An hour later, bright sunshine.
Fast forward to about 3pm. Pookie and I were loading the car for the one hour trip to Blacksburg when it started becoming windy. You could feel the change in the air. When we pulled out of Roanoke, the thermometer in the Subaru read 64 degrees. When we reached Tech, it was 55 - and dropping. The wind had become fierce. Clouds rolled in and winter started showing it's face.
Since we were quite early, we watched Laura's race (I'll let her tell you about it here), then I had about an hour for a nice long warm-up. Then I rolled to the starting line - the place where I would begin to get my whoopin'.
Things started well enough. My heart rate shot to about 180 and I was seeing stars trying to stay on the wheel of Cole from East Coasters, and a girl (insert joke about my manhood here) that is a Cat 1 road racer. The 36x18 I was running was almost enough to keep with the lead group. I would soon get dropped off the back and was in no-mans land between the lead three and a group of about 3 more behind me. The wind was vicious. Each time the course would turn westward, it was like wearing a parachute. I desperately wanted someone to draft behind, but I couldn't catch the leaders, and the group behind wasn't catching me.
This went on for about half of the race. I was suffering like dog in the wind. I would try to make up for it by working twice as hard when I was in the tailwind. I opened up a new account at the pain bank. Never before has 30 minutes seemed like an eternity.
I came through the chicane that marks the half-way point of the course to find Cole from East Coasters running along side his chain-less bicycle. What a crappy way to pass someone, but it still lifted my spirits about 1/10th of 1 percent.
That didn't last long. I wanted to quit when the group of three from behind behind caught and passed me. Into the wind no less. I tried to jump on the wheel of the last rider, but I couldn't stay there. Off the back again.
About 5 minutes later I got into a groove and started making up time on those in front of me. With one lap to go I caught and passed Kevin (Dillard, I think), and started closing in on the remaining riders off the front.
I could see them getting closer as we reached the final short, grunt climb. I was closing in on the rider directly in front of me, but I had no chance with the 40mph winds beating me to a pulp. I gave it everything and was 2 seconds behind at the line. Another close one.
I'd like to say that I felt good during the race, but I didn't. I felt like I was going to die. Like I was going to implode. Pain. Hey, that's cyclocross!
Today is Tech Cross Day 2. I'm sitting at home blogging. I've had enough for this year. The next race report you'll see here will be February when I'll make the short drive to Bedford to race in one of Kenny Palmer's ultra-fun MTBCross races.
Now it's off to Lowes again...