It had been a couple years since I last raced CX. My focus in 2018 has been crits and mountain biking, but with some residual fitness left, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do some park racing this year.
With race temps in the 70s, it was a beautiful September day for racing at Humboldt Park. I lined up with the other 35+ Cat 4/5s with reasonable fitness but minimal expectations.
We went off and as with seemingly all off-road races, everyone had it pinned wide open from the start. After a couple minutes, we settled into a rhythm and I found myself in a train at the front of the race, cruising in 7th place. We got to the barriers and I dismounted. I hoisted my bike and hopped the barriers… but as I put the bike back on the ground, I dropped my chain. I figured no big deal, and just manually rotated my crank a bit and proceeded to get my chain stuck in the front derailleur. As the seconds clicked by, I became more and more frantic and coincidentally, less and less effective at dislodging my chain. Finally, after an eternity (Strava says just over a minute), I was able to get the chain back in place and start riding again.
In the time I had been playing slow-witted mechanic, I managed to fall to last place in the race. The rest of the race was spent in a mad scramble to work my way up - putting the power down on the front side of the course, while trying to stay upright on the still-wet grass in the nasty off-camber section in the back of the course. In the end, I had worked my way up to pass five people and to salvage some small victory from my 10th place finish.