Here's me getting way to sideways near the tree. Close call.
This was it. Good conditions, Josh and Nate being out of town, some new found confidence and good legs. I was pretty excited about this race and was feeling ready. I went from the gun and took the hole shot to open up a big lead on the field after 1 lap. I settled into a pace and had avoided the first lap mayhem when Dr Mark and CO started to catch me. I wasn't trying to kill it and was going to see if some tactical racing would work. I crashed once, recovered well and managed to maintain the lead but when I hit a downhill 180* turn a little to hot I crashed much harder and watched about 7 guys roll by as I got my shit back together. My plan went from being offensive to defensive.
I impressed myself by closing in on splinter groups in the next couple laps and managed to ride a little smarter and put in some small attacks to keep them from sticking to my wheel. It didn't take long before I was up into the #2 spot chasing Dr Mark.
He was maintaining a 30 second gap or so and at one point I had it down to about 15 seconds, but he was able to power away from me on the backside power climb and that is the way it stayed. While I never was able to reel him in much closer then 30 seconds or so, I was able to put some major time into the chase groups for most of the race until my boy Chris Ploch started to come from behind in the last couple laps. Luckily I was able to maintain the gap on him and rolled in with a solid second place finish.
Overall I'm pretty happy with my result and especially happy that I didn't panic after hitting the deck a couple times and losing my good starting position. My form is pretty good right now and I have to admit that with the amount of setbacks I have had since I started training for this CX season in late September I am pleased with my progress. If I could score a top 3 at States next weekend I'd be able to rest easy this winter.
The St Louis CX scene is so awesome right now and I can only imagine it is going to get better. The course design, party like atmosphere, great competition and unbelievable support at every race is so freakin' awesome! I am so stoked to share every weekend with everyone who participates in the races, in one form or another. I also can't begin to express how great I feel about hanging out with all my teammates and friends at the pub after the races reliving the days events. Simply Awesome.
Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this with me.