I don't know jack about training really, and with the USGP coming up this weekend in NJ I was going to train hard after Noho right through Putney, then take it easy this week to be ready for the races in Trenton. I'll have to ask someone someday if you can effectively build, taper and rest in a 5 day period... Probably not. When I didn't get to ride other than last Wednesday, I decided to take it re-engineer it as a "rest week," an effort to try and make myself feel like I had some sort of handle on it all. Whatever.
So into Putney I go plenty fresh and feeling good physically. The course was the same as always but the top half much more slick than I've ever seen it and the corn field much more dry than before. The section after the downhill and before the field was the trickiest, and my pre-race prediction of carnage in that spot came true: I went down in warm ups and again for good measure on lap one along with another rider.
The elite men's race paid 10 deep and there were 10 of us. Everyone gets paid! Half way through lap one the top 5 guys were gone. I had crashed and was just behind Toby Wells and Colin Reuter. I rode back up to them in the field and the three of us were together for an other 3/4 of a lap until Colin laid it down to the muttled delight of the "crowd" gathered behind the shop. I think Toby got held up behind that because I ended up in 6th all alone for three laps. I could see that the gap to Toby was pretty consistent for the first two of those laps and I thought that I'd rather just ride it in from here anyway, I wasn't really in the mood to race. The pain I had in my back at Gloucester came back a bit, but I don't recall it hurting the entire time so it must have gone away.
At 5 to go I could see Toby gaining on me. The "crowd" was cheering for him pretty loudly as I was going by so I knew he was getting close. He caught me near on the corn field at 4.5 to go and I wisely sat on. I'm sure it ticked him off but that's bike racing, you've got to play your best hand and mine was to rest as much as possible, keeping it close until the finish and then see what happens. He tried a few attacks but I was able to respond to each of them. With 5th place 30 seconds ahead and 8th well behind, it was a two man race between us so I wanted to let him do as much work as possible.
At the bell I think I led on the run, but Toby was by me around the barriers when I missed a pedal. He took a great line through the first right hand turn and got 3 bikes on me. This had happened before and I had been able to make it up between the shop and the descent, but when I got loose around the shop he got another 4 bikes and the gap stuck. I was riding hard in the field to bring him back but he was going just as hard to stay away.
It was a good race, but really long. We did 10 laps total and I was gassed. Karen got 3rd in the abbreviated women's race.
What a cross bike should look like.I