2nd place in first C class cross race... lessons learned (long post about my race)
Like everyone says, you have a finite amount of 'matches' to burn. I learned this full force in my first cycling race of any kind.
I started in the back of the field of about 25 (and 1 tandem) at the start. Was nervous, and didn't know what to expect. Long straight and into the first barriers near the start/finish. Lap one begins, i find myself in about 8th after the shuffling out over the barriers etc.
Jogging around the park, and up and over a barrier run up hill on to a paved straight before another technical section. HOLY CRAP i am in 4th place. Sprint around 3rd on a short straight and come into the barriers at start/finish in third.
At this point on lap 2, it's the leader, then the TANDEM (later found out one of the guys came down from the A's, and they were SMOOOTH, so fast on remount). Nothing eventful, but got a draft from the tandem and we got around leader, i am now in second. Made my pass for the lead, clean through the barriers.
Lead laps 3 and 4. Here is where the matches come into play. Lap 4 on the paved section, i tried to open up a gap on the tandem, but they must have seen, and i got nothing out of my effort (except for being tired). Through the barriers at the end of lap 4, i was gassed.
About 400m into lap 5 the tandem got me. I figured, heck, i will just pace them in the technicals and runups, and draft/pass on the paved section (bout 1/4 mile). Well, by that point, i just didn't have it in me, and they really pushed it on the flats, opened up about 40m gap on me.
By the final runups i was about 10m behind the lead tandem, and they crossed the line about 15 feet in front of me for a dissappointing second. The crowd was screaming for me to beat the tandem (probably because they knew how embarassed the rest of us SHOULD be if they won haha).
Maybe it is better to save a bit for the end, especially if there is a battle for the lead, and i know that i have particular skills to open up or pass an opponent. In this case, it was the technical sections and twisty turns.
Shift early for turns/barriers. Did this about 50% of the time
It's better to dismount too early than too late (i was able to do this consistently as i was quite nervous after going right through a barrier at wednesday's practice).
Seeking advice on strategy. Do you guys just go all out and let the cards fall where they will, or do you have strategy for cross? I lapped my 'teammate' (dad) at the end of lap 4, and had 1/2 of a mind to have him block the tandem through the barriers haha, but couldn't bring myself to do it.
Thanks for listening