Over the Hump #12: 5th (Intermediate, 40-49)
My final race of the Over the Hump season went really well. I managed to hit my personal goal of a top-5 finish, and racked up enough points to place 7th overall. I'm really happy with that.
The race this week got off to a much cleaner start than last week, though I had to make my way around a guy who lined up on the front row, but didn't seem to have the gas to stay near the front at the start.
In the meantime, half a dozen riders had come around me, so I set about not burning all my matches on the first punchy rise, and making the most of the flat along the lake. I found a train & jumped on, and was content to get pulled along, and could see that we were passing others in my division. When I did pull through, I just kept the same pace & tried to bring the rest of the train with me, but it broke apart and I found myself alone again on the CX section, which was fine with me.
I grabbed another wheel through the second lap's flat section, and actually felt like I'd recovered a bit going into the back half of the race. I just concentrated on cornering well and carrying as much speed as I could.
I came through the last lap feeling like I had a bit of a gap, but knowing that I'd had just a few seconds at best in every race so far. I wasn't about to let off the gas.
The course doubled back on itself several times near the end of the lap, so I could see that I had a little bit of a gap going into the final 500m or so of the race. But I wasn't about to take anything for granted. Nobody behind me for 30m or so was good, but no guarantee of anything.
I pushed over the top of the last rise and tried to carry as much speed as I could over the pump section. Coming out of the final, loose, uphill right-hander before the finish I hit the gas hard, and just tried to make sure I didn't give away any opportunities at the last moment. If anyone was going to get around me, I wanted to at least make them earn it. The only thought in my head was, Looking back just makes you slower! GO!
The way things shook out, I earned an overall score I'm fine with, hit my goal of a top-5 finish (which I thought wasn't going to happen), and have a nice pint glass as a souvenir. That's a pretty great way to finish out the season.
Next year, I'll aim to improve on that. But for now, I'm going to rest up for a week or two, then hit the weights & start laying the groundwork for next year.