After missing DCCX followed by a weekend with no races scheduled I was eager to get back on the 'cross bike and Halloween weekend provided my fix with two races on the schedule: All Hallows Cross on Saturday and Kinder Kross on Sunday.
All Hallows Cross was one of two races I finished in the top half of last year (the other being Hyattsville) so I was eager to go back to this race. The course for 2010 did have some changes, primarily that racers now had to traverse both sandpits (horse rings) and deal with turns in the same. Aside from that, the course stayed mostly the same as 2009, including the awesome single-track section through the woods. I arrived at the race venue at 8am which gave me time to do a couple of laps to check out the changes to the course, register and then get myself ready for my 10am race. After the 9am CAT4 race I took one more lap around the course. Unfortunately this got me to the start area late and I missed my call up by registration number and had to start at the back of the field. As the race started a rider went down in the very first turn and then the yo-yo effect forced me off my bike in the first sandpit, which I was able to ride in warm-ups. Exiting the sandpit I had a very difficult time getting clipped in, presumably from my cleats being packed with sand, and this cost me some time on the long finish stretch. Unclipping for the barriers also did not come easy, nor did getting back in after jumping them. The rest of the race was pretty normal for me; I fell back to the last fourth of the field and battled with a couple of different people for the remainder of the laps. I got a bit lax at the finish and was nipped at the line in a repeat of last years race, only then I was the beneficiary of someone sleeping. Ended up 56 of 61. See the video here.
Kinder Cross was a new event for this year and therefore was not a MABRAcross points race which was the likely reason that subscription was lower than normal. The event was great and the course one of the better ones this year including some off camber turns, double-track and power sections. Got to the race at 8am, did a couple of laps to check out the course and then got my number from registration. Got to the start line in plenty of time for this race, but even though I thought I had registered early I was still five or six rows back. The whistle blew and I did a fair job hanging onto my position until the slight uphill slog started about 200 meters and a couple of turns later. By the time I arrived at the barriers the group was split wide open and I was pretty much in the general area of where I would finish. About two laps in the back started hurting pretty good and there was really only one place I could stand to stretch it so I dealt with it the best I could. I was going back and forth with one guy lap after lap: I'd pass him on the last little grassy hill before the start and he'd pass me on the grassy hill after the start. Finally on the next to last lap he made a move in the double-track area and I never saw him again. I have to say, the best part of this race was seeing my wife and kids every lap and hearing Karrie yell for me to move my ass every lap. She is definitely the best cheerleader at any cross race I've been too; if she can see me, I can hear her. Results for this race weren't available at the time of this writing but I think I was 28 of 30-something. I'll try to update when the results are posted. See the video here.
Next week is Tacchino Ciclocross, which was a great event last year except for the fact that I got pulled for being lapped. It seems that this year pulling riders is even more common, especially at the races that have full fields. I have not been pulled yet this year and hopefully that trend will continue.
Until next time, keep pedaling!