Since last writing a month and a half ago, I’ve ridden another five races. There has been a weekend or two off in there, but also a double-header.

The first race was closing out the first series I was doing. I finished 11th and 10th in the first two races. This time, I had a great start and had a great race going (5th or so) with one lap to go. I could feel a small group of riders right on my back, but I had held them off the entire race and was feeling strong. And then I thought to much about it, crashed [lightly] twice that lap, and finished 10th. So close. The venue for this was a pretty awesome that I hope to spend more time at if only for their pink lemonade water fountain. Yes, a regular water fountain with ice cold pink lemonade. Results | GPS

The next two races opened up the Cross Crusade series. I think this is one of the oldest cross series in the US. They even claim to have invented the call-up. Pretty cool. This pair took place at the Alpenrose Dairy just a handful of miles from home. This place has a velodrome, a faux Wild West town, hosts CX races all the damned time, and is a functional dairy. Pretty cool. Their call-up system was based on a couple of races that I didn’t do so I didn’t fare too well in that department despite having a decent standing in the only major series that had been run thus far. With this being a popular series, there were TONS of riders (something like 11-1200). On both days I raced pretty well and enjoyed my first taste of slippery off-camber NW ridiculousness, but I started in 60th or later place and only made it into the 40s. The course was mostly the same, but reversed the second day and didn’t have great passing opportunities. Fun, but competitively, a wasted weekend; a key to a successful CX finish is getting a great starting position and that’s not with 59 people in front of you. Result #1 | Result #2 | GPS #1 | GPS #2

The third race was also a few miles from home at the edge of PIR and Heron Lakes Golf Course.Compared to the previous weekend, the course was easy and flat, and suited my abilities better. My group got called up second to last so again (last week I was called up in the middle both days, which with named call-ups means towards the back, then for the next race they reverse the order, which doesn’t change the middle) I was playing a game of passing the entire way as I started 10 from the back (~80th) and made it up to 33rd. I’ve been messing [positively] with the bike fit and my technical skills are improving greatly; I can feel I’m going faster, I just need to get a good start! If we’re reversed for the next race, that’ll be my chance! Results | GPS

Ew. What is this? Sticky, peanut buttery mud along the ENTIRE course. This is foreign to me. Following a week of record rainfall, we found our way to Hillsboro to race around the Washington County Fair Complex. As the name may make obvious, that means fields, and flat ones at that… You know, the type of place you’d hold a fair. Flat fields do not drain. This race was an absolute mess and I loved it. As expected, group call-ups were reversed so I had a great starting spot! 20th or so. Mucho pumped, but only for the first 30 seconds until the guy in front of me collided with a barrier, took me out with him, and I found myself in dead last. I’m talking 92nd of the 92 starters. Ugh. Wasted start. I contemplate just throwing in the towel, but I’m already covered in mud since we went down in a pool of it, and this kind of traction is new to me… Great learning lesson. Well, I’m glad I stuck with it. The course was very wide so passing wasn’t much of a problem and I seemed to be pretty good at riding mud. I chugged my way nicely through the first couple of laps, spied some folks that I knew had been placing well, picked them off, and crossed the finish in 16th. With that placing, I earned a few points for the series, which will get me a named call-up (happens before the groups) that I feel I probably should have been getting all along, but c’est la vie. Great race, filthy bike, filthy Mikey, pretty dirty car. When do we race next!? Results | GPS