Elijah Johnson – WORS Cup – July 7-8, 2017

On Saturday, the first day of racing, we arrived at about 10:45 so that I could get proper nutrition before the race began.  When the Sport races began, I watched them to study how various parts of the course worked when several racers went through at the same time.  At about 1:45, I began my warm-up which lasted until about 2:10.  One main difference between this race and the other races was that Pro, Cat 1 Juniors, and Cat 1 racers all lined up individually starting in 3 waves instead of everyone lining up together and beginning at once.  This worked better since there were a total of 24 Cat 1 Jr. males at this race.  5 states were represented in the Cat 1 Jr. race.    We started in the second wave 1 minute after the Pros.

The start was a flat section followed by a climb.  I began in the front row and completed the climb in the top half.  We continued to go at max pace over the top and into the first section of single track.  We raced in and out of the single and double track at max speed for the first lap.  By the end of the lap, we had established our positions.  The second lap went well except for one time when my front tire slipped and I crashed.  I was fine, but I lost about 10 seconds.  The second lap finished smoothly.  I grabbed a handoff and made it down the difficult downhill right before the start area.

On the final lap, I was tiring out a bit so I did not go at max speed up the mile-long climb to the top.  For most of the lap, I was right behind another Cat 1 Jr.  This motivated me so I did my best to stay right behind him.  I was guessing it would be a sprint at the end, so I tried to save as much energy as possible.  While descending the final hill, I was unable to pass him.  On the final 2 sections of double track, we sprinted.  We finished within 1 foot.  Even though he was not in my age category, we helped push each other.  The cross-country race finished well, and the course was great.

Saturday night when we arrived home, I went on a light ride so my legs would recover for the short track on Sunday.

On Sunday, we left for the race early so we would be there before the Amateur Men’s short track at 9:00.  Since I had just raced the day before, I chose to do a longer warm-up than usual.  I began my warm-up at about 10:05.  About 5 minutes into it, I noticed that my chain was jumping consistently.  I brought it to Wilhelm, and he found that one of the pins had slipped out of place.  He quickly replaced it so I could finish warming up before the race.

At the start of the race, the Cat 1 Juniors lined up in 3 rows and the Cat 1 men 19-39 had 3 rows.  This worked well since each group had its fastest riders in the front.  The start of the race was interesting since there was about a 1000 ft section of flat double track before there were several turns before the first climb.  It was still tight when we entered the turns.  This resulted in some racers getting pushed out of their line and almost crashing.  The first climb was also interesting because everyone was still establishing their position by trying to pass in a section which was only about 5 ft wide.  After the first climb, most racers were content with their position and just held their spots.

The next several laps went smoothly with several people trading positions around me.  As we neared the end, the intensity picked up a bit.  On the final straight section of double track, I passed several people.  The remainder was a sprint.  At the finish, I sprinted and only beat one of my competitors by about 5 feet.  The race went great, and I learned a lot.
ScreenHunter_77 Jul. 17 14.04

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