A Good Day at the Races
By Cory Greenburg (Get Crackin – Cynergy Cycles)
When I woke up Sunday morning, stiff and sore from day one of the UCI Spooky Cross, I told myself, “Just another day at the races,” or so I thought. Being my first weekend of UCI cross racing and only my fifth cross race ever, I had mixed feelings going into Sunday’s race. After an epic fall the week before at Camarillo, which somehow pictures of me managed to be plastered all over the internet (Yeah, I’m that guy… you know, the one playing Superman on a cross bike), I was hoping Red Bull would hit me up for a sponsorship after free falling with no parachute, but no luck.
So, I came into Sunday’s race looking to prove that I am not just that roadie nerd trying to mix it up with the cross boys. The race started out just like the night before, fast. By the end of lap one the front group managed to be formed and had all the familiar faces from night one on what was a fast and very dry course. Learning from my mistakes of night one, I decided to play it safe and ride top five, but never letting my nose hit the front. This plan definitely paid off, as the guys drilling it on the front in the early laps were either dropped or had little in the legs for the later portions of the race. Once the group was formed and clearly not coming back, it became more of a race of attrition as only a few attacks were made on the flat dirt sections but it was the constant high power and the insane pace setting by Optum Pro Cycling’s Mike Sherer (that guy is strong) that took its toll on the riders.
By mid-race, the “off season roadie” was still hanging with the big boys in what was now a lead group of around seven riders. At this point I knew I had good legs and needed to keep myself in check as I have only been doing two and three hour coffee shop rides four days a week, and I don’t have the fitness to do any huge attacks, or so I thought. With things heating up in the last two laps, guys began to start rubbing elbows and taking risks to be up near the front. Going into the bell lap riders were really getting tired and you could see that a few had heavy legs down the home stretch leading into turn one.
The front group would again splinter going into the sand section and that’s when eventual race winner Mark McConnell (Synergy Racing) decided he would hit the gas. Seeing that no one was responding, I went with Mark and we soon had 20 seconds over the chase. Mark was keen on setting the tempo, which I was gladly letting him do. Making our way through the last grass section I could see that Mike Sherer was setting the pace of the chasing group and coming fast. I knew I had to make a move to win this race, so going into the second of three turns on the BMX course I pushed Mark McConnell wide and passed him but he rebounded and destroyed me in the whoop section. This would be my down fall; Mark was set up perfect and left me sprinting for second. Second place for the “Off Season Roadie” wasn’t bad and I have decided now that I am attributing the whole day to that quality vegan pancake breakfast before the race – pure rock fuel. So, it actually did end up “just another day at the races”, but a very good one at that. A huge thank you to SoCal Cross for a wonderful event. You guys make bike racing a whole lot of fun. Also, congratulations to all the racers today taking on a very fun and challenging course.