I rode my last USA Cycling sanctioned race in CAT2 at yesterday’s Rim Nordic Autumn Classic XC race. Samantha decided not to race so I had the support of my wife to cheer me on and provide bottle exchange. I wasn’t expecting a deep field as it’s the end of the season and this race wasn’t tied to any series competition and sure enough, there were only four racers in my field.
While this might sound cocky I knew I would finish first so the finishing place wasn’t the goal I set for this race. I wanted to use this as an opportunity to push the pace and treat it as an off-road time trial. I say time trial because my “group” starts first so there’s nobody to catch, pass, or use as a barometer for one’s pacing. I simply raced by myself for over an hour. In the end I came up with the 3rd fastest time in CAT2, at 1 hour 15 minutes 30 seconds. I was gunning for the fastest time but I think not having anyone around me or in front of me to “hunt” down made me relax too much. Oh well.
The highlight of the day was a mile into the 2nd lap, after the start/finish line and the bottle exchange with Samantha. This section is the start of the climb and is especially lonely so imagine my surprise when midway through the climb I recognize a familiar shirt and face – Samantha! She had run up a steep fireroad that intersects with the trail and seeing her cheer me on brought a smile to my face and motivated me to climb well – I couldn’t waste her effort!
After the race we hung out to watch the CAT1 race and stay for the awards and raffle. We also met some people from Big Bear and enjoyed speaking with them and may have some new riding friends who can show us some local trails when we visit Big Bear next. A big thanks to the Rim Nordic staff who always put on a top-notch event.
I’ll savor my last win in CAT2 as it may be awhile before I step onto a podium in CAT1!