All seasons have openers. My opener this season was the Sagebrush Scramble. It’s a 30 minute + 2 laps short track race put in by the fine folks at Knobby Tire Series. For me this race was not only going to be a test of my fitness level, but also how the physical therapy has been working on my hamstring. Since the end of January for ~1hour I’ve spent 3 days a week beating on my hamstrings and quads. The good news is that it’s paying off. The bad news it’s happening VERY slowly.
The race is held at the Larson-Miller medical waste disposal facility which is located on Simco road East of Boise by ~25 miles. The area is mostly high desert with little for shade or wind breaks. We were fortunate in that we did get a break from the rain for the day off and day prior to the race so the course did get a chance to firm up. The wind on the other hand was not so good in terms of cooperation. It was blowing ~30mph with gusts as high as 45mph. The wind was at your back for half the race and in your face for the other half.
The lap is right at about 1mile and it contains some bermed cornerd, 2 tabletops, and then some tight, flat, switchback style corners. The dirt had dried out to the point where I wouldn’t call it hero dirt, but it was firm enough to hold a tire. We raced 9 laps.
In terms of my race I was very happy with the way things went. I was able to get a front row start and that meant my start was good. It also meant that I didn’t have to spend much time passing people in that first few laps. My split time between laps were super consistent. Over 9 laps there wasn’t more than 10 seconds difference between lap times.
The race used the older classifications – beginner, sport, expert, and pro catagories. In looking at how USA Cycling made the category change and the names of the other guys racing (taking into account their performance in cyclocross), I chose to race in the sport class (USA Cycling cat 2).
This is where things get a little strange. The first lap of the race I was passed by an expert class rider. I used him to to make the jump up to a rider that I have raced against often in cyclocross (and had always placed better than I have, also riding sport class, but I’m a different age category). The there of us raced as a group hard for 7 laps. The expert class rider fell off the back at lap 7 and from there we stayed neck and neck. The result looked something like this:
I finished 3rd in Sport class (19-39). I would have finished 2nd in expert class (19-39). The guys who placed 1st and 2nd in Sport class finished 2nd and 4th over all. If I was to do it over again I would have signed up for expert and I would hope the guys who won sport would have gone up to pro.
In terms of my hamstring, I’m actually really happy with how it held up. It’s a little sore, but nothing like what I experience after a cross race. It’s recovered faster and is responding to massage and weight training like prior to racing, so I’m hoping if I stick with the PT, the hammy will hold up and it will mean a good cyclocross season (fingers crossed).