Bike & Race Stats (in no good order)
Bike: Litespeed Ti CX
Wheels: Easton EC90 SL
Tires: Challenge Grifo (32 lbs front and rear)
Bottles: 2 Clif Electrolyte Hydration
Food: 5 gels/1 block(s)
Time: 3H 1M 30S
Bit frantic. Abandoned my strict pre-race schedule for a more loosely interpreted free-style. This did not serve. I was pumping my tires and searching for my glasses 5 minutes out. No warm-up.
Perceived was at 11 (probably due to no warm-up). Run-ups in the ‘cx course’ seemed 30% and miles. Horrible. Hit the paved section top ten, thought about hell being real and here on earth, rolled behind and recovered.
Winding Stair. Terribly geared (34/25). Sitting second wheel behind Mr. Turner when he slow motion dropped me on the 25% stuff. Had around 30 seconds on me by the top. He had a mountain biker with him, then me sitting third, then an unknown gap to a group behind. Was too wrecked to turn around and look.
Alone. Both exhilarating and terrifying. Those two aren’t easily separated. At the bottom Turner had a minute and a half. Jesus, how? I was ready to classify my decent as daredevil. Probably around 22 miles in at this point
Small group of 4 comes back to me at the climb’s entrance. We quickly recollect the mountain biker and now were climbing as a group of 5 (3 CX, 2 MTB). We worked well together; pace was high moderate. An attack from a fellow CX’er on a steeper section shed everyone but myself. The two of us then worked together to hold it.
Somehow faster and more dangerous than the first. Hidden ruts in most high-speed corners that you had to slide through and jump simultaneously. A brakeless 40+ in the straightaways. A mountain biker managed to bring us back by the bottom. Then there were 3 chasing Turner (not really, he had 3 minutes at this point) probably with 6 mostly paved miles to go.
Final CX Section
The 3 of us came in together. One of the 3 rode full speed into what clearly required a dismount. Then there were 2. Then an agonizing run-up; it felt like I was sprinting. An observer might describe my pace some sort of panicked standing crawl, graceless and deflating of human spirit. All the same, I got a small gap and held it. So 2nd overall and very happy with it.
Conclusions and Reflections
Southern Cross is a class event top to bottom. The Dahlonega area maintains stunning forest service roads and beautiful landscapes. It was a true pleasure to race in such scenery. An enormous thanks to the Litespeed-BMW team for making it possible.