Fitness *still* fading from the road season. Biggest field of the season at about fifty. Bianchi Juan Ortiz (not the one from Pen Velo, need to remind BJO of his doppleganger), and Curt Ferguson, pere of the prodigy Jeremy, and still on Coumadin so he can't crash - ever, show up and we reminisce about when we were actually fast...
The course was mostly in one large field, going out and back several times to create a longer course. It consisted of a short paved start/finish section, a rideable, off camber seven foot hill, a steep drop back to the bottom with a 180 right hander back up the hill, which was faster for folks who ran the whole thing compared to me who rode down it, but I didn't keep the speed up well on the dismount, a meandering back to cross the start finish road, and a long out/back over a field to a series of three barriers followed by a seven foot hill (making a really long running section), down the hill, a few hundred feet, back up another hill, down the seven foot hill for a longer out and back to a different spot on the seven foot hill followed by a dip and rise that you could get big air on without trying, then down the hill again, and up it again for a long loop back to the start finish. Always a test of trying to keep speed up on the corners without washing out the tires.
Lined up near the back of the pack and most of the field walked for a minute once we reached the first dirt section until things opened up again. Lost track of Juan and Curt but it turns out Juan was just ahead of me and motivated by the sight of me behind him and Curt was just behind me and gaining on me every lap.
I never found a good rhythm on the course until late, always losing ground on the long dirt straights and making it up or holding ground on the corners. Got really close to Juan on the last lap when he and I both went hard from about 300 meters out. Need to do that a bit earlier - like the start of the last lap = to play to my strength, and not my weakness, and work on trying harder the rest of the time as the power output was closer to the effort for flat crit.