Sucker Brook Cross - Mens B Masters 35+, Mike Rowell, 9-17
First let me say that I thought that the layout of the Sucker Brook cross course was great and we literally had a sea of NEBC red, white and blue in attendance. I know that in my race we had Stig, Bill and Kurt that I spoke with and at least a couple others as well. Results are not posted yet so I donât know exactly where everyone finished up. Maybe they can report. This was the type of course that was fun and made you want to ride fast so I think everyone felt they got a fair helping of suffering for their money. I know that my HR was literally 172 bpm avg and the chart is flat. It looks just like my normal chart from the CBTT only an extra 1/3 longer, time wise. This was my 1st cross race in about 7 years and 3rd race even so I wasnât sure what to expect. My past results were fair at best, but back then I was racing MTB (poorly) and my fitness level was well below where it is today. The grass sections of the course had a bunch of twists and turns and you went in and out of a couple small ravines and over one fast double barrier. There was also a sweet offroad double track screamer with a big gully whoop that you could launch off, pull an easy cross-up and claim midair style points. The big run was through a sandbox/playground onto grass then back through sand and into a tight up corner. Ugh! Good stuff though. The start/finish was a 100 yard paved slight up road section with a 90 degree left onto a shoret crushed stone section.
1st lap was chaos but i managed to hunt up to the lead group (two guys, one MRC and one ECV) by the start/finish. From there we maintained the break and took turns leading. The final lap had the 2 guys (who were âsecretlyâ buddies) scheming. By now we were working in lots of lapped traffic (they sent 3 or 4 waves of racers off 30 second intervals). 1/3 into the lap I was in third and the 2nd place MRC guy slowed a bit and let the ECV guy pull away. I chased after him (the setup) and the MRC guy rode my wheel. I ended up behind a group of three women side by side on the back/fast section dicing it up for their finish position and couldnât get by so lost a hundred feet or so, which was enough for the leader to stay away. In the final corner onto the road finish sprint the MRC guy came by and beat me at the line by a bike or so which put me in 3rd place.
After the finish they openly admitted that theyâd had an alliance and were setting me up on the final lap. I actually knew what was going on as soon as the MRC rider dropped back but didnât feel I had the gusto to launch and sustain a counter attack. In hind sight, I should have, given that we had enough gap that I shouldnât have been at risk for lower than 3rd. It was a great season opener and entry (back) into cross and Iâm looking forward to the next beating ;)