Today, I once and for all relieved myself of the inability to push through and win a bike race. Having finally realized that I was beating myself more than anyone else was, I resolved that today would be my last race as a CX4 and that I would go out with a win.
I had this great, well though out strategy of what I was going to do and how I would execute a win. Like every good race plan, this one was renedered null and void within 10 seconds of the word "Go!". Two jokers rested in today's deck of racers as some of the Lees-McRae guys showed up. These guys are no slouches and I knew once I spied the green and gold kit that they were the ones to watch and worry about.
My race plan was to make the lead group (duh) and then with 2 laps to go, to attack and try to hang on for the finish. In previous races, I waited until too close to the finish to attack and slight screwups (i.e. attacking the ground with my body) were magnified into the difference between a win and an also ran. I wanted this time to be different and so I was mentally preparing for all of the strategy necessary to accomplish my goal.
The ref said "Go!" and we all took off down the long opening straight in a grassy field headed for the tight, twisty technical section that lurked beyond the first turn. I got the hole shot and headed into the technical section. Because the course doubled back on itself several times, I was able to get a good look at the race behind me and how it was unfolding. I saw the Lees-McRae guys stuck in traffic, saw that I had a gap and thought "Now or never". I attacked right then knowing that I was trying to go clear from the gun and hang on to the end. And sure enough, it worked. For the first two laps, I had a 10 to 15 second advantage over a hard charging group of chasers. Constant encouragement from the sidelines by Jeff and the Braswell clan let me know exactly how I was doing and what I needed to do to maintain. Once the gap hit 30 seconds, I knew I just had to ride smart and the win would be mine. More than anything, a sense of relief washed over me as I put my arms in the air and crossed the line.
Thanks to everyone for all of the encouragement; I couldn't have done it without you.