6th and 6th: East Village Criterium and 7 Oaks XC double

Awesome weekend in Iowa!

Only this random, and possibly gratuitous, picture for now-  this is in Ames in front of the Mongolian Grill/Buffet, not anywhere near either race venue.

I'm sure there are more out there from both venues if you wanted to look around the net.  The Crit was in downtown Des Moines right in front of the capital which was a really fun and picturesque venue.  7 Oaks was super fun but I'm not sure anyone was out there worried about taking pictures.

I'm still doing events and racing but after a bit of rest there I'm now looking to pile on the miles and time towards cyclocross and fall gravel preparation.  The focus is again more on the mix of efforts I'm putting in and on getting stronger than on any particular event.  Last weekend was huge and I didn't let off much during the week.  I felt pretty good going into the weekend though and I was excited about taking another shot at a crit course with a big climb.  I knew that the XC race in Boone would be fun no matter how I felt and that I needed the time/miles on the Flash with the Ore to Shore, Minnesota 24 (weather pending, hard to skip it entirely on my "home" course) and Copper Harbor Festival XC race all coming up fast. 

I led the first couple laps of the crit just because I wanted to see what would happen.  The course was so up and down that I didn't figure it made much difference energy expenditure wise.  Eventually, no one bridged up and I went back to the group.  Not much happened for a while as most people seemed content to push the pace only a little on the top part of the climb.  We got through a prime without much excitement.  A second prime was announced with 11 laps to go.  I was in good position and went from the very bottom of the hill (literally half a lap).  One rider was near me close to the top and I had to go too far under to hold him off.  I heard the announcer yelling "4 man break" and I realized we were well clear.  I was too winded for the hill with the guys who had worked less hard.  Needed more time before the next climb but as it turned out it was over.  From there on out I was in the stupid position of either letting them absolutely go, pulling the group and hurting myself etc. plus there were still tons of guys with teams launching little team tactic attacks out of the main field.  I think I did well with choosing when further moves to respond to and how much effort to put in but, as the title of the post suggests, I wound up 6th.  Sucks to get 6th when you maybe had legs for better, but in a way that's also exactly what makes crits fun.  Talked to quite a few of my competitors after the race-  definitely seemed like everyone had enjoyed the course and racing as much as I had. 

Mountain bike race was pretty similar- felt great on the first lap but powered down a bit after that.  Not sure if it was cumulative miles going in, the lack of miles on the bike or what.  Regardless, I slowly drifted back from 3rd to 4th to 5th and finally 6th over the remainder of the 7 laps.  I really enjoyed the  course the whole time and things were grooving along but I never really found myself riding consistently "fast".  Sadly I was one spot out of the money!  All the guys I rode with were friendly, as were the lapped riders.  Iowa has a great thing going on with their XC races.  You just show up, pay a little bit and race hard. 

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