The third and final race of the Club Scrub Challenge Series was a traditional cross country event. We setup a 6.4 mile course a few months before to allow people to check out the course ahead of time to see how they liked it. The course included all the best parts of JD: berms, jump lines, rock gardens, and of course a little sand.
We had another great turnout with this round, and had the racers in categories for 1, 2 or 3 laps. Throughout the series, each race we learned a little bit more about how to run a better event for the racers. One of the changes we made for this race was letting all the ladies race together, with each category separated by 10 seconds. That allowed the ladies to all be on the course together without having to worry about any of the guys being in their way or vice versa. We also let the ladies go first, and stuck the open men (me) last.
Running an event and racing an event are two different things, so doing them both in the same day is kinda crazy. So of course both Jemma and I raced! First we ran the kiddos race with Jemma getting them started and every kid having a blast.
Sitting in the timing and scoring tent for the first few waves of riders it was great to see so many smiles coming across the finish line. The beginner class riders were doing 1 lap, and I can honestly say that most of the people coming across the line looked like they wanted to do another. The battle for the Open class Women’s race was intense, with the top 2 ladies Simone and Erin racing wheel to wheel for the first 2 laps. Even at the end of the race they were only separated by 5 seconds, with Simone coming out on top. It was so much fun to watch I was getting caught up in the action, then I realized it was time for me to start getting ready for MY race!
When I was looking at the racer list I knew there was some SERIOUS talent there, of both locals and fast guys from out of the area. I didn’t have any expectations about how the day was going to go, just wanted to give it what I had and see how the day went. The start was on the paved road before we went into the trails, and as soon as the flag dropped next thing I knew we were holding 30mph on the asphalt blazing towards the trails. That’s faster than I’ve ever started a race in the State Series with Gone Riding, so I knew these boys meant business. Unfortunately my Garmin was acting up, so I decided to try and reboot it DURING THE RACE. Yeah, not my smartest move but a couple miles in I was able to get it up and running so I could see my heart rate pegged at the limit.
The fast pace took its toll on me, and I started to let racers by early in lap 1. I just didn’t have the legs, it was hot and windy, and we had 3 laps to look forward to. I thought about quitting, but decided to stay in it and just see how it went. Some time in lap 2 I started to get my legs back, pushing onward and catching up to some of the racers who were beginning to crack as I already had. Working my way through the pack I caught up to my buddy Tyler who was ahead of me in the points for the series. I knew I had to at least beat him, so I kept the pace as high as I could lap 3 and was able to move up a few more positions. At the end of the day I was 9th overall on the day, which was enough to get 3rd place for the series behind Matt Nalesnik in #1 and Rudy Robaina in the #2 spot.
It was great fun racing and we saw many first time racers have a great time too. With Endurance, Short Track, and Cross Country Races in the series we had all been tested and the King and Queen of JD were hard earned titles. Congrats to Matt and Erin!
Jemma raced as well, so between that and running the starts for every wave, she wasn’t able to focus on photography. Thankfully, as usual we had Jim from Best Lights Images and we had good ol’ Moises Inoa of OsitoKing Racing there doing both photography and video. We’re so thankful to have such giving and supportive people in our cycling community. We really hope you enjoy them, check out the full JD Challenge Series XC Race Gallery and sneak peek below!