The ground was wet. Rain was threatening. It was perfect CX weather.
My pre race routine went as usual including bumping in to Adam and Mario who had already finished their races. After receiving an excellent verbal description of the course from Adam I set out to preview it in person.
My first impression was that there was a good balance of sections that included a soft soil run up, a multi stage climb, a technical grass section, some flatter and faster grass sections, a bombing descent with a wide open sweeper, and two sets of barriers.
At the end of that first lap I was still in the top five. In previous races I've gotten a little excited when near the front and raced a little too hard. On Sunday I concentrated on finding my just right pace.
During much of the race when I checked over my should I saw a freight train of hungry racers right on my wheel. On a number of occasions a follower passed wherein I would hold that wheel until the rider waved me through by way of suboptimal line selection.
As the laps dwindled the following group started to string out a bit. I wasn't being threatened and felt I was near my maximum sustainable effort. Basically, I was doing my part without letting my emotions control my pace.
Sunday's race was my best performance this year and I was rewarded with a 4th place finish in 45+ Masters Mens Category 1/2.
After the race I grabbed my camera, strolled the venue, and snapping photos while I thought back on my race. Compared to previous events I did nothing new, different, or special. Instead I refined my game just enough to shave a few seconds per lap and squeak out a great finish among a strong group of racers.