Alright, here you go, the race by the numbers. I finished the 6.6 mile course in 47:51. The guy who came in second finished in 48:50. So technically I finished 59 seconds ahead of him.
For full disclosure:
1. I figure the dropped chain on the first lap cost me 30 seconds or so in finish time. It took a little time (felt like an eternity) to get it back on and then there was the lost momentum, extra power to get back up to speed, etc.
2. I backed off a little bit on the second half of the second lap. I knew I had a pretty good lead and so I went into a more conservative “don’t crash” mode rather than “all out” mode.
By my brother’s definition of “sandbagging” I would have had to finish ahead by over 2 minutes. I will let you all make that call.
Here are a couple of things (looks like I am in a bulleted list mood today!):
1. This course was absolutely perfect for me (which I did not know it would be). It didn’t have to be that way. But luckily it was.
2. I won’t lie. It felt totally good to ride people down and then power past them on the uphill sections. It is fun to hammer someone going up. And every now and then, you need a little bit of that.
3. I was passed by some guy in the 50-59 group on my second lap. He went past me going up the hill like I was standing still. There is always someone who is faster than you. (He beat the second place rider in his group by 3:30, making him the leading “sandbagger” of the race.)
4. I still don’t have a great sense of what the racing categories mean. Last year when I did the Tour of the Battenkill I was Cat 5 (it was a road race). Our finish times where the same as the Cat 4 and Cat 3 riders. Where is the sense in that? I don’t really know what the variability is from race to race or series to series. And so I really do not know where I belong. Regadless, I don’t think I will race Cat 3 XC anymore.