Greetings from the land of Mormons and mountains,
This past Sunday was the first non-series CX race of the season here in Utah, and the only USAC event (to be UCI next year) located in norther Ogden, Utah (home of Saddledrive, for those in the know). This was the first year that TRP sponsored the event in the hopes of getting locals an option to get some points if they go to nationals for a better starting position.
Anyhow, the key feature of the course was the metal ride-up-ride-down flyover in the last 1/3 of the course. I watched a few others doing practice laps hit it without enough speed and take the slide of shame back down...
The course also featured loose, rocky corners, a long and deep sand pit that started level, went downhill then took a corner and came back uphill before exiting and an uphill barrier stretch that, combined with the sand pit, meant substantial shouldering of the bike each lap.
The course came back under the flyover after a fun little singletrack area with some steep ups and downs with 180 turns and a narrow, sandy off camber section where pedal strikes were the status quo.
I had my usual lackluster and sub-confident start but began passing people midway through the first lap. I kept on the pedals, feeling pretty good (meaning I should have pushed harder...this is cross after all) but dropped my chain coming out of the sand due to a poor shift after remounting and lost 3 places trying to get my chain back past my yaw front derailleurs chain keeper...which did the 100% opposite of it's intended job.
I worked my way back past 3 riders on the last two laps to finish a solid 7th. This was a great warm--up/pump-up for the local non-USAC series. I didn't podium, but I did come home with some parting gifts lodged in my tires.
Tubless is your friend; goatshead thorns are not. Hope you guys are having a good CX season.