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CCCX Series Finale, Fort Ord (CX)

01/24/2014, 12:30pm PST
By Chris Gaffney

1st / 15 45A

CCCx Series Final

Fort Ord

1st of about 15

45A’s

 

January 19, 2014

 

I’ve been waiting three years for this win. This was my first win since moving up to the A’s. I didn’t participate in the Worlds or the Nationals so my training for the last three weeks was focused on this event.

 

The course featured one climb, a fast downhill single track, a new short technical climb through 4” of loose dirt. There was also an out and back on pavement and several more technical turns on loose gravel and dirt.

 

I got a front row call up because I was 4th overall in this 8 race series. Just before the start the 35’s and 45’s fields were combined so I ended up starting in the third row behind the 35’s.  I got a good start and was probably riding about 5th or 6th spot through the first lap. As we got to the climb on the second lap the group seemed to pause and I took off. I only noticed that Don Myrah, the current 45+ World Champion was ahead of me. I was determined to ride as hard as I could for as long as I could. I hardly noticed what was going on around me. Don eventually dropped me and I was joined by Tod Hoefer, a former national champion. I can usually stay with Tod for a couple of laps before getting dropped. Today I was able to ride with Tod and was doing most of the work at the front. Both Tod and Don were racing in the 35+ field so I was leading the 45+ field.

 

Coming through the start finish after 4 laps I saw the first lap card, which said 5 to go. At that time I couldn’t see the next rider in the 45+ field. I was pretty sure that I was putting distance between myself and the field on the climb. I had been going 100% on the climb and hoped that I had 5 more strong efforts in the legs.  

 

My motivation other than winning was beating Henry Krammer. Henry is the repeat 55+ world champion and the national champion. Henry wins nearly every race he enters.  I have been racing against Henry for 3 years and have never come close to beating him. With about 4 laps to go, I noticed Henry for the first time at the out and back paved section of the course. I estimated I had about a 30 second lead. I was suffering but determined to win. I was still working with Tod and we were riding well together.

Laps 6 and 7 passed quickly, I still felt ok on the hill. At the out and back section I noticed Henry closing the gap a couple of seconds each lap. Laps 8 and 9 I really suffered on the hill but didn’t slow down to much. With 2 to go it looked like I had a 20-25 second gap.With one to go it still looked like I had 20-25 seconds. One more time up the hill and I new I could win. I can’t remember that last time I suffered so much on the bike. By the time I got to the top of the climb on the last lap I new I had to be careful on the downhill because I was so spent. I recovered by the time I got to the bottom of the hill and felt ok. At the out and back section on the last lap I guessed I had a 20 second lead, with about 3 more minutes of riding to the finish.

 

I ended up winning with a 20 second gap. I could hardly believe it! My win also moved me up to 3rd overall in the series. This was a great end to the season for me. I’m already looking forward to next season.

 

Chris Gaffney

Tag(s): Race Reports