The course was changed this year, but all of the changes made were for the better. First, the crazy start going through the picnic pavilion on the 2008 course was removed and replaced with a much safer and wide open grass launching pad. The overall direction of the course was changed from counterclockwise to the opposite direction, which seemed to make the course flow better. The third, and most significant change was the removal of the nasty mud/water pit, which was on the 2008 course. Finally, the course was made better by the addition of more technical features like a massive spiral of death.
I expected the course to be super wet and saturated from all the rain we received during the past week, but the conditions were much better than I expected. Additionally, it did not rain on race day, which was a most pleasant surprise from what was initially being forecasted in the weather. Of course, sections of the course were muddy, but everything other than the crazy long run-up was able to be ridden. This run-up is the trade mark feature of this course and in my opinion should never be removed. It just hurts that good.
Cross season has been going on for a little more than a month now and things are starting to fall into place for me. I did not win the Cross My Heart Race like I did last year, but overall I did feel really good and still feel like I am building towards my peak. It is easy to burn out with cross because of the nasty weather and difficult training conditions. Racing every weekend in good and bad weather does seem to help me stay focused and motivated during these last few months of racing. Hopefully, I can continue my progress through the season and peak for nationals in December. Yes, you heard me right, nationals. After receiving my category 1 CX upgrade this past week, I did decide to register for nationals in Bend, OR. It is hard for me to pass up on the final grand finale of the season and for the fifth year in a row, I will be attending this major shindig.
But, before the end of the season in Bend, there are many more super fun races to do. This weekend, for example, there are two local Pittsburgh Area Races that just can't be missed. On Saturday, the 2nd annual Murrysville Cyclocross Race put on by Team Freddie FU is being held and on Sunday, Gary Dugovich is putting on another one of his super cross events. If you enjoy cyclocross and live anywhere near Pittsburgh, you do need to be at both of these races.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot to thank the two dudes that took it upon themselves to pit for me at the Spin Race on Saturday. I was going to say thank you after the race, but you had already vacated the pit area. I say "dudes" because my mind was too foggy during the race to actually see who was helping me. I do appreciate your help...whoever you guys are! Also, much thanks to Robert Sroka for the photo and for continually being able to capture awesome cyclocross photos.
Happy Trails, Gerry