I raced yesterday at 9:30 am. It was a little weird to wake up, see the temperature at 28 degrees and actually think, "Awesome! It's warm!" Did all the warm up stuff at the house and then rolled down to the course. We are staying less than a mile from the race, so we haven't needed to drive much at all.
The officials started putting everybody in pre-staging; all 180+ of us. I got to stand around for quite a bit waiting for my call up: #130. I lined up, Jeff took all my extra clothes and we began that nervous down time that hits just prior to the start of a race. The gun fired and off we went for about 10 seconds and then a huge crash swept across the field in front of me from left to right. Everybody crashed around me and into me, but I managed to stay upright and unscathed. I got off the bike, ran around everybody rolling around on the pavement and took off after the race. At the first turn, I caught another crash, made it around and then hammered onto the tail end of a long train of riders.
Due to the warmer conditions, the course was totally different from the last race I did. Traction was abundant. The little off camber that you fell trying to walk up was now completely rideable. I fell on the long grass off camber section when two guys crashed in front of me and I had to touch the brakes, a guaranteed fall inducer. Back up and on to the run up, which I now was able to ride up with relative ease, back on to the pavement and the beginning of lap 2.
Slowly but surely, I crept up through the field. Jeff put me in the seventies with 2 laps to go. And then, just after passing the pits, I fell hard on my right side bending the derailleur hanger and putting the derailleur into the rear wheel. Thus ended my 2009 US National Cyclocross Championships.
This has been a great trip. I've had an incredible time and can't wait to come back next year. If you've never been to Bend, this place is beautiful, the people are unbelievably friendly and everyone is into outdoor sports. It was a great choice for the host of this race.
Some sights and sounds of the day:
U23 race - opening lap
Danny Summerhill (Garmin) leads the U23 race