the get go to put distance on 2nd place Chris “Smithers” Smith. On the final time sheets from what I could assess – without the deficit I’d started with I’d of landed in 3rd, or maybe been able to give Chris a run for 2nd. Still all in all a really good fun race, a great course and it’s put on for charitable reasons.
Keep it on the radar & considering doing it in the years to come. Great excuse to burn off Thanksgiving calories & get a race level effort in the legs before the MN & WI state cyclo-cross championship races the following two weekends.