Race Report - Baker Orchard CX

6:57 AM

That's the men's leader finishing behind me -
I just realized I get to do another lap!
I am going to have some difficulty describing Baker Orchard this year.  On the one hand, everything went right – there was a healthy level of mud built up from the overnight rains, and I was able to ride it with confidence.  I even tackled the sand pit each lap, and only had to get off my bike a few times because of other riders’ mistakes. 

On the other hand, I finished in the middle of nowhere and far behind where I think I am capable of finishing.  Ugh.

Here is how it all went down.  I lined up knowing I wasn’t going to go for the hole-shot after last year’s failed attempt and bent derailleur hanger.  I’ve discovered that if you stay strong at the start, but just a bit back from the fray, you can set yourself up to go around the chaos that inevitably occurs within the first few corners.  Sure enough, there was some fumbling and I was able to stay clear.  

The course was awesome this year – slick mud covered several corners.  The sand pit was thicker than usual, and I was surprised that I was able to ride it so well.  With all the goodness of the course, it was frustrating to watch as everyone I wanted to stay with rode away from me in the first couple of laps.  My mind was yelling “Go!” but my body just wouldn’t…go.

After I got gapped, I decided the only thing that would save me would be the course conditions.  If I wasn’t strong enough to hang with the tough ladies, maybe one or two of them would come back if they struggled with the course.  An error-free race became my focus, and with each successfully navigated lap my mood brightened.  Thankfully, there were a couple of riders who struggled with the mud (including a category 2, woo hoo!) that I was able to pick off in the closing laps.  I have to remember to celebrate that, and not my overall place (which was pathetic).

So, not the day of amazing-ness that I would have liked, but really, how often do you get those?  Sure, I would have loved a day where I floated around the course and left my competition covered in mud, but sometimes...well...

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